Civic Duty, Done

Casey Pick is an attorney and longtime advocate for LGBT inclusion within the Republican Party.

Casey Pick

Civic duty, done. I voted tonight, because on Election Day I’ll be in Miami, having spent the last week of this campaign season working like hell to reelect Carlos Curbelo, a Republican ally, to the House of Representatives in hopes of maintaining our majority. I mention this because, frankly, unless you’ll have done more than I have to support the GOP in this election, I don’t want to hear anything about my being a RINO or a traitor. I’ve earned my place as a Republican, and I defy anybody out there to say I haven’t paid my dues.

Casting this ballot wasn’t easy, nor was it something I arrived at without serious deliberation. I considered Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin; I met Johnson while I was on staff with Log Cabin, liked him, appreciated his humility and his support for LGBT people, and his choice of Bill Weld as a running mate earned him points with me… but the fact is, I am not a Libertarian for many of the same reasons I am not a Democrat. I similarly respect those who have aligned themselves with McMullin. He seems like a good man, dignified, and the platform he is running on is one I would be eager to support were he atop the GOP ticket, or if Virginia was not a swing state, or if I lived in Utah where I sincerely hope he wins — but this is not the case, and I honestly do not feel comfortable voting, even symbolically, for somebody I know so little about and who has barely been vetted through the campaign process. And so I am left with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And, as I have said for as long as I have been forced to recognize that this man is a candidate, #NeverTrump.

Never could I vote for a man who has made me ashamed of my political party, and of my nation’s political process. Never could I vote for a man who demeans, objectifies, and assaults women, who emboldens white supremacists and anti-Semites and the lowest scum of the earth, who stands on the graves of the victims of the #Pulse massacre and wields the letters “LGBTQ” only as a weapon against immigrants and refugees, who mocks my community by waving a rainbow flag with one hand while beckoning to the worst of the Religious Right with the other, and expecting us to be grateful for it. A liar, a cheat, a weak and willfully ignorant man who never met a promise he wanted to keep or a principle worth holding, a small man who grasps for power only to make himself larger, with no conception of serving anything larger than himself — the kind of man whose ass my father would kick and then wash the shit off his boots — not just no, but hell no.

But I did not want to vote for someone just to vote against somebody else — and I do not feel I have. Working in politics and policy as long as I have, and working across the aisle as often as I must, I’ve come to the conclusion that what separates Republican and Democrat isn’t always, or even often, right and wrong, good or bad. It’s a different set of priorities. It’s the choice to pursue one good vision over another, with different prices to be paid, sometimes in service to different first principles. I’m not ashamed over the choices I’ve made, the political philosophy I believe to be closest to truth and the policies I believe further the greatest good — but that does not mean that seeing another vision in the White House is necessarily bad. I can live with the second best set of priorities, and where I think Democrats go wrong, I’m happy to fight to drag them back to the middle or to block their way. And so voting in favor of a Democrat is no sin and no shame, even if I wish I didn’t have to.

Which leaves me with the woman herself. Hillary Clinton, for all her flaws, has impressed me throughout this campaign. She’s tough as nails, disciplined, intelligent, a capable communicator and fiercely determined. I respect her decades of public service and value the knowledge and experience she brings to the table. I believe that she is more practical than ideological, and I do believe she has this nation’s good at heart. And voting for her to be the first woman to hold the White House is something I find it within myself to be proud of; I wish my mother could see this day, and I rejoice to think of the little girls who will grow up in a different world and the old women who lived long enough to see it happen. I could say more, but really, it comes down to the fact that when I made my mark, this is the choice I felt I could stand in public and defend. Turns out, #ImWithHer tonight.