Since this is my first diary, I thought I'd better get this out of the way right now. I know, it's like standing up at a Dobson function and shouting "I'm gay!" or like attending a Sierra Club meeting wearing seal fur and carrying a "Drill in ANWR - NOW" sign. But I've been lurking here at dKos for over a year, and I finally...well, just needed to join here last week. I think it was ScAlito that finally pushed me over the edge.
I have a weird view of my party affiliation and, in fact, my party. IMO, the Republican Party has become a third party, a fringe party. It's practically gone - a mere afterthought in American political party history. We've got the two "major" parties now: Democrats and Rethugs - and the rest are also-rans.
I've been a registered Republican since 1972, when at 18 I first registered to vote in my native state of New Jersey. Always a contrarian, I foolishly supported the Vietnam war in order to differentiate myself from my peers. I proudly voted for Richard Nixon by absentee ballot, and I voted reliably "R" for almost the next 20 years. The Reagan era caught me napping - too many recreational chemicals in the '80s for me to realize what was going on, maybe - and I failed to see the evil being born and the destruction of the potentially beautiful Carter legacy before it ever passed the embryo stage.
I can tell you exactly when I had my epiphany and stopped voting "R" though: the Bush 41 - Clinton debate where Papa Bush said that our courts should 1) eliminate "all those" appeals..."you get your sentence, and that's it!" and 2) eliminate "ridiculous exclusionary laws...when an honest cop makes a mistake the evidence shouldn't be excluded just because he didn't have a warrant or something".
Fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth amendments to the United States constitution: obsolete. Let's wipe 'em out.
I've tried to develop impeccable progressive and liberal credentials. I have Political Compass numbers of
-10.00, -6.77. **edit** Sorry - typo - it's -9.00, -6.77. I vote for Democrats for almost every office except for a few local and state positions.
But I'm still an "R".
Maybe it's a stubborn refusal to give in to the Rethugs, to finally accept that they've destroyed my party. I know that part of my motivation is to be able to vote in Republican primaries at the local level such as county commissioner; in my county, one of the reddest in an already red state, there are no Democrats in county office, so it's important to try to get rid of the worst of the Rethug crooks in the crowded "R" primaries (there generally are no local "D" primaries). Part of the reason is so that I can stand up to the rest of my so-called party members and say "I have the same letter after my name as you do, what in the world are you thinking?"
I've even had some success at the latter.
My "D" friends - a growing circle - keep predicting I'll leave the "dark side" soon. I think they have some kind of pool going at local Denocratic party headquarters. And then I read diaries such as the Lamont/Lieberman diaries and realize just how crucial party activism is for Demorcats right now. I'm trying to find a way to help. Democratic primaries for congress in NC are just about nonexistent, but good Democratic candidates, such as Tim Dunn NC-08, are emerging and I will loudly support them. I've come to the conclusion - it's not exactly rocket science - that it's not necessarily about party, it's about values. I've already gotten infuriated by Kossacks who have voiced support for ScAlito, or made excuses for the unacceptable votes by Democrats and blue-state
Republicans Rethugs for cloture. As a newbie, I reflexively "1" rated some of those comments, and I'm sorry I let my emotions run away from me causing me to abuse the rating system that way. I'm learning.
I hope that there are other "recovering Republicans" out there who share my views and offer themselves as allies in the newly emerging progressive movement led by brilliant and principled Democrats like so many of the Kossacks. The fact that "recovering republican" was already taken as a member ID when I joined is a good sign. I pledge to work tirelessly at all levels, from local to federal, to eliminate the Rethug plague from our system. We need some help from the last remaining Republicans too.
I apologize for making this more of a bio than a diary, but I look forward to posting some good diaries when I have something substantive to write about.