I am not a Republican, nor do I consider myself a “Conservative,” yet I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten several “follows” on Twitter from several self-described Republicans and Conservatives, particularly Black Republican spokespeople and groups. And I’ve actually been accused of being a Republican, by people who mean that as an insult, several times online. They attack me with it, it’s a fall-back insult. I do find it odd when this happens. Socially, I’m generally what would be considered very liberal, as I’m pro-abortion, and pro-LGBT rights (including the right to marry, adopt children, to serve openly in the military, and be free from discrimination at jobs). I don’t care what religion anyone is, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, whatever, as long as they’re decent people who treat everyone fairly. That sort of thing. I don’t really have a clear opinion about guns and gun control. I don’t own a gun, but I spent a few days in Alabama last year, visiting Facebook friends, and I can see how the attitude about guns is different depending on where you live. A lot of folks live in these far-off secluded areas where there isn’t much around. Having a gun in the house for protection makes sense out there, as if something did happen, calling the police could take too long.
And I did some target practice myself while I was out there, and I have to admit it was kinda fun…
So what are the kinds of things that get me accused of being a Republican now? Well, there’s my stance on Black guys wearing sagging pants. I’m still amazed and baffled at the push-back I’ve gotten from other Black people about that. Black kids can walk around in public with their asses literally exposed to the world, but I’M the bad guy if I say anything bad about that?!? When I argue that we should hold our community to higher standards then I’m just playing “respectability politics”, which is apparently the worst thing any Black person can do. That makes me some radical conservative, I guess. Or I remember once someone posted on Facebook about some congressman who introduced a bill about showing proof of original birth certificates for Presidential candidates, and I just said I didn’t have a problem with that bill, and I got called a “right-wing bigot” by some Black guy for that.
There’s a few other things. I’m against Affirmative Action and “Hate crimes” legislation, so that also makes me a Republican, in the minds of many. Whatever.
You want the truth? Okay, here it is, I used to be a Republican, but not for about a decade. My first real introduction to politics is when President George H.W. Bush first nominated Clarence Thomas for the U.S. Supreme Court when I was a lad. I remember following the news of his confirmation hearings and being astounded at some of the hatred I’d see expressed at Clarence Thomas in Black newspapers and magazines, all because he was a Black conservative. Even then, not being really politically astute, I could sense how unfair so much of this was. I didn’t like this idea that just because he was Black he was supposed to be a liberal Democrat, and since he wasn’t that made him an “Uncle Tom,” an “Oreo”, a “sell-out” (all things I’ve been called myself over the years). It just angered me. And critics would outright lie about him, with impunity. I remember one editorial that I read in a local Black-owned newspaper that said Thomas “divorced his first wife, a Black woman, to marry his 2nd wife, a White Republican attorney.” First of all, even if that were true, so what? But it wasn’t true, not the way they implied it. He’d divorced his first wife years before he’d even met his second wife. Nevertheless, I saw tons of Blacks denigrated his interracial marriage, but if a White person were to say it, they’d be called racist. Hypocrites.
Anyway, so when I turned 18 I registered to vote as a Republican. My first Presidential election was 1996, where I voted for Bob Dole over Bill Clinton. In 2000 I voted for John McCain in the GOP primary, but when George W. Bush got the nomination I ended up voting for the Libertarian Party candidate Harry Browne, because I didn’t like Bush or Gore. Two sons of privileged families with political histories. I’m opposed to the idea of “political dynasties” in America. I 2004 I didn’t bother voting, due to lack of enthusiasm (still wasn’t happy with Bush, but didn’t care for Kerry, either). Plus, up to that point, my local polling place was a Church that was next door to me. So voting was always extremely easy for me. But then it got torn down, and my polling place was moved to an Elementary School that was out of my way, so I just didn’t feel like making the effort. It was sometime after that that I re-registered as an Independent. The Republican Party was moving much farther to the Right than I cared for. And I was evaluating candidates by their individual mandates, not their party affiliation anyway. I did vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger for Governor both times out here in California, and for Meg Whitman for Governor in 2010. She’s the last Republican I voted for. In 2008 I voted for Barack Obama and in 2012 I voted for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
So, there you go, that’s my political history.