Soapbox: Meghan McCain

One could guess that everyone’s favorite Instinct feature, the Soapbox, was practically made for a woman like Meghan McCain. The daughter of Sen. John McCain broke from Republican Party rhetoric years ago when she started standing up for equality, quickly becoming both a hero and a target. But Twitter haters and Dana Loesch can’t keep this chick down, and now Meghan is sharing her thoughts on the party’s evolution and her new nightly news talk show.

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I’ve known my friend Josh since we were both 23. And when he was on the road with me during the campaign in ’08, I always wondered if he had a hard time reconciling the fact that he was an out and proud gay man living in West Hollywood working on a Republican campaign. In the last seven or eight years I’ve seen such a shift, but then it was pretty taboo to be a gay person supporting a Republican. But he never gave a shit. He was always such a good friend and I literally cried on his shoulder on election night. After the election I was really depressed and he came to visit me and basically said, “Bitch, you’re still fabulous. Get out of bed and walk the walk.” And he was right. I couldn’t sit around, eat Girl Scout cookies and cry. And I thought that if he could give me so much love and support, why couldn’t I publicly give him the love and support that I privately felt? And that’s when it all started.

I wanted to publicly show my friends in the LGBT community that I supported them. Not just the Republican party but America in a lot of ways was—and still is—wrong in not giving everyone in this country equal rights. I just think that it’s going to be embarrassing in the same way you look back, say, if you had an ancestor who was against interracial marriage or the civil rights movement. It’s at a point now where I don’t understand any reasoning people give to not support equal rights in this country—especially as Republicans, when we’re supposed to be about the freedoms of all Americans. I’ve never understood keeping the government out of your life, except when it comes to gay people getting married. That rationale has never flown with me.

When I wrote my first columns for The Daily Beast and went on Rachel Maddow’s show, I was so naive. My father had lost the election, and from my perspective, some of that had to do with not supporting evolving social issues. And I naively thought, Of course. This is so logical! We need to evolve with the times, and everyone is going to agree and it’s all going to be great. Little did I know I’d just opened up Pandora’s box. To this day, crazy people on the Internet tell me I’m going to hell every day because I think gay people should have equal rights like everybody else. And yes, I do still get attacked, but not a fuck could be given.

I’ve always been an activist, but I decided to take a more public role out of my feelings of what I want America to look like for my kids and my grandchildren. But what is so interesting to me is that the LGBT community has always been so wonderful to me. And anytime I’m attacked by a hyper-right-wing person, I get so much love and support back from the LGBT community and I don’t feel alone. We’re all fighting it together. There was a time I used to take it very hard and take it to heart. Now I’m at the place where I’m just much more of a fighter. They are wrong and we are right. There are things I’m open to having my mind being changed over, but gay people being allowed to marry and have children and have all the exact same rights a straight couple has is not one of them.

I’m happy with the trends I’m seeing, and I very rarely come across a young Republican under the age of 40 who doesn’t support marriage equality. I did, once upon a time, and maybe it’s the circles I’m floating in. But I very rarely meet people who aren’t for marriage equality, unless they’re a lot older. I also think people are starving for conversation, and that’s why I’m doing the job I’m doing.

I got out of cable news and I know I’m just personally so turned off by people that just spout talking points and don’t actually want to fix problems in this country. I believe that a lot of people want change when it comes to what we’re given in the media. I’m working on a new show called TakePart Live, which is a nightly news show on Pivot. I keep telling people it’s supposed to be a combination of old-school MTV News, Headbangers Ball but mixed in with Meet The Press. It’s funky and new, and I’m really excited. I like working for a channel that really doesn’t want me to change anything. They want me to do what I want, look how I look. Any new network and new show is a gamble, but I’m excited to be trying something different.

My parents are pretty cool with it all at this point. They probably just think, Oh, it’s Meghan again. The thing I love about my parents is that they’re supportive and love me even when I make mistakes. I think as long as I’m not posing nude anyplace, they’re going to be okay. And my mother would really, really love if I would never talk about sex on TV ever again. It makes her violently uncomfortable. But that’s probably the line.  

Check out Meghan in her new show, TakePart Live, airing five nights a week on Pivot