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That's me, in the 2012 shirt ... a former Texas Republican, canvassing for Obama in Florida.  See, we can learn from our mistakes!
I'm heeding the call, to write a diary about why I became a Democrat.  I'd also like to point out a few things about my journey that might help everyone relate to, and embrace, Reformed Republicans like myself.  Follow me below the orange peel for more ...

As I have written before, I grew up in a Republican household in rural Texas.  My parents were Republicans, and I was taught at an early age how important it was to vote.  I vividly recall holding either my mom or dad's hand while they waited in line to vote at the local fire station.  They voted in every election - presidential, mid-term, local.  They were never terribly political, but I remember their excitement when Reagan was elected, and then Bush Sr.  So, even if it wasn't stated outright, they were Republicans and I knew it.  I, like many kids do, assumed that since they were Republicans, and since I admired and respected them so much, that made me a Republican too.

The first presidential election I was eligible to vote in was in 1996.  I was in college, and had not registered in the town where I was in school.  So, I didn't vote.  I voted for Dubya in 2000.  YES, I did it, I own it.  I have come to terms with my shame on that, though it took me years.  (On a side note, I used to watch Bill O'Reilly, and Hannity and Colmes back in those days, so I'm also a reformed Faux News watcher as well.)

Between the 2000 and 2004 election, that little war of choice called Iraq happened.  This is when my transition began.  I listened to the case they made for war, and nothing made sense.  Things didn't add up - why were we invading a sovereign country that had NOTHING to do with 9/11?  Why am I watching bombs exploding on national TV at night, like this is something I should be proud of?  I was disgusted.

Iraq started it all for me.  I then began to question EVERYTHING.  And what I found was that I had been sold a big ass pack of lies for years.  Oddly enough, it wasn't hard to figure out - I simply hadn't LOOKED.  

Trickle-down economics DOESN'T work.  Regulations aren't all HORRIBLE JOB KILLERS.  Tax cuts for the wealthy DO NOT CREATE JOBS.  Cutting taxes in a time of war BLOWS UP THE DEFICIT.  People on welfare are not all LAZY MOOCHERS living the high life on the government dime.  Climate change is ABSOLUTELY F*ING REAL!

Even with these realizations, I couldn't quite bring myself to vote for a Democrat.  I felt like a traitor.  I didn't vote in 2004.  Between 2004 and 2008, I continued my quest to learn as much as I could.  I researched, I found websites that had more progressive viewpoints.  Huffington Post was one of the first I stumbled across, and then somehow I found the Daily Kos.  I was a lurker here for quite some time before I actually signed up.

For the 2008 election, I acknowledged the inevitable - I was going to vote for a Democrat.  I had already decided to vote for Obama before John McCain chose his running mate.  But once Sarah Palin stepped on the scene, holy shit!!  I thought I was in the Twilight Zone.  Are they serious?  How anyone could believe she was a serious candidate for VP of the United States was beyond me.  It was at this time that I made my first ever donation to a political candidate.

The 2008 election was one of the nastiest displays I had ever seen.  I have never heard such nonsense.  Palling around with terrorists, Reverend Wright, Ayers, Kenyan, Muslim, birth certificates, he isn't a "Real American" with "Real American values."  

The once respectable party I was a member of is overrun with racists, misogynists, science deniers, forced birthers, and stupid ass baggers dressed in stupid ass costumes.  (though I realize the "baggers" pretty much encompasses all the rest of those categories.)

I am a Democrat because I believe in science.  Climate change cannot, and should not,  be ignored.  I believe in a social safety net, and in helping my fellow citizens through hard times.  I believe in a living wage.  I am tired of seeing the middle class decimated by policies that benefit the super rich.  I want money out of politics, and I'm tired of the rich buying elections.  I do not believe that religion belongs in our government, or in our public schools.  I believe that voting should be made easier for all, not made harder for those who just don't vote the "right way."  I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege for those lucky enough to afford it.  I believe women should be paid equally with men for their work, and I believe that abortion is a choice for a woman, her doctor, and her God (if she believes in one) only.  I believe people who love each other and want to marry should have that right, regardless of their sexual orientation.  I believe in equality and opportunity, and I will continue to fight for all my fellow citizens to have those things.  

