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Coming Out…as a Democrat

I wanted to take some time to offer some brief, general background about myself. Call it ethos or just a little context for many of my Approaching Justice posts. If you know me at all (or have read any of my recent posts), what I am about to say will shock you: I used to listen to and love Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and others like them. I thought these men were the voice of truth and reason in a world gone wrong. So what happened? Quite simply, I think I grew up, matured intellectually, and started to rely on myself to determine the truth rather than relying on the words of fear-mongers and other extremists. I was a mindless drone who simply regurgitated what I thought were indisputable facts, and even when I knew I was dead wrong, I would defend my position with greater conviction. But something happened in the course of my intellectual development: I learned to embrace the truth regardless of who spoke it. But it was more than embracing the truth. I wanted to embrace everything that felt right to me. The more my political views and understandings of the world around me evolved, the more I realized that the majority of those who spoke the truth and those who sought for change and to implement policies that I agreed with did not identify themselves as Republicans. This frightened and confused the lifelong Republican in me, and it took me a long time to cast off that Republican label.
 Just a few years ago I was registered as a Republican in Florida. The most annoying part of that association was the endless calls from the Rick Scott campaign looking for donations and other types of support. Rick Scott is not a man I would ever like to identify myself with. After we moved to Virginia, I didn’t need to worry about the continued struggle to embrace who I really was. I didn’t need to register with a specific party. I welcomed the chance to put off the inevitable. Leah Marie said for years that I needed to accept the fact that I am a Democrat or at least not a Republican. One day, I was listening to something on the radio or watching some news program on television. To be honest, such things blend together for me these days. The story was another in a long line of examples of how hopelessly out of touch most Republicans are, and I immediately said to myself, “Are these the people I really want to associate myself with?” Not that I necessarily did. After all, I have voted mostly Democrat for more than the last decade. It’s always hard to let go of a part of one’s self, especially a part that seems like it has always been there. However, that part of me, the once strong Republican part, has died, or better, it has turned into a vestigial organ, and like the appendix, it serves no valid purpose. Therefore, when I realized it was time to let go and declare a new affiliation, I came out as a Democrat, only about three or four years ago. And though I am not big on strict party affiliations any more, I can say without hesitation that I am and have been much more progressive than I was ever Republican or Conservative. May we all embrace our true political selves.

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