It's Not Me, It's You: Why I'm Breaking Up With The GOP

Editor's note: An avid listener of the show and regular contributor to our blog; Jason is a military officer and makes very clear that his thoughts and opinions are his own as a private citizen and do not reflect the views of the Department of Defense.  He is; however, a strong advocate for stronger military-civilian relations and everyone being able to use their First Amendment rights.  You can follow his sarcastic antics on Twitter @jbbakes3

Sitting in front of the TV staring at my phone, I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer.  I looked over at my fiancée, took a deep breath, and finally said it: “I can’t do this anymore.”

She nodded with knowing approval.  She knew this was coming and that it was just a matter of time.  The relationship had been deteriorating for so long.  The baseline foundation was still there, but the list of our disagreements was piling up by the day, and it appeared nothing was going to be done about it. Despite the longevity of the relationship, the time has come:

I have to breakup with the Republican party.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth that will occur among those close to me is probably akin to if my personal relationship was crumbling.  That’s sort of the problem though, isn’t it?  “He’s a good Republican,” I used to hear - as if being a blind follower of a letter next to someone’s name was a desirable personal trait.  Right now though, the definition of a “good republican” seems to mean going along with what the top wants…no matter what.  “It’s our turn” “We had to deal with it for 8 years” because it’s just a game we play, right? Bad policy is only bad if the other party is the one implementing it.

I, like many others, became a Republican because my family was. That’s the honest truth. As I got older though, I decided that I identified more with the party all about personal responsibility.  I agreed that we should spend our money wisely. I went to college and studied political science and economics and strengthened those beliefs.  Free trade was good for our own economy, and our relationships around the world.  Strong foreign policy involved a strong military, but also a diplomatic moral high ground others around the world could respect.  We weren’t great because we said we were, we were great because we did great things.

Now the Republican party is killing trade deals. It’s proposing to investigate completely unsubstantiated “voter fraud.” A country with a long, adversarial history with the U.S. is using strong arm interference in our elections, and isn’t a big deal to Republicans. I stop here to ask:  Does anyone think Republicans would not be ready to go to war with Russia if their influence had been interpreted to have elected Hillary Clinton? My party used to claim that “not having the money” was why infrastructure couldn’t be updated, or health and welfare issues couldn’t be addressed; but now we can find a way to fund a wall on our border—even if it starts a trade war and makes the goods American consumers and companies need more expensive.

But Jason, not all Republicans like these things! You would be right, but I actually find it more appalling that those who know these aren’t their beliefs sit idly by.  So great is the party’s ambition to retain power and “win” for once; that it would compromise its core political beliefs. There is not enough space here to list out the things that have transpired in recent days that I KNOW Republican lawmakers detest, but we hear nary a word.

COME JOIN US DEMOCRATS! Hold your horses, my Democratic friends. Just because I disagree with the way one party is currently being run doesn’t mean I go running to the other.  (See previous rant about compromising beliefs).  I took an online political quiz this morning that stated that my party agreement was 65% Libertarian, 55% Republican and 55% Democratic. As much as I would love to dedicate myself to the Libertarian cause a) 35% of the disagreement there would be based on uses of government I just can’t compromise and b) until you can have a national convention without someone taking their shirt off, you’re wasting my time.

So it’s a tie ballgame between the Rs and the Ds then. Looking through my list of tie breakers, the party using their unexpected victory to take a victory lap of poor policy that is alienating a huge portion of the country doesn’t get the win.

Breakups are tough, and right now I think I just need to be on my own for a while.  Truthfully, I, and we, could use a big dose of independent thinking.  As I have written on this blog before, in this last election I voted for Republicans, Libertarians, and even Democrats.  An odd thing happened when I checked those non Republican boxes: I DIDN’T DIE! I did not spontaneously combust! And the ghost of Ronald Reagan did not appear and warn me of my rebel ways.

I can’t say this enough:  If something seems wrong to you, if a policy seems bad, if it makes your hair stand up; then don’t wait and see what letter is next to the person’s name. Don’t be afraid as a Republican to write the senator you voted for and tell them you oppose a policy they support.  Conversely, don’t be afraid to write that Democrat and say “I think you’re right, thank you.” Sixteen years of calling the other side the devil, and not finding any common ground, has led us to a political landscape where bipartisan politics seemingly can’t exist. 

If it went against your political or moral beliefs 1 year ago, the outcome of an election alone shouldn’t change that. Your patriotic duty is to be informed, involved, and stand up for what you believe in. For me, that means some time away from the GOP.  Maybe it can call me someday for coffee when it gets its act together.