I Used to Be A Republican

Growing up in an Air Force family, voting for Republicans was just second nature. As a kid I was proud of Republicans for supporting our democratic institutions and the rule-of-law, leading on environmental stewardship with the clean air act and creation of the EPA (Nixon), and gun control with the Brady Bill (Reagan).  But things have changed. As I started my career I noticed shifts in the Republican party.  Slowly but surely the party that once stood for the rule-of-law, fiscal responsibility, and environmental stewardship started moving to the extreme right.  Today’s Republican party would not be recognizable to Reagan.  The recent eroding of our democratic institutions would have been unthinkable when I was in my 20s.  The politicization of not only the Supreme Court, but also the Justice Department and even the military are matters of serious concern. Support for dictators and strongmen (Hungary’s Viktor Orban is a prime example) would never have been tolerated in Reagan’s Republican party.  Today, Republican politicians are only concerned about fiscal responsibility when they are out of power.  Once in office, all they do is cut services and slash taxes with no regard to decades of data that show tax cuts never pay for themselves and only shift wealth to the rich.  At the state level a prime example of Republican fiscal malfeasance is Education Freedom Accounts.  This expensive school voucher scheme was 5000% over budget in its first year, and has doubled in its second year.  This is going to drastically raise local property taxes.  The Republican party has completely rejected environmental stewardship and become an extension of the fossil fuel industry, even in the face of the visible and devastating impacts of climate change. My political opinions haven’t changed since I was in my 20s.  Back then I was a moderate Republican.  Now, with the same views I held back then, I am a proud Democrat. I can’t understand why Republicans claim Democrats are socialists or communists.  All the Democrats I have met in New Hampshire are kind, caring, and compassionate people - people who just want to help their communities be better, in a fiscally responsible way. If you are like me and think the Republican party has moved too far to the right, it is OK to vote your principles by voting for Democrats.  We are good people. The bottom line is we need to defend democracy, not just vote the way we always voted in the past.