Ah. Another presidential election is heading our way, which can only mean one thing - constant commentary on social media and cable news about which candidate is more of an idiot than the other. Part of me enjoys this because it means that people are engaged. The other part of me gets really annoyed by all of this political negativity. I’ll admit, I’ve ‘unfollowed’ several Facebook ‘friends’ due to their constant political outbursts – Republican and Democrat. It's not the platform folks!
Up until now, I have tried to make it my policy not to share my political point of view on social media. I don’t even talk much about it with my friends. Instead, I try to use Facebook how I believe it should be used – to pretend life is perfect and posting the photos to prove it (photo filter, anyone?).
But, then I started asking myself if I wasn’t expressing my political thoughts because I didn’t want to encourage more of the same, or if it was because I was afraid of what people would think of me if I stopped being a closet Republican. Disappointed in myself, I knew it was the latter.
This is too bad because I’m actually a pretty political person. It’s a big part of who I am fundamentally. After all, I’m originally from Hamilton County Indiana, which was the 2nd most conservative county in the nation when I grew up there. In addition, I don’t have a conversation (including email) with my father without touching on some political topic, and it’s been this way my entire life. I try to watch Meet the Press and Face the Nation every Sunday. I read a portion of the Wall Street Journal every morning on my iPad – especially the Opinion Columns. And, in college I spent an entire summer interning on the Hill in Washington DC for Dan Burton, my hometown Republican Congressman.
|With Congressman Dan Burton. I called once a week for months to get that internship.|
|With Senator Bob Doyle and some other interns. My hair...I know.|
After my 13 week stint in DC, I was convinced that I was going to head to the Hill after I graduated to work in public service, then perhaps get my law degree. However, after graduating with a degree in history, minoring in (what else) political science, I took a job in insurance rather than moving to DC as planned only because I thought it would pay better than being a legislative assistant on the Hill.
Unfortunately, the fact that I haven’t felt like I can express this side of me has suppressed a large part of who I am, especially since I’m a pretty outspoken person. However, I was concerned that people would categorize me as all sorts of things that I’m not. Racist. Uncaring. Gun-loving. Religious fanatic. Greedy. Homophobic. Just name any of the characteristics used by many people to describe a Republican. This kind of makes me mad, and it is the reason why I’m writing this post.
Of course, anyone that knows me will tell you that I’m none of those things. I live on an island where white people are the very (very, very) large minority. I can’t remember the last time I stepped foot in a church. My husband and I don’t own a gun and never will. Just a few weeks ago I donated to a local fund to help some guys that got hurt in a boating accident. I listen to NPR almost every day, and donated to help get it back on-air locally when it went off-air. I love wearing Birkenstocks, but I think my husband has thrown away every pair I own. I am even seriously considering buying a Subaru Outback as my next car. I could go on and on.
In fact, in a lot of ways, I’m not a Republican. At least, I’m not the quintessential Republican. I actually agree with Democrats on a lot of social issues, and I get very frustrated with the way things go in my party sometimes. It’s just that when it comes down to the issues that I feel are the most important issues – issues that I think impact everyone the most - my point of view lines up stronger with the Republicans.
So, please don’t throw things at me, or mislabel me, or key my car. I’m not a hater. I’m just a Republican.