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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Would you date someone whose politics on reproductive choice conflicted with yours? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Would you date someone whose politics on reproductive choice conflicted with yours?
000
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So I got asked out by my first "real" boy all year. As in, not a musician travelling across the country, or some people hanging out at a bar, or whatever. He asked me out over the internet. I don't think he's particularly attractive anyway. But then I looked at his internet profile, and he's like... part of a pro-life group. Which just sort of makes me go "eww". He knew I am politically very liberal, but maybe he doesn't care. Personally, I would probably not willingly become sexually active with someone who was strongly anti abortion. Is that at all extreme of me?

[ 03-06-2007, 02:04 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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listlesslise
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I would say it is quite rational, actually, because if you're going to be sexually active with some one, you run the risk (no matter how small) of becoming pregnant, and personally, if I knew I could possibly become pregnant, I would who so thouroughly disapporved of my having *all* possible options open in dealing with said fetus. (As a side note, the whole "women cannot control their own bodies" mentality is sort of a huge turnoff in the first place, but maybe that's just me)

[ 02-04-2007, 06:44 PM: Message edited by: listlesslise ]

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Irm
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You're asking if it is extreme to refuse a pregnancy risk with someone who is not going to respect your choice regarding that pregnancy. That's not extreme, that's COMMON SENSE. Of course it's a topic that deserves weighty consideration, and of course it can be an automatic "no deal". Getting pregnant and having an anti-choice partner can be pretty traumatic and--if you choose abortion--result in a great deal of conflict that might make abortion a terrifying experience where it shouldn't be, or worse, steer you into a choice you DON'T want to make.

I had a friend who had a false pregnancy scare with a male partner who was very strictly anti-abortion. Because most anti-choicers tend to be downright fanatic in their beliefs ("IT'S MURDER!!!" etc), there's no real telling how they may become in a relationship when that aspect of them is set off. The man in question, who was previously very gentle, became EXTREMELY aggressive. Suddenly my friend did not matter at all. His focus was basically, if you'll excuse my french, "You are not going to murder my child you baby-killing bitch!" I would never have predicted this sort of behavior out of this sweet, sweet man, but again, this issue tends to come with such strong emotions, if the person has really worked themselves into a place where they believe it is murder equal to killing any walking person on the street, then they might act as violently as people can when they are defending one person on the street from the fatal attacks of another.

Having that sort of attention come from a PARTNER--much less the father--is a level of intensity that is sometimes just wise to avoid risk of.

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Ikeren
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Depends on if the person was right for me and I felt it was appropriately negotiable/arguable.

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Djuna
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It's strange though, because I see myself as strongly pro-life, but I also accept that I will never be pregnant. It's never going to be my decision, and I will respect anyone's choice. If my partner was pregnant, we'd certainly discuss the issue of abortion before having one or not, but at the end of the day I'm not going to impose my views on anyone.

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000
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quote:
but at the end of the day I'm not going to impose my views on anyone.
Actually smileyjoseph, as the positions are defined, at least in the U.S., that is pretty much the definition of pro-choice. (You can be morally conflicted about abortion and still be pro-choice...)

Pro-lifers are generally people who don't want to let anyone have an abortion and think it would be a good thing if they were illegal.

[ 02-05-2007, 06:50 PM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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Djuna
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I'm afraid my ignorance is due to the brainwashings of a Catholic education.
Ok then, I'm pro-choice. Yey!

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Ecofem
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Short and quick: No!

I would not date anyone who was anti-choice. This is such an important issue to me, making it a very easy answer. I wouldn't want to have sex with anyone who would not support my right to choose.

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not_a_hobgoblin
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I side with Ecofem! Sex can lead to babies, and I very much want to be in charge of having my baby or not. Exactly as I wish.

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faifai
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quote:
Originally posted by iheartdc:
Personally, I would probably not willingly become sexually active with someone who was strongly anti abortion. Is that at all extreme of me?

Not in my opinion it isn't. And if it were me, I'd probably do the exact same thing. [Smile] I found out YEARS after I started dating my partner, after we became sexually active, that he is pro-choice but if it were me who was pregnant, he'd probably try to get me to have it, get married, and all that jazz!

