I did some phone banking for a pro-GLBT rights group last night. (That's not the part that pissed me off.) We were calling people who were identified as pro-equality voters and encouraging them to go out and vote, and letting them know the candidates we felt would best fight for equality. (That didn't piss me off either.) Problem is...the list was more than two years old. So we had lots of dud numbers, even some people who had broken up/divorced, etc., so in effect we called their exes. (Didn't piss me off, but was really embarassing.)
So what pissed me off, you ask? The people that only wanted to know the political affiliation of the candidates. Mind you, one of the candidates is running for Oregon Supreme Court justice, which is a non-partisan (at least theoretically) position.
So I'd get callers interrupting and asking, "Are they Democrats? We're voting for Democrats."
Granted, I vote for Democrats much, much more frequently than I vote for GOP candidates. Not because I love D's - in fact, it royally pisses me off that only recently have they decided to show spine about the war in Iraq and civil rights because it's politically popular to do so - but because on most issues, they're better, or at least the lesser of two evils, than Republicans.
The Republican party can't claim to be "conservative", at least if we judge by the speech and actions of its main figures. Unlike traditional Republican party values, they've become fiscally radical, moved from somewhat isolationist to downright invasive Colonials in terms of foreign policy, and have let the far-right dominate their agenda, moving to invade peoples' privacy and create big government (once upon a time, believe it or not, Republicans were pro-privacy and anti-big government.) Furthermore, they have shredded the Constitution (remember that right called "habeas corpus"?)
So you see - I'm not a Republican.
That said, I really wish more people would do their homework and make intelligent decisions at the polls based on a candidate's merits, rather than his or her political party. There are plenty of anti-gay, pro-war Democrats. There are even a few anti-war, fiscally responsible, pro-equality Republicans.
Take Lincoln Chafee, the Republican Senator from Rhode Island. Or Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut. Or former Congressman Tom Campbell of California, who is now the state's finance director. All of these men are reasonable, have good records and seem to want to do what is right rather than what is politically expedient.
For that matter, consider Joe Lieberman - a "Democrat" who constantly defends the Bush administration's fucked up policies, an unjust war we are losing, and didn't hesitate to shed his political stripes when he lost the primary. Or Tim Sheldon, a state senator in Washington and a really reprehensible person, also a Democrat in name only, whose own party supported someone else in the primary.
So, people - do your homework. Voting along party lines may be voting against your values.