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I must confess to indulging a bit of despair November 5th. I felt like America was being thrown out of an airplane with no parachute and nothing to do but free fall to her doom. No checks, no balances – just Obama and a Democratic Congress -God help us! Early on I sought denial and delusion (didn’t watch the news and read only upbeat reassuring, sometimes koolaid laden articles about Obama) like a kid who buries her head and doesn’t want to hear the scary part of the story, but I was quickly heartened.
First some background: As a former independent with libertarian leanings, I was used to alienation & lost causes and hadn’t the experience of watching a party come back while I was part of it. So McCain losing sorta felt like the end of the world…or at least America as we know it. Prior to 2008, I’d been a citizen without a party. On most issues I would be classified as conservative – but that didn’t seem to describe most of the actions of the Republicans in power so…. and living in New York City, not knowing many actual Republicans (at least not who admitted it ) I judged the GOP by the media portrayal and the worst excesses and incompetencies of the Bush years. Needless to say, I was not a fan- but there was one exception. I did like John McCain. Quite a lot. For the first time in my (relatively) young life I was actively supporting a candidate. I did it wholeheartedly and with every spare minute and dollar that I could and…McCain turned out to be the gateway Republican.
I was- of course – thrown in with Republicans and was exposed to news I’d hardly known existed. I’d been inclined to hate Fox News (as an extension of a mild case of BDS) , Rush Limbaugh on general principle (I’d never listened but had been raised by a lifelong Democrat…) I’d never heard of the RedState, National Review or the new media – but it was impossible to support McCain and watch CNN and so I soon discovered that Republicans were much different than I expected. Smarter, more principled, more reasonable, etc., etc. and Rush is downright hilarious! If there’s any insight I can impart from having come out of no-man’s land it’s this: outreach to Democrats, independents and the lunatic fringe! ( I use the term affectionately) They may be turned off to the GOP, but it may be because they’ve only been exposed to a straw man version of the party! Or maybe they only know a few obnoxious creeps… We are more open than you’d think.
Anyway back to my heartening, the inauguration was depressing and I was glad to now have right wing friends to commiserate with – but there’s nothing like unmitigated outrage to waken one out of despondency and the stimulus certainly inspired that. Obviously everyone right of center was furious but I wondered… what would come of it? Would there be action or just whining? Would our elected representatives sell us out? (As they have, lets face it, too many times) I was cautious about getting my hopes up, but the tea parties exceeded all expectations, the House Republicans held the line and I discovered I had a party!
To be continued tommorow.