WHAT AM I IF I CAN’T BE A REPUBLICAN ANYMORE?
I’m throwing in the towel on the Republican Party. This declaration probably doesn’t mean what you think. I don’t know, but I assume people usually leave one of the two major political parties to move to the other. Who would choose to be politically homeless?
Political parties appeal to our basic instincts and tribalism. It’s nice to belong. It’s more than just nice, actually; it’s exhilarating.
I don’t remember making the choice to be a Republican; it sort of just chose me. I remember feeling pride at being a part of the party of the abolitionists and suffrage. “Big government” frightened me. Feminism made me angry before I knew enough to know that there are different types of feminists (most of us are not man haters, FYI). Rush Limbaugh seemed like an endearingly loud-mouthed uncle or something. I was freaking out over NAFTA before I’d even left the 6th grade.
I was born a Republican.
A few years ago I would have never imagined I’d be changing my voter registration to Independent. What am I if I can’t be a Republican Anymore?
AND THEN CAME TRUMP…
2015 and 2016 changed everything for me. After my lifetime of unquestioning support, after doing my due diligence to vote Republican (almost) without fail, after throwing my enthusiastic support behind Republican candidates… they hand me Donald Trump. This is the best they have to offer? Freaking Donald Trump?
It feels gross. It feels like the punchline to a dirty joke (you know, the kind Donald Trump would tell to Billy Bush sitting in a tour bus…). I’ve always had a strong dislike for Donald Trump. This isn’t a new situation for me. I find him appalling, and much more so now.
I am embarrassed by the Republican Party. It’s not what I thought it was supposed to be.
Where are the good guys? Where are the respectable women and men who have been serving their country for years and have well thought out and realistic ideas of how to lead our country? Where are the serious candidates who carry themselves with dignity and respect?
AND THEN THERE’S CLINTON…
The majority of my Republican friends think Hillary Clinton will be worse than Donald Trump. Considering Trump’s zero political experience and convenient conversion from Democrat to Republican in recent years, I don’t think we know that for sure. What I do know is that political bias can cause most people to find any way to justify their vote… even if it’s for a terrible candidate.
It’s true, we have lousy options this year. I know so many voters on both “sides” are going to be plugging their nose and voting for the “lesser of two evils.” I can actually respect you for voting for Trump if you feel you cannot vote for Clinton or a third party candidate, but only if you don’t try to justify his nonsense.
Again this weekend we have another cringe worthy Trump scandal. It doesn’t surprise me even a little bit. I’d say there is a whole lot more we haven’t heard that is equally or more disgusting. And yet, read the comments on the more conservative news outlets Facebook posts on the subject and you’ll find people everywhere are defending the indefensible. There isn’t much I immediately agree with Hillary Clinton on, but the “basket of deplorables” statement, while impertinent, feels so right on when reading comments on Fox News Facebook posts. Can you please try to vote for Trump without becoming deplorable in order to support him?
I do have Republican friends voting for Trump who are constantly expressing their disdain for him, and the same of many of my Democrat friends who are voting for Clinton. They are essentially voting for the Vice President and political party of their choice. I just want to give them a hug and agree that this sucks. We have the worst Republican presidential nominee ever. Trump is one of the worst candidates for POTUS in American history. If he were running as a Democrat, Republicans everywhere would be screaming from the rooftops as if the anti-Christ was here (I’m only sort of kidding).
DEAR TRUMP VOTERS…
I can absolutely understand our shared anger over Benghazi. I can’t understand why you don’t even remember the 60 deaths due to 13 attacks on US embassies that took place while George W Bush was president. (Most of those dead were not Americans, so they matter less to us, which is disgusting.)
I too was incredibly concerned over Obama’s limited political leadership experience. So why now does it not matter that Trump has zero?
I sympathize with your concerns over whatever emails Hillary Clinton may have deleted and why she had them on personal servers in the first place. I don’t understand why you’re not more concerned with Trumps apparent connection with Putin (and if you don’t understand the potentially horrendous implications of getting in bed with Russia… you’re not ready for this conversation. Just start collecting body bags.)
I’m with you in concern over the Supreme Court. Now, explain to me how abortion rates have dropped to record lows under President Obama. I’ll give you a hint… abortion isn’t a political issue, it’s a human issue. Now, go research why abortion rates are on the decline. It’s surprising… or not. (And I do realize that there are many other issues the Supreme Court will decide, but I mention abortion because it’s the one that seems to be of most significance with conservative voters.) Personally, I despise the way we Americans have almost zero direct influence over the appointing of Supreme Court Justices… but don’t get me started on that.
As for me, I’ve said #NeverTrump and I absolutely mean it. I’m not softening on that stance now that I have no other Republican choice. Furthermore, I’m no longer interested in the Republican Party. What it’s become with Donald Trump at the helm is morally repugnant to me.
I’m really so over the anger that I find in so many hard-line Republicans (many Democrats are probably just as angry, but I wouldn’t know… I’ve never been one). The know-it-all behavior, superiority complex, the talking down to people who don’t have the same values… I’m just so over it.
Every time someone uses the nickname “Killery” I was to call over my shoulder “is there an actual grown up here I could talk to?!”
In the past, even the thought of the backlash would keep me silent. It’s taken me weeks to write this post and agonizing hours to decide to post it. Too many Republicans don’t listen (this is a human condition). They yell. They patronize. They use demeaning language to joke about those they don’t agree with. I find the haughty attitudes downright sinful and immature.
As a person, I do think I tend to pull to the center. Politically, this just makes sense to me. After all, on the extreme right we have fascism and on the extreme left we have Marxist terrorism. Either side left unchecked can lead us down a road straight to oppression, human suffering, and concentration camps.
Democrats and Republicans need each other. We need people in our lives who will push back on us. This prevents us from heading too far in one direction. The push back forces us to evaluate ourselves. Power unchecked always destroys.
SINGLE ISSUE VOTERS
I have a lot of friends who are essentially single issue voters, and for many of them, abortion is the issue. I’m pro-life, so I can understand the concern. Blogger Shannon Dingle wrote “most Republicans have talked a lot about abortion while doing little to make meaningful change in that area of policy” and I totally agree. Even many conservative Christians I’ve talked to have not been able to tell me that they would vote for more progressive policies (free birth control, free health care for women and children at least, paid maternity leave, expanded programs for food and childcare for low income women, etc.) if it was guaranteed to significantly reduce abortion rates (AKA saving lives). I’ll call this “conditionally pro-life,” meaning, pro-life until the life becomes a financial responsibility. That’s not the kind of “pro-life” woman I am interested in being.
I won’t be held hostage by the Republican Party’s mostly empty claims of being the pro-life party. I can’t accept that a person can be “pro-life” and also pro-war, anti-aid for mothers and children in need, anti-refugee, soft of racism, anti reasonable gun control (emphasis on the word reasonable)… clutch your pearls and take a hard look at yourself and your ideals. Be brave.
All human life matters to me. Life is precious, even after we are no longer cute little innocent babies. Lives in crisis matters. This life is precious. This life matters. This life is important. These lives are valuable.
The Republican Party officially no longer represents my values. The Democratic Party never did. So here I am, politically homeless.
As it turns out, right here in the middle, not sold out to any political party, is just where I want to be. I’m fully awake. Fully listening. Fully nervous about the next four years.
Recently I’ve been searching for political podcasts. It’s been hard to find any that challenge and inform while not driving me crazy. So far I’m loving the Depolarize podcast. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Stock images from Unsplash.com