This election has broken my brain. I feel like I am definitely dumber than I was a year ago.


The election’s endless toxicity—and my dark, insatiable participation in it—has deadened my ability to retain information and differentiate between what is useful and what is simply “word dump” that I use for emotional cutting in the middle of the night. Facts are now a jumble of subjective realities and spokesperson walkbacks that create a sort of low grade ringing in my ears that makes me rub my temples like I’m a stock photography model for “headache.” I saw a movie about dying from cancer rather than watch one of the debates because it seemed less stressful. I can’t remember who said what or when or why. My bandwidth is all used up. It’s like when you talk shit about your roommate after years of contention, but you can’t remember the specifics anymore and all you can really say is, “Well….she knows what she did.”

Fortunately, there is a document that tells me more than enough of what I need to know. On July 11, the Republican Party released its official platform, a 60-page statement of its beliefs and policy proposals, vetted and approved at the party’s convention in Cleveland. So much has transpired since its publishing (including my brain turning to monkey meat) that it seems appropriate in these final days to return to its very clear ideas:

Make Christianity the national religion: “We  support  the  public  display  of  the  Ten  Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage and further affirm the rights of religious students to engage in voluntary prayer at public school events and to have equal access to school facilities.”

Build a border wall to keep immigrants out: “Our  highest  priority,  therefore,  must  be  to  secure  our  borders  and  all  ports  of  entry  and  to  enforce our immigration laws. That  is  why  we  support  building  a  wall  along  our  southern  border  and  protecting  all  ports  of  entry.  The  border  wall  must  cover  the  entirety  of  the  southern  border  and  must  be  sufficient  to  stop  both  vehicular  and  pedestrian  traffic.”


Pass an pro-life constitutional amendment: “We  assert  the  sanctity  of  human  life  and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a  human  life  amendment  to  the  Constitution  and  legislation  to  make  clear  that  the  Fourteenth  Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.”

Require bible study in public schools: “A  good  understanding   of   the   Bible   being  indispensable  for  the  development  of  an  educated  citizenry,  we  encourage  state  legislatures  to  offer  the  Bible  in  a  literature  curriculum  as  an  elective  in  America’s  high  schools.”

Repeal Obamacare: “Any  honest  agenda  for  improving  healthcare  must  start  with  repeal  of  the  dishonestly  named  Affordable Care Act of 2010: Obamacare.”

Loosen gun controls nationwide: “We  support  firearm  reciprocity  legislation  to  recognize  the  right  of  law-abiding  Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and  their  families  in  all  50  states.  We  oppose  ill-conceived  laws  that  would  restrict  magazine  capacity  or  ban  the  sale  of  the  most  popular  and  common  modern rifle.” *Please note this was issued less than one month after 49 people died at the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.

Appoint anti-choice Supreme Court justices: “Only  a  Republican  president  will  appoint  judges  who  respect  the  rule  of  law  expressed within the Constitution and Declaration of  Independence,  including  the  inalienable  right  to life and the laws of nature and nature’s God, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia.”


Support traditional marriage but no other families: “Children  raised  in  a  two-parent  household  tend  to  be  physically and emotionally healthier, more likely to do well in school, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, engage  in  crime  or  become  pregnant  outside  of  marriage. We oppose policies and laws that create a financial incentive for or encourage cohabitation.” 

Restore the death penalty: “The  constitutionality  of  the  death  penalty  is  firmly  settled  by  its  explicit  mention  in  the  Fifth  Amendment.  With  the  murder  rate  soaring  in  our  great  cities,  we  condemn  the  Supreme  Court’s  erosion of the right of the people to enact capital punishment in their states.”

Replace sex education with abstinence-only approaches: “We renew our call for replacing “family  planning”  programs  for  teens  with  sexual  risk  avoidance  education  that  sets  abstinence  until  marriage  as  the  responsible  and  respected  standard  of  behavior.


Legalize anti-LGBT discrimination: “We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, Republican legislation in the House and Senate which  will  bar  government  discrimination  against  individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that  marriage  is  the  union  of  one  man  and  one  woman.”

Allow states to shut down abortion Clinics: “We  condemn the Supreme Court’s  activist  decision  in  Whole  Woman’s  Health v. Hellerstedt striking down commonsense Texas laws providing for basic health and safety standards in abortion  clinics.” 

Make English the official U.S. language: “We both encourage the preservation of heritage tongues and support English as the nation’s official language, a unifying force  essential  for  the  advancement  of  immigrant  communities and our nation as a whole.”


This is only some of a proudly archaic platform that also includes barring military women from combat, describes coal as a “clean” energy source, and declares pornography as a “public health crisis.” These are not veiled values. Nothing here is up for reinterpretation. This is word-for-word what they drafted, debated and released. This is how they would carve the future. This is their radically regressive heart.

This vision is too close to coming to pass. If you consider yourself remotely progressive or liberal, you should be offended by both the content of this agenda and the crassness of the party promoting it as it continues to panders for power. Not only should you reject it, you should be outraged with a fire that no amount of media densensitization can dampen. “Abstinence-only sex education”? Bible study is mandatory”? It flies in the face of everything I’ve ever learned in even the most elementary textbooks about America and the notion of liberty and justice for all.

We must do everything we can to combat these values from becoming the status quo. And while you may be disgruntled by our two-party electoral system, any attempt to dismantle it will require years of organization, perseverance, and activism, not a last minute Hail Mary for a third-party candidate who has lost almost every election they have ever participated in.

To stomp your feet because you feel personally unmoved by or suspicious of the Democratic candidate, you are definitively pledging allegiance to this extremist and retrograde “future” for America. You are no friend to any of the people it persecutes. There is no confusion or grey area in this. To abstain from voting, or to vote for any other candidate besides the Democratic candidate, you endorse the Republican Party’s vision for America. And fortunately for my poor squished-up mind, I can refer to its principles and values which the G.O.P. has so kindly laid out.


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