Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Musings - My Struggle as an Ex-Republican

Hello one and all,

First of all, sorry about the lack of content over the last month and a half or so.  I know that you have all missed me horribly, but a number of factors have contributed to my absence from the blogosphere as of late (as well as from the world at-large).  First and foremost, my work schedule has been oppressive to say the least.  The upside to my job is that I don't work super long shifts and the money is fairly easy considering what I actually do.  The downside is that A) employee turnover is exceptionally high so, given that I am a constant, they like for me to work lots when people quit/get fired/disappear into the void, B) I'm pretty good at my job...which means they like for me to work extra lots, and C) my availability is pretty open (which I do in an attempt to engender goodwill)....which results in me working shifts that others find undesirable for one reason or another.  Hopefully this problem will sort itself out in the near future.  The second problem was that it was the holidays and I have a family that I love and want to spend time with.  It is difficult to deliver high level content when my daughter is in my lap making monkey noises and my darling Katie is wanting to have quality time with yours truly.  I apologize for nothing.  Finally, for the past several aforementioned family was afflicted with rounds of the plague which I managed to avoid sans 1.5 days of intestinal doom.  So I was on nurse duty trying to get them over their various ailments.

"Daddy, we need medicines...and pity!"

However, I found myself with a little free time this evening, so I thought a little bit about what to write and I decided to come clean with something that some of you may have not known and more probably needed a cogent explanation for.  You one point earlier in my life...I was Republican.  Not a pretend "my parents are Republican" Republican.  A card-carrying, president of a chapter of the Young Republicans and worked on campaigns Republican.  My transition away from that way of viewing the world and politics in general was a long one.  Some steps were very sudden, others were far more gradual.  To this day, I have tendencies towards conservatism in some respects and there are Republicans I have a large amount of respect for.  A list includes Richard Lugar, Mitch Daniels, Ron Paul, Lindsey Graham, and Colin Powell (not necessarily in order and the list isn't exhaustive).  Do I agree with these people?  Not really (at least not on most things and my views have parted over time), but I do have a large amount of respect for them for a variety of reasons.  However, I thought it could be interesting for you folks (and definitely cathartic for me) to throw out there where things went "off the rails" for me.  Maybe it will be useful, instructive, or interesting...but at least its better than making a facebook page for your pet.

1.) Social Conservatism is stupid

Don't get me wrong....people have religious/spiritual beliefs for a variety of reasons and from a variety of backgrounds.  I get that.  But for some reason, generally speaking, social conservatism has just categorically decided that Christian beliefs (or in some cases other religions) are completely incompatible with certain behaviors or other beliefs.  The obvious ones are abortion, birth control, and homosexuality.  Let's be clear...I don't anyone to be forced to be aborted.  I don't want condoms strapped on to the unwilling.  And I don't want Ellen Degeneres (sp?) and Neil Patrick Harris going around raping people.  But really...thats an awfully lot like what it seems like coming from the social if these things, just by existing, are being forced upon them when it isn't true.  This is especially troublesome given that a major part of Christian belief is based around free will and the "choice" to believe in God's love and in the fact that Jesus was who he said he was.  Christians aren't nearly as ardent against those who don't believe (at best, they are disdainful in most situations) than those who are gay ("Don't touch me").  That seems incongruous to me.

"You don't want to know what I'm going to do with this unicorn"

Aside from that problem, another problem with social conservatism is that the foundation for a lot of these social views are based in Biblical scripture.  Don't get me wrong...scripture can be cool.  But at the same time, Christians have, over time, adapted to the times and to the fact that the Bible was written within a specific historical context.  Some of the things that we forbidden by scripture were just a good idea from a health and hygiene standpoint (homosexuality could have prevented villages from having a next generation plus some specific hygiene associated issues and I don't even want to know what birth control methods could have been employed...that just gives me the willies).  Christians have understood this to be why is it that THESE practices, whose "okayness" is debatable at least by very reasonable people, have become so heinous as to rally the troops at every mention, while the following scriptures (which is in some cases is far more literal than those cited for the above issues) have fallen by the wayside.

If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.

If a married person has sex with someone else's husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death.

MARK 10:1-12
Divorce is strictly forbidden in both Testaments, as is remarriage of anyone who has been divorced.

The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman's period. If they disobey, both shall be executed.

