Are your friends Republicans?
December 23, 2007 | 2008 campaign,Friends,Guest blogger,Politics
Hi, everyone. I’m Margaret, and I’ve actually never met Becky. We are e-friends, known only by listserv, email, and blog. We share interests in having a family and having a life as well. I admire her from afar, particularly now that she’s in Norway.
I’ve just started dipping a toe into political activism, and I’m puzzled by some of the things I’m learning. I thought I’d bat them around here and see what you think.
A few months ago, John Edwards did something I liked, can’t remember what it was, but I donated an embarrassingly tiny amount of money to his campaign. Naturally I have been bombarded with e-mail ever since. Now, I like Edwards, but I’m not sure if he’d be a good president. It seems to me he has little experience in Washington and none as an administrator of a big organization. But I do like many of the positions he’s taken. Also, as a blue-collar kid, I’m a real sucker for that whole “my daddy was a mill worker” shtick. And I’ve noticed a pattern: he announces a plan or stakes out a position, and later Hillary and Obama announce theirs, which are slightly to the right of Edwards’s. It looks to me like he’s providing cover to the frontrunners and pulling the whole field somewhat to the left, and for me that’s reason enough to be thankful that he’s in the race. (Note: Becky has not endorsed a candidate, and what I say here is my opinion only.)
So I responded to one of those e-mails and got on a conference call with Edwards supporters in New Jersey and found myself volunteering to collect signatures to get Edwards on the ballot for the primary here in February. Now, I’m not shy, and as a student, I registered voters in housing projects in the Bronx (which would scare my mother half to death, so I’ve never told her about this, even now, after 30 years). So I know this isn’t hard to do. Problem is, I live in a comfortable suburb, in one of those towns people move to for the schools, and this area is overwhelmingly Republican. I needed to find registered Democrats to sign these petitions. But I figured that among my family and friends there are quite a few who share my politics, so it would be easy to find Democrats. Was I wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong!
I was right about my family; the people I thought were Democrats actually were. But none of my friends, and I mean NONE, are Democrats. Most are independents, and a couple are Republicans so they can vote in the Republican primary in local races. Since around here the Republicans dominate, local elections are basically determined by who wins the primary. (In New Jersey, only party members can vote in primaries. I know it’s different in other states.)
I am spooked by this, by the fact that my friends are not Democrats. Maybe I am completely naïve (a distinct possibility), and not that the Democrats are perfect (Lord knows they are not!) but I despise and fear so many Republicans (Dick Cheney! Newt!) that I cannot imagine either being a Republican or remaining aloof and being an independent. There are a few Republicans among my family, but I just figure that Rush has infiltrated their brains, so I consider them the political equivalent of pod people.
So here are some questions I’d like to throw out to all of you. Do you belong to a political party? How did you decide? Do you know if your friends have made the same decision? Do you feel as strongly about this as I do? Is this making sense to you, or do you think I am a total wacko? (It’s okay, you can tell me, I can take it.)