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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.)

Posted by Margaret @ 12:57 am  

5 Responses to “Are your friends Republicans?”

  1. Devra Says:

    I’m registered as a democrat. I registered when I was in highschool when I was sworn into vote in the lobby of my high school in Hamden Connecticut. (I wonder if that is still the practice?)

    I decided to become a Democrat because social/health/safety policy seemed to be more connected to Democratic platforms. As for my friends, I have a mixed group. For example I have one of my closest friends who is voting for Ron Paul, but that friend is a corporate atty and he is thrilled to have a candidate who is focussing upon Constitutional Law. G and I have had quite the heated debate about Roe V Wade, but at the same time G is the first person I would call if I needed legal advice. I am the first he called for support when his first marriage was ending. I have another friend who is so far Left there isn’t a candidate who even comes close to what she would consider electable! But my feelings on friends and their political affiliations must derive from the fact my parents are sociology professors and I was always encouraged to learn about my friends and what they believe. Not to be uncomfortable or fear that which is different from me. Not saying that Margaret is a scaredy cat or anything, just saying my experience is I was strongly encouraged to see beyond politics or in-groups/out-groups.

    When The Huz visited me at college I remember walking across campus with him. As we walked my fellow students would pass by and I would greet them as they did. The Huz turned to me and said, “You know all those people? They’re all so different!” And I felt a deep sense of contentment. I still feel that way about my friends. Even if some of them aren’t of the same political persuasion as me.

    Margaret is my friend. And even if she is a total wacko, I accept her. ; )

  2. Kathy Says:

    Hey, Check out Ron Paul – and I think you will have what you want for our president this coming year. A lot of the presidential candidates are now saying a lot of things that Ron Paul has been saying for over 20 years. This is similar to what you state about Obama and Hillary doing with John Edward’s ideas; however, if you look at these people when they talk, Ron Paul knows well of what he speaks, while others (changing horses in the middle of the stream), can not pull it off as true. Watch their faces!

  3. Todd Says:

    I can see why a lot of your friends are indy. The Dems have proven themselves to be so impotent these past years. In the interest of finding a lesser evil, I wouldn’t want to be tied down either. Sometimes that means voting for a (R) because the (D) wouldn’t win the race in any case.

  4. Gunfighter Says:

    1. Do you belong to a political party?

    Yes, I am a ciommitted Democrat, even though I wasn’t always one. The GOP that I used to belong to, disappeared with the emergence of the crackpots like Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, GW Bush, and the other pseudo-Christian right wingers.

    2. How did you decide?

    For me it was easy. What party best supports organized labor? The Democrats. What party believes that government has a legitmate role in helping those in need? The Democrats. What party is most likely to protect my ability to worship (or not worship) as I please? The Democrats.

    3. Do you know if your friends have made the same decision?

    I have some friends who are Republicans… most of them are not likely to vote Republican in the next election, though. They, like most rational beings, think that GWB has been a great big didater for this country.

    4. Do you feel as strongly about this as I do?

    I feel very strongly about politics.

    5. Is this making sense to you, or do you think I am a total wacko?

    I don’t think that you are a wacko.

  5. MargaretinNJ Says:

    Well, there was one vote for “Margaret is a wacko” and one against. Sounds about right to me. ;-)

    Thanks to all–Margaret

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