Jan 24, 2012
I want to tell a story. I want to tell you about Ronald Reagan and me. No, we never knew each other, and we shared no Earthly bond beyond him being my first President (ok, Brian Mulroney should be more relevant, but he’s a muppet).
Its hard to hate on Grandpa Ron, especially when he’d don the bright cardigan, sit in front of the TV, and whisper to our ears. Or was that Mr. Rogers? No mistake, I love Bill Clinton, but by 1999, I’d listen to Clinton and had to think ‘is he getting head right now?’ Needless, I like each for different reasons. To most, time weathered the warts of Iran Contra, and left Ronald Reagan a Eisenhower-esque sheen.
But I don’t write just to get mushy for Nancy’s muse. The story of Ronald Reagan and me is about me losing faith in Ronald Reagan. Partly by the obsolecence of his era, but more so from the direction his party has taken over the past 20 years. I was a Republican. Yeah that’s a weird considering I am Canadian and brown skinned. But I grew up with regular doses of CNN, Oliver North, Star Wars, Salman Rushdie, Noriega and Desert Storm, and all before I turned 10.
Through school and into my Microsoft-life, I was a Republican. Sure, I had issues with the social aspects of the GOP, but I could live with them as long as I could count on a free market meritocracy. I was blind, or maybe didnt care enough to be impacted by the ignorance and intolerance that I see at the heart of the party.
It happened quick, probably in summer 2008, right as the economy took its swan dive. So I guess its not so surprising that I went from a Reagan espousing Republican, to a Hope-infused Obamacrat by the time November 6 rolled around.
Bastille fell on August 28, 2008. That morning, McCain announced to the rest of the world just what he had caught when he dove his hand into the neocon retard pool, and out came Sarah Palin to the collective. It was as they say, the straw that broke the elephant’s back.
Its easy to see why I would change, but its more interesting to chart my path to that point. To understand my metaphorsis, its important to understand why I was a Republican in the first place. Well for one, I read a lot of Tom Clancy as a boy. I can say from first-hand experience that as a kid, its difficult to protect yourself from prose laced with political subtlety. But, in retrospect, Tom Clancy’s tea party message was as subtle as the recoil of the main gun in a M1A2 Abrams tank, over which I suspect Clancy has expunged many a orgasm. By the time I was in Grade 10, I had read everything Clancy had wrote, even those really shitty ghost-written Op-Center books. I tell ya, its a miracle I am not out shooting animals and stalking abortion clinics.
If Tom Clancy planted the seed, then the water that germinated my Republican flower came from the time I spent in Eastern Tenneessee as a kid. I may have grown up in Southern Ontario snow, but I’ve parked in many of the Sonic drive-thrus, walked through most of the Super Wal-marts, and eaten okra at all of the Cracker Barrels in Eastern Tennessee. As a 12-year old kid, I saw the simple, slow-paced, stable South as both quaint and fun. Much like that of Hobbits. As a 29-year old adult, it looks primitive and backwards. Much like that of Hobbits.
But I was young, and the GOP bone set. I grew up with what I describe as a Darwinist belief in free markets. Be it equity, bond, farmer or flea, I knew we’d be better off in free-er, efficient markets. I supported TARP, I’m bedrock for an independent Federal Reserve, and if I were to get a tattoo, it would probably have Keynes’ initials on it. But witnessing the market pull a HAL-9000 and drive the economy right over a cliff was sobering. Suddenly, things weren’t so clear.
As I grew up, I also came aware of the dissonance between my social perspectives and those of the GOP, and I found it harder to reconcile the two. When the 80-year old McCain showed us his annoited #2, the tension in me snapped like it were the West Bank circa September 2000.
From there, I was flung to the port side of the political spectrum. Today I am not a Democrat, so much as as I am not a Republican. The reasons behind this I will save for next week.
…continued in: Ron & Me, Part II: My Republican Disenchantment