It was a...shock, to be sure, especially when I told him that I would almost without a doubt get an abortion, because my family situation and so on is such that I would be utterly ostracized and disowned if I became pregnant and got married early. I think it was an unpleasant surprise for him.

So yes, I do think it can be a deal-breaker if you're still considering whether getting together is a good idea or not. I would not want to be in a relationship with someone who went all nutso on me like the guy RedGoddess described. When you're engaging in sexual activity, I think it's important to be able to agree on what'll happen in such a scenario.

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thelorax
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erm, I don't know if this will be welcome here, but, I think the opposite can be true also. What I mean is there are people who wouldn't date someone who would make it an absolute imperative that they have an abortion if they were to become pregnant...if that makes any sense. I feel this way. I'm not religious or anything; I'd rather not interfere with other people's choices regarding their bodies and so forth, but I know that I could never go through with an abortion. I wouldn't date someone who wouldn't be 100% okay with the fact that I would most definetly not have an abortion, if we were to become sexually active and I were to get pregnant. I think having a lot of friends who are, I hate to use the word, "accidents", and one friend who is the result of a rape, I just feel like I could never terminate a pregnancy. I just feel too strongly that the fetus or zygote or whatever stage it's at is a person. And I have a pretty nice safety net of friends and family who wouldnt reject me if this did happen, which I know a lot people don't have. Anyways, that said, I sort of mind my own buisness about other peoples affairs though, I have friends who have had abortions and don't judge them, or feel that they shouldn't have had the option, but I just couldnt sleep with someone who doesnt have a similar viewpoint on this.
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Heather
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I think perhaps that's actually a better way of wording this question, thelorax.

In other words, "Would you date someone whose ethics and politics about reproductive choice weren't in alignment with yours?"

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mellygirl
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I guess it would have to be a thought-out decision for me to get involved with an anti-choice person. Relationships with pro-choice people are just easier. They are. But, right now I am considering involvement in a relationship with someone who is pro-life. He's... well, I guess he's somewhere in the middle. He is incredibly anti-abortion, but thinks it is wrong for the government to be in control of laws like this. So, he's anti legislating abortion, but he still does not want anyone to have one...

I think that getting into a relationship like that would mean having a seriously serious convo beforehand. We've discussed it and he's said that he would take care of me either way if the need ever came up, but he would obviously want me to have said hypothetical child. But, someone who is part of a pro-life group is probably more set in his ways and less likely to be open to discussion and your feelings... did you ask him about it?

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Irm
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thelorax, I really like that you brought up the opposite side of the spectrum as well. In the end, it's all a matter of CHOICE, and whether or not that CHOICE will be respected by a partner. However, I think if it's a matter of, "I will choose NOT to have an abortion", then discussion ahead of time becomes important on a whole different level, because there will now be *tangible* consiquencs for the male partner as well.
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000
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quote:
did you ask him about it?
No I did not, because I do not think I really want to date this person anyway. I just thought it made for an interesting hypothetical question.

For me, though, I have such a strong gut reaction to people with certain political positions (such as pro-life) that I probably would not find one sexually attractive to begin with (if I knew their beliefs).

I also think it's worthwhile to talk about degrees of beliefs, and how much they matter. I probably would not want to be in a committed relationship with someone who had substantial ethical problems with abortion, even if they were okay with people making their own choices. (But then, I think people's philosophies and understandings of relationships in general make a big difference here. If I was a "somewhere out there, there's a soul mate for me, so I don't want to close my options -and then I'll share everything with the person" kind of person my attitude might be different than being a "the world is really huge, and who you meet is pretty random, but it's important that you're compatible before entering into a relationship" kind of person (which I am). I might have casual sex with a person who held different beliefs about reproductive issues than I did -but then, if someone is opposed to abortion, for instance, they probably shouldn't be having casual sex.

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Surferchk07
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Honestly I dont think I could date a pro-lifer or most republicans in general. Mainly because I am such a political nerd and am constently talking about my beliefs and feminist issues that chances are if I was dating someone like that we would just end up getting in arguments all the time.
I usually cant even date people unless they are in some way politcal and liberal political at that.
That sounds so bad but its true. Because most of what I talk about is politics so I need someone to conversate with and with me being such an activist and going to Liberal Rallies and feminist meetings yeah it would just really be a weird relationship with a conservative...

