Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Breaking up is hard to do.

I am no longer a registered Republican. I am now a member of the fastest growing political party in the nation – unaffiliated.

As an elected official who has been fairly active in party politics over the years this was no easy decision I promise you. I have donated time and money to both the party and party candidates. I was a delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention and have served as a state and county delegate on numerous occasions. I have walked miles of neighborhoods, made thousands of phone calls, and stood in the rain at polling places for Republican Party candidates.

The local and state Republican Party has been good to me over the years. They and their affiliate organizations and party volunteers have supported and worked for me in previous elections. I am forever grateful for their support and proud to call many of them my friends.

But I can’t support the Republican Party any more.

I agonized over this decision for months. But the more I tried to talk myself into staying with the Republican Party, the more I talked myself out of it.

Now before all you Democrats start thinking this is some miraculous epiphany on my part – don’t. Neither party has a monopoly on suck right now; and for all the Republican Party’s faults, I would never, ever consider joining today’s Democratic Party.

My decision has more to do with the hyper-partisanship of both political parties than it does solely with today’s Republican Party.

Do I have issues with the GOP? Sure I do. Did those issues contribute to my decision? Absolutely. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

I am disgusted with both political parties and partisan politics; and given Congress’ dismal approval rating over the years – regardless of which party has been in control – it appears I aint the only one. Influenza, used car salesmen and root canals have a higher approval rating than both parties in Congress and for good reason - they stink.

I am only 44 years old, but even I can remember a time when folks on both sides of the aisle could respectfully disagree and occasionally worked through their differences for the betterment of our nation. That clearly isn’t the case anymore. Politics has become personal. Winning has become more important than doing the right thing. Political gamesmanship trumps solving problems. Power and control is what today’s parties fight for. Compromise is a foreign concept.

The media, rabid special interest groups and corporate interests further fuels this division. If you can’t attack the message, attack the messenger!

Anything a Democrat proposes, Republicans will oppose and vice-versa. I am sure that if one party submitted a bill proclaiming the sky blue, the other side would oppose it….and then go on TV to rail about how blue skies are a budget buster, racist or cause global warming or something.

I take great pride in the fact that is NOT how we operate on the Cary Council. We are a fairly diverse group of members – Republicans, Democrats and an unaffiliated (two now). Yet our politics does not define who we are or how we govern. We respect each other’s positions and always look to work together on policies or initiatives that everyone can be satisfied with and that ultimately move our community forward. Sure we disagree at times, but it never becomes personal. We are better than that. I genuinely like and respect all of my council colleagues – they are good people. And In the seven years I have been on the council, I really cannot recall one single “party line” vote. Not one.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “I didn’t leave my party, my party left me.” Well, I wish it were that simple. It isn’t.

So what are some of my issues with the GOP? That’s a difficult question as what they stand for often depends on the letter at the end of the name of the person residing in the White House.

Take the NSA for example – It is a matter of national security that my government listen to my phone calls or read my emails when Bush is President, but it becomes an assault on freedom when Obama does it. Stimulus programs or government bailouts are ok when a Republican is in the White House, but it is socialism when a Democrat does it.

It is easy to tell what today’s Republican Party stands against – Democrats. It is difficult to determine what they actually stand for. But if you are looking for a political party who votes to repeal Obamacare every other week without offering a better idea or alternative, the GOP is for you!

The “last straw” for me (besides their obsession with social issues) was immigration reform – or lack thereof. The Republican Party and their candidates promised last year that if elected, they would fight for real immigration reform and stand up to Obama’s executive amnesty. They lied....again. Looking back I don’t know why I even held out hope that they would keep their word. The reality is that both parties have been lying to Americans regarding immigration for decades. Neither party really wants to fix it as the GOP sees them cheap labor and the Dems see voters. The overwhelming majority of Americans want our borders secured, but neither party does anything about it.

I believe myself to be a limited government fiscal conservative. I believe in liberty, individual responsibility, American exceptionalism, the free market and a strong national defense. I believe government’s role is to provide every citizen the opportunity to achieve their own personal success or goals – not guarantee it. Government can’t do everything for everyone, nor should it.

I would not however describe myself as a social conservative. I really don’t care if you are gay, and nor do I care why you are gay. That’s your deal, not mine. Who someone loves is none of my business as long as it doesn’t negatively impact me or my family or cost me money. Liberty, remember?

It baffles me how the self-proclaimed party of “limited government” is the first to insert themselves into someone’s bedroom or up a woman’s skirt, but I digress….

Those values are apparently in conflict with today’s Republican Party.

I never expect to agree 100% with any political party or official. But I do expect their platforms and actions to remain fairly consistent. I want my elected leaders to think for themselves – not do what their party tells them to do. I want my leaders to lead.

Hyper-partisanship is destroying our political system and our nation. I don’t want to be a part of it any longer.

I will continue to support those candidates for elected office that I believe best represent my values and are people of character and integrity. I will continue to oppose those who do not. And if that means I end up voting for “none of the above” in some races then so be it. I have never voted straight party ticket to begin with.

I hope this helps you understand my decision and I apologize if this rambled.

Thanks for your support.