And here is my last thought for you.  Some of you are lifelong Democrats.  I see a lot of talk about the party needing "better dems."  I do not disagree.  

But, as someone who came from the other side, I encourage you to embrace all who come to our side.  It is a journey, and for many, a difficult transition.  It requires reflection, genuine interest, and an openness to new ideas.  And once that process is started, I believe it will continue.  Once the mind is open, anything is possible.  

I went from a Republican, to a hesitant Democrat, to a full-blown, raging liberal.  Had I been dismissed or frowned upon during my "hesitant Democrat" phase, who knows where I would have ended up??  I was fortunate enough to have people around me that were willing to discuss things with me, and help me find answers to my questions.  I learned an enormous amount by lurking on this site.  I have no doubt this site will have more just like me who show up - and we should do our best to answer their questions, and help them along their journey -because you never know where that journey will end.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (145+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rovertheoctopus, laurel g 15942, a2nite, Witgren, Sandy on Signal, OrangeMike, kenwards, roseeriter, CorinaR, Sixty Something, memiller, gongee, ivorybill, Mr Raymond Luxury Yacht, Catte Nappe, dannyboy1, Pescadero Bill, wilderness voice, crystal eyes, I am a Patriot, Shockwave, sand805, TomP, kharma, MKinTN, JayBat, EagleOfFreedom, FG, quaoar, flatford39, iLDemfromPA, belinda ridgewood, GMFORD, gizmo59, aisb23, jfromga, naiomih, ClevelandAttorney, mofembot, CalvinV, mhanch, hardart, biggiefries, Raynfala, bmcphail, JamieG from Md, maryannm, rsmpdx, LearningCurve, AlyoshaKaramazov, Texknight, roses, pat of butter in a sea of grits, Front Toward Enemy, Sylv, surfbird007, arejay830, wide eyed lib, MartyM, Thunder, collardgreens, wader, SeaTurtle, DoReMI, sfgb, Denise Oliver Velez, HedwigKos, livingthedream, WisVoter, Blu Gal in DE, Themistoclea, CrissieP, camlbacker, wuod kwatch, Tempus Figits, vmibran, fToRrEeEsSt, zaynabou, TheDuckManCometh, Virago, Arilca Mockingbird, politik, serendipityisabitch, fumie, Torta, johnosahon, wordfiddler, Shadowmage36, Sychotic1, jolux, totallynext, RageKage, Laurel in CA, Loudoun County Dem, newinfluence, Grandma Susie, Its a New Day, MrLiberal, Brunette, MRA NY, science nerd, TXdem, BlackSheep1, BerkshireDem, Meteor Blades, peterj911, Fiona West, LS Dem, oceanview, JekyllnHyde, EricS, splashy, p gorden lippy, Game Theory, misshelly, Matt Z, ypsiCPA, BlueOak, yojimbo, Ckntfld, TX Freethinker, UTLiberal, Curt Matlock, rapala, furrfu, VickiL, stretchslr53, operculum, My Spin, Crabby Abbey, sostos, slowbutsure, Jim Domenico, Safina, Gowrie Gal, poliwrangler, pioneer111, Jorge Harris, Joy of Fishes, icemilkcoffee, Jollie Ollie Orange, Kevinole, Larsstephens, Radical Faith, dkmich
  •  As the descendant of Republicans (36+ / 0-)

    who also journeyed to the Dems (for my generation Vietnam, Civil Rights, Womens Rights, the environment did it for me), I also welcome you and others to the site and the party. It's good to be aligned with the party that uses both its brains and its heart. Not perfectly as we all know, but at least it's trying to do right for all of us as a whole.

