My Grandfather was an ardent LBJ Democrat, and my father has made the full metamorphosis from Baby Boomer Rebel Rouser to Obama Democrat (which is every bit as hypocritical and intellectually anathema as its predecessor). Needless to say, both of these men did and do hold much more liberal views than me on most static (i.e., non-social) issues.
My freshman year of High Schools I founded a club, along with two good political friends, to foster political discussion in a non-partisan manner. The year was 2009, President Obama was still riding high and the Tea Party was just something that little girls did in their spare time. We named the club the “Young Independents Club.” This idea of independence and non-partisanship became deeply ingrained into the fabric of the club. While both the leadership and membership of the organization, during its four year existence, were dominated by young, liberal Jews, it never felt like a Young Democratic club. During that time, I fervently defended myself as an Independent, albeit a liberal one.
This all begs the question of why I have been such a loud supporter of the Democratic Party in the last year. Moderates typically make the point of noting which political party they agree with “more than 50% of the time.” That logic is not applicable in the least to myself. You see, while I probably do agree with the Democratic Party a little more than half of the time, it does not mean I agree with the Republican Party a little less than half of the time. In fact, I probably agree with them roughly 0% of the time.
That is because we do not have a centre-left party and a centre-right party, we have a centre-right party and a far-right party. Adlai Stevenson vs. Dwight Eisenhower was an election between a centre-left and centre-right candidate. If I had been 21 on Election Day back then, I would have been put squarely in the middle of these two candidates. Similarly, a hypothetical election between Bobby Kennedy and Nelson Rockefeller.
I’m not afraid to admit I am a moderate, and I will defend that position all day long. I believe Capitalism and Free Markets are the greatest economic system in the world, and I get uncomfortable when Elizabeth Warren Or Howard Dean starts talking about a socialized economy. I believe that a dovish foreign policy is horrendously naive and just plain stupid sometimes. Needless to say, going to a liberal arts college in Massachusetts, it is not that rare of an occurrence for me to be the most conservative person in the room.
Simply put, I am a Democrat because I am not a Republican, and I feel very, very strongly about not being a Republican. It is a pet peeve of mine when someone politically apathetic admits that Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum is “crazy,” but the rest of the Republican Party (read: Mitt Romney) is okay. To borrow a colloquialism, the inmates have taken over the asylum, as individuals such as Bachmann and Santorum are now considered the mainstream of the Republican Party. The latter individual received a hero’s welcome when he visited the Texas Capitol yesterday.
For example, I strongly believe in the right of couples to get married, regardless of their sexual orientation. That is not a fringe opinion, by any means. 58% of Americans support gay marriage, as do over 3/4 of young people. All three major political parties in the United Kingdom have supported the position for many years (before the Democratic Party did, for that matter). The Texas Republican Party, however, couldn’t even pass a bill this session to remove an unenforceable, directly unconstitutional law that prohibits “gay sodomy.” The party’s 2012 platform declares that homosexuality “tears at the fabric of society.”
I strongly believe in gun control. That is not a fringe opinion, either. 86% of Americans support universal background checks, among other hefty regulations on firearms. This is a non-issue in every other nation in the Civilized World. Again, the Texas Republican Party lives in an alternate reality, wishing to allow college students to bring their loaded weapons on campus or criminalize enforcement of Federal Laws.
There are countless other issues like this, including reproductive rights, equal pay, immigration, education and others. In each and every one, there is only one political party that exists within reality, the Democratic Party. That, in essence, is why I am a Democrat.