On not having a choice
It would be nice if, someday, there were once again two parties I could consider voting for.
I know of people who think in terms of weighing the relative merits of the Democrats and Republicans to decide which is better, as if it were still the 1970s. I don't have the option of thinking that way, not now.
As I've pointed out many times, what we have in this country right now is a Christian Right party and a secular party. The Republican party is now mostly in the hands of people who think America was founded as a "Christian nation", who reject separation of church and state, who want to make abortion a crime again, who view homosexuality and pretty much any unconventional way of life as a sinful aberration to be driven back underground if not outright banned. People who reject science, not only in the obvious sense of rejecting the most solidly-established fact in all of science (evolution) -- but in the broader sense of being impervious to empirical evidence, on issues from global warming to Keynesian economics to the effects of abstinence-only sex "education", when it conflicts with their gut feelings and preconceived notions.
In their version of America, I would be a second-class citizen on at least two grounds. In their version of America, science would shrivel from official harassment and lack of funding every time it ran up against one of the random taboos embraced by ignorant fundamentalism. In their version of America, everyone who didn't aspire to live according to the conventional family-values model* would be pushed back into hiding or into the disguise of superficial conformity; either way, into hypocrisy and silent misery.
This means that I don't have a choice. The Republicans are simply not an option for me. As it happens, the Democrats are also a lot closer to my own views on all the fiscal/economic stuff, but even if that weren't the case -- even if it were the Republicans who favored humane and reality-based economics while the Democrats touted laissez-faire Randroid insanities -- it would make no difference. The Republicans still would not be an option, not as long as they remained under the sway of de facto theocrats. Because if their version of America ever became reality, it wouldn't be my country any more. It wouldn't want me.
And, again: Can we afford to let someone who believes God-knows- what about Armageddon and the "End Times" become President and get control of 10,000 nuclear weapons? Think about it.
(An excellent source on what the right wing in the US has become is Right Wing Watch, now added to the blog list.)
In the long run, of course, they won't win. Fundamentalists are a shrinking minority in the US, while the number of non-religious people is growing rapidly. Even if the Republicans did gain enough power to implement a lot of the Christian Right agenda, it wouldn't last forever. But it might well last for a long time. Religious fanatics are a minority in Iran, but they've been in power for 32 years now.
Eventually -- whether it takes one year or twenty -- people like Romney and Christie will win out within the Republican party and it will return to being a party one merely disagrees with on most things, as opposed to being dangerously crazy. Until that happens, it is not an option.
[*It occurred to me some time ago that this is one key difference between primitive and modern societies. In a primitive society, there is one standard way of life to which everyone is expected to conform. A modern society accepts a multiplicity of possible ways of life as being equally legitimate.]