2008-04-22

Coming out

About three and a half years ago, a friend called me to wish me a happy birthday. We giggled together as she tried to make it through the birthday song, and we chatted about my plans for the day.

Then she asked me if I'd voted. It also happened to be our last presidential election day. I had voted, and just to keep the silly going I told her I'd voted for the candidate she hated, the one she'd lobbied hard against. I thought she knew me well enough to know I was pulling her leg, but I was wrong.

"I have to tell you, I voted for X."

There was dead silence on the other end of the line for a beat, then she shrieked, "You WHAT?"

"I'm kidding, I'm kidding. I didn't vote for him."

"Who did you vote for?"

The thing is, I didn't want to tell her who I voted for, because I didn't vote for her favorite candidate. I voted third party, like I often do. So I tried to switch it up and distract her, "Don't worry, I didn't vote for X."

She wouldn't let it go, "Who did you vote for?"

"Forget it. When do you want to get the kids together?"

"Who did you vote for?"

"Honestly, I didn't vote for him. I don't want to talk about it anymore."

"Who did you vote for?"

It went on like that for a while, and finally I capitulated.

"YOU WHAT!?!? You voted third party? You might as well have voted for X. You wasted your vote! I cannot believe you did this! How could you? HOW COULD YOU?!?"

And she went on. And on. Berating me for my (very well considered) decision, that if X won I'd deserve what I got, etc. Pretty much put a damper on that birthday, let me tell you.

I'm fairly well versed in politics; I follow the issues as best I can in between empty sound bites that the media likes to serve up to us. I read a lot, listen a lot, watch a lot.

And I love discussing politics. The problem is, most people seem to react like my Birthday Friend. It's their way or nothing. There is no discussing, there is no room for debate or free thinking. If you don't agree with them, you are wrong. Period. End of discussion. Except for the berating bit.

Yesterday Megan at Velveteen Mind wrote quite the thought-provoking post about a similar topic. She's dipping her toes into the political, and has a lot of questions. The problem is, sometimes asking a question can be as heretical to those who are firmly entrenched in their belief system as openly opposing them.

I know that all too well. I have had friendships become strained because I asked questions, for the very act of asking made me suspect in their eyes. People have attempted to pigeon-hole me into a category, accusing me of being one of Them (that is, the enemy in their eyes) for daring to even question their tightly held beliefs.

I've been told that I can't be who I say I am politically. That it's impossible. I must be lying or stupid. Which I find odd, because this is who and how I've been my entire voting career.

Who am I politically?

Socially liberal.

Fiscally conservative.

There. I said it.

*crickets*

Am I alone in this? Am I the only Mommyblogger who isn't a registered Democrat?

24 comments:

  1. Congrats on coming out of the closet!

    Consider yourself stumbled.

    Who me?

    I'm the Pat Buchanan of the Blogosphere. ;)

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  2. Alright....I have said those words too....
    Yes I am socially liberal and fiscally conservative. BUT those social issues usually end up outweighing my fiscal views. The social programs that I believe in need $$ to survive. The social issues that I don't want taken away far out-weigh (so far) my bleeding pocket book. I really do vote for the candidate at hand, but more often than not, I go the democrat way.

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  3. I just stated that EXACT statement on a blog. However, I am actually the exact opposite of a buns life...more often than not, I go the republican way.

    It creates a lot of internal conflict with me. :S

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  4. Well you already know I identify as socially liberal/fiscally conservative.

    There are actually a lot more of us out there than you'd think.

    It took me years to figure out why I detested GWB so much when we're both supposedly "moderate" - then I realized that he's actually diametrically opposed to my stances - I've got more in common with extremes on either 'side' - because he's socially conservative/fiscally liberal!

    It makes politics more of a diamond than a linear picture if you think of it that way.

    Why am I registered Republican and my husband a registerd Democrat when we pretty much agree on the issues?
    Because for me, that fiscally conservative trumps socially liberal at times and for him, the reverse.

    But politics is one of those hot button topics that people tend not to be good about dealing with ideological differences.

