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Monday, November 06, 2006

How I got here

A couple of months ago, I watched some bad television magazine piece (I think it was 20/20) about people who are--for whatever reason--not at all interested in sex. They marry other people who are not interested in sex. They spend their entire lives not poking or getting poked. And they are happy about it. As a guy who long ago crested his sexual peak (and, my, what a trip over the mountain that was), I still find it amazing that there are people who can even claim not to have sexual desire. I mean, I think about sex many times in a given day (sometimes more than a couple of times an hour). Hell, I'm thinking about it right now. Hold on a second...okay.

About a year ago, I wrote "Does My Vote Count" for the defunct (?) Tri-Clops blog. In that screed, I was pretty honest about my apathy for the political process. And, if I'm being honest, I still believe much of what I wrote then. That said, I have a list of candidates and their platforms sitting beside me right now. Tomorrow morning, I will head up to the local middle school and vote in every race I'm allowed. Why? I got just angry enough to do it.

For political strategists, I am a confounding voting animal. I don't make much sense. I'm not swayed by party politics, jingoism, or guilt-by-association politics. The fact that a church guy from Colorado liked speed and homosexual rub-and-tugs doesn't make me think my local Republican governor is a bad guy. Furthermore, the fact that John Kerry is a buffoon isn't going to keep me from voting for a Democrat.

When I finally decided I was going to re-enter the political world, I had to ask myself why? I had to ask myself how I got here politically.

For those of you who don't know, I was raised in a Republican house. Up until I was 17 or 18, if you'd asked me, I would've told you I was a Republican. I'm not sure I knew what that meant back then, but for all practical purposes, it meant supporting Reagan and talking bad about taxes. Back then, it was really easy to be a Republican. I went to school in a rural community in which I knew a grand total of two black people and one effeminate guy. I didn't meet any Jewish people until I went to college. That's not to say anything about race or politics. It's just to say, I was really, really isolated from the real world. What's more, as my father was a businessman and a successful entrepreneur, it was easy to put my shoulder behind the reduction of taxes and the elimination of the inheritance tax.

College affected me a lot like it affects most people. After moving away from home, I developed a greater sense for the people who actually make up society. My earlier conservative leanings shifted to the left. During my years in college, I routinely told people I was a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. Looking back, I'm not sure if I really understood what that meant, either.

The past ten years have been witness to a slow evolution in my political thinking. Usually, it's been more issue-based. It took me a very long time to decide that, while I don't think I would ever choose abortion as an option, I would not impose my choice on anyone else. After a very long time in which I considered myself a proponent of the death penalty, I now believe that, however satisfying it might be to see a child-killer put to death, it's not enough to make up for the possibility an innocent person might be killed. I believe in supporting the American military, but reserving the right to question the cause.

So, where am I now? Well, I am not a Republican and I'm not a Democrat. I still believe in reducing the tax burden on everybody (if you don't, check out 60 Minutes' piece on Congressional pork and wonder if you'd rather keep some of the taxes you're paying). I still believe in smaller government and reducing the intrusion of government on our lives. In the past, those might have been Republican causes. Any more, I don't think so. What's more, I believe I was long ago abandoned by the Republican party.

I wonder if the Republicans understand what they've done. In the past, I might have looked out for my personal interests (money, etc) and voted for a Republican, even it meant stomaching some ugly institutional social policies. Now, I'm willing to vote against Republicans, even if it means my self-interest is hurt. That is, I'm willing to stomach things I don't appreciate about the Democratic platform for the chance that I might not have to be ashamed of my government, confounded by authorized prisoner torture, or sick that people who have spent time in shadowy CIA prisons might not be allowed to speak to attorneys for fear they might reveal what interrogation techniques the spooks use.

So, tomorrow, I will vote the candidate and not the party, even if I know for a fact the candidate has zero chance of winning (my wife and I have agreed that we're both voting for, indeed, the Green Party candidate in our local Congressional race). I will vote my conscience.

A friend of mine who gets weekly transfusions for his bleeding heart told me last week that he's hoping, at a minimum, Democrats will take over the House tomorrow. Why?

"Sweet, sweet gridlock," he said.

There was a time in my life that I might have scoffed at him. Now, it seems like a reasonable idea. After all, if your parking brake slips on a San Franciso street, would you rather your car get stuck in a pot hole halfway down the road or roll all the way into the bay and sink?

Tuesday night is normally reserved for dinner and cards with my buddies. As I have plans to that effect later in the week, I'm bowing out of our normal routine. Instead, I think I'll sit here, watch the returns, and maybe even live blog our country's greatest pot hole potential.

And, in lieu of that, at least I'm not sexually apathetic. I wonder if my wife would wear her "I voted" stickers in a sexy place?

Labels: ,

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen.

We differ slightly on our views, but the evolution and current states of being are strikingly similar. I guess thats what happens when you grow up in the mid-west and move away from home.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Tommy said...

Take the test...

http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz.html

My guess is that you're a libertarian.

http://www.lp.org/

6:26 PM  
Blogger TeamScottSmith said...

Funny, the wife and I both just decided to vote for a Green party candidate for state super of education, even though his political stance on funding may negatively impact the wife's job (assuming the snowballs in Hell remain frozen).

8:11 PM  
Blogger G-Rob said...

I'm SO DAMN PROUD RIGHT NOW!


If democracy is going to burn, if western civilization is on the decline, try and live with the knowledge that you tried to do SOMETHING about it.

That's why I still work in the shit-eating business I do.

I think.

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am right to choose and right to death penalty, I believe in laws, I believe that government should give tax breaks to Corporate America TO KEEP jobs in the states. I believe we should have as many legal or illegal immigrants as possible, as long as they pay TAXES-fb. I am sure there are more issues, but I have to work now, I have taxes to pay.-frankie

9:08 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

OH I am sooooo stealing this Day in the Life idea...

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic post! Thank you!

2:26 PM  
Anonymous extenze said...

It's pretty interesting reading this post now that I know how the elections turned out. The great thing is that you did your part, and that's all that matters.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous extenze said...

politics is boring. NEXXXXXXXXXXXXXXT

3:27 AM  

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