Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Why I Left the Republican Party, but Didn't Become a Democrat: A Republican of Republicans.

I remember slapping on two “George W. Bush for President” stickers on my truck before the election of 2000. I felt one sticker wouldn’t have accurately portrayed my dedication and devotion to the GOP candidate. These stickers were right underneath my Christian “Ichthus”, or fish. Looking back, I can see I was more devoted to the GOP than Jesus. This is my story.

Attending Young Republican meetings were quite fun. They would often be held at ritzy hotels in Scottsdale. About 20-30 of us would stand around snacking, chatting about upcoming events and elections. I rubbed shoulders with some of the most elite Republican politicians in Arizona. I remember specifically speaking to one prominent politician who had held his office for over 20 years. The stories he would talk about in regards to money, personal relations, and personal behavior were dumbfounding. I left the meeting feeling like I could do a better job than this guy in the human decency department. The reason I share this story is that I learned from a young age that Democrats were “morally bankrupt” and held “loose morals”. I learned that night that acting “morally bankrupt” transcended political lines.

Nevertheless, I continued my pursuits in the Republican Party. I desperately wanted to be involved in politics. As I entered college, I started as a Poly-Sci major. Some of my friends and I would go to Republican rallies. I started pushing for internships with various Republican politicians. I started to get my feet wet. I was ready to go, to be a dedicated helper to the GOP in AZ in order to propel my own career into politics someday.

Election night rolled around. November 7th, 2000. My buddy and I were going down to the AZ Republican Headquarters to celebrate what seemed to be likely Bush win over Gore. We slowly watched to election unfold before our eyes. Sometime early in the night, a TV station declared Bush the winner. We were elated. Cheering. Yelling. High fives. Hugs. Everyone was thrilled. About an hour later, the election was back in the air again, up for grabs….Bush’s victory would be delayed. I don’t feel I need to recount the details of the election, I am sure we all remember it well.

The next few weeks and on I sat on pins and needles. All I did was listen to talk radio in the car, surf the net for results and updates when on the computer, and sit in front of my TV watching Fox News when at home. If Gore got in the world would be doomed. Bill Clinton Part II. That is the last thing this country needs. Oh. Praise God. Bush wins….

I share all this to show you how much my life was all about politics, and specifically the GOP. Often when I think about those days and that time in my life, I liken it to the apostle Paul when he declared his stock. “Circumcised the 8th day, of the stock or Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” I was that in my mind to the GOP. I was soooo devoted, soooo dedicated, no one could question my zeal….I was sold out to the GOP, until death. I would fight for what was right!!

Then, Grace Awakening……

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Why I Left the Republican Party, but Didn't Become a Democrat: The Formative Years

The furthest back I can remember engaging in politics would have to be elementary school. I remember doing mock elections at the school. The candidates were George Bush (R) and Michael Dukakis (D). I decided to back Dukakis. At that age, I strictly made that decision because I wanted to be different. Bush carried the school, like 88% to 12%. I was the only kid in my class to vote for Dukakis. Did I mention that I lived in the middle to high class suburbs of Scottsdale, Arizona and my school was 95% caucasian….thought that information might be relevant.

As I grew older it became very clear to me that “Christians” were Republicans. And why was this the case? I learned it was because of their stance on abortion, capital punishment, and money (gay marriage was not an issue yet). It made sense to me. I mean what other issues could there be. My parents were middle class Americans, and the Republican party seemed to have that category’s best interests at hand. Growing up as a Christian, I certainly didn’t believe that abortion was moral or right, and if someone killed other people, well then, they deserved to die too. This is how I was brought up, this is what I learned. I rarely, if ever, heard about other “life” issues like war, poverty, gun laws, and education. I heard that America was the best country in the world and constantly viewed the “God Bless America” stickers all over people’s cars. I heard that we were the supreme superpower militarily and that no one better mess with us because we would destroy them. I heard that our country was founded and rooted in Christian principles and that democracy and capitalism were non-negotiables.

This upbringing would thrust me into the forefront of defending and aligning myself with what is better known today as the “Religious Right”. I joined the Young Republicans. I attended meetings and bashed the principles of the Democrats and called them immoral. I argued and debated liberals at school and told them that they didn’t have a brain or morals at all. I was a terror.

Those were my formative years; that is how I came to be as right-winged as one could be. You can ask any of my friends about this subject and every last person would tell you that I was the staunchest conservative Republican around. I bled patriotism and I was steadfast in moving this nation forward in the “right” direction. This is chapter 1 of my story……