Thursday, August 27, 2009

Becoming An Elephant

This post is basically my political autobiography and will chronicle how I came to align myself with the Republican Party.

At the age of 18, I registered to vote. At the time, I lived in a state where you had to declare a party when you registered. My parents were both Democrats. My father, in fact, was a delegate for Presidential hopeful Gary Hart in 1984. This being my only real knowledge of politics at the time, other than what I was taught in Civics class and the fact that the only President I knew anything about was President Reagan, I chose to register as a Republican.

I remained a Republican up until after the Presidential primaries in 1992. I voted as a Republican in the Presidential primary. I do not remember who I voted for in that primary but I know that it is was the current President at the time, George H.W. Bush.

I would also like to mention that at this point in time I was a little bit more involved with educating myself in the political process. In fact, I was a member of the Student Senate at the college I was attending.

After the primaries were over, and Bush won the nomination, I felt myself very unimpressed with the Republican Party. I was also not too terribly impressed with the Democratic Party either, however, after having looked at both candidates, including H. Ross Perot, I felt more in tune with the Democratic nominee, Bill Clinton. At this point, I decided to re-register as a Democrat, even going so far as to ascend to the Vice Presidency of the Young Democrats.

After Clinton won the election, I of course, remained a Democrat. I remained a Democrat until toward the end of Clinton's 2nd term. I never did like Al Gore (I still don't). I did not really want to see him become President. But I also at the time did not want to see the son of the President I despised back in the early 90s become President either. By the time the primaries came around for this election, I registered as an Independent because I was completely disenfranchised with both parties and began to really hate the two-party system. Registering as an independent in the state I was living in however made me not eligible to vote in either primary.

Not knowing who to vote for, I began looking at all of the options for Independent candidates and began to feel more in tune with the Libertarian Party. So I supported, campaigned and voted for the Libertarian Party's candidate, Harry S. Browne. I also campaigned and voted for an Independent candidate for that state's gubernatorial election. Neither one of them won, of course, but I began to realize that I was not in tune at all with either political party and remained an Independent for a very long time after that.

Fast forwarding to 2008, the Presidential primaries were in full swing and I of course was registered as an Independent which meant I could not vote in the primaries. Oddly, I re-registered as a Republican just in time to be able to vote in those primaries and voted for Mike Huckabee. Shortly after the primary, I switched back to Independent. I did this switcharoo because I genuinely like Huckabee as a person and had not quite decided at that point in time which Independent I was going to support in that Presidential election. I did not re-register before the primaries as a Democrat because I did not like any of the choices.

With the general election going on, I briefly supported Obama (very very briefly) until I came to my senses and realized how much I truly did not (and still don't) trust the guy. I was not a fan of Senator McCain either and did not support him either. In the end, in the last few weeks of the campaign, I decided to throw my support behind Ralph Nader. Not necessarily because I believed in his policies (although I did agree with some of them) but because I felt like he was the best chance an Independent had of making a strong showing.

Immediately following the election, I realized that being an Independent was truly a lesson in futility. There was no way, especially not in the state in which I was living at the time and currently still live in, an independent candidate in any elected office will ever make enough of a showing to make any kind of difference. I realized that the entire time I remained staunchly Independent I was in fact kidding myself.

So I began a sort of political soul-search to figure out where I belonged.

I began to think about which Party I truly was more in tune with.

At first, I realized that there were a lot of issues that I agreed with the Republican Party platform on but there were some I disagreed with so there was little chance that other Republicans would warm up to me being in their party.

On the other side of the coin, I had little desire to join the Democratic Party. This was the Party that put the current administration into office and that was something that I could never support. On top of the fact that I had very little in common with this party and it's stand on the issues.

So after much thought and discussion with members of both parties (and discussions among other fellow Independents), I decided that since I agreed with the ideals of the Republican Party more often than I disagreed with them and that I truly did feel more in tune with their conservative principles, I decided to throw my hat into the GOP ring.