    Blue is blue and must be that. But yellow is none the worse for it - Edith Sidebottom

    by kenwards on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 07:58:33 AM PDT

  •  Love this diary, especially this line: (35+ / 0-)
    I went from a Republican, to a hesitant Democrat, to a full-blown, raging liberal.
    Agree with every point you make.   When the Republican Party lost my 84 year old mother-in-law from Virginia and she voted for Obama, I knew  it was over for them.  She considers herself an Independent rather than a Democrat, but when you look at her beliefs and values she is a Democrat.   Like you, Sarah Palin was another big reason she could not vote the R ticket.  

    Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it. - Michel de Montaigne

    by Sandy on Signal on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 08:02:22 AM PDT

  •  Good diary. Welcome to the Democratic tent. (9+ / 0-)

    In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

    by Sixty Something on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 08:05:33 AM PDT

  •  My father was the GOP county chair. (29+ / 0-)

    But I became a Democrat because of JFK and civil rights.

    I was the first 18 year old to register to vote in my county.

    The clerk brought in the press -- TV, Radio, Newspaper -- to interview me.

    They asked what party I was going to register as and before I could say Democratic the clerk said "of course he is going to register Republican, his dad is the county chair."

    A couple of months later a sneaked back to the county clerks office to change my registration to Democratic.

    So you could say I'm a reformed Republican.

    The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

    by NCJim on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 08:07:47 AM PDT

  •  Took me a bit longer.... (22+ / 0-)

    Grew up small-town Main Street northeast Republican, mid-way through Reagan's second term realized we were supporting terrorists in central America. Became a disillusioned independent. Voted for Clinton for his second term. Took one look at W in 2000 and realized I was now a Democrat. Volunteered for Gore and kept getting more involved over the years since.

    Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

    by memiller on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 08:10:54 AM PDT

  •  Agree with you on the need (22+ / 0-)

    to accept people where they are at, and realize that many people change their politics incrementally. Every positive step is good. You seem to be a kind person, and its important to recognize that many current Republicans are kind people, who maybe have not recognized the disconnect with their party's policies. They need to be encouraged to recognize and act on kindness and generosity toward others and not shamed. Some may become Democrats, and others may finally start to blunt the influence of the crazies in their party.

    Anyway, nice diary - thanks for taking the time to write it.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 08:24:11 AM PDT

  •  Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing. If I may, I'd (25+ / 0-)

    like to paste an email I wrote to a very close friend shortly after the 2012 election. It dovetails with your notion of Republicans seeing the light. Bear in mind that much of what I professed was what I learned from this site and others, so I cannot overstate their importance in terms of our education in progressive politics.

    ~~~~~~~~~

    I have a close friend who votes Republican. Middle class. Not hyper-partisan, may vote for a Dem county supervisor here and there but has voted Republican in all but his first Presidential election. We don't debate politics but I can't help myself in sounding off on certain progressive issues and the occaisional Republican outrage du jour, but I really try to avoid partisan venting. My buddy takes it all in stride and never gives push back. We never grill each other on our votes because its understood who each of us will vote for.

    We got to chatting just a bit ago and I mentioned the marvelous execution of the Democratic GOTV machine and he offered up:

    You going to ask who I voted for?

    No. Why do you ask? I know how you voted, and that's cool with me.

    I voted for Barack Obama.

    I was floored. He went on to tell me how although I'm very passionate about politics I really frame my issues from a standpoint of being informed, and not just partisan venom. He said he pored over his ballot but left president until last. He stared and stared, and thought and thought. And then he chose Barack Obama. He told me that everything I've said these past few weeks made sense.

    Now, I'm honored and floored that I had any part whatsoever in swinging a person's vote. I'm truly touched. And as much as I'm willing to take at least some credit there's more to it. He thought about what I said and he also realized that he simply did not like Mitt Romney personally. Didn't care for him as a person. At all. But he also stressed that since I always sounded so informed about my convictions it made his decision easier.

    I'm stunned.  I had no idea I helped influence a vote by just being ----> me.

    •  this could be a diary :) (10+ / 0-)

      While the 2012 elections are in the rearview mirror, your example is a great one that illustrates how we can influence people by - as you put it - being ourselves.  Speaking up about our favorite candidate(s)/party/issue(s) and more importantly, about 'why' we feel that way.  
      It is hard to do, for sure, but sometimes we come across a quiet, yet open-minded person.  Well done!

