To some of you on both sides of
the aisle those are quite possibly fighting words. Why? Because those on the left would never wish to
admit such a thing, and those on the right might be thinking “well DUH” since
you are personally very generous and do not understand why that was even a
question in the first place. So read
on…if you dare.
First of all I am not writing
this for a “political war” with the battleground being my FB page or blog. I have friends and family on both sides of
almost every issue, and many of them are on this page. So please save the turf wars for another
time. Nor am I looking for anyone to attempt to change or re-arrange me. At age (nearly) 56 I do not think my body or
my soul can stand much more of that anyway. But awhile back, late spring or
early summer, some of you may have noticed a difference in my political
posturing, and, if really observant, that I now list my party affiliation as
GOP. Gasp indeed. Having been a lifelong
Democrat, I found it hard to even type those letters the first time. The reason
for that is that, in reality, my politics have not actually changed all that
much. I am still a moderate and would
vote across party lines in a minute if the candidate in question seemed to
support my understanding of the issues.
My moderation thus continues.
So why did I switch? I believe,
as Jon Voight, known by my generation as the “Midnight Cowboy” and by later
generations as “Angelina’s dad,” stated very succinctly when I heard him speak
at the 2008 Republican Convention held here in the Twin Cities, just down the
road from where I work and worship. He said he felt “left behind” by the
Democrats. So do I. I have a strong
desire for social justice, and for taking care of the ‘least of these.” Unlike some Republicans I believe we need to
do those things and not depend on the supposed “good will” of churches or
private organizations. What I question,
however, is how we go about doing it when our moneys are literally being
flushed down the toilet daily by bureaucrats in Washington, DC. And, to be
sure, this happens too across party lines.
But I only see one party even attempting to fight it without putting an
additional burden on the American people. So gradually I have found my thinking
adjusted more and more when people such as Secretary of the Treasury Timothy
Geithner are happily re-appointed and when our President, who I do actually
respect on many levels, cheerfully speaks to roaring crowds and somewhat (in my
opinion) arrogantly states that it will be easier for him to win “this time”
than before. This when the country is
not getting more economically stable, when jobs are still sent over the waves
to China or India and the business climate virtually does not exist anymore in
the United States. These are things he
promised to change. And they are the
main reason he was elected in fact.
Add to that the issues of horrors
such as partial birth abortion, which he actively supports, and the whole new
wave of hidden abortions caused by embryonic stem cell research, again vigorously
supported by President Obama, as well as his willingness to involve us
militarily in Libya and continue military policies that have created the
longest standing wars (undeclared or not) in United States history. It can be argued, and fairly so, that he did
not create many of these situations (other than Libya obviously). But he has not brought solutions either, at
least not ones that can achieve bipartisan support. He talks smoothly and causes the Republicans
to yell in frustration, and sits back smiling as they of course look like the
“bad guys” as a result. This very
brilliant man is not unaware of the power of his eloquence either. Before he gave his famous 2004 keynote speech
to the Democratic National Convention, giving him immediate national recognition, he
bragged to a friend, Marty Nesbitt, that his words that night would ignite the
nation and bring him to public prominence similar to a rock star*. And they did. He came across, at least to me,
as “America’s best kept secret.” But it
was a secret he already knew.
My purpose in all of this is not
to condemn the President, who has arguably the hardest job in the world today most
likely. However it is to point out that
words and body language do not make a leader. And, while this President inherited
a world that is as ugly and frightening as any since I have been on this earth,
I do not believe that an entire party, nearly half of the American citizens, is
just stubbornly refusing to ever listen to him and are therefore all evil. Some of that wickedness of course does exist.
But when distinguished public servants such as US Representative Maxine Waters
tell movements within the GOP they can “go straight to hell” that is not
exactly the height of cooperation either.
And while not calling myself a Tea Partyer just yet, I do find myself
intrigued at how often some of this grassroots movement makes sense to me in a
fragile economic world that will not be able to support even the
best of social programs one day soon if changes are not made, and drastic ones
So back to this original
statement regarding generosity… I have
friends who are reading this who have shown incredible and undeserved bigheartedness
to me at times. Some are Democrats, and some are GOP. But they all are decent
and hardworking Americans. I have brave hearted military friends, such as
Joshua Revak, who have cared enough about me to call me out on my nonsense at
times when I have faltered and then followed up by loving me profusely when I
needed it most. I have other friends on
my FB page such as Bob Rogers who are not particularly sympathetic to
Republicans but who care about me anyway, even as he watches me go down what I
am sure he considers to be a slippery slope.
Kindness exists in both groups.
Bitchiness and bastardly conduct do as well. That said, those traits alone
then cannot be my final consideration when choosing party affiliations.
The bottom line is not which
party represents me perfectly. Neither
one does. But which one represents the best general direction of the nation at
this crucial time? Today I happen to believe
it is Lincoln’s. Ten years from now, if
the Democrats write a new platform and clean up their act in a few areas, I may
once again think otherwise. I will keep
you posted (if I am still able to type at that time, that is!). Until then I am
a GOP moderate and not ashamed of it. Deal, people. You dealt with my coming
out, becoming celibate and my move to Catholicism, and even my ups and downs
since. So this should be a breeze.
Speaking of generous, this fall,
in fact next week, the area’s Republicans are sponsoring a Regional conference
here in MN. I am going. It normally costs $300 to attend. I had ruled
out going due to finances but on the very last day I could apply, I suddenly learned
of a scholarship program and won a full scholarship. How generous is that??? It
probably did not hurt that I name dropped my friend Revak on the application either. I will hear speakers such as the new national
GOP chair Reince Priebus, as well as Karl Rove and many local leaders as well.
I do not plan to be brainwashed either.
I will take home with me what makes sense to me, and leave the rest at
the hotel. But I owe it to them to at least listen, just as I have often argued
that Republicans need to listen to President Obama much more. At least when he
makes sense—and sometimes he does.
Perhaps my beliefs have not
actually changed so much after all. I am
still willing to hear both sides, and as stated to vote across party lines when
appropriate. But I find it hard to
dismiss a whole group and do so by name calling or condemning them to eternal
fire (as if I had the right to do so anyway!).
Wish me well. And to my
Democratic friends, feel free to pray for my plunge into insanity if you must. But do not pray I become a Democrat
again. Just pray that I be, as so many I
have mentioned here, a generous and caring friend of all Americans, even if I
am going about it in a way that you do not happen to agree with.
Your comments are welcome, by the
way. But insults are not. Not from
either side. And I do know how to use
the delete button. Thanks.
*According to Obama friend Marty
Nesbitt, the two were walking together later that afternoon before the speech,
and when Nesbitt likened him to a rock star because of the crowd growing behind
them, Obama replied: “Yeah, if you think it’s bad today, wait until
tomorrow…My speech is pretty good.”
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Democratic_National_Convention_keynote_address#Convention for more on this speech and its implications.