In some ways, I still consider myself to be an independent voter. I am not a blind partisan and there are still a couple of things that I disagree with the party on but I believe it was Reagan who once said if you are with me 80% of the time, you are with me and that is my take on this because I am sure that I agree with the GOP more than 80% of the time.

In any case, I am conservative and for now, the Republican Party is the party that espouses conservative ideals. So unless the GOP does a complete shift to the left at some point in time, the Republican Party is where my loyalty lies.

And that, my friends, is how I became an Elephant.

9 comments:

  1. You do seem to have an excellent memory... but do you dislike rats too?

    Whoever "penned the tale" on the Democrat Donkey mascot certainly nailed it.

    A bunch of braying Asses if you ask me.
    -red

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rats?

    What political party has a rat as a symbol?

    I have seen an owl as a symbol for the New Whig Party. You should do some reading on that party. It is somewhat interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. yeah... i know, the rats thing was lame... i was going for the elephant/mouse thing but mice just didn't seem as menacing as Demo-rats.

    There... fixed it!

    The New Whig party huh, I know about the Falcon Party effort. If I join the New Whiggers... (careful how you say that), do I have to get wooden teeth too?
    -red

    ReplyDelete
  4. I had the name wrong.

    They are called the Modern Whig Party.

    They are advocates of fiscal responsibility, energy independence, education reform, states rights, reform of Veterans affairs and they advocate stopping the government from legislating morality.

    Overall, they sound like a decent party to belong to but I don't see them getting very far.

    Like me, I think most of them should unite with the Republican Party and work from within to reform what they think does not work about the Republican Party instead of forming their own party which will eventually will sadly go nowhere.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "...I think most of them should unite with the Republican Party and work from within to reform what they think does not work about the Republican Party instead of forming their own party which will eventually will sadly go nowhere."

    That my friend is the quote of the decade.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am an independent and I will have to think about what you said here of it being futile. Even though I don't think any of my candidates will ever get elected, I do see that my independent stance does have the effect of raising awareness with my family and friends. An independent viewpoint sheds a lot of light sometimes when contrasted with stereotypical, confined, backwards, partisan viewpoints.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was a Democrat since I could register to vote in 1992, but I changed to an independent earlier this year. I did this because I truly am sickened by both of the major parties. Neither party gives a rat’s ass about us. Yes there are individuals in both that actually care, but the parties themselves only care about their own power. This is why I could no longer be a member of either party.

    I also don’t think that being an independent is futile, nor do I think third parties are futile. Yes their chance of success is incredibly small, but that’s because the two big parties have all of the money and power. Also, it is the independent and swing voters that generally shape every major election. Whichever side can convince the majority of independents and moderates to support them, while holding on to their base, will win every time.

    People also seem to forget that the GOP started as a third party. If they were able to rise to prominence, it is possible that another party could as well. Not likely…but possible.

    Until the Democratic Party comes to its senses and embraces more people like Brad Henry, David Boren, and Bill Bradley, and abandons its left wing, authoritarian-esque ideals, then I’m staying strongly independent.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I understand your reluctance to be a member of a party Dave. I really do.

    And I agree that the two major parties do have all the money and power and that is why the third parties have not fared any better.

    I believe, however, that in my case, joining the Republican Party was a good move. I believe that because most of what I believe is part of the Republican Party platform. I also believe that by becoming a member of the Republican Party I can enact some change from within.

    I believe third parties are futile because it is near impossible to get your message out with the way the political system is currently run and that is unfortunate. But that is the way it is right now.

    But you are right about something. There is a possibility that a smaller third party eventually could gain prominence. I do not see that happening in our lifetime though.

    I think staying an Independent in your case is a good move. I think this because I really don't think that (unlike in my case) you agree with anywhere near 80% of either parties platforms. Being an Independent is a better fit for you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You really are sounding more and more like a politician every day.

    I’m glad that you have found a place in this disjointed mess that we call politics. The GOP is lucky to have you and hopefully your will bring some sanity back into the party. And you’re right that I just don’t fit in anywhere.

    ReplyDelete