    •  Awesome story (13+ / 0-)

      I think this is a very relevant point.  I had a friend much the same - not overtly political, not super partisan.  He emailed me before the last election and said "You are very fervent in your support for Obama.  I want you to tell me why you support him, and why I should support him."

      I emailed back - not talking points, but much of the things I had spent years researching.  I didn't say ONE word about Mitt Romney - said I wanted to be clear that it was about supporting my candidate, not just tearing down the other.  I told him I'd be happy to tell him why I didn't care for Mitt Romney, or Paul Ryan - but that was only if he wanted to hear more from me.  

      It led him to some research of his own, and a vote for Obama.  He said he appreciated my being so well-informed, and giving him so many reasonable things to think about.  

      It is amazing what we can all accomplish if we embrace the questions, or if we are reasonable and informed when we discuss things.  I think it helps people wade through the lies and the hate, and realize that the "other side" isn't evil as they have been told.  We have valid viewpoints, and reasons for them - give someone something to ponder, perhaps they will come to the same conclusions we have.  Facts matter.

      •  That's another excellent example of (7+ / 0-)

        the triumph of reason. We have every opportunity to reach those who are open to reason and sensibility.

        I have a great friend to shared an aphorism that her husband uses to describe hyper-partisan Republicans and tea partiers:

        You cannot reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.
        And its so true. Haters gonna hate. I get it. We're not going to convince the hardcore Faux News set that our way represents reason. But there are many more out there who see the fanaticism of the tea party and its expression of outrage as totally unreasonable, and it is this set for whom we must set an example, and be ready with facts and logic.

        The blind aggression to reduce government may be de rigueur for the unreasonable tea partier, but there is a growing majority of those who reject its premise.

        Furthermore, they may now be more willing than ever to speak out and listen to opposing viewpoints. The tea party aspect of the GOP is further narrowing itself and alienating more pragmatic members.

        Like you said, we have to be accommodating and hospitable to those who seek direction and clarification.

        And there is something I read here during the shutdown that has become a mantra of sorts:

        Those who think government is bad provide bad government.
        That quote absolutely represents a form of circular illogic that most reasonable individuals will grasp.

        The venom over the ACA is a prime example. The tea party faction hates gov't and thinks its evil so they want to destroy anything gov't does that may be beneficial.

        And as the ACA roll-out improves we will have that as another arrow in our quill for the positive role of gov't. Conversely, we will also be able to use the ACA's continued doemonization as a continued example of the unreasonable and irrational behavior of the more extreme GOP contingent.

        (thanks again for this wonderfully inspiring diary)

        •  "the triumph of reason" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gongee

          I love that.  And even better is your friend's aphorism:

          You cannot reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.
          I think that is the start of a great diary.  Please consider doing one.

          "The most dangerous worldview, is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world." Alexander von Humboldt

          by TX Freethinker on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 02:46:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Great point. Here at DKos sometimes we get carried (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gongee

        away with making fun of the other side (and I have enjoyed it as much as anyone else), that sometimes we forget that our real work should be to convert, not ridicule.

  •  At least your vote for W was in Texas ;p (5+ / 0-)

    Otherwise. Thank you for this Diary. The opposite is true of me.

    I remember driving with my father until a certain age wondering why he was yelling at people gathering outside a building.

    At some point I remember realizing they had disgusting pictures and he was flipping them the bird. I remember then on Christmas Eve (LOL) the blow-hard Cousin of my mother who once lived high on the hog, giving the standard (same then talking points and my father basically not holding back, calmly telling her well you must make considerably more than me, otherwise I care about others, and I see there are two sorts of people- those that care about others and those that do not the ones that do are called Democrats").

    In Sad Irony that house we went to is gone. I am guessing I could trace the spend-down for long term care (it was my Great Aunt's - still alive) to Republican policy. Not Ironically, as one of the Nieces/Nephews the same woman now was all for the throw her in a nursing home end of day. (Yes I realize that you can keep your house in the Spend-Down, but to my unhappiness they opted to sell it to keep her in a "better" home, after working at Hospice knowing it doesn't make a difference if she has a roommate, and that the only thing ppl care about in lucid moments is a belief they will go home, it really bothered me. I digress, on my mind because she's been put in Hospice.)

