In response to Cody Olson’s “Examining Marco Rubio”

Republicans, from the perspective of most Macalester students, are very easy to vilify, targeted with the same overtones of bias and narrow-mindedness that liberals generally attribute to their conservative counterparts. I’d thus like to applaud Cody Olson for his fair and evenhanded approbation of Marco Rubio, a presidential candidate among the most palatable of those currently put forth by the GOP. That being said, I still do not consider Rubio, or most of the other Republican candidates, worthy of the White House.

One cannot fully blame Marco Rubio for his personal dislike of gay marriage. Just as many were raised in “love is love” households, many others were raised by families for whom marriage is a sacred bond between man and woman. The views drilled into one’s head during childhood often remain well into old age, and for Rubio to suddenly become a supporter of gay marriage rights would be as improbable as if you and I were to spontaneously change our long-held views and support only “traditional marriage.”

Neither is Rubio’s pro-life stance necessarily grounds for attack. In preparation for this piece, I asked pro-lifers of several genders why they identified as such. Unequivocally, the respondents (interviewed separately) cited a strong desire to preserve the lives of unborn children and, in one exceptional instance, to save mothers’ immortal souls. These are no knowing oppressors; these are men and women trying to save lives and do what they feel is right. Though arguably misguided in their views, the intentions of such individuals are pure, concerned with furthering the common good as opposed to some secret conservative agenda.

So shouldn’t we elect Marco Rubio? Can voters not excuse some mild differences of opinion in regards to social issues? No to both, and for good reason.

If President Bernie Sanders, based solely on his personal views, upholds the principle of marriage equality for all, a gay Republican man against gay marriage is still under no legal obligation to marry another man. If President Hillary Clinton, based solely on her personal views, passes laws in favor of universal abortion rights, a pregnant pro-life woman is still under no obligation to seek abortive measures. But if President Marco Rubio, based solely on his personal views, passes his planned anti-marriage and anti-abortion legislation, he legally deprives all gay Americans and all pro-choice Americans of their rights to love and self-ownership.

Rubio, I freely admit, has economic, foreign policy and immigration proposals that are of some merit. But when alternate candidates (both liberal and conservative) exist who possess a compelling platform and are willing to allow American citizens their basic human rights, I for one know where my support will lie.