I often try to understand the people who make up the political opposition to my point of view. After all by understanding what motivates them, there is a chance to turn their assumptions against them, or in increasingly rare cases these days, persuade them to my point of view. Which makes folks like Donna Milo even more of a cipher.
Ms. Milo is a Republican who is running to unseat Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz this cycle. What makes Ms. Milo different is that she is a transgender woman. I am really pleased the any transgendered person is running for office. Here in my hometown a transgendered woman has been running for Councilor at Large for our City Council for a couple of cycles. Pam Bennett came in 4th in her bid to be a Council member.
"Originally posted at Squarestate.net"
The thing is that Pam unlike Donna Milo is not running in the Republican Party. While Aurora City Council elections are non-partisan, Ms. Bennett is a Democrat and a liberal. Ms. Milo is a staunch Republican. This is where I lose my ability to understand, how can anyone who is part of the GLTBIQ community possibly side with the Republican Party?
The Republican Party has made it an item of poetical faith that GLTBIQ folks should not enjoy the same constitutional rights as other citizens. They and their allies have consistently railed about the so-called “homosexual agenda” in order to fire up their base. This is not just talk, it seems that they have internalized the message that if you are in any way different in your sexuality or gender, then you are suspect.
Just look at the statements of Sen. Jim Inhofe (Jackass-OK) about ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Sen. Inhofe said
"For those of us — and I’m one of them — who have gone through the military, gone through basic training, and you stop and think — it just doesn’t make any sense. Second of all, it’s just not working. You have women, men, then you have a third group to deal with, and they’re not equipped to do that.
"And you know — you hear the stories all the time. A military guy — I happen to be Army, and Army and Marines always feel that when we’re out there, we’re not doing it for the flag or the country; we’re doing it for the guy in the next foxhole. And that would dramatically change that.
Basically the climate change denying Senator from Oklahoma is saying that if gay soldiers where allowed to serve openly other soldiers are so bigoted as to not do their job. While this might be the way that Sen. Inhofe views the world, the evidence from our current two wars suggests a very different story.
The only thing that makes sense to me on this is the ability of Republicans to hold contradictory views in their head at the same time. For people like Ms. Milo the platitudes that the Republican Party is color and gender blind must be enough of a fig leaf. Her issues (from her website) are the usual Republican talking points about over taxation (even though we are at the lowest levels since the 1950’s) and over regulation. This makes sense given that she is a contractor in Florida.
However, it still leaves the issue of equality out of the equation. Ms. Milo is running on the concept that the government should basically leave business alone, but she is running in a political party which wants to legislate morality, from the narrow view of their political base. The unwillingness of the Republican Party to stand up for the rights of GLTBIQ citizens is a glaring slap at the idea that they are color and gender blind.
The very argument that we do not need protections against workplace and housing discrimination for this community is one that is designed to serve the majority. Under normal circumstance Republicans can’t see why these protections would be needed, since they tend to be white and male. White men rarely see discriminatory behavior, except in their favor.
I can’t speak to the challenges of being transgendered from experience. It seem like it has to be a series of daunting challenges, recognizing the issue, coming to terms with it, making your friends and family aware of the problem, and then living with the challenges of gender reassignment. The level of misunderstanding can be nothing short of enormous. Yet having gone through all of the challenges, Ms. Milo stands with the party that is least likely to support her, least likely to understand her challenges.
In the future it will not matter at all if a candidate for office was born a different gender than the one they are when they are running. We will, eventually, get to a point where that is as big an issue as if they are a fan of the Mets or the Yankees. However, that time is not yet here. Until it is the actions of people like Donna Milo are going to be hard, if not impossible to understand.
There are at least three other Republicans who are running for the nomination to the election this fall. It will be interesting to see if Ms. Milo will actually be accepted by her party, in terms of money and voters. She believes what her Party says, that it will look past thinks like sexuality and gender and vote for the best candidate. I have a feeling that she is about to learn that what her party says and what it and its voters do are two different things.
The floor is yours.