    I went to NYU, and ironically remember people thinking I'd become conservative there? Because I could articulate my thoughts? Admittedly did not respect many after the Iraq vote/war.

    On Spring Break People playing bombs over Baghadad. I was detached at that point. Too close to me SEEING 9-11 (I lived at 200 Water Street in the Penthouse facing). I still didn't feel like "I am angry let's bomb people". I was embarrassed.

    I digress. At any rate thank you for sharing, and hope you are able to with other curious individuals especially when they find out that they've been lied to, and now have health-care.

  •  Thank you - lots of cultural Republicans in TX (8+ / 0-)

    Many in TX are vaguely tied to the Republican Party, more out of tradition, geographic identification, habit, family history, social group, status signals, etc., than to actual support for anything the actual Republicans currently represent from a policy & ideology perspective. It takes courage and insight to break free. Thank you for posting your story! You are an early sentinel of the coming blue wave in TX!

    •  I sure hope so (8+ / 0-)

      I am volunteering with Battleground Texas.  I'm deputized to register voters in the county I live in, and the one nearest me.  I'm determined to walk my ass all over this state and send Wendy Davis to the Governor's Mansion and Ted Cruz packing!

    •  GOP family history only goes back a few decades (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Em

      Most of Texas was Democratic until the late 70's.  Before that, there were liberal Democrats and conservative Democrats.  The real election was in the Democratic primary.  The general election was just a formality.

      So GOP roots in Texas are not very deep.  The same people who voted for Ralph Yarborough, Jim Hightower, Barbara Jordan and Ann Richards are still around.  We just need to convince the more moderate Republicans (and there are some) to stop looking for the R beside the name in the voting booth, and join us.

      "The most dangerous worldview, is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world." Alexander von Humboldt

      by TX Freethinker on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 02:54:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good story, thanks. (16+ / 0-)

    I turned 59 yesterday.  I started as an independent but as the years go by I have become more liberal, the opposite of what is supposed to happen as you grow older.  The liberal democrat policies and programs that have been in place for several years have stood the test of time.  They are part of our society.  Conservatives and GOTP'ers would take all that away.

    •  I'd been registered independent all my life (I'll (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      noteaforme, Ckntfld, TX Freethinker

      be 55 in a couple weeks).  When I had to get a new license a couple years ago here in PA, I took advantage of their easy voter registration - and finally registered as a Dem.  

      I grew up in Nassau County (Long Island), NY.  A Republican stronghold.  My parents were both Republicans, but I don't think I ever was one, despite my respect for them and their intelligence (both teachers).

      I could have voted in 1976, but didn't know it at the time (my 18th birthday was on election day).  I sat in a very empty bar with a friend rooting for Carter.  I cried when Reagan was first elected in 1980, though actually voted for him in 1984 - not sure how I did that turnaround in 4 years, ignorant and listening to the noise machine I guess (I can relate to the diarist taking years to get over her Bush vote!).  Of course, Reagan took 49 states - I wasn't alone in not seeing much in Mondale, at least I have that!

      And that was my last R vote (besides for a friend as supervisor of my small town in a red part of upstate new york).  

      2008 was the first time I ever donated or did campaign work (phonebanking).  for 2012 I really jumped into the fray, went to Colorado for 10 weeks - knocked on over 3000 doors and helped run one campaign office.

      I am hoping to have a new job soon (fingers crossed), which will cut into the time I have in 2014 but expect to be as active as possible, and, finally, able to donate again!  (Wendy is at the top of my list.)

      "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

      by MRA NY on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 01:27:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Must be something in that "teacher" water (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MRA NY, Ckntfld, ranton

        My parents were both teachers as well.  My dad was a teacher, and then a principal.  My mom taught for 36 years before she retired.  My aunt is a teacher, and so is my sister.

