Friends, I want to address the elephant in the room today: me. Hi, I’m a new card-carrying Republican. And I’m joined by more than 50,000 Utahns who recently switched their party affiliations to participate in this year’s Republican primary.
Why, as a lady-loving, socialist-leaning, earth-loving, choice-proponent would I do that? I’ll tell you. There are three main reasons:
1. Because we can.
They just let you (much to Greg Hughes’s chagrin). You don’t have to agree with the platform, like the smell of money, meet a minimum carbon footprint or own a single firearm. You just zip on over to vote.utah.gov and essentially say, “Please send me a new piece of paper so I can fully participate in democracy.” And they do it.
They don’t even stop you from voting in Democratic primaries if you want to (though it’s one or the other each election, friends, not both). In this way, it’s like an all-access pass to voting in Utah, and it’s anyone’s for the taking — if you registered on time. Although, if you missed the June 19 deadline, are currently unaffiliated and live in a county offering drive-up voting locations, you can register as Republican on the day of the June 30 primary.
2. It’s the only way to have a voice at times.
Utah is a deeply saturated red state. We haven’t had a Democratic governor since before the internet existed, and I unfortunately don’t think this is the year that’s going to change.
Odds are, the Republican nominee will be our next governor. And I want to support the person from that primary pool with whom I share the most common ground. (Also, there isn’t a primary election to pick the Democratic nominee. It is Chris Peterson. Hi Chris! See you in November.)
3. Changing our future will require all of us acting now.
Even when it’s functioning imperfectly, I believe in democracy’s intrinsic power to self-correct through enthusiastic participation and engagement.
It’s not lost on me that for the majority of our country’s history — until 100 years ago this summer, actually — that engagement wasn’t possible for all. Until 1920, no women in our nation could vote. Simply having lady parts precluded them from enjoying full citizenship.
And even after the passage of the 19th Amendment, not all women were allowed. It took another half century, until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, for women of color to really gain the ability to vote.
Still today, those in power are using characteristics of people’s bodies to determine their worthiness of protectionism, inclusion and humanity.
They are incarcerating certain bodies disproportionately, caging other bodies, storing dangerous waste near certain bodies, brutalizing and killing particular bodies, hiring specific bodies less frequently and then paying them less for the same work.
Every body deserves a fair chance. And every body will need to vote in order for our much needed change to become a reality.
And that’s why this somebody won’t miss a single chance to use her voice and vote to manifest a more just world. So, now that I have studied up on the candidates, I’m going to cast my first vote as a Republican.
Marina Gomberg is a communications professional and lives in Salt Lake City with her wife, Elenor Gomberg, and their son, Harvey. You can reach Marina at email@example.com.