Well, this was an interesting week. Seven days ago I quickly scribbled a thing about the Republican Party abandoning a demographic it claimed to represent, and it seems that millions of people are looking forward to discussing the implications. At press time, the traffic for the blog post is more than half a million, with more than 125,000 Facebook shares. And growing.
Dude. I am still stunned.
Anyhow, I really want to tell you about the amazing part – the hundreds and thousands of people who have been pouring out their life’s stories to me, their feelings, their beliefs, their hopes for the future. What follows may surprise you since it is not the narrative you see in any of the political media out there. Here is the breakdown of people writing me:
People celebrating an attack on the right wing: 2 – Seriously, only a couple people have written to say WE GOT THAT SUCKER ROMNEY! DEMOCRATS RULE, REPUBLICANS DROOL! I expected many more.
People calling me names: 100 – Amusingly and unsurprisingly, many Republicans are ringing in to say, “YER NOT A REAL REPUBLICAN, YER A LIBRUL, AND YOU SUCK, HYPOCRITE, LIAR, HAVE INTIMATE RELATIONS WITH YOUR PETS, ETC.” The whole point of the thing was that Republicans have defined themselves by such extreme viewpoints that they are losing key constituencies, even the ones they claim represent their party – traditional Americans, if you will. And then people take the time to say YOUR (sic) NOT ONE OF US!!! I know, dude. That’s the point, and also why you lost on Tuesday. And please use spell check.
Moderates glad to hear a voice for moderation: 1000 and counting!
THIS IS THE REAL STORY, AND IT IS AWESOME. People from all across America are writing me and telling me the most amazing things:
- I thought I was alone! I didn’t think there was a voice for moderates any more.
- I used to vote Republican, but I just can’t now. I didn’t leave them, they left me.
- I do not want to fight with my neighbors this way any longer.
- I run my own business and employ people, but I want everyone to share in prosperity much more than I want to become stinking rich.
- I want low taxes and a strong military – but I don’t believe the Republicans can deliver either.
- This the moment for America to come together and move toward a bright future.
People from the South. People from the North. Rancher’s daughters out West and musicians and housewives and ministers and everyone in between. Average age is probably 56! This isn’t just “the kids” looking to break rank with the status quo, I’m seeing people who have been watching the political morass for decades and gave up hope – yet still see a way forward.
But don’t believe me. Read them in their own words. This man was born to a family that appreciated moderation and doesn’t want to abandon it:
I came from a family of FDR and Truman Democrats from Jackson County, Missouri. My parents were fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I believe that was because we didn’t have much money and my parents always taught all God’s children desire a fair and equal shot at life. My folks’ friends were Republican, Democrat, Black, White, Gay and Straight. Education was important to our family and also public service. My parents were fans of Everett Dirkson (R) of Illinois and Jacob Javits (R) of New York along with Scoop Jackson (D) of Washington and JFK. I believe there is room in this country to disagree with one another and still be friends. Compromise is not a dirty word and we deserve more in this Country and World for our children then to fight, degrade and cast fear on our fellow citizens.
And lest you think all Appalachian Republicans are the same:
I am white. I grew up in rural Appalachia. My parents were both college educated and held multiple masters’ degrees between them. They are Republicans. I was a Republican. Up until the point where I realized that A) Trickle down economics really doesn’t work and B) Our greatest resource as a country is human capital and we’re not investing in it and C) Religious freedom is great, but so is freedom from religion and D) My body is not a place that anyone else gets to control and E) Allowing same sex marriage is a conservative value and F) As someone who was divorced after 8 years of marriage and re-married, I am not enough of a hypocrite to judge the sanctity of marriage and G) We’re have a “War on Drugs” since 1981 and it’s gotten us nowhere and H) I make plenty of money and am happy to pay taxes, if it can genuinely help others.
Some people appear to be what would qualify as pretty darn conservative today – but still resonate with what I wrote. After all – very few people fit the strictures of what passes for a modern Republican. Millions have at least a few issues where they differ with the platform.
I read your recent blog entry about the election and I found myself quietly agreeing with much of what you said. The divorce and gay marriage issue is one I personally can identify with (parents divorced in ’85, best friend is gay, I am married with a daughter, I listen to Mark Levin, vote (R) most of the time).
Some people get to the heart of the matter, the real problem:
I used to vote Republican, in fact when I moved to Florida 27 years ago, the Elections employee actually ‘looked’ at me when I registered as a Republican. Florida was mainly a Democratic state in 1985. Since that time, the Republican party has lost it’s appeal to me.
A 2 party system is bad, a 1 party system would be worse, I’d love before I die to see a 3 party system.
Right on – though I am thinking a five party system.
Many people wrote me to share that they too are Americans with ancestry going back to the Old Old Days, people who feel abandoned by the right wing.
You managed to convey everything I feel as well. I too, am a white, (female) Mayflower descendant (William and Susanna White), a registered Republican, who has been dis-enfranchised by the party – years ago.
Thank you for putting this well-put piece out there. Hopefully the Pubs will wake up! I would just add one more item to MY credentials; I’m a born again Christian!
One of my favorite quotes was from this guy, whose family came to America “early on” but under, *ahem*, the other kind of circumstances:
Just a note from an educated, hardworking, tax paying, home owning, Masters Degree wife married, well traveled AMERICAN of African decent…Great letter. I just told a Republican State Senator virtually the same thing to his face yesterday. I asked that he take a message back to DC. Please disengage from the crazies. Yea, my folks got here via boat too, but it was not shall we say a “family decision.” The only thing I have ever wanted is a fair chance. EVERYTHING my wife and I have is because we worked our asses off for it.
This here is the BIG question – who will represent moderates?
I am a 49 year old husband of a beautiful woman who has been my spouse for 28 years. We have two great children and one grandson, and he runs the show! For the first time in my life I voted as an independent this year. I had been a republican for years. I don’t know what direction the GOP is heading, but it has been ruined by fear mongering and in my opinion, hatred. As a moderate with common sense, who represents me and people like me?
I need to stop there – I have hundreds more, each with their own beauty and dignity. I am really grateful to be the steward of so many personal stories.
The values that link all of these personal narratives is: reason, tolerance, respect, balance, and kindness. A respect for the past, an eye toward a better future. Almost no desire to keep this absurd game of contentious binary politics going back and forth like it has in recent years. And most importantly – a recognition that there is an enormous vacuum where political leadership of this sort ought to exist!
Who will step into that vacuum? Who will give a voice to such classic American values? Can this movement happen within the current political structure, or will it be more bottom-up, grassroots?
I’ll do my best. How about you?
Thank you all again for this incredible experience.