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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An open letter to my Democratic friends

I myself am a Democrat. Or at least, I was. But since the days of Jack Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey, I have been orphaned by the party I loved. It moved elsewhere, leaving me now with no recourse but to pull the Republican lever. As you might suspect, these are hard times for someone in my position.

In the midst of the joy and acclamation over the recent events in Washington, I am finding the inner resources that enable forbearance wearing a little thin. I choose to assume that those who are causing my pain would welcome clarification so they could refrain if possible. Therefore, I would like to propose some reciprocal understandings in the interest of preserving mutual charity and respect during the next four years.
  1. I am glad that you are rejoicing over the election and inauguration of Barack Obama. I will refrain from verbally raining on your parade, even though I do not share your joy and optimism. This does not mean I share your views, but I respect them. I would appreciate your exercising similar consideration by refraining from speaking as if yours is the only legitimate point of view. It is not necessarily true that every individual with (a) a heart not made of stone, or (b) the brains God gave a goat will see it your way.

  2. Yes, I am happy that the United States of America has come to the point that a black man (or woman) can be elected to the highest office of the land. I do not, however, consider that this accomplishment necessarily implies that the electorate was on the side of the angels. (We could have gotten there much more quickly if we had accepted the offer of service tendered by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and we know how that turned out.) I extend President Obama the respect that I would extend to anyone -- I will evaluate his presidency by his performance. I will judge him, not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.

  3. I have, from time to time, been accused of not wishing our new president well. "I bet you're hoping he fails!" is among the remarks I have heard.

    Well, that depends. Do I want him to discharge the duties of the office ably, responsibly, in a way worthy of respect? Yes. Do I want America to thrive under him? Yes. Am I hoping for a disaster that can be laid at his feet so I can say, "I told you so?" Not at all.

    But do I want him to successfully implement many of the things that his statements and his record indicate that he will pursue? By no means. This is called "having a different opinion." It's okay, really.

  4. I would appreciate your respect in return. There were two reasons I declined to vote for him, both arrived at after careful consideration: (1) I am not confident that he has the character, presence, experience and abilities to meet the challenges of the presidency in the 21st century; and (2) I believe that many of the things he will try to accomplish, together with the goals of the interest groups to which he is beholden, would be contrary to the best interests of the United States. You came to a different conclusion. Welcome to America. This country was founded precisely so that we could do business this way.
When people speak as though American conservatives are hateful and hating, racist, war-hungry, and the enemy of all that is good, I take umbrage. I am one of them, and by the grace of God, I hope I am none of those things. I will try my best to think of your political convictions and personal intentions with charity and respect. I would appreciate the same.

6 comments:

karen said...

Found you through KB. Amen to this! Thanks for writing it.

Patricia Tryon said...

Isn't it ironic that the party that has promoted so many women to high office -- Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, just to name three -- has left behind so many women?

My matrilineal connection to the Democrats rolls back to the first election after Suffrage, when my grandmothers were able at last to vote. It was with great sorrow that I re-registered a number of years ago as an Independent.

Kansas Bob said...

Jack Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey.. wow.. you are much older than I thought if you voted for those guys. Who convinced you to go GOP? Was it Nixon or Ford or Reagan or one of the Bushes? Or was it one of their opponents? Or was it ideology that caused you to go GOP?

Your humble author said...

No worries, Bob, I'm still only middle-aged. I voted for JFK in 1960 in the sense that mine was one of the two votes for him in my entire elementary school, located in a bastion of Republicanism. No, I meant that if the Democratic party still worked for what it espoused in those days, I'd still lean in its direction.

There were two main things that broomed me over to the conservative side of the street. The primary one is that I consider the Democrats' support for abortion to be a critical failing. Even if religious principles weren't in the picture (which they are), I believe that one of the key characteristics of a civilized society is that it protects it's powerless members from exploitation by the powerful.

The second is that I see the disastrous fruit that has been borne by some of the well-intentioned but huge failures of the government interventions that liberals are so fond of. In the early days of Johnson's Great Society programs, for example, so few people were signing up for aid that, in Chicago, the government bought advertising and billboards to persuade more people to take advantage of it. The catch was that it was difficult to qualify if you were a member of a two-parent family. With one master stroke, the previously stable family culture of the urban poor was shattered with hugely unfortunate results.

Big interventions cause big unintended consequences. I'm not for less-ambitious government so that I can keep more of my tax dollars. I'm in favor of less-ambitious government because there are a few functions of government that are necessary and for which it's the right tool for the job; I want it to stick to those things.

Kansas Bob said...

Thx for the response YHA. I was a GOPer for over 25 years.. guess I became an independent when the GOP left the principles fiscal conservatism and failed to deliver on prolife issues.

I am hoping that the GOP can get back to the basics of conservatism.

Therese Z said...

Well put. I have to consider myself the loyal opposition. I pray for his safety and the conversion of his heart.

 

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