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LilBlueSmurf
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I didn't realize how important this was to me until i dated my ex. We were talking about what we would do if i got pregnant and he told me that i wouldn't have to worry because we'd just get married and everything would be fine.

... I've give you a minute while you pick your jaws up off the floor [Razz]

That didn't go over too well, to say the least. I was 16 when we were together, in grade 11. Having a baby and getting married to someone i wasn't sure i was in love w/ wasn't on the top of my 'things to do' list. We hadn't even talked about marriage, and abortion or adoption really did not seem like options to him. The fact that he just TOLD me he'd marry me like i should be HAPPY about that ... I'm still shocked that people actually think this way.

Needless to say, we're not together anymore.

My husband has similar views as i do, and i think it's extremely important ... A lot of people don't think they need to worry about it until it comes up, but by the time it comes up, it's too late. It's important, and it needs to be talked about early and often, as feelings and situations change. I remember talking about it early in the relationship, when i was saying i'd want to keep a pregnancy and he was saying he'd want me to abort it ... And then a year ago or so our opinions changed.

He understands that the final say is mine, and i trust that he will support me in whatever i choose (if i ever have to choose), and really that's all that matters.

[ 02-06-2007, 11:09 PM: Message edited by: LilBlueSmurf ]

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thelorax
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"Honestly I dont think I could date a pro-lifer or most republicans in general"

This made me cringe a little bit, only because being pro-life is not necessarily synonymous with being a republican, just like being pro-choice doesnt automatically mean a person is a democrat/liberal. I know plenty of democrats who are pro-life (I'm in MA, a mostly liberal democrat state). I think that the way someone defines himself/herself politically is so complicated that no one factor can be a litmus test for whether someone is liberal/conserative or determine which party a person is affiliated with; AND it seems , to me at least, that most people (myself included) are somewhere in-between liberal and conservative, with different opinions on different issues.

Anyway, I grew up with a mother who identifies herself as green party/liberal ( she's a social worker; believes in gay rights, welfare, public health care etc.) and a mostly conservative father (often voted republican), and most of his opinions were very similar to my mother's (especially on gay rights, the environment)

I think that compatibility is more about agreeing on the issues are the most important to each individual; not necessarily which politcal party one belongs to,
And obviously abortion is a very important issue, that, if you and your partner going to be risking a pregnancy, you'd want to be in agreement about.

but it might not be fair to say that you would never date a republican, or, on the flip side, never date a democrat.

just my two cents.

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Surferchk07
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Eh, I worded that a little wrong in a way but honestly Ive dated a republican and while they aggree'd with me on certain issues (A womans right to choose) most things we just never saw eye to eye on and it ended up being a thing we would start debating which would then turn into a fight about.

My thing is im political so the reason I see myself not being able to be in a relationship with a republican or anyone who is a pro-lifer is cause all I talk about is politics, womens rights, and gay rights. So relationship wise it wouldnt work chances are.
Im fine with people who are republican or pro life or whatever as friends, and I have tons of friends like that because I use to live in TX but in a relationship I just i couldnt do it.

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Leabug
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Surferchk07- I think the point that thelorax was making is that it's not a good plan to make broad generalizations about ANY group- not every republican has the exact same beliefs, so it's not fair to generalize. (Even if, in your experience, you never have been able to date someone who calls themselves republican, the thread isn't about dating people of opposite political parties, it's about dating someone with opposite beliefs about reproductive choice, and as thelorax said, not all republicans share the same beliefs on the topic. We just want to keep this thread inclusive. [Smile] )

Perhaps it's best to keep in mind how Heather reworded the question:

quote:
"Would you date someone whose ethics and politics about reproductive choice weren't in alignment with yours?"


[ 02-07-2007, 05:14 PM: Message edited by: leabug ]

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As thelorax pointed out, though, being a republican, democrat, what have you doesn't automatically mean all people flock to one set of ethics and morals, just as how different folks of the same religious upbringing can have different takes on their faith and the values therein. Heck, there are even vastly different philosophies on what "pro-life" IS.