    Tends to make me a bit odd, as I don't care where someone stands, as long as they got there by thinking about it, analyzing it, and deciding for themselves.

    But yeah - there's a lot of call for fiscally conservative/socially liberal - it's what the main premise of the Reform party in 1996 was when Perot first announced it - and why so many of us flocked there until we discovered that he wasn't really representing those interests.

    But hang on to your own beliefs... and never be afraid to espouse them. But also realize that you don't EVER have to explain them to someone else if you don't want to. :)

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  5. Well, I'm a "soft" dem and a "soft" repub (meaning, whoever talks last wins LOL).

    BUT got me, I'm a registered Dem.

    P.S. I left you a DM on Twitter.

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  6. This is the very reason why I only discuss politics with those that feel the same as me or will debate fairly. I'm a Libra and very capable of seeing both sides but I can't stand when someone tries to convince me that my views are wrong. I was a die hard Dem who rallied for Clinton during college and becoming a mother and business owner has swung me the other way. I feel very outnumbered in the blogosphere.

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  7. Obviously you're not alone. Add one more to the not-registered-Democrat-mommyblogger column.

    You know how they color the maps blur or red when displaying the election results? Well, I consider myself one of the purple people.

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  8. I've seen it all - started out as a hard-core Republican (I have the thank you notes from Ronald Reagan to prove it), spent some time as a Libertarian, after working in politics for a while I switched to Democrat (in NC it means something different than nationally), then after working in politics a while longer became an Independent. All of this in the span of about ten years. The problem with labels is that they're grossly insufficient at telling us anything about another person - as complex as we all are. They more often just put up artificial barriers to real dialogue. If we're going to capitalize on the huge variety of strengths and ideas we have in this country in order to build a healthy life for everyone, we're going to have to do the tough (and time consuming) work of listening to each other as we share from our hearts (and not from our sound bites). Thanks for offering us a chance to begin some of that.

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  9. Thank God we don't have to register in this state! I'd be a Republican and the hubby a Democrat. But we tend to agree on more things than disagree.
    I'm not sure I totally even understand what fiscally/socially conservative/liberal even mean. I know where I stand on certain issues, but to paint it with a broad stroke like that? Just seems to be putting labels where none should be!

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  10. RAISING MY ARMS AND WAVING THEM MADLY

    ME

    I'm Fussy's twin.

    xo ~K

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  11. not trying to be rude at all, but how is it possible to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative?
    Social programs require endless amounts of money, and require topheavy, inefficient bureaucracies to oversee them. Social programs also breed laziness and reliance upon a cradle-to-grave nanny-state, despite the people (like my family 15 years ago) who just use them to get back on their feet.
    Having sound, commodity based, non-fiat money and a non-inflationary monetary policy will create far more wealth than social programs, and allow everyone from every walk of life to succeed.
    Social programs usually just mean that the government thinks they can run people's lives or invest their money better than they can.

    anyway by now you can probably tell that I voted for Ron Paul =)

    great blog by the way!

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  12. I was recently invited to join a group of "high minded" moms who meet together to discuss politics and other up to date topics. Their name is "Blue Moon" for the politics involved. I asked why they had chosed me because I don't resemble blue. They responded that they just assumed I was because I blogged. Wha? They didn't retract their offer saying they would turn me Purple...I didn't tell them that they would have to work pretty hard to get me Red. I promised not to let my head spin or anything. I usually behave well in public and avoid politics...and don't even get me started on religion...ha.

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  13. Crickets? You wanna talk crickets, try being an agnostic libertarian among the mommy bloggers.

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  14. You are not alone! I believe in as little government (and taxes)as possible. I don't vote by party-I vote for the candidate that I feel best represents my views. When I do vote Republican and admit it to my liberal friends-they go NUTS on me! I'm very careful about discussing politics-it gets so many people wound up.

