Kruzic: Why does the GOP seek to intrude into personal life?


Courtesy Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is the first high-profile GOP candidate to intend to run for president in 2012.

Ahna Kruzic

Former two-term Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty formally moved Monday toward a bid for the White House by announcing the launch of an exploratory committee for the 2012 presidential campaign. Pawlenty is the first high-profile GOP candidate to formally announce an intention to run for president.

Pawlenty is hailed as the “Sam’s Club Republican.” The former governor has been applauded for supporting the needs of working class Minnesotans by advocating alternatives to big government.

In particular, Pawlenty has greatly emphasized the importance of “individual empowerment … and letting them be in control of their lives.”

Essentially, Pawlenty supports the privatization of America. He has made clear time and time again his opinion of the importance of keeping government out of the private. 

In a recent interview with Katie Couric, Pawlenty was asked why he was initially attracted to the Republican party; Pawlenty said one party is more of a government-centered approach — Democrats — and one is more an individual or market-centered approach — Republicans.

He continued to explain that this dichotomy is really the heart of Republicans competing against Democrats — yet again, Pawlenty’s commitment to so-called individual freedom and autonomy was emphasized.

Pawlenty visited Iowa State’s campus March 8 to promote his book, “Courage to Change.” I had the pleasure of attending the event in the Campanile Room at the Memorial Union.

Pawlenty discussed many issues he believed to be of central importance. These included the very typical GOP rhetoric involving national security, creating jobs, growing our economy and cutting government spending.

Not surprisingly, Pawlenty again emphasized the importance of keeping government out of people’s lives to help serve the working class and create jobs.

To him, it seems that keeping government out of people’s private lives means privatizing as many essential social services as possible to keep them out of government control and laxing gun control laws, among other things.

In the video that announced the creation of his White House bid exploratory committee, Pawlenty said we need to encourage “brave men and women who have asked for nothing more than to work hard and get ahead without government getting in the way.”

My question for Pawlenty is this: If you are so incredibly adamant about keeping government out of the way of Americans’ lives, why do you feel you have the right to legislate who can be married to who? Isn’t this contradictory to your entire platform? 

As I sat in the Campanile Room listening to Pawlenty speak, it kept running through my head. Why? Why does the GOP fundamentally emphasize the importance of human autonomy? Isn’t this a complete contradiction to the GOP’s social agenda?

After all, an individual’s freedom to choose who they will love and build a life with, regardless of sex, is the most basic of freedoms. 

After his very frustrating speech, Pawlenty offered a short period of time to take questions from the audience. Working through my anger, I attempted to compile something to say to him.

Although it probably didn’t come out as I had wanted, I mustered something along the lines of “If your party is so committed to keeping the government out of the private, why do most of you feel that you have the right to legislate who marries whom?”

I got a half-assed response that only intensified my anger. Though I was too shaky to write down word for word his answer, he quickly explained that he doesn’t hold marriage between a man and a man or a woman and a woman to the same value as a marriage between a man and a woman because it is just different. He then cut me off and moved on to the next question.

The option to build a life with whomever you desire is at the very core of human autonomy. How can he not recognize this?

Pawlenty, I don’t care if it makes you uncomfortable or if you don’t think it is “right” for any two committed adults to build a life together. If you don’t like it, don’t do it.

It is simply not your place to actually legislate your bigoted opinions of mine or anyone else’s marriage. After all, you’re not exactly making sure government isn’t “getting in the way” of peoples’ lives by hoping to control who a human being can build a life with.