MARK 12:18-27
If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.

If a man gets into a fight with another man and his wife seeks to rescue her husband by grabbing the enemy's genitals, her hand shall be cut off and no pity shall be shown her.

Again....just food for thought.  At the end of the day, I just can't judge people for their choices.  I can't hate someone or shun them or deny them legal protection/rights because of who they are attracted to.  I can say that I would not want a fetus that I had any part in creating aborted...but the science isn't there to say that a human life starts at X and it is very reasonable for me to see that sometimes people can make a decision that is different from mine and I don't fault them for it.  To be a Republican right now, I would have to, at the very least, put up with a lot of that sort of nonsense and I can't do it.

2.) The GOP is anti-intellectual

There, I said it.  The best thing that ever happened to the Republican Party was higher drop out rates.  I am SO tired of this part of the current way of conservative thinking...that somehow "Ivy League intellectualism is responsible for all of our social ills and we need to get some "common sense" solutions right now."  First, sound like a moron, and thats probably because you are a moron.  Second, you doesn't want their kid to go to an Ivy League school?  We have some of the best colleges in the world, many of which are classified as Ivy League.  While there are certainly arguments against elitism, its not like these places haven't earned their reputations without ANY cause.  If my kids get in to Harvard or Yale or Princeton, first I will probably have a heart attack at the cost, but then I will do everything in my power to get them there.  College isn't for everyone...I get that.  But the very thought that because someone went to a good college makes them unfit to make good political/policy decisions is arguably the stupidest thing I have ever heard.  The best way I have to illustrate this is here:  You take someone who is uneducated but bright, run them through a great school, and the conclusions they draw from this experience lead them towards being liberal.  What is more likely...that the school somehow indoctrinates students into being liberal (which is laughable given what tax bracket these folks can come from in a lot of cases) or that a strong education means you may know somethings that others don't...which leads to....yeah....

"Indoctrinating and de-common-sensifying students since 1636"

The other problem I have with this anti-intellectualism is that its just a terrible message to send, to kids and just in general.  Don't become a'll just want to prove global warming is real like the rest of these
"scientists"!  Don't study creationism and the history of evolution...that means you don't believe in God!  Don't read....otherwise you'll get ideas!  It really has come down to the fact that the educated are looked down upon by Republicans because, to be blunt, many of their "simple" ideas don't withstand intellectual rigor very well.  Conservatism is very much governing "with your gut" and that often isn't good enough for a lot of the educated.  Thats not to say that these conservative ideas can't be justified intellectually or academically (seriously, read some of Robert Bork's writings.  The guy is more right-wing than Palin...but he is flat out brilliant), but its easier to make the educated into an enemy that they don't have to understand.  It also preys on the resentment of the uneducated...many of whom, sadly, would have went to high school or college if they could have but didn't for one reason or another.  A lot of those folks become conservatives...and thats a shame.

3.) A lot of Republicans are just douchebags

I'm not saying that ALL Republicans are douchebags.  Far from it.  I have several friends who are ardent Republicans that I hold in very high esteem.  I admire many Republican officials and even some GOP media personalities (Papa O'Reilly is growing on me....I think understands his position as an entertainer and not an expert better than he is given credit for....still disagree with 98% that comes out of his mouth though).  But seriously.....Glenn Beck?  Sarah Palin?  Rush Limbaugh?  I'm not saying that there aren't liberal assclowns (I'm looking at you, Bono), but do you really want me to listen to Ann Coulter say anything?!  

"I disagree...with everything....forever....f*cking baby killer"

These pundits sole purpose seems to be to disagree with everything Obama (or any liberal) says AND/OR causing/fabricating controversies and lacing all of that with subtle (or not so subtle) racism/sexism/homophobia.  If that was where it ended...with the pundits being that way...then it would be okay.  But conservatives are not that far off.  From those who are older that come from a time when judging someone by their skin was okay and haven't changed their minds to the guy who was raised hating gay people so calls everyone they don't like "fag" to even those that use the word "liberal" like its a curse word....go away.  You are using political jargon to vocalize and extend your assholeness into a new realm.  I don't have time for contrarians and if I encounter them....I make a point of embarassing them.  Unfortunately...they are a higher concentration of these sorts of folks in the conservative ranks than I bid you adieu.