Apparently I made a few people splurt their Cheerios all over their newspaper last week when I advocated registering Republican so we can save the Republican party from itself.
I discussed the candidacy choices, and sifted it down to four rational options: all governors, who have leadership experience but aren’t defiled by an association with that embarrassment we call Congress. I even suggested that all things considered, despite the knee-jerk “Oh, hell no” reaction, maybe Jeb Bush isn’t really that too horribly awful, despite his Dubya stench.
I also made the case that it would not be for the greater good of all if the Republican party dissolves and disappears. An all-Blue country would have its downside just as an all-Red one would. We need both wings strong and functional to fly forward.
Despite all the petty arguing and hopeless political polarization in this country, most Americans really want the same things — we just disagree on how to get them. We don’t have a “what” issue, we have a “how” issue. We must learn to listen rationally to dissenting opinion because if you only listen to those who are singing your song, you’re curled inside the cocoon of your own echo chamber — not existing and functioning in reality.
Reality is messy and multi-faceted and argumentative, but that’s normal. What’s not normal is the shift from “I disagree with you and here’s why” to “If you disagree with me, you’re an idiot.” So, in the interest of trying to be the adult in the room, I suggested that we should all work together to rescue the Republican party and pull it back into some realm that resembles “normal” — even if we don’t agree with Republican values. Agreeing with them isn’t the point. Having a solid sounding board to bounce our own values off of so we’re clear about what we believe — that’s the point. You can’t bounce anything off mush.
Just the insinuation, however, of Republican support from liberal old me sent a few folks into orbit. They reacted like we’ve all agreed to be Vegan, and I suddenly wrote a column singing the praises of a big juicy slab of prime rib.
In other words — they were horrified. I thought my iPinion partner David Lacy was going to have a bird, based upon his flurry of Facebook comments on my Facebook wall, reminding me of the various and sundry transgressions and outright failures of the Republican party. I kindly replied that maybe he was taking that column a bit too literally, and hashtagged it #NoFun, and it was several twists and turns later before he realized that I’d written “primary election” — not “general election.”
Primary election, people, primary.
Let me say it again.
Vote Republican in the General Election? Me? Oh my silky stars no! Don’t you know me better than that? Let’s be clear: I haven’t completely lost my mind, or developed multiple personality disorder. In order for me to cast a Republican vote for President in the General Election, that Republican would have to so astoundingly amazing that I’d be willing to overlook my own key liberal issues (women’s rights and the environment at the top of that list) and vote for him/her anyway.
If you combined all the shreds of amazingness from the entire clown car of Republican candidates, the sum total still wouldn’t lean my voting scales to the Right. And: That doesn’t mean I vote Democrat by rote, without thinking. I registered “No Party Preference” years ago to emphasize that my vote can’t be taken for granted. It must be earned. And that goes for Hillary and Bernie too.
Probably not Joe Biden though. I was/am totally in the tank for Biden, have been since he ran for President in 2004, and he could just recite “The Cat in the Hat” at the debates and I’d still vote for him.
But here’s the thing: How can I make a serious, rational, educated choice when the Democrats offer great candidates, with whom I mostly agree, and the best the Republicans can offer is cartoon characters? Donald Trump? Ben Carson? Carly Fiorina? Please. It’s like only one hand of our divided political process is clapping.
All that said, I should have made it much more obvious that I was writing only about the primary election last week. Once we’ve hoisted the best Republican candidate out of the mud, wiped him down and propped him up in front of a microphone to jabber all those things that make a liberal’s ears bleed, then we can all reregister back the way we were and vote for Hillary. Or Bernie.
Unless, of course, Joe Biden appears just before the stroke of midnight and makes all my dreams come true.
The flaw in last week’s column was that I didn’t specifically say “primary election” until well into the column, and by that point, my readers were stunned and shocked to the point of nausea, and their frantic eyes skated right over that key word.
Don’t miss it this time: Primary.
BEFORE I CLOSE, a little self-promotion. The aforementioned bird-having David Lacy and I will be at our first real-live book reading/signing at The Avid Reader on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 2 p.m. We are among the writers in the Amy Ferris anthology, “Shades of Blue: Writers on Depression, Suicide and Feeling Blue,” and we will be joined by fellow anthology contributors Samantha White and Karen Lynch, as well as musical guest Wonder (a single-name entity like Madonna and Cher).
You can find out more on The Avid Reader website, but here’s the kernel of the whole thing: The contributors of this book aren’t being paid. We are making our own struggles and frailties public in an effort to facilitate a safe environment for those who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts to also talk about their feelings… rather than act upon them.
Saving lives. That’s what it’s all about.
— Email Debra DeAngelo at firstname.lastname@example.org; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.ipinionsyndicate.com