I am a Republican. I have been a Republican my entire life. My credentials include working all the way up to the county chair job, back in the 1990s. I have a wall full of inaugural invitations, letters of thanks from various Republican leaders, and some really cool memorabilia including a stock-pile of about 5000 Nixon Now buttons in a storage locker. I identify with the elephant. I live and breath Republican politics.
That was then. This is now. My Republican heart is broken. My once mighty elephant has been slaughtered for the ivory, to make tacky musical instruments to play the praises of petty little twits that now claim the mantel of Ronald Reagan. Only now, Reagan isn’t good enough for them.
I am a Reagan Republican. I will probably always consider myself a Reagan Republican. I worked my heart out for him, and have the letters to prove it. Those were heady years, some of the best in my life.
Then came the tea parties. No, go back a step, then came Barack Obama, and the unfettered hatred of the far right. I will admit to my fair share of insanity when Bill Clinton was in office, so much so, that I swore, if Obama were elected, I would attempt to be rational.
Oh, sure, I fell for the whole far right, Obama is a socialist, Marxist, evil incarnate of Ming the Merciless, kill the elderly, go to bed with liberals and come up with commies, spew. I was the first blogger to start calling Michelle Obama Michelle Antoinette. I admit and confess it came from me. I must also admit that the first national articles promoting Sarah Palin came from me, at least a year before she was nominated.
I mention all of this because these are my Republican credentials.
I also don’t mind admitting that Lindsey Graham is a friend. Because he is a friend, I don’t like the nasty things that are said about him. I happen to know, from personal experience, that is one of the most honorable people you will ever find in Washington. You won’t agree with me, but there was something he once did that earned my eternal respect and admiration. It was nothing political. Because of my friendship with Lindsey, I became disgusted with Rush Limbaugh and the way he portrayed him. I also found Michelle Malkin to be utterly repulsive.
And so it began….
I began investigating far right non profits, anti-immigration organizations, and the religious right. I currently have about 2500 pages of source material, which I hope to turn into a book exposing them. (When one’s life is occupied with elderly parents, one of whom has Alzheimer’s, life takes a different turn, so the book is just sitting there). During that time, I became repulsed by what I was finding. The fringes of the far right, now the mainstream, I fear, are full of John Birchers, closeted KKK, white supremacists, and even worse. Bigotry was fine, as long as it was displayed against Hispanics. I live in New Mexico. Here, over half my friends are Hispanic. The first cracks in the veneer were beginning.
I began to discover that the SPLC was probably the best source for material. I learned that many of the so-called, much hated liberal sources had the best documented information. Sure, it is biased, but it is documented and sourced. As a writer, researcher, and historian I can over-look the bias as long as the sources, documentation, and footnotes hold up under scrutiny. Those of the left do. The right is another story entirely, they don’t work. When sources and documentation, footnotes don’t work, something is very, very wrong.
For the past five years I’ve been using liberal sources. They are better. They work, they link, and they are fully documented. One doesn’t make a fool of one’s self using liberal sources, but woe unto anyone who even touches a conservative source without handling it with caution and cross-referencing.
I soon learned, if a Republican could hold up under liberal sourcing, then you have something. Today, very few do, very very few. In fact, I only know of maybe two, Lindsey being one of them. Tom Coburn may be the other. No matter what you think of them, politically, neither one of them are corrupt.
With the advent of the Tea Parties, this new crop of Republicans began to excel in corruption, stupidity, insanity, and the abject lack of gray matter between the ears. With the tea party came the realization that something was not quiet kosher. Something was very, very wrong. I wasn’t sure what it was at first, I only knew that it did not pass the smell test.
Two years ago, I was forced to retract my nasty remarks about Michelle Obama. Granted, she did get off to a shaky start with her wardrobe, but let’s be honest here, one day I think we’ll find she was sandbagged. I discovered what she wore as the wife of the nominee and newly minted First Lady was not what she had worn as a senator’s wife. Then, she broke out on her own.
I’m writing a book on fashion history in the US, so I notice things like what women wear. Suddenly, this woman who was a walking fashion disaster, morphed into an icon. She began showing her own style, unafraid, charming, and just plain elegant. I slowly became a fan, to the point of open admiration for a job very well done. I suspect she will go down as perhaps the greatest First Lady in this nation’s history, at least she will be the most iconic.
Something happened on the way to my insanity while supporting Newt Gingrich’s failed run for the nomination. I was so disgusted with FOX Tabloid News for constantly hammering him, that I quit watching it. That was my first mistake. Turning off FOX is the Gateway Drug.
Once the Gateway Drug was in my system my eyes began to open, widely. Why was no one else saying really bad things about Barack Obama? Maybe I need to check into a few things. If Michelle Obama was doing her job, very well, why slam her spouse?
That’s was all it took.
I soon discovered that there was no comparison between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. While it may annoy a few people, one of the first things I began to notice about Obama, several years ago, was the fact that he was doing a very good job as Commander in Chief. I approved of the way he was handling our military. I’m still a neo-con. I’m a no-nonsense, national security wonk, who believes we take care of this nation before any other. Our men and women in uniform come first. I watched as Mitt Romney treated our people like dirt, and Obama acted with dignity. Then I discovered what Michelle Obama was doing with our military families.
