I Quit the Republican Party

Today, I quit the Republican party.

This decision had been brewing for a while, but after taking a week to absorb the reality that Donald Trump is going to be the GOP nominee for President this year, I decided it was time.

The roots of this decision go back to Election Day 2012. Vanessa and I got up that morning as undecided voters. This was very unusual for us. We are not usually undecided when it comes to politics, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to commit to either President Obama or Mitt Romney. Since we live in a solidly red state where our vote doesn’t really matter, we decided together to vote for the one candidate whom we actually agreed with on most issues. It was the first time I didn’t vote for the Republican nominee for President. I voted my conscious instead, which meant I voted for Gary Johnson. And there hasn’t been a day since that I’ve regretted it.

 

voterI am a believer in limited government. I’ve grown to detest American interventionism around the world. I generally think people should be left alone to do their own thing with their lives and their money. But I also think there is a role for government to play in solving real problems that exist in our country.

 

This tended to be the Republican party I remember. But it’s not the Republican party of today.

I was a kid in the 80s. I don’t remember Jimmy Carter, but I do remember Ronald Reagan – fondly. He was a flawed President; I understand that now. But I loved him as a kid, and I love him now. He brought an optimism that I think helped to transform the country for the better.

Republican politics today is not optimistic. It divides people. It wrings its hands. It does the same fear-mongering and doom-and-gloom that used to be found primarily on the other side of the aisle. Racism, sexism, bigotry, and homophobia are not optimistic. Neither is the coarseness and incivility that has characterized so many campaigns lately.

I want optimism. I choose optimism.

 

When I was a teenager, I had two magazine subscriptions – Sports Illustrated and National Review. I devoured books like the Conscience of a Conservative and To Renew America. I attended Teenage Republican School at Sienna College in Albany NY where I interacted with other young Republicans and dreamed of the future. I owned a copy of the Contract with America and had an autographed picture of Newt Gingrich on my wall – long before any of you had ever heard of him.

The Republican party used to offer creative solutions to real problems. Jack Kemp came up with Free Enterprise Zones to help revitalize American cities. School vouchers were designed to make better education available to low income families. In the 90s, Republicans were coming up with ideas to address even typically liberal issues like caring for the environment and health care.

But now? Now Republicans are obsessed with what bathrooms people use. They think the future of the country depends on who marries whom. Their most creative ideas to the problems the country faces are slogans not solutions. “Drill, baby, drill” is not a creative solution. Neither is building a wall.

I want creative solutions to real problems. I choose creative solutions to real problems.

 

In the early 2000s, I voted for George W. Bush. Twice. At first, I was drawn to his campaign promise to privatize social security – a creative solution to a real problem. I also liked the idea of “compassionate conservatism,” a recognition (in theory, anyway) that our policies – especially economic policies – need to work for all people.

And I also believed President Bush about Iraq – not the WMD part, everyone was saying the very same thing he did about WMDs. I was drawn to the part about creating a foothold for democracy in the Middle East that could serve as a model for other countries. The problem was that we weren’t building a democracy in Iraq; we were building an empire. When empires get built, innocent people get trampled while defense contractors get rich.

I don’t want an America that ignorantly throws her weight around the world, enriching the already powerful and further harming the already-oppressed. If that’s what we’re going to do, I’d prefer we just mind our own business.

I want peace. I chose peace.

 

Truth be told, I don’t like Donald Trump. I don’t like the establishment either. I don’t like the religious zealots using the Republican party to further their theonomist cultural agenda. I don’t like old white guys who have been in power forever. I don’t like boring bureaucrats who care more about getting reelected than solving problems.

And that is what the Republican party has become.

The Republican party is no longer the party that captured my imagination as teenager. It’s no longer the party of Ronald Reagan or William F. Buckley or even Jack Kemp.

And it’s no longer the party for me.

 

 

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21 Tips for Being the Busiest Person You Know

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been asked several times how I do everything I do. My answer has been, I don’t know, I just get stuff done. The truth is, the more I’ve thought about it, I really love productivity hacks.

I’ve blogged about it at times. I think I talked to one of our ExCos once about the productivity hacks I use. Let me share a couple with you. First, I am a huge fan of Evernote. It’s this program that lets me keep everything in one place. It’s like my digital brain, synced to all of my devices. Second, I love Siri and Reminders. Siri sends me reminders all the time that keep me on track. Third, I love the idea of Inbox Zero. I work hard to keep my inbox empty as much as possible. I don’t like the digital clutter to build up. Fourth, I am careful about how I manage my To Do List. When I am prioritizing all the stuff on my list, I ask myself “When I get in bed tonight, what are the things that will let me sleep well if I’ve gotten them done?” Those are things I put at the top of my list every day. Read More…

A Challenge: Say Something Nice

This my column that appeared in Saturday’s Arkansas-Democrat Gazette:

I’ve conducted a little experiment over the past couple of weeks. On Facebook, I posted status updates that were unqualified compliments of all the major candidates for President.

I said Donald Trump is creative and innovative. Marco Rubio is a gifted speaker. Jeb Bush and John Kasich seem like genuinely good human beings. Bernie Sanders is principled. Ted Cruz is brilliant. I appreciate Hillary Clinton’s commitment to her family and Ben Carson’s gentleness in the midst of a raucous campaign.

I did not endorse any of the candidates or indicate for whom I would vote. I simply said something nice about each and everyone of them. Read More…

3 Biblical Reasons Why Christians in Fayetteville Should Vote For the Uniform Civil Rights Ordinance – Even If They Believe Homosexuality Is a Sin

For the second time in as many years, Fayetteville is being torn apart by a civil rights ordinance that codifies protections for LGBTQ people. If passed, the ordinance will allow for LGBTQ people to be guaranteed the same rights and services that any Fayetteville resident enjoys without fear of discrimination. A landlord will not be able to refuse to rent to a man simply because he’s gay. A trans woman won’t be able to be fired from her job simply because of her gender identity. A lesbian couple will be able to buy a wedding cake from any bakery that serves the public. Read More…

Love Your Enemies … Unless

Love your enemies, unless they are your political enemies.

Love your enemies, unless they are a famous person who said something offensive.

Love your enemies, unless they really hurt you.

Love your enemies, unless they are racist, bigoted, or homophobic.

Read More…

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