First of all, everyone who knows me knows that I am the poster child for Republican values; am a member of the local Republican club, and I am an elected Precinct Committeeman of the Republican Party of St Johns County, so, don’t be shocked that I have a very conservative opinion of party affiliation.
That said, I am not an ogre. I am not a fanatic evangelical type — set out to convert the world to my way of thinking. I am not always right nor are non-republican voters always wrong. I have friends who are Democrats and I know they would not consider changing their party affiliation for all the tea in China.
I wonder, sometimes, when I actually have a conversation with someone who has associated themselves with one party or the other, if they are being honest with themselves about their own values and the philosophical differences between the two major political parties.
As we get into a Presidential election year, we are going to hear a lot about being a Democrat or being a Republican, being a liberal or being a conservative, and we are going to hear a lot of that rhetoric from political opportunist who either unknowingly or hypocritically don’t understand the difference.
A facebook friend who grew up here in St Augustine during the same generation as me, one who, by the way, says she is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, reposted observations made by others regarding some of the differences between the parties. It was probably originally written tongue-in-cheek; but it does capture the essence of what it means to be a Republican.
If a Republican doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one.
If a Democrat doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.
If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a Republican is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a Democrat is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.
If a Republican is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A Democrat wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a Republican doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Democrats demand that those they don’t like be shut down.
If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church.
A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.
If a Republican decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A Democrat demands that the rest of us pay for his.
I guess everyone reading this is having a good laugh right now — that is, if they are Republicans. If not, they are scurrying to delete it because they are no doubt “offended”.
I think this is the perfect season for voters to clear their head and become better citizens; make the effort by researching what it is that the candidates truly stand for. Get past the (D) and the (R) after their names — if you check voting records on incumbents or have a ten-minute conversation with the political newcomers, you might be surprised to find that their party affiliation is nothing more than part of their election strategy.
I will close with this — in my experience, I know and have known a number of local politicians who are Republican in name only; however, I am unable to recall a single, honest-to-God local Republican who changed their party affiliation to Democrat to aid their chances of being elected to public office.