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The Political Awakening of a Republican


Society & Culture  (tags: activists, americans, corruption, culture, dishonesty, education, ethics, freedoms, government, politics, rights, society, world )

Kit
- 589 days ago - alternet.org
I used to be a serious Republican, moderate and business-oriented, who planned for a public-service career in Republican politics. But I am a Republican no longer.



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Kit B. (277)
Monday September 10, 2012, 9:34 am
Photo Credit: Gunnar Pippel/ Shutterstock.com


I used to be a serious Republican, moderate and business-oriented, who planned for a public-service career in Republican politics. But I am a Republican no longer.

There’s an old joke we Republicans used to tell that goes something like this: “If you’re young and not a Democrat, you’re heartless. If you grow up and you’re not a Republican, you’re stupid.” These days, my old friends and associates no doubt consider me the butt of that joke. But I look on my “stupidity” somewhat differently. After all, my real education only began when I was 30 years old.

This is the story of how in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and later in Iraq, I discovered that what I believed to be the full spectrum of reality was just a small slice of it and how that discovery knocked down my Republican worldview.

I always imagined that I was full of heart, but it turned out that I was oblivious. Like so many Republicans, I had assumed that society’s “losers” had somehow earned their desserts. As I came to recognize that poverty is not earned or chosen or deserved, and that our use of force is far less precise than I had believed, I realized with a shock that I had effectively viewed whole swaths of the country and the world as second-class people.

No longer oblivious, I couldn’t remain in today’s Republican Party, not unless I embraced an individualism that was even more heartless than the one I had previously accepted. The more I learned about reality, the more I started to care about people as people, and my values shifted. Had I always known what I know today, it would have been clear that there hasn’t been a place for me in the Republican Party since the Free Soil days of Abe Lincoln.

Where I Came From

I grew up in a rich, white suburb north of Chicago populated by moderate, business-oriented Republicans. Once upon a time, we would have been called Rockefeller Republicans . Today we would be called liberal Republicans or slurred by the Right as “Republicans In Name Only” (RINOs).

We believed in competition and the free market, in bootstraps and personal responsibility, in equality of opportunity, not outcomes. We were financial conservatives who wanted less government. We believed in noblesse oblige , for we saw ourselves as part of a natural aristocracy, even if we hadn’t been born into it. We sided with management over labor and saw unions as a scourge. We hated racism and loved Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., particularly his dream that his children would “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” We worried about the rise of the Religious Right and its social-conservative litmus tests. We were tough on crime, tough on national enemies. We believed in business, full stop.

I intended to run for office on just such a platform someday. In the meantime, I founded the Republican club at my high school, knocked on doors and collected signatures with my father, volunteered on campaigns, socialized at fundraisers, and interned for Senator John McCain and Congressman Denny Hastert when he was House Majority Whip Tom DeLay's chief deputy.

We went to mainstream colleges -- the more elite the better -- but lamented their domination by liberal professors, and I did my best to tune out their liberal views. I joined the Republican clubs and the Federalist Society, and I read the Wall Street Journal and the Economist rather the New York Times . George Will was a voice in the wilderness, Rush Limbaugh an occasional (sometimes guilty) pleasure.
*** (continue reading at Visit Site)

By Jeremiah Goulka | Tom's Dispatch | Alternet |
 

Kit B. (277)
Monday September 10, 2012, 9:36 am

I read this yesterday and was glad I found it again today. I found this to be a deeply moving story as told by author of his own life experiences.
 

Brian M. (144)
Monday September 10, 2012, 10:35 am
May all beings awaken to the realization that free market capitalism and the corporate parties that maintain it are toxic to children and to all living things.
 

Nancy M. (219)
Monday September 10, 2012, 1:06 pm
Such a great article Kit.

"Like so many Republicans, I had assumed that society’s “losers” had somehow earned their desserts."

How often to do we hear that around here?

(And now Richard Lugar and Olympia Snowe will soon be gone)

Again, great article. Thanks. I hope it is read by many.
 