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  15. Whispering back....I'm actually a registered Republican--but then I do live in Texas ;)

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  16. Whispering back....I'm actually a registered Republican--but then I do live in Texas ;)

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  17. Seriously! Thank GOD. I wrote once that I was a political sichzophrenic. And really, I am. Let gay people get married! Stop taking mah taxes! Abortion is ok! No Socialized Health Care!

    I mean, really... I love you.. That is all.

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  18. "Abortion is ok!"

    It really breaks my heart to hear women say this.

    I'm sure glad my Mom, after getting pregnant with me out of wedlock, didn't abort me. I bet I caused her all sorts of stress and burden. And after my umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck, they could have used that as an excuse to abort, figuring that I would probably have brain damage anyway and it would be "cruel" to let me live.

    Abortion is eugenics, plain and simple. Planned parenthood is an offshoot of the Nazi eugenics programs. The master race simply can't have all of those inner city mothers breeding another generation of failures.

    "With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment…Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed" - Charles Darwin (Darwin, 1871, 1896, p. 133-134).

    Hitler was an astute disciple of Darwin. Can you tell?

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  19. Uh... yeah. I think "J" needs to switch to decaf. And this is coming from someone who thinks abortion is not okay!

    See, I too am socially liberal and fiscally conservative. BUT, I am a registered Democrat. And my fiscal conservatism is more personal than federal. Heh. But I am also a Christian and attend church every week. I'm a contradiction in terms. :) And I think geekmommy has it nailed on the head, why so many conservatives out there are appalled at GWB.

    But yes, I will be voting Democrat this year. Doesn't mean that's always how I vote, but this year... yeah.

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  20. Why do I need to switch to decaf Marilyn? Is something I said untrue? Have you done your research? I have! Why don't you go read up on Margaret Sanger (the founder of Planned Parenthood), eugenics, and Nazism (just google any combination!) and then come back to comment.

    Also, I still maintain that it's impossible to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

    And let me guess.. you are going to vote for Obama? The guy who voted against giving medical care to babies who were unsuccessfully aborted and born (and thus just letting them lay there and die)? Hillary's not quite as bad, but she's not far behind.

    And yet you claim to be a christian who attends church weekly? Appalling.

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  21. Sarah3:14 AM

    I knew I liked you! My husband and I just ran for Republican Committee persons in our area, knocking a slack chairman out of his & his wife's seat and won! It was a fun experience in downhome real grassroots politicking and it has actually forced me to ramp up on where I stand on the issues. No, I don't like making a big issue of it in a crowd but it is okay to make a stand on what you believe and not have to apologize for it!

    Some people go to dinner, my husband and I run for office together! Gotta make time to see those men somehow.

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  22. I'm so glad you addressed this. I'm not the least bit ashamed of my political views or party affilitation (I'm a registered Republican) but I tend to keep it to myself to keep things polite. Part of the problem is that I live in California where I'm vastly outnumbered.

    I have so many friends with more liberal leaning and I don't mind listening to their political views. I just happen to disagree. My closest friends know this but because it tends to stir up anger in others I avoid it. There are plenty of things I can love and appreciate about them. I'm not summed up by my politics either.

    What I don't understand is why it's acceptable to say that my opinions, candidates, and values are evil (it's not and they're not) when I simply think my friends are wrong. I don't want to stir up that kind of reaction - I'd rather just keep it polite, which is kind of sad.

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  23. I don't fit into a party very well. I have strong opinions, but, oh, what I really was going to comment about:
    People freaking out with questions. The other day my husband asked what I thought about men bearing children and I freaked a little. He had to remind me it was a question and we could rationally discuss it . . .
    Anyone can forget sometimes how to be nice and calm when it's something they feel strongly about.

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  24. I am a Republican and I am proud of it. I am fiscally conservative and socially conservative as well. Politics is my passion.

    Still, I do my best to avoid too much political stuff on my mommyblog because I think it would turn many of my potential readers. There are a few posts but not many. I do very much feel like a minority in the mommy blogosphere since I am conservative. I try to look for areas of commonality and focus on those rather than on politics on my blog.

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Brilliant observations: