Political Affiliations

I’ve been avoiding the Republican National Convention. It’s an odd thing; I watched a lot of the Democratic National Convention. I’m usually a political junkie. I think this year is going to be different. Usually on election night I’m in a room with 3-4 TVs on different networks and several computers connected to the net. Okay, so I’m a big dork. This year I will be in New Orleans at the Macromedia MAX conference (which is bad timing Macromedia). Having to vote absentee is not the reason I’m feeling apolitical this year.

I’ve been a Republican since before I could vote. I’ve donated to Republican campaigns, volunteered in a variety of ways, and voted as I saw fit. I’ve been a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus off and on since high school. I’m not a party-line voter, there are issues and candidates that I just can’t support. This year though I’m having trouble finding one that I can support.

I am Christian. I am a supporter of small government and federalism. I am fiscally conservative. I am patriotic. I believe liberty and freedom should be our highest ideals and that a strong national defense is required to protect these ideals (I even believe in missile defense). I feel like I should be seen as the mainstream Republican, and I clearly am not. This is the reason I’ve been avoiding this year’s convention.

I have been reading bits and pieces online, but other than the Daily Show I haven’t been watching any television coverage. I read commentary about Zell Miller’s speech and thought it was crazy for him to have spoken. I saw excerpts on the Daily Show last night and knew somebody had lost their mind. I had to hunt out a full copy of the speech to see if this was just the typical Daily Show edit for comical value. I am horrified that I discovered Stewart et. al. to be right on with regard to Miller.

Let me start by saying that I read a transcript of the speech. There are exaggerations and untruths — it is a political speech and I would expect some level of partisan slant to be noticeable. While I don’t like it, I think it might have been an okay speech. I certainly wouldn’t have used it as a convention keynote, but buried on the first night it would have been fine. The key problem with this speech is in the delivery. Zell Miller is clearly angry. Angry probably isn’t harsh enough. Zell Miller is pissed and I’m not sure why.

Zell Miller’s speech is hateful politics at its worst. That the Republican Party would decide to use this as its keynote is unconscionable. Sarah tells me they want to energize their base. I think it’s stupid — the Republican base is voting for Bush no matter what, all this speech achieved was the alienation of voters who might support Kerry. Compare this speech with that of Barack Obama at the Democratic Convention and you have two polar views of American politics.

I do not like John Kerry, but I’ve decided that unless things change drastically he will receive my vote. I believe that Bush is better suited to building the strong military that we need, but there are too many other problems.

I cannot support a candidate who would cut taxes and increase deficit spending. I cannot support a candidate who would tell gays that they don’t deserve the same civil liberties I enjoy and that this type of discrimination is not only acceptable but should be constitutional. I cannot support a candidate who believes that fear and hate are reasons for action. I cannot support a candidate who sacrifices America’s relationships with long-term allies. I cannot support a candidate who would withhold constitutional rights from U.S. citizens accused of crimes.

I am fearful that the Republican Party has decided that the core ideals that made me a Republican no longer matter to the party. It seems as if the only thing that matters is having and keeping control. The Republican Party no longer represents my values and has disdain for many of them. As neither candidate represents my beliefs, in this election I have to pick the candidate who I think will screw things up the least.