Sunday, March 21, 2010

My politics: an admission

I think it's time I come clean with a heartfelt admission about my politics.

My parents are conservative, for the most part. Their friends, as far as I could tell growing up, lean liberal.
Growing up in Utah, feeling a need to rebel against something, I liked the Democrats. In middle school and high school, without fully understanding situations, I liked Bill Clinton. Hell, I still do, I think despite his personal life failures, he was a heck of a president who oversaw a great period of U.S. prosperity, technology advancement and well being of our nation.

I was in high school and my first years of college for most of the George W. Bush administration, and I didn't like the man. I didn't like his wars, I didn't like his policies, I didn't like his cabinet, I didn't like his VP and I was glad to see 2008 come and someone else come along. America could get back on track again.
In 2004, during the Democratic National Convention, I was working a night shift at Utah Public Radio on the night that Barack Obama gave the keynote address. I remember listening intently to his words, being drawn in by some catchy things he said.

"...there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America."
That was inspiring. There was more:
"We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states."
I went into work at The Herald Journal the next day and remember distinctly talking about the speech with Charlie McCollum, the managing editor, and saying that Obama could be the next president after a speech like that. In January 2005, I signed an online petition saying that "Barack Obama as president would be the best possible thing that could happen to our country." I bought "The Audacity of Hope" from Border's in Logan the day it came out and took it to court with me that day and told the bailiffs how wonderful this man was. I told my mother to read the book because Obama was exactly what our country needed.

Obama's momentum continued, he swept the youth of this country and everyone else up in a whirlwind and he got elected in November 2008. I traveled to Washington D.C. on January 20, 2009 for the inauguration (although I didn't actually get to see it because I was stuck in the Purple Tunnel of Doom.)

Over the first months of the Obama presidency, little was accomplished, but I defended him to his critics, of which there were/are many in Utah. I defended health care reform specifically, including several times on the radio, saying we needed to do something. I remained liberal on social issues but became increasingly more conservative on fiscal issues, not just over the past few months, but probably the past three years.

But about six weeks ago, something in my mind snapped. I watched Obama and the liberal Congress in the news and, as if a cloud had been lifted from my mind, asked myself how, in my right, logical mind, could I rationalize supporting these people.

It became clear to me, personally, that these politicians were not leading in a way that I value as appropriate.
As I've continued to digest the news every day for the radio, on everything from foreign policy to health care reform, every day its become more clear: The Democrats and, Team Obama for lack of a better term, are dead wrong. The Louisiana Purchase, the Cornhusker Kickback, providing the DNC fundraising mechanism for congressmen who vote with the White House on health was all wrong.

Sunday, I spent most of the day watching C-SPAN. Every time a Democratic congressman would speak in favor of health care reform, the platitudes that spewed out of their mouths about made me vomit. Meanwhile, GOP congressmen like Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and even John Boehner, spoke words about the value of America, liberty and freedom. They painted a clear picture: We were losing liberty and freedom and a piece of America with this health care legislation.

As I watched the votes come in, I became more sick. Now I'm outraged.

This morning, I will go into the Cache County Administration Building and officially change my party affiliation from the Democratic Party, where it's been since the day I registered to vote on my 18th birthday. I will register today as a member of the Republican Party. I will attend a Republican neighborhood caucus meeting on Tuesday night, and I will do all I can to get up to speed on what I now believe are the appropriate politics that are needed for our time.

For so long, people around here talked about how liberals are destroying our country, and I laughed at them thinking they were nuts. It turns out I was the one who was nuts. And I am not ashamed to admit it today.


Ty Mortensen said...

Humbly stated. I have a lot of respect for you, Tyler.

Loralee Choate said...

So basically we have the same-ish story with radically different endings.

Either way, it feels good to feel comfortable in your own skin and realize what you do and do not really think.

Good on, ya.

The Dave said...

Its a tough call Tyler. I consider myself a conservative democrat, mostly because I don't really believe in people and that every social program the gov't comes up with will wind up being exploited by the lazy and dishonest and those that cater to them.

Snake said...

Dude, amazing post. Thanks!

Jessicathe said...

Agreed. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your post, Tyler. It took courage.

Jordan said...

Awesome blog Tyler. You have a good head on your shoulders and a good perspective on politics. I really liked Obama's Speech in 2004. Thanks for blogging!

Conservative Chris said...

Blake linked me to your blog and I welcome you to the fight against progressivism! I loved your blog! And don't worry I liked Obama too for awhile and I am and have always been an ardent conservative. To quote a great movie, I believe Obama could "sell a ketchup popcicle to a lady with white gloves."

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