The Six-Month Democrat
My journey into politics was rather interesting—bipolar, you might say. At eighteen years old, fresh out of Catholic high school and beginning my studies at the University of Utah, I was an adamant supporter of—wait for it—Barack Obama. It was 2007, and I, like so many others my age, had been fooled by all the lofty rhetoric about hope and change that this young community organizer from Chicago embodied in his campaign for the presidency.
Looking back, I thank God for two (now very close) friends who pushed back against my naïvety, challenging the Obama I thought I knew—the Obama introduced to me by carefully tailored campaign speeches and a media that loves to play lapdog—with little seen and seldom reported facts about the President. I didn’t end up voting for him.
After the 2008 election, I shrank from my involvement and activism in the politics of America (which then only included sending out regular e-mails to family and friends, and maybe the occasional Facebook post). And I remained one of America’s treasured independent voters for quite some time.
The Voice of Liberty
In the spring of 2012, though, things had changed. It had been four years since the evening of November 4th, 2008, when I found myself overcome with worry about the man my country had just elected to be her next president. The political season was heating up, and the 2012 race for the White House was intense. A flame that had long ago died out within my heart burned anew.
My political activism had been rekindled. I’d seen the devastating impact that Barack Obama’s socialist policies were having on America, and I couldn’t keep quiet anymore. (I suppose I have Obama to thank for solidifying my conservatism. Oh, the irony.) So that spring, I started a blog called Food, Photography & Politics, or the FPP Blog. As one might expect, my attempt to blog on three totally unrelated topics didn’t last long, and the FPP Blog quickly became The Voice of Liberty, a blog dedicated to political commentary from a conservative perspective.
It never did get much of a following, but along the way, something noteworthy happened in my political life. In case you were unaware, Utah’s primary election is dead last. This gives me little hope of ever really being able to impact our party’s nominee, but nevertheless, when June of last year rolled around, I felt the need to at least make my voice heard.
I didn’t like Mitt Romney. I still don’t. He isn’t a real conservative. This was readily seen in the way he responded to questions about his conservative positions. He didn’t know why he believed the principles he claimed to hold so dear. He just knew what his political advisors had told him to say and, like a good puppet, bought and paid for, he just did what he was told. Contrast that with someone like Ronald Reagan, a man who believed in conservative principles to his core, and fought to defend them throughout his political life.
At any rate, Utah’s Republican Party required that I be a registered member in order to cast my ballot, so for the first time in my political life, I lost my unaffiliated independence and became a registered Republican. Sadly, it didn’t last long.
The Jefferson Lies
Over the summer, I read a book called The Jefferson Lies, written by a man named David Barton. In it, Barton attempts to debunk many common myths about Jefferson, and actually paints him as a man I could very much look up to, a man who had become victim to a revisionist history that told a falsified story of who he really was and what he really stood for.
From the portrayal of Jefferson created in Barton’s book, I gathered that Jefferson was a man of reason, a devoted follower of Scottish Common Sense Philosophy, and a devout believer in Jesus Christ and the Gospel He preached. I had also somehow—don’t ask me how—gotten it into my mind that Democrats were the party of fact and reason, that the party’s members could easily be swayed one way or another, if only one could present them with basic facts and simple reason.
Not only did I have this notion (which I now know to be false) about the Democratic party, but it’s my understanding of history (I welcome correction) that most members of the Anti-Federalist party, of which Thomas Jefferson was the founder, became Democrats in the mid-Nineteenth Century. So when, on October 30, 2012, I officially registered as a Democrat, I was, in my mind, returning the Democratic party to its roots.
The Six-Month Democrat
Earlier this year, reality began to set in. It started, interestingly enough, with a fight on Tumblr concerning the facts of Jefferson’s life. In the course of that fight, I discovered that The Jefferson Lies is, in fact, itself a lie—embarrassingly so. It’s rare enough for any book to be withdrawn from shelves across America for inaccuracy, much rarer still for a New York Times bestseller to be recalled. Yet so inaccurate were the facts presented in Barton’s book that, though it was a bestseller, its publisher decisively issued such a recall.
How far I’d fallen into deceit is a moot point for our sake. That is for me to discover later as I conduct more research. The relevant point, though, is that one of the key premises on which I’d made my decision to become a Democrat had crumbled. Others soon followed.
On April 10th of this year, Rand Paul delivered a highly controversial speech at Howard University on the history of the Republican party. Liberals, of course, jumped all over Paul’s speech. Truth hurts, I guess. But what Paul’s speech did for me is remind me not only of the Republican party’s history, but of the Democratic party’s as well.
While the Republican party was founded by President Abraham Lincoln, the man who fought and died for a freedom that knew no racial bounds, a party which has its basis still today in a firm belief that free men and women, if given the opportunity, being motivated by the desire to better their lives, can and will achieve remarkable and astounding heights; while that is the history of the Republican party, the Democratic party’s doesn’t fare so well. It is littered with white supremacy and flagrant racism, as well as what I believe to be quite a few attempts to suppress, rather than promote, racial equality and equal opportunity. (More on that in future posts.)
Another key premise on which I’d based my decision to become a Democrat—historical disillusionment—came crumbling down.
Finally, there was ThinkProgress. Every day, I read several hundred news headlines from the extreme political viewpoints in our country. I believe it wise to stay in touch with both sides of an issue, especially when it comes to politics. So, I carefully select my news sources to include those extreme viewpoints, and to exclude those that claim to have no agenda, because everyone—yes, everyone, even those “objective” news outlets—has an agenda.
For those who don’t know, ThinkProgress is the liberal, Democratic counterpart to RedState. After a few weeks of following them, my blood had boiled one too many times, aggravated by the profound level of arrogance and condescension toward conservatives and the conservative point-of-view that its authors demonstrated.
Contrary to being the party of fact and reason that I had assumed the Democratic party to be, I discovered rather quickly that the liberal, progressivist base of the Democratic party is woefully blinded by their own intellectual arrogance. The third and final premise on which I had based my decision to become a Democrat came crashing down.
A Republican for Life
The three key premises on which I’d made my decision to become a Democrat were now in ruins. So it was that on April 22nd of this year, I went to the GOP website and downloaded the party’s 2012 platform and, to my pleasant surprise, came to find that I very much agree with most of the party’s positions. Grinning with excitement, I proceeded to change my registration with the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office to become a Republican, and have no intention of changing that.
With all that said, it is my great honor and pleasure to join the RedState community, as one more voice standing up for conservative principles and the values that made this country so great.
Perhaps the greatest contribution I hope to make to the American Conservative Movement is to help conservative politicians provide meaningful counterpoints to their liberal counterparts. As I said earlier, I tune into both sides of the argument, and though the liberal side likes to berate its audience with an ungodly number of studies and alleged facts, there are many (sometimes faulty) assumptions they make along the way that can be exploited and exposed by conservatives in our effort to articulate our positions to the American people.
There is much at stake, both for conservatism and for this country we love. I do not, however, think these challenges are insurmountable. In fact, I have watched as the God in whom I believe, the God of the Angel Armies, has responded to my prayers for this country, and I’m sure the prayers of many others. So, my friends, though we have an uphill battle ahead of us, I firmly believe that His angels fight on our side. Take courage in that hope; and Godspeed.