        It's another issue where the GOP pisses me off.  They demonize education, and teachers.  I'm tired of this "government doesn't create jobs" crap.  It sure did for my parents, and many of my friends and family.  I'm tired of hearing about vouchers and privatizing our education system.  Just another way to funnel money to the ones who already have it all.

        •  ...and by changing, deligitimizing, or controlling (0+ / 0-)

          Institutions, Bircher Industrialists/Corporatists and the Radical Religious Right seek to change culture.  

          Paul Weyrich understood that culture prevented ultra-Conservative political ascendency and, ultimately, dominance through political power.  There has been a 30+year calculated strategy to change that.  I suspect the bastards got "antsy" and overplayed too soon; after all, many of them do not have much "time" left to see the fulfilment of their dreams and reap the "fruits" of their investment.  

          Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

          by ranton on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 06:16:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Outstanding. (14+ / 0-)

    I like your writing style a lot. It's very conversational and relatable. I don't have that kind of writing skill at all, so I always admire it.

    Glad you're here and on the team!

  •  Point about cultural Republicans isn TX is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, MRA NY, Ckntfld

    Very important.
    It usually takes a one on one conversation to make them see the light, or a clusterfuck like the silly Cruz-ade for the Govt shutdown and against raising the debt ceiling to expose the moral, and intellectual bankruptcy of the Teahadistas.

    •  EXTREMELY IMPORTANT ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      politik, MRA NY, Ckntfld, TX Freethinker

      As someone who was formerly amongst those you mentioned, please notice my username.  I didn't realize I could use spaces when I registered.  However, to be clear, it is "No Tea For Me."  :)  

      The teabaggers will be the final nail in the coffin of the GOP for any reasonable Republicans left.  

      As a side note, I was recently talking to a friend of mine in Florida.  We met through OFA during the last election.  He said "I remember you venting like crazy about Ted Cruz having won his Senate race.  I didn't understand - thought he is just another GOP Senator, right?  OH BOY, was I wrong."

      I told him that cray-cray was evident the first time I heard him speak.  And, I know a few Cruz supporters.  That's all I needed to know - if they are all on fire for him, he will be nothing but destructive for this country.

  •  I had to login and comment (8+ / 0-)

    It's been over a year since my last one. I'm a lifelong Dem and I've been a Kossack since May 2004. With Irish-Italian Catholic roots, I come from a long line of Democrats. My great-grandmother worked with Eleanor Roosevelt and other women to institute the first hot-lunch program in public schools. (Sadly, in 17 states, OVER HALF of all public school kids receive subsidized lunches. In 2013!)  It is a worldview that was ingrained in me growing up. Interestingly it has a stronger pull for me than religion- I am a lapsed Catholic.

    But like religious converts, I find that political converts tend to be the most passionate. Reading your diary it is apparent that you have spent a lot of time thinking about these issues and seeking answers. Your explanation for why you came to be a Democrat is more clear and succinct than many lifers would give.

    Like you, I, a lifelong Dem, went through an evolution. Over the past 13+ years I've been "radicalized" by what has happened in our country. In college I was a 'centrist' who bought into the DC insiders who thought that entitlement reform was the biggest issue of our day. Why should young people pay for benefits that aren't sustainable? Crazy enough, this was at the same time we were running a SURPLUS and had gone through one of the biggest peacetime economic booms in world history. This fixation on entitlement reform was and still is the CW in Washington.

    But then BUSH happened. What a disaster. Disastrous response to 9/11. Two wars. Thousands dead. Debt multiplied. Torture. Tax cuts! Go out and shop! What WMDs? This was not the country and world that I wanted. Enough to make a centrist wake up and look at the big picture.

    Also enough for Republicans like you to wake up. Like you, both my father-in-law and mother-in-law went from small business owner Republicans (in the South, no less) who gave money to their local GOP reps...  to Democrats. My wife went from a college Republican who voted for Bush and attended his convention... to canvassing for Kerry and Obama. The ineptitude of Bush and Republicans- combined with me as an example of an alternative worldview- turned them.