So, let's not steer towards making generalizations, and stay on the topic at hand, eh? [Smile]

{Ah been beat to it.}

[ 02-07-2007, 05:15 PM: Message edited by: Miss Lauren ]

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000
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But like -I pry wouldn't date a Republican either. Like it or not, people identify themselves with political parties for a reason, and political parties identify themselves with pretty set beliefs on most issues. Like for instance, when it comes to my beliefs about economics I'm mostly a socialist -care to find me a Republican who's also a socialist? See what I mean -sometimes it just doesn't work that way. We can agree maybe on some social issues, but me and a Republican are not going to agree on everything that's important to me.

I know y'all at Scarleteen want to be all-inclusive. However, at some point people generally take a stand on major issues, and at some point those issues divide people to an extent. Some people may not have their love affected by that, and some people might. I think I see where Surferchk was coming from... As the OP, I don't think she was /that/ off my original topic (maybe just a little).

[ 02-07-2007, 05:59 PM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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Surferchk07
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I totally didnt mean to get off the original topic and my apologies for it...
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LilBlueSmurf
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Like it or not, people identify themselves with political parties for a reason, and political parties identify themselves with pretty set beliefs on most issues.

People identify themselves w/ political parties b/c that is how the government is set up. You don't have to agree with all of their stances, or even all of the major ones ... Being republican and being pro-choice are not mutually exclusive. I think that is what leabug and lauren were trying to say.

It's not about being all inclusive or anything like that ... It's about not being prejudiced. Not dating someone just because they identify as a republican (before getting to know their actual views on certain issues FIRST) IS prejudiced.

[ 02-07-2007, 08:38 PM: Message edited by: LilBlueSmurf ]

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Surferchk07
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I didnt mean to say anything like I wouldnt date anyone because they were republican. Because I HAVE dated a republican and I HAVE dated a pro-lifer. I meant more of issue wise I dont aggree with most stances people who consider them selve republican aggree with. And while I aggree with some stances on certain issues overall I dont aggree with their stances. So dating wise I normally wouldnt get along with someone who is on opposite sides of the fence on stances that I talk about often. And most republicans I know are normally pro life. However I do know some who are pro choice. Same with democrats I know tons of democrats who are pro choice and some who are pro life or are pro death penalty. Or anything else. Every label is different, moderate, liberal, conservative, green party, republican, democrat. And obviously everyone person in one label wont aggree on the same thing. I mean if they did this world would be alot less confusing atleast in the senate and house.

I didnt mean to say it how I said it and I apologize for it and for changing the topic about. When I posted my comment, I was honestly out of it and thriving on about 4 hours of sleep from both nights before combined. So I wasnt thinking of what exactly I said before I typed it.

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Jakgirl
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I think that as long as each person has a serious, open discussion ahead of time about what their stances are, it can work. It may not be easy, but it can work as long as both parties are absolutely honest with the other and take responsibility.

As a pro-lifer myself, that means using birth control all the time and doing everything possible to minimize pregnancy risks, as well as being realistic about what my options would be in case of pregnancy.

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000
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quote:
Not dating someone just because they identify as a republican (before getting to know their actual views on certain issues FIRST) IS prejudiced.

Well, I have gotten to know many Republicans in my life -however, I likely would not date any of them. If you're going to say you have to get to know every Republican before deciding whether to date them, then you might as well say you need to get to know every person before deciding whether to date them. This is a fine ideal -but realistically isn't going to cut it for most people (just think -I'm /sure/ these boys I overheard telling a rape joke the other night had another side to them... I also am not attracted to very overweight people (not to compare this kind of lacking attracting to the former example, of course).)

No, I'm sure there is not a Republican in the country who I would agree on all major issues with (unless this person actually disagreed with the Republican party on most major issues, and if that is so they shouldn't be calling themselves Republican, and I might just not want to date someone that ill-informed). (Arguably, if a person cared /enough/ about reproductive rights with liberal values, that should be enough for them to identify themselves with the Dems, or Greens, or Independent). If I'm not being prejudiced against pro-lifers by not wanting to date one, I think it's a stretch to say I'm prejudiced against Republicans for not wanting to date one.

