From Republican to unaffiliated voter
I finally left my party.
It was actually a pretty uneventful decision. I had assumed that if I ever left, it would be in a blaze of anger and fury at another ridiculous thing that Trump or the party did or didn’t do, but I recently realized that I’ve become numb to the tragedy happening all over our country and the dysfunction of the federal government. I don’t even get mad anymore. It just makes me sad. So I logged onto the Colorado Secretary of State website and changed my party affiliation from Republican to unaffiliated. And then I waited to see if I felt embarrassed or ashamed at my lack of loyalty to a club and philosophy that I’ve identified with since I can remember. And I felt … nothing.
To be honest, the party left me a long time ago and I kept hanging on like some pathetic girlfriend that just won’t get the message that I no longer belong. I’ve considered dropping my party affiliation for a long time, but just kept hoping that by staying, I could somehow keep my party a little more centered and a little less extreme. I liked my role as the moderate Republican who could bridge the gap between right and left, but recently it’s been harder and harder to defend my party’s actions.
I’ve been a Republican since I turned 18 and have always been a fiscal conservative and small government proponent. I ran on the Republican ticket for state representative in Oregon in 2008 and lost in a Democratic sweep that took the entire country by surprise. Despite all that, there were plenty of things in my own party that I disagreed with and simply had to overlook. After all, we only have two real choices if we want to be taken seriously, so we’re bound to disagree with some parts of the platform. For me, it was the Republican stance against homosexuality and abortion that I overlooked. I’m sure you all have your own list.
But as my party began to move to some extreme place that isn’t what anybody would describe as conservative, my list began to grow. It grew along with the national debt and continued overregulation and an inability to compromise. When the Republican Party Platform included the transfer of federal lands to state and private ownership, I was appalled. The length of my list was getting harder to overlook.
And finally, last summer as we were going into the presidential election, I looked around and realized that I’d been left in the dust. There I was with a big R on my chest looking off into the distance trying to see where my party had gone. And I wasn’t alone. There were a whole bunch of us sitting around with Rs and Ds on our chests wondering where our parties went. This certainly wasn’t unique to the Republican Party. I can only imagine that the independents who have been camped out here all along are a little miffed that it took us so long to join the party.
But even then, I still hung on and after eight years of Democrats stuffing hope and change down everybody’s throats, I remained optimistic that Republicans — given an unprecedented opportunity to really effect change and legislate for people over party — would get to work. The country was primed for it. Nothing stood in their way.
Except for themselves, of course. And so it wasn’t hard to leave my party. After all, it wasn’t me that changed. I’ve been here all along.