    We need all Democrats in our tent. So as far as better Dems, we don't need purity tests. But we need to hold our leaders accountable on the issues we find important. I think that people object to Blue Dogs because they don't hold our highest priorities in one way or another. Like if they fancy themselves a 'fiscal conservative' and bargain away Social Security and Medicare benefits- ripping a hole in the social safety net- so the wealthy can keep their taxes low.

    I'm glad that you shared your story here. I am saving this diary and will read it for encouragement when my conservative friends and relatives drive me crazy!

    Why settle for the truth when you can have Truthiness???

    by wintersnowman on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 11:45:38 AM PDT

    •  I think you may be right ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      newinfluence, MRA NY, My Spin

      Converts may be some of the most passionate.  I don't think anyone who knows me now would believe I once voted for the GOP.  I, too, have become radicalized.  All those things you mentioned make my stomach churn.  9/11, wars, tax cuts, torture, "Mission Accomplished", Katrina - disgusting.  I traveled abroad in 2007 and I was embarrassed to admit I was from Texas, and that Dubya was from my state.  Hell, I was embarrassed he was from my country.

      It took a lot of my own introspection to get to where I am, which is why I am probably so passionate about my beliefs now.  I am no longer someone who was told what to believe - I looked at facts, and reflected, and decided what I thought was right, and moral.  And I found none of those things in the Republican party.

      This is why I feel it is so important to embrace those on their journeys.  Once their minds are open, they need answers, and thoughtful discussion.  They may be hesitant at first, but they could end up being some of our strongest progressives by the time they're done.  People evolve - I'm more than happy to help them down that road if they are interested.

  •  Thank you so much for pointing out the hesitant (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, noteaforme, Ckntfld, BlueOak

    stage and the need for respectful dialogue.  I do think "changing sides/ in doubt / in transition" (in terms of political position/partisanship) visitors to this site get a very rough treatment sometimes.  

    We all want a big tent come election time, but it is important to use facts and respectful communication when disagreeing internally.  I cringed way back in 2004 when i saw some new arrivals express more centrist views, express alongside it a willingness to consider voting for Kerry, and get called "Bush lite" with a heap of scorn.  

  •  Too many people on both sides act like politics (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, noteaforme, Ckntfld

    is a sport like football and they have to cheer for their team even when they are hideously wrong.  I think that this is what we see frequently in Texas and other places, people who are culturally republican who are cheering on their 'team.'

    I met a young Texan a few years ago just after he got a job as an EMT.  He said that he had never met a Democrat before and that I was surprisingly logical and thoughtful 'for a Democrat.'

    His dealings with our current healthcare system have swung a lot of beliefs in our direction.  I think he is still a Republican but he is a proponent of single payer.

    "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

    by Sychotic1 on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 12:00:58 PM PDT

  •  I certainly wouldn't begrudge anyone making that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MRA NY, jplanner, Radical Faith

    transition.  My own father is very much of the libertarian variety (Not on social issues, however, which is why I stop short of describing him as Republican), some of which rubbed off on me.  I supported going into Afghanistan (and, to be honest, still support our initial reasons for doing so, if not how it was actually executed), but I really struggled with a justification for going into Iraq and ultimately couldn't find one.

    I turned 18 in 2000, but for a number of reasons I wasn't able to vote in that year, or in 2004.  (Though, for the record, I preferred Gore and Kerry on social issues even then).  I was thrilled with the 2006 midterm results and by 2008, I was on board with Obama 110% (though I had initially favored Edwards, which sound kind of embarrassing now).

    Moreover, I wouldn't begrudge people making that transition because it's not always easy to recognize that this is not the party that your parents and (presumably) grandparents voted for.

    This is not the party of Eisenhower, who expanded social security (and was appalled at the thought of cutting it), implemented the interstate highway system, achieved a balanced budget (the last Republican president to do so), and whose 1956 platform looks positively liberal today.

    This is not the party of Earl Warren, perhaps the finest Chief Justice ever.  (Roberts isn't fit to clerk for this guy).  This is not party of civil rights supporters like Jacob Javits or the other congressional Republicans in 1964 and 1965 who voted for cloture and passage of the Civil and Voting Rights Acts.  (Their actions in the past year make that abundantly clear).