[ 02-07-2007, 10:00 PM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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Gumdrop Girl
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I think the big issue here is whether you'd be able to come to a consensus with your partner on the abortion issue because hey, it could happen. If your partner's a pro-lifer, and you're pro-choice, but personally opposed to having an abortion yourself, it might just work (unless opposing abortions is ALL they ever talk about).

I have dated conservative and liberals. Personally, I'm a moderate conservative. I like a lively debate, and frankly, I think anyone who'd shun me for a political opinion is a bit shallow and missing out on some fine company.

and iheartdc, i think your view of political affiliations is a bit narrow. I'm pro-choice, but I refuse to identify as liberal. I'm not a one-issue voter.

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000
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quote:
I'm pro-choice, but I refuse to identify as liberal. I'm not a one-issue voter.
And I'm not talking about thinking all Republicans are pro-life, I'm talking (as was, I believe Surferchk, about the importance that value systems and politics in general plays in my life). I am what would be called "very liberal" in the U.S. on virtually every political issue I'm aware of. I'm also an activist with an environmental group, a socialist group, etc. I've been friendly with people who are Republicans -I just would not date one. For me, having someone who agrees with me on virtually all major issues -who can be passionate about the same things, is important. I can understand that that concept might be hard to grasp, especially as most young people don't care a great deal about most politics. However, that's sort of why I started this thread, to hear about various people's /personal feelings/ on the matter.

quote:
If your partner's a pro-lifer, and you're pro-choice, but personally opposed to having an abortion yourself, it might just work
Maybe, but if I got pregnant before I was absolutely ready to be pregnant, /I/ would have an abortion without any guilt. And I was talking about the possibility of dating a pro-lifer. That is /also/ what I started the thread to talk about.

[ 02-08-2007, 09:06 AM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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Heather
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quote:
If your partner's a pro-lifer, and you're pro-choice, but personally opposed to having an abortion yourself, it might just work (unless opposing abortions is ALL they ever talk about).
This wouldn't work for me even if that were the case (no matter the gender of the partner), however, because I simply would have a very hard time feeling comfortable with deep intimacy with someone who felt it was their place to make reproductive choices for women as a class or as individuals, as well as reproductive choices for me and my body.

For someone who spends endless amounts of her energy working very hard to enable women's equality and rights, being closely bound with someone who in any way was working to counter that would just not be possible for me.

(Can I ask a quickie favor in threads like this, folks? I know that in the present day, it's really popular to accept or enable this binary split of conservative/liberal that's been going on, but politics and the specturm of political opinion are just SO much larger than that. Making or enabling that split is a lot like enabling the idea that everyone is either homosexual or heterosexual.)

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thelorax
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"it's really popular to accept or enable this binary split of conservative/liberal that's been going on, but politics and the specturm of political opinion are just SO much larger than that"

^this is what I meant to say, you said it better though
[Smile]

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000
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I do not think politics are binary. But I /do/ think a spectrum is not terribly innacurate for a lot of issues, and I happen to lie on one end of the spectrum. Define politics as a spectrum, or if you prefer a three-dimensional object, but you're still not going to find Republicans who agree with me on all issues (and if you did, I'd question why they were calling themselves Republican). I understand that political parties are a human construction and a little innane. Really I do. But that doesn't change what I said.

Let's see, I am:
Against Capital Punishment and for Reformation of Prisons
Pro Equal Rights
Pro Free Speech and anti-censorship of sex in media
Pro Environment and Public Transportation
(like YES global warming is happening and it needs to be a top national priority)
Pro Public Education and equal funding in public schools (anti-school voucher)
Anti-religion in government
Pro Socialized Healthcare
Pro more socialized public systems in general
Pro Affirmative Action
(And very concerned about other Civil Rights Issues)
Pro Gay/Lesbian Rights
Against religion in politics
Anti "aggressive homeland defense" (e.g. I organized anti-War protests before we had actually /started/ the war in Iraq)
Anti big business
(might as well say anti-American-style capitilism, b/c that is mostly true)
Anti-puritan morals (like for instance who says marriage is automatically better when monogamous?)
Pro Family Planning (visa vie methods like educating women is best, of course)
Pro-reparations to Afr and Native American Peoples
Anti-agro business
There are more...

