I used to be religious. And being a religious white male in America, that means I was a Republican.
I didn’t know much about politics or current events. I didn’t watch the news, but my ears would catch dialog about this or that event, and who supposedly was for what I was against or against what I was for.
What was I against? Anything that I felt would “trample on my rights.” What were my rights? Jesus! Property! Guns! Prayer! Bibles! You know the routine, be for or not for it.
But who was running for office? Who knows. I wanted to know what party they were in. I wanted to know what that party was for or against. I wanted to vote for whoever actually read the terms of agreement because that would save me the work detail.
The only thing I knew about the Republican Party was that it was “pro-life.” This means that the opposing party—the Democrat Party—was pro-death, or “pro-choice.” That was all I cared about. No other humanity issues were even considered.
Was there issues with the Republican Party? Sure. But did I know what they were? Not really. All I cared about was that I felt abortion was wrong and wouldn’t care about how else the party I considered myself affiliated with was wrong. Life over death. That was the most important.
A few things happened that started me on the way to changing my politics.
First off, I like people. I don’t like to see others in pain. I want to help people—not just my own circle—even if it is at a sacrifice. As I’ve aged and married, I’ve been less free with my money, but the heart is still there. Instead, I give more time and resources than I used to.
Turns out, most organizations that try to alleviate others’ pain and discomfort without ultimatum and conning are non-religious, left-wing groups. Right-wing, humanitarian groups are almost non-existent, except for the church groups that try to proselytize. Here’s a meal; now, come to my church and tithe.
Secondly, I stumbled across George Carlin stand-up videos. Using philosophy combined with humor, he attacked the ideas that many Republicans have about war, god, rights, oppression, and the like.
Ironically, the right-wingers care about themselves and maybe a fetus. After that, Carlin says, they don’t care about you until you’re military age. After you leave the military, they again don’t care about you. They claim to be “pro-life,” but are pro-war, pro-death penalty, pro-spanking, pro-child labor, and pro- anything else that steps on the dignity of people they do not know.
Thirdly, I read a book called God’s Politics, which was less about party lines but rather showing mercy and kindness to all people.
A truly religious party would not want others to be hungry, in poverty, without health care, and without hope for a good future. This made me realize that outside of the “pro-life” argument—which is a small issue in comparison to all the other more important issues that we Americans face—I was more of a Democrat than anything.
America is a melting pot of diverse people types and cultures, where all of us are seeking life, liberty, and happiness. Any party that promises and delivers this to as many people within and without our nation is the political party or person I want to align myself with. Otherwise, I’m being ignorant, unkind and/or selfish.