For all the talk of the GOP’s supposed aversion to pork-barrel spending, Republicans sure do love pork products. For example, a few moments ago I was invited to the Warren County GOP’s pig roast. Now, the invitation is a two-fold problem. First, I don’t really care for the idea of donating to a political party that may or may not be guided by the same principles that motivate me. Although some Republican Parties actually stand for a certain set of values, others have completely jettisoned them and will support any person who happens to bear the party label. Second, and the main point of this article, is that I don’t eat meat that comes from a pig.
Although many of my Christian brothers and sisters may find this idea odd, about five years ago I gave up pork. Yes, there is the concern of trichinosis, but more importantly I decided to abstain from the meat as one way of showing my devotion to God. At first, it wasn’t easy. I never cared much for pork chops, but ham was rather tasty and bacon was absolutely amazing. Yes, saying no to bacon was certainly one of the harder aspects.
Of course there are others who don’t eat the meat of pigs either. For example, you have Jewish, Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists, and, of course, Vegetarians, and Vegans. In addition, I have a second cousin who used to be the chairman of the Rockingham County Republican Party who also refrains. Over these last five years I cannot tell you how many Republican events I’ve gone to where the option for lunch is either to eat pork or to go hungry. For example, about a month ago I ran into this situation at a gathering of the Waynesboro Republican Party. Back in 2012, Representative Bob Goodlatte graciously provided lunch for the 6th District Virginia Republican Convention. The only thing available was pork barbeque, therefore I could only munch on a hamburger bun and some potato chips as I did not want to break my fast. The woman who has since become the head of the Harrisonburg Tea Party found herself in a similar situation. As you can guess, there is absolutely no way I would agree to attend a Republican gathering if held during mealtime if I knew that there was nothing for me to eat.
When the Republican Party offers attendees pork and nothing else, whether intentional or not, they are subtly saying to Muslims, Jews, and a host of others, we don’t really care about your dietary concerns and you aren’t welcome in our political party…or at least that is how it feels to me. Compared to the food offered at Democratic and Libertarian gatherings, Republicans are woefully close-minded.
One would figure that given the statewide failures of the Republican Party in Virginia since 2009, the party would do a better job of offering alternatives to pork both in the political sense and as a food option at their gatherings. But, then again, as I’ve been personally dismayed to discover, perhaps reaching out to a wider variety of like-minded voters really isn’t their bailiwick.