    Heck, this isn't even the party of Goldwater, who, if nothing else, had the good sense to fear the element that was taking over his party in the 70's.

    It's not always easy to see a transition like that, but none of those guys would recognize their party today.

    •  Thanks for the brief R political history. It is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      toddsmitts

      helpful when considering my 84 yo Mom who is a Republican.  A teacher.  A union member.

      Looking at what you outlined above, THAT was the Republican party my parents belonged to.  My dad died in 1987.  If he was still around, I KNOW he would have voted Obama. My Mom was close to voting for him in 2008, but could not get herself past the abortion issue.  I really don't know what she did in 2012.

      In any case, it helps to remember where she started.  If it weren't for my idiot brother who lives with my Mom watching faux news constantly, my mother would have had a better chance of transitioning.

      I'm still hopeful, now that the Pope is speaking against all kinds of RW positions, that she still might make it! :)

      "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

      by MRA NY on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 01:39:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Roberts and Goldwater (7+ / 0-)

    At least Roberts is a good lawyer.  What do you do with Thomas and Alito, who are even more right wing and who are hacks?

    Goldwater was never a true believer; he was a libertarian who was drafted by the Birchers because he was stridently anti-communist.  He refused to go the race- or religion-bating route, he hated the religious nuts, and by the by fell out of favor.  A guy whose position on gays in the military was "I don't care if they're gay or straight, just that they shoot straight" can't be all bad.  My guess is he'd be a "liberaltarian" posting on Dkos these days -- probably a lot, and probably with a lot of NSFW language.

    Oh yes.  His daughter and Eisenhower's granddaughter rather pointedly dis-endorsed the Republican party during the 2008 election, as it was neither the party of Eisenhower nor Goldwater.  Nor, even, Richard Nixon.

  •  People like you make all the difference (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LS Dem, noteaforme, Matt Z

    Welcome.

  •  Always been progressive but was independent (0+ / 0-)

    Voted Green or Dem depending on the candidate.  Became a Dem in 2010 so I could start voting in primaries for better dems.    Not happy with a lot of corporate welfare and how our "representatives" spend half their day begging for money but geez.

    I didn't care for Republicans when I grew up.  They seemed mean-spirited, bigoted and their economic concepts were pure wishful thinking.

    But they've just gotten steadily worse, lurching over into complete crazy after Obama got elected.

  •  To a new member (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    noteaforme, Matt Z

    Welcome aboard. Telomere

  •  Thank you... (0+ / 0-)

    for being here.
    for using your heart and brain.
    for writing this diary.
    for being you and making a difference.

  •  You should start a DKos Group... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    noteaforme

    ...for disaffected Republicans like yourself.  It can act as a sort of support group.  Also, keep publishing diaries like this.  Let other lurk ears know they aren't alone and that they are welcome here.

    I'm very glad you've joined us.  Welcome!

    P.S.  Maybe it's just this one photo, but you're a dead-ringer for a friend I used to take improv classes with.

    "I never meant to say that the conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally conservative." - John Stuart Mill

    by Kevinole on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 05:37:54 PM PDT

  •  Embrace all who come to our side.... (0+ / 0-)

    I don't care whether a person is a D or an R.  What I care about is their belief system.  You sound like you actually made the transition.  What I am opposed to is conservative blue dog Democrats, corporate Democrats, and Republicans who love blue dog and corporate dogma and yet claim to be a Democrat.  

    I am from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, and I object to sharing my tent with anybody who is not.   I am not a Democrat or a liberal.  I am an eclectic Independent because I support the policy and not the man/woman.

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Warren 2016

    by dkmich on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 03:17:50 AM PDT

  •  Great diary! (0+ / 0-)

    I respect your decision not to vote in 2004.  If I was forced to the conclusion everything I had ever believed was a lie, I wouldn't vote for a while, either.

    When the United States becomes a low wage country, only bobbleheads shall go forth from American soil.

    by amyzex on Wed Oct 30, 2013 at 11:21:18 AM PDT

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