Long post alert. Consider yourself warned.
Those who don't want to hear about politics on a blog, stop reading now. Or don't. It won't be what you expect.
I like to consider myself an independent thinker. I pride myself on my ability to think. I like to think -- in fact, thinking keeps me up most nights way past my bedtime. And lately, I've spent a lot of time thinking about politics and economics -- two things closely tied in this current climate of market instability. I discovered that I didn't know that much about economics, so I educated myself, and then I did some more thinking. (Something must occupy my mind when I'm folding all that laundry. My brain retreats from The Backyardigans in futile efforts of self-preservation. Into the thick of it! Into the thick of it!)
Here's where I landed: I'm taking this independent brain of mine right on down to the Board of Elections and changing my party affiliation. I am not a Democrat. I disagree with most of the basic planks of the Democratic party platform. But nor am I a Republican -- and it takes a lot for me to say this.
I do not look forward to the implementation of Barack Obama's healthcare reform initiatives, nor am I sure how our small but incorporated business will bear the new corporate tax structure. I disagree with Democratic stance on many social issues, but not as many as you might think. And I cringe every time a new (soon-to-be-dysfunctional) government agency is created to once again relieve people of their personal responsibility. I resent the fact that so many people are dependent on our government for basic needs, but I also know that there are people who legitimately need to take advantage of these services.
I do believe we should be good stewards of our environment, but I am only willing to take that so far. I mean, trees over babies? I still can't believe the party that espouses protection of the environment is also unwilling to protect unborn children.
I cringed to see John McCain's healthcare plan as well. I questioned his ability to bring this country out of the economic doldrums (isn't he the one who said he should have listened in his college Econ 101 class?), and worried about Sarah Palin's obvious lack of knowledge about things she should have already known, or, at the very least, researched before subjecting herself to nationally-televised interviews.
I take great issue with legislators who, when they leave office, either by their own choice or the action of voters, are so ill-prepared for the real world that the only way they can provide for themselves is as lobbyists. While public office is a time-consuming job that deserves to be compensated, I suspect there are too many in office of both parties who will prostitute themselves in any way it takes to maintain a seat.
So where does that leave me? I think it leaves me unaffiliated. Goodbye, Republican Party! No more straight party tickets for me. I will research the candidates -- every one of them -- and vote according to individual platforms. I will not assume that just because we belong to the same group, we are like-minded individuals. If I don't like the Republican candidate, it doesn't matter -- I'm an independent now! If I criticize the Democratic candidate, it's not because I'm biased -- I'm my own political machine, not swayed by party-line persuasions. There are many issues that baffle me -- poverty, corporate greed, illegal immigration, countless others. And so, from now on, my vote will have to be earned. Period. How about you?
Side note: CPod and I looked at a county-by-county election map of the whole country, a sort of red-county, blue-county map of the US. We've decided the parties should be renamed City Mouse and Country Mouse.
And here's what my Y-chromosomed family members look like when I ask them to show me their muscles:
Cowboy, rugby player, race car driver, ninja warrior. Love it. I was a gypsy, but you'll never see a picture, because I'm the only one that takes any!