What's the worst thing about Donald Trump choosing Mike Pence as his Vice Presidential nominee? I'd like to think it's that Trump's name ends with the same letter that Pence's starts with, so when you stay them together it's "Trumppence," which sounds like the name of an elephant decorated to look like a clown. Also the abbreviation for their campaign is "TP," which is short for toilet paper.
The reason that I'd like to think that's the worst thing is because the ACTUAL worst things about him are so bad it's hard to get out of bed and face the world. I'd much rather think about an annoyed elephant than a man who wanted to take money from AIDS programs in order to fund ex-gay camps.
We lefties often like to say "stop the hate," like hate is always a bad thing. But when someone's attacking your very right to exist, I don't think you need to feel guilty about hating them. So please, by all means, go ahead and hate this guy and what he's done.
Where to begin? Well, how about the thing that's probably earned him the most national attention: signing and then defending a turn-away-the-gays bill in Indiana. He also co-sponsored a bill to ban marriage equality, voted to protect the right to fire someone if you find out they're gay, and voted to keep Don't Ask Don't Tell. When he campaigned for Congress, he wanted to defund AIDS programs and put that money into ex-gay programs.
His attacks on reproductive freedom may be his worst work to date, though. When he was in Congress, he repeatedly cut spending for Planned Parenthood; and as governor, he forced Planned Parenthood to close five clinics that didn't even perform abortions. They only did STD checks. And hey, what a startling coincidence: after those clinics closed, Indiana saw a huge outbreak of HIV. Nice job, sir.
Who could love a man like this? Well, his five adult children, perhaps. His daughter Audrey (a millennial) is fairly outspoken and describes herself as "socially liberal." She says she's voted for Democrats in the past, but also for her dad. "He proved himself to me," she explained. Sure, proved himself interested in regulating your vagina. So that's how it is in their family.
This man's career is depressing enough that we may need a little palette cleanser whenever we discuss him, so let's turn to some Mike Pence fun-facts: according to his bio, his favorite food is bacon, he has two cats named Pickle and Oreo, and his favorite movie is ... oh Jesus, get a load of this: The Wizard of Oz. Of COURSE it is. Of course a man who wants to take money from AIDS programs and use it to fund ex-gay torture camps loves the most iconic gay movie ever made. Of course a man who wants to withhold medical care from women loves a movie with strong female leads.
But then again, given that the movie ends with Dorothy rejecting her big-city chosen family and returning to the drudgery of rural life, it kind of makes sense. Now that I think of it, I suppose you could see Dorothy's return to Kansas as an allegory for being a born-again ex-gay. Ugh, thanks Mike Pence, not only have you ruined countless lives, now you've ruined The Wizard of Oz.