It soon became obvious, finally, that the hatred spewed toward Barack Obama had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with race. I don’t do bigotry. One thing that will cause me to walk away from anyone is bigotry.
I walked away.
I joined Republicans for Obama.
I started looking at other things, and was forced to admit that, for the first time in my life, I was going to vote for a Democrat for President. It took awhile to admit it. Then my mother joined me. So did my sister, and other family members. During the process I lost friends, people I thought were good friends. I was harassed, threatened, and betrayed by people I cared about. There are people who haven’t spoken to me since last summer, simply because I could not support Mitt Romney. Once they discovered I was voting for Obama, it hasn’t been pleasant.
On Twitter, I have been harassed. My life has literally been threatened. I have been called horrible things – by conservatives and Republicans. Don’t worry, I’ve made screen shots of every single nasty thing. They may go into a book. Several months ago, when it when it became frightening, the way a few of us were being harassed, a few Obama supporters and people from Republicans for Obama began banding together. I soon noticed that there were some very nice Democrats and liberals who were always there, always standing up for me.
I soon discovered that Democrats and liberals are much nicer (as a whole) than libertarians, tea party loons, and the far right. Since October, I have been literally betrayed by the Republican Party. It is no longer what it once was. As I began speaking out, protesting the extremism, I was called Marxist, socialist, and communist. It made me mad at first, then I realized that was all they had. That was their worst insult. These jokers are so out of touch, they don’t realize that not much remains of the communist world, Marxism is for petty dictators, and socialism is evolving into something rather interesting.
Then came the incredible people at Unite Blue! I feel like the ‘homeless’ who has found sanctuary. I have met some wonderful people. They are tolerant, self-deprecating, and have a wonderful sense of humor. Contrary to what I once believed, liberals and Democrats are not sheeple to be led around, but very out-spoken individuals who have a myriad of agendas and opinions. Purity, as is now required in the GOP is not even an option!
One of my embarrassing misconceptions was that liberals could not be Christians. I am a very strong person of faith. I don’t mind admitting, that over the past few years, I’ve become extremely irate at the way the far right now views the Episcopal Church and Episcopalians. Makes me mad. Imagine my shock to discover that Unite Blue people who are atheists happen to have more compassion, kindness, and tolerance for the human condition, more love for those who truly need love than just about the whole of the far right ‘christian’ movement, put together. I am humiliated to admit this, but it must be said. No, I was not a that insular, I was that blind.
The past few years, a situation has arisen in my family. It has caused me to reconsider many things I felt were steadfast issues. In order to deal with the stress of the situation, I turned inward, to the teachings of Christ. I have become utterly and totally convinced that someone who claims to be a Christian cannot in any way embrace or accept the political philosophy of Ayn Rand, or what is going on in the GOP today. I would rather err on the side of helping someone who might not need it than seeing someone go without. Once upon a time, this was main-stream Republican. It no longer is.
I have come to realize we have the wealthiest country in history. There is absolutely no reason for anyone in this country to go without rudimentary housing, medical, education, and food assistance. Everyone should be paying the same tax percentage rates, no matter how rich or poor, with very specific deductions that would basically eliminate anyone making $35,000 or so from paying income taxes. If this is socialist, then so be it. Once upon a time, it was main-stream Republican. It no longer is.
One of the worst offenses, as far as I am concerned is this abject hatred for gays and lesbians. On December 23, one of my dear friends, Leroy, died, suddenly, after surgery. Leroy and his partner, Tom, had been together for over 35 years. They were the all-American poster for family values, taking in nieces, nephews, and family. During Leroy’s service, the minister discussed what his youngest niece wanted for his service. It was quit obvious he and Tom had made sure that their family knew about Christ! They knew about Salvation! They knew about Love! Leroy always told me he always laughed at the far right and their homophobia. “Anyone who knows anything about this, knows the worst homophobes are the ones deepest in the closet!”
When I had my business, back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I paid my employees 10 bucks an hour. Everyone wanted to work in my shop. I paid well and gave a 25% discount on merchandise. I treated people decently. Once upon a time, I disapproved of unions. In today’s anti-worker climate, created by the GOP and their libertarian handlers, I don’t see any other option. People need help.
My values have never changed. The GOP has changed. I don’t know if I can vote for another Republican. I don’t think I need to worry because the GOP is splitting right in front of us. I am remaining a registered Republican, because I want to make their lives a living hell.
Thank you for my new home. Oh, I still retain the right to be as militaristic as Margaret Thatcher. I can’t help it. I like fighter planes, tanks, and all the cool stuff that goes with them. Living near a major air force base, I break for fighter planes! I’m a science geek. And, no I don’t think climate change is man made. I’m a historian. Yes, there is climate change, but blame the sun, lack of sunspots, pyroclastic flows, and other interesting geological and astronomical goodies for climate change. As a historian, I know that civilization flourishes best when the temperature is several degrees warmer than it is now.
I’m not going to change. That’s the problem. I’ve not changed. The GOP has changed to the point where I no longer belong there. I’d rather hang out with you guys. There is one thing, I’m keeping the elephant, just changing the color from red to blue.