Jennifer C. (172)
Tuesday September 11, 2012, 5:18 pm
Thank you.
 

pam w. (187)
Tuesday September 11, 2012, 8:12 pm
Thanks, Kit. Nice to see someone honestly admitting to their own evolution.
 

Beverly M. (85)
Wednesday September 12, 2012, 6:21 am
It's amazing how easy it could be to open your eyes to what is really going on in the world and evolve from a caveman to a caring "second class person" if you truly want to see. Thanks for the great story Kit!
 

Susanne R. (248)
Wednesday September 12, 2012, 2:24 pm
I LOVE this paragraph:

"My old Republican worldview was flawed because it was based upon a small and particularly rosy sliver of reality. To preserve that worldview, I had to believe that people had morally earned their “just” desserts, and I had to ignore those whining liberals who tried to point out that the world didn’t actually work that way. I think this shows why Republicans put so much effort into “creat[ing] our own reality,” into fostering distrust of liberals, experts, scientists, and academics, and why they won’t let a campaign “be dictated by fact-checkers” (as a Romney pollster put it). It explains why study after study shows -- examples here, here, and here -- that avid consumers of Republican-oriented media are more poorly informed than people who use other news sources or don’t bother to follow the news at all."

Great article! Thanks, Kit!
 

Mary Donnelly (44)
Wednesday September 12, 2012, 2:27 pm
Thanks Kit--great post.
 

Tal H. (8)
Thursday September 13, 2012, 5:32 pm
Thanks for the share!
 

Linda h. (86)
Friday September 14, 2012, 3:26 pm
Where are our Republican trolls?Dianne? Elaine? Steve? Sock puppets?
Hellooooo! Where are they?
 

Lois Jordan (55)
Saturday September 15, 2012, 7:32 pm
Well, that's probably the most honest article I've read from a Repub. since I-don't-know-when! Much thanks, Kit.
 

Terrie Williams (753)
Saturday September 15, 2012, 9:43 pm
LOL, Linda....maybe the assassins got lucky......naaaaaaaaaaaaaa. They are just hiding because they cannot stomach one of their own converting to a human being.
 

Nancy M. (219)
Sunday September 16, 2012, 6:43 am
OMG- Terrie- your comment reminds me of that movie- The Invasion of the Body Snatchers! Better watch out1
 

Vincenzo Correale (197)
Tuesday September 18, 2012, 4:29 pm
Loved the story! Thank you so much Kit. It makes all of us reflect on our lives.
 

Val R. (208)
Wednesday September 19, 2012, 10:40 am
Thanks for your sharing Kit - registered Independent at 18- now am Humanist - considered Communist but isn't even close - mainly in South America - Democrats, Republicans - what is the difference - globalists' puppets -
 

Camila K. (141)
Monday September 24, 2012, 2:26 pm
Thank you so much Kit. This is exactly how it is. My favorite passage: "Like so many Republicans, I had assumed that society’s “losers” had somehow earned their desserts. As I came to recognize that poverty is not earned or chosen or deserved, and that our use of force is far less precise than I had believed, I realized with a shock that I had effectively viewed whole swaths of the country and the world as second-class people."

Romney is clearly oblivious to the plight of average people and the ones who are struggling, not only because of his party affiliation, and Ryan as well, but because of having been born to privilege and never really learning having to learn about compassion. These guys just don't get it, and don't want to because they truly believe the 47% and more likely the whole 99% are second class to their elite first.
 

Camila K. (141)
Monday September 24, 2012, 2:56 pm
It is a known in psychology, that republicans have a less evolved mind. Democrats and liberals tend to have a more developed prefrontal cortex which deals with higher forms of thought like compassion and sharing, whereas the republicans tend to have a less formed one. Their brains are more in the amygdala, brain-stem, or lizard mind which is the part of the brain that responds to hypnotic suggestion, and is also called the "fight or flight" response. This is why Republicans tend to respond so readily to military and ordered ways of being, and are scared to death of "terrorists" . The Democrats tend to be mocked as "bleeding hearts" since we tend to care about society, and see deeper into the issues as this author came to see.

I would rather be a bleeding heart, caring person than a sociopath any day.
 
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