In the magical land where Republican ideals rule, mynah birds squawk, “Jobs!” and “’murica!”; every business is a small business that is owned by a big business; and the economy is thriving. The people are happy because they are Christians. They have wars to fight and troops to support, and the villains are always identifiable by their black cowboy hats and Mexican accents. Everyone practices abstinence until they marry and have a dozen children, none of whom will be gay. The women never have to use their natural power to prevent pregnancy because they want nothing more than to stay at home raising babies and cleaning their kitchen counters. The world is as it always was, and all resources are funneled into defense spending, factory farming and keeping out foreigners.

As with any ideal model, this utopia has a flaw: Republican Paradise has a population of one.

The exaggerated emphasis on individualism in the Republican Party platform is frightening for those who don’t qualify as individuals. Women’s fates are forfeited for masses of unborn cells. Minorities can be systematically blocked from voting by voter ID laws. The economy is not going well, but for some of us, choosing another strategy would mean gambling our civil rights on the off chance we someday become millionaires. If you’re a white male concerned about a job after college, the risk may seem small. But ask anyone who has spent time in a non-democratic country, and they will tell you that civil liberties don’t trickle down.

The truth of the matter is that the Republican ideal of individualism is just that — an ideal. It has very little to do with the reality of everyday life. We rely on others to make our clothes, to cook our food and to build our homes. Americans today are part of a global community; we don’t live on an island of one.

Individualism is fantastic when you already have equality, but life has never been fair, and the playing field has never been level. Anyone who has attended Georgetown can attest to the fact that education isn’t cheap. To suggest that a child growing up on welfare and a child growing up with extracurricular activities and tutors both have the same shot at success is to reveal a gross ignorance of the circumstances facing many underprivileged Americans.

Think about these things as we head down the stretch toward Nov. 6. If life had been less fair to you, would you still vote the same way as you’ve been planning?

Some things are more important than a few-thousand-dollar difference in your starting salary. But if you’re still thinking about yourself, recognize that social inequities in rights and wealth are dangerous, as many regimes in the Arab world have recently learned. In a nation of many, the needs of others cannot be ignored. We built this country. Let’s not choose to break it.

Kara Panzer is a junior in the School of Foreign Service.

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