My Time Spent As A Republican

Way back in 2008, there was another hotly contested primary race for the Democratic nomination.  I remember it very well.  I was a die-hard Hillary Clinton supporter and not at all impressed with how the DNC heavily favored Obama with super delegate votes.  Sound familiar?

Most of all, I wasn’t impressed with Obama supporters, who frankly, came across as liberal snobs and downright sexist.  Liberals. People who were supposed to be for the just treatment of women were calling Hillary and her female supporters every derogatory name in the book related to female genitalia.  The hypocrisy was appalling.  So, I ended up voting for John McCain, who then seemed fairly moderate.  His running mate was a little wacky but I loved how she tore into the elitist attitudes that I had run into as well.

So, I spent about a year or so of my life as a sojourner in the Republican world.  I watched Fox News, listened to Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity on talk radio.  I even found Glenn Beck intriguing.  Although it always felt a little icky, I came to understand why so many people find the right so appealing.  You feel like you belong to a group of people who are against a world that is changing too fast for comfort.

I felt like I had returned to my family’s southern roots.  I have always loved the south for its hospitality, food, beautiful country, and deep family connections.  I felt like I was in rocking chair, on a welcoming front porch on a summer’s eve, sipping lemonade and spinning yarns with kinfolk.  Yet, I never really felt like I belonged there, not in the political sense anyway.

I didn’t feel welcome with the snooty liberals,  hanging up yet another college degree in their hip urban apartment, while savoring a caffe latte from an overpriced coffee shop. I certainly didn’t feel right wondering if some of the far right wackos I encountered weren’t hanging a white sheet over their head and burning a cross on their neighbor’s lawn.

I remember working on a stained glass piece I was building in my basement while listening to talk radio.  I had made it a habit of listening to the radio while working.  But the time had come when I couldn’t continue listening because I knew most of what was being said about Democrats were lies.  After all, I’d been on the other side.  I knew the truth.

Looking back, I’m glad I had the experience because it allowed me to understand the good and the bad on both sides.  Although there are extreme voices, most people fall in the middle on most issues.  I’ve learned that people can get swept away by their political passions. People can feel betrayed when their candidate doesn’t win.

So, I completely understand why Bernie Sanders supporters are having a hard time supporting Hillary Clinton.  I can understand why they feel like the system was rigged against them.  I felt the same way as a Clinton supporter in 2008.  But the candidates are different this time.  Republicans aren’t offering up the typical Republican candidate.  Trump is a whole other critter.

I think we all have to have our own experiences to truly evolve but if I can offer any advice of my own, know that time works things out. Whatever your core beliefs are will bring you back home.  You may have to walk through unfamiliar territory to get back home but that’s not always a bad thing.  There’s a lot to learn in unfamiliar places.