Why Social Issues Still Matter

fiorina carsonSince I’ve become a Hoya I’ve heard different perspectives on hundreds of issues and I’ve also heard the refrain “I’m socially liberal, but fiscally conservative” hundreds of times. This is how a lot of my conservative friends justify supporting a candidate such as Jeb Bush or Rand Paul. They choose these candidates, effectively putting value on fiscal policy over social policy. The problem is that they don’t realize the implications of that decision. Just because my friend doesn’t agree with Bush’s social policy doesn’t mean that when he becomes president he will only focus on fiscal policy. When you support a candidate, you support all of their policies.

The frightening thing about the Republican primary is that it is dominated by the more conservative candidates. Jeb would be a blessing compared to a Trump, Carson, or Fiorina presidency. Carson and Fiorina are especially fearsome because some of their core talking points have been social issues. Their homophobic comments shouldn’t be ignored just because they have a ghost of a plan for our economy. Likewise, the other candidates have said comments that are clearly sexist and racist. Trump, still the leader in the polls, has consistently derided women not on the basis of their performance in their respective fields, but on their appearance. We can’t allow a person who discounts half of our nation’s population to be elected to a position that is meant to represent the entire population.

Republicans have not addressed the problem of systemic oppression of minorities. It’s hard to look from the outside and see the amount of privilege that I receive as a white male, but I know it exists. Whenever I walk outside I carry my privilege with me, and we need a president who’s willing to combat the effect of that privilege. This is one area where fiscal conservatism becomes racism. When Republicans discuss eliminating the “welfare state,” what they don’t realize is that we shouldn’t be eliminating it – we should be enhancing it. Welfare should be a tool to change our currently unbalanced economic system. We need to distribute welfare and entitlements in a way that can give the same opportunities to a black kid as I was given as a white kid.

The problem with the Republican Party of today and the candidates running is that they represent a minority of Americans. When they make derisive comments on abortion, gay marriage, and other similar issues, they demonstrate who they really are. When you try to excuse your beliefs on fiscal conservatism, just know that you are lying to yourself. Fiscal conservatism is tinged with the undertones of racism and it does nothing but advance those who are already wealthy. Every day as this campaign continues I see why I’m a Democrat. I can’t sympathize with candidates who want to lecture instead of govern. Each and every candidate has railed against issues that matter to women, the LGBT community, and minorities. If a candidate would rather restrict the lives of their citizens instead of enhance them, then frankly that candidate will destroy this country.

Daniel Rojas