This post began its life as a comment on Tom's blog, but built up enough momentum to evolve into its own post.
I get the feeling that a lot of people who read this blog believe that I'm a Democrat who became Independent. When, in fact, I am actually a recovering Republican.
Full Disclosure: Was born a Democrat - Began life in the late '60s as the great-granddaughter of immigrants and the daughter of blue collar (union), Catholic, parents in one of the most to-this-day, hard-core Democratic cities in the country. We were THAT Democratic.
However, as a young adult who'd worked for small businesses and witnessed how they struggled to survive I decided that the Republicans - who had not yet overthrown Congress - really were the Party of Logic. I was tired of the Democratic whine, "But it's not FAIR for fill-in-the-blank." Fair. Life is not fair, pal. Get over it.
So I joined the Young Republicans worked on Republican campaigns, met Newt Gingrich, Jack Kemp and Dick Armey (who asked me if I fixed my hair in a typhoon, thankyouverymuch).
I was all ABOUT, "I have supported myself since high school and made something of myself, and by God, so should everyone else."
Until I met people who had to leave high school to support sick parents. People who went to such bad schools they graduated dispite the fact they couldn't spell. People who have been told from the day they were born that they are worthless.
Now I work for a company that provides treatment to kids with emotional and behavioral problems (overwhelmingly the result of parental stupidity and neglect), and you know what? They absolutely cannot help themselves without receiving some help first. It is not unfair to expect them to figure it out for themselves and get a grip, it is unreasonable. And that's not a Republican talking point, so enter conflict number one.
Fundamentally, I don't like what the Republican Party has become. It used to be the party of small government, fiscal responsibility and a strong defense. Since the days of The Contract With America the government has become enormous, intrusive, bullying and irresponsible. Would Roosevelt or Eisenhower even recognize this party? Conflict two.
Also, as a thinking fully-formed adult, I have a problem with Thou Shalt Not Kill. If it is wrong to destroy fetuses, it is wrong to end an adult human life based on a verdict handed down by his or her peers. Possibly based on faulty evidence.
If it is immoral to kill, it is immoral to kill everyone. And don't fall back to the Old Testament when it is convenient for you and get all "An Eye For An Eye" on me. Judge not lest ye... Conflict three.
Also, it has always confounded me that the biblical blueprint for Judeo/Christian Behavior is one of charity, love and compassion, but the Republican party has become The Party of Hate. Help yourself. Me first. Screw the Environment. Spy on your neighbor. Conflict four - The Biggie.
I am not saying that the Democratic Party is without flaws. It's Congressmen, Senators, Governors, candidates and followers are flawed. They're human. I'm flawed. But I just cannot belong to the Party of Hate. Can't do it. Won't do it.
As much as I am saddened that Barak Obama has cheapened the word, I am about Hope. Like Ronald Reagan was about hope. And Abraham Lincoln was about hope.
But the Party of Hope has relocated to the Left, so here I stand in the middle looking in that direction for answers.
I pick on Republicans - not because I don't understand them, but because I understand them only too well - I was one of them - and they let me down.