Why not progressive?

At times I'm frustrated by those that don't follow politics in the United States. I worry they don't vote, I worry they don't get their opinion out there. Of course, I am very progressive and very much in opposition to the right, however, I'm being inspired by a much greater goal than politics. Politics is all cyclical. It's not important in the grand scheme of things. The important part of life is what all the regular people are doing. I'm changing the focus of this blog a bit. Not because I think the Tea Party won the midterms or anything like that but because I want to elevate us above that sort of derogatory nonsense into something that is far more useful. Something to save us and save the world. Small goals, I know. But seriously something to talk about.

Monday, December 3, 2012

What Does It Mean to 'Lean Republican?'

Disclaimer: This post was written based on my opinion of a recent evening. I toned down some of the opinions expressed and I've removed many of the extreme terms used in our discussions. When my friend was offended it was because I used the term, "hate," when referring to same sex marriage and women. It was a heated discussion but we're still GREAT friends and respect each other immeasurably. My friend is not going to be identified but for those of you that are close to me and may know of whom I'm sharing, know that this is a lesson for me and learning to look beyond my tunnel vision.

From my friend as I reviewed the blog with him via Facebook so disregard the syntax and format:

i m just glad we can have heated discussions like that and we are both smart enough to leave it as that.... a discussion. wish i could say the same for everyone. my biggest problem with politics is instead of bringing a country together under the freedom to vote and a great leader, it tears us apart like no other
nobody is willing to negotiate any longer. this is an all or nothing country and it saddens me
so people vote politicians to DC with the same attitude, ALL OR NOTHING. things will get worse until the country gets a reality check. i dont seee this in the near future

Rodney and I hosted a small dinner party the other day with two of our very good friends. Rodney doesn't speak about politics in a social situation and I don't normally, either. There was an exception on this particular night because we are such good friends and we both enjoy sparring. Rodney and our friend's partner went off into the other 'wing' of the house to get away from the, well, semi-heated conversation.

Surprise, I'm liberal. My friend, who is 20 years my junior and just beginning his career identifies as 'leaning republican.' He's straight, white, smart, involved with a gorgeous woman (who BTW is liberal) and when he told me he leaned republican I couldn't believe it. Here are the statements that I heard:

1. Although he doesn't believe abortion should be used, like me, he believes it's up to the woman because it's her body.

2. He believes in women's rights.

3. He doesn't believe gay marriage should be illegal.

4. (And this one's murky) He believes in entitlements within reason, with a cap and protections against abuse.

5. Based on our conversation he believes in a progressive tax program for the most part except, "Why should rich people pay more than their fair share?" came out of his mouth at one point.

What irked me after we had determined these 5 points was that he still identified as 'leaning republican.'

I didn't get it. I absolutely offended him by stating if he leans republican he can't possibly believe Rodney and I should be able to marry. I added fuel to the fire by stating that leaning republican doesn't support women and their rights.

I know he doesn't believe these things but I'm at a loss. Clearly I have tunnel vision and I need my mind opened up. Most of my friends are 1%-ers yet, like me they are ultra liberal. My friend will be a 1%-er based on family business prospects so I think we have apples and apples for the most part. This morning when I told him I was writing this blog post he stated, "Compare it to the Catholic Church: I believe in God but I don't necessarily believe in the bible. They would want me out." Well, he used an expletive but I held back. (He is not Catholic)

This has been bothering me since Saturday night. Share your thoughts on the benefits of leaning republican, leaning democrat or simply being independent. Our country is so polarized right now I'm utterly shocked. I would love to see more civilized discourse and would like to start with myself.


  1. You asked...if the GOP as a party with a platform was actually as Mike Murphy describes it SHOULD be in this week's Time mag, even I could lean Republican. Altho I am not quite as trusting in the free market as are his cohort. Modernized and not so hung on social issues. I think people like your dinner partner choose to believe the party is like that rather than like the party of Bob McDonnell of advanced degrees at Regent Univ and now famous for vaginal probes. This is the social conservative/religious right/reactionary GOP that the forward thinkers realize is a shrinking party. When the GOP embraced the blue dogs down south (and became labeled racists) and the religious right (and became labels nutballs) they moved far away from the party of Wm F Buckley and my father and his pals. The youngster can choose to ignore the current party platform and the social agenda as a part of the GOP at his own peril (and that of his lovely girlfriend) and find him supporting the end of legal abortion, the continued second class citizenship of gay couples, the repression of voting by those that are not in the GOP, and unfettered corporatism aka the end of unions and worker's right to organize. And that seems just a little counter to his values.

  2. I'm going to interject with a statement. Younger voters would be attracted in higher numbers to the republican party if they didn't limit so many personal freedoms.

  3. It is a tough subject and I can see how your conversation got heated.

    Like you, I have a very close friend who is 20 plus years younger (I met him when he was 23 and he just turned 40). He is so on his way to becoming a 1%er. And he is gay. He is extremely smart and an intellectual. He is also politically fiscally conservative. I love him dearly.

    “M” was a registered Republican and we would argue, I mean discuss, and discuss and discuss to the point that at one point Anne Z. asked at a dinner party if we were actually friends.

    I talked him into doing one of the California AIDS rides with us. It so happened that we were in Santa Barbara County when Reagan passed.

    At campsite that night us who had been there through it all were not sad. I know, never dance on a grave, but we were not. And actually we were quite emotional thinking about how many lives he could have saved or at least given hope and pushed the research forward. As a Lesbian I did not get sick and I watched 100’s of friends and friends of friends get sick and die.

    “M” called me aside that evening and we talked. This is what he said; “You are all so emotional and I was not old enough to experience that. I was growing up when Reagan was President and he was my hero.” Yes, thank God, he was too young to experience that.

    “M” was still registered Republican until Obama’s first election. He voted for Obama. Our next conversation was that he could not be apart of, even though in his mind his fiscally conservative views were more in line with the Republican platform economically, a party that was oppressive to civil rights, women’s rights, immigration, international presence, well the whole ball of wax.

    He finally understood that voting Republican meant he was endorsing the entire platform. His turning point was around Prop. 8. He is still not a Democrat; he is now registered Independent, however, he votes Democrat.

    And I think that that was the point you were trying to make with your friend. The Republican Party has become extreme on the right. Google the GOP… they are proud of it. Google USGov and look at the way they vote. And a vote for them gives a “high five”. If you vote for the GOP you are endorsing not what they used to be but what they are now.

    I am sorry this is long. I have much more to say about the differences between how a Liberal thinking person moves in the world as opposed to a conservative person. I will en