Even a "pro-choice I hate the Bush-administration Republican" has bound to be identifying themselves as a Republican for /some/ reason, at least I hope. Whether you're talking about an old-school Republican, a compassionate conservative, or a neo-Con, doesn't matter. I could just say I don't want to date people who lean politically moderate or conservative on a lot of issues, but somehow I don't think you'd be any happier with that statement. I realize there are difficulties with defining "liberal" and "conservative" -but the fact is in our country most people identify certain stances on issues with those words -so its not like when I say those words people have no idea what I'm talking about.

Honestly, I don't think this is fair. Come on, now, aren't their moral or belief-system issues that are important to you when it comes to who you'd choose to be in a relationship with? (Even if not, my feelings remain the same. Maybe I'm a picky girl -it doesn't bother me though.) I want someone who'll help organize Democratic Socialist meetings and leftist political protests with me, as well as entertain my liberal morals. If you find a Republican who fits that bill, that doesn't mean I'll date them, but I will be intrigued.

[ 02-08-2007, 06:44 PM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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Heather
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quote:
Honestly, I don't think this is fair. Come on, now, aren't their moral or belief-system issues that are important to you when it comes to who you'd choose to be in a relationship with? (Even if not, my feelings remain the same. Maybe I'm a picky girl -it doesn't bother me though.)
You know, iheartdc, pretty much everyone who has replied here HAS said that's a fair criteria for you to have, so, I'm not sure why you're being argumentative here.

quote:
but the fact is in our country most people identify certain stances on issues with those words -so its not like when I say those words people have no idea what I'm talking about.
Oh, if only. Regardless, you'll find that most folks with a sophisticated viewpoint on and experience with politics won't lob on to either of those extremes or generalizations, expreslly because what they are is so vague and so generalized. And for the sake of being inclusive and working towards recognition of the borader spectrum, I'll again ask that in discussions like this, everyone simply make an effort not to polarize, especially when it's just plain not needed. (As well, "our country" when it comes to Scarleteen is global.)

For instance, the way thelorax posed the same question -- in terms of, could someone date someone who held different or opposing ethics and politics than theirs when it came to reproductive choice -- is appreciated.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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plain milyeh
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it kind of sounds to me like in this case, you're not really all that interested in the boy anyhow. so if i were in your specific situation, no, i wouldn't date the boy.

but.

i can see there being instances where i would perhaps say "yes" to somebody who considered themselves pro-life, dependant on two factors:
a) how i felt about the person before i found out they were pro-life...not only whether i found them attractive, but also how reasonable they'd proven themselves to be as a partner in a debate. do they think through things rationally, or attack without leaving room for discussion?
b) how they specifically defined their "pro-life" stance. i believe there's a lot of variation on both sides of this debate as to people's specific beliefs and convictions. do they think exceptions should be made in cases of incest/rape? are they equally opposed to emergency contraception? would/have they ever actually picketed an abortion clinic, or done intentional harm to somebody on the basis of their having gotten or had some part in performing an abortion?

another question i'd like to pose along these lines is whether most people's position on whether or not to date a pro-lifer would change if the pro-lifer was the same sex as themselves.

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Heather
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Personally, no matter the arena, if a potential partner of any sex or gender felt they had the right to legislate or make other women's choices for them they would would not be someone I'd want to get close to or have in my life in any intimate way.

And that's not just about me as a woman, it's about my commitment to women as a whole. Even if it wasn't an issue for ME should I become pregnant (let's say I'm completely infertile or when my partners are same-sex), I wouldn't be comfortable with that.

And honestly, I'm so visible and upfront per my feelings on an dedication to women's equity in all things, that I can't even think of a time where I've been in the positon to have a potential partner presented to me who wasn't at least supportive of women's autonomy, bodily and otherwise.

[ 03-03-2007, 03:30 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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