Republican? REALLY???

Personal / Saturday, November 8th, 2003

What is it exactly that makes me feel aligned with the REPUBLICAN party?

And my answer.

My answer started with pause. I do not fit nicely into any party. l like to call myself a “bleeding heart conservative” as opposed to the awful GW “compassionate conservative” phrase (although I fit into this category as well.) I also have always felt drawn to politics and imagine myself in some capacity working for the Government, or running for office…and the sad sad fact is…major party= financing.

I was (still am to an extent) involved with the College Republican and Erie County Young Republican groups. As a woman, I am much much more accepted into this “compassionate conservative” role. I realize that as I have come into being the socially aware person that I am today, my views have changed and expanded tremendously. Looking back at my childhood it is EASY to see where I get my views from: dinner table conversations listening to my dad bitch about all the lazy people on welfare who should be working or comments suggesting that the “guilty murdering bastard should fry” having been blessed growing up with two grandmothers who had equally strong religious and moral convictions (one protestant, one catholic) coming from a family where my mother stayed at home to raise the kids and the neighborhood kids as well as taking care of my ailing grandparents so they could stay at home, hearing arguments about money and having a father who had tight control over his hard-earned paycheck insisting on paying for things in cash…being expected to live up to high standards in life and become well-educated to make a better future for ourselves…always being encouraged to have our own strong opinions and stick up for what we believed in…I could go on and on.

I never really thought of my family as political, however going back I can easily see where my foundation was built. I do remember my parents taking the time to vote. I do not once think that I was ever TOLD as a child that it was my civic responsibility to do so. I know I was aware of the world around me and as I learned more in school I realized I had a love of all things political. I imagined myself as a lawyer while younger but most of the time I was thinking that would be the stepping stone to something greater, running for office. THIS MANTRA has definitely shaped who I am today-living a conservative life—sex? DRUGS? Never…all this was in anticipation of running for office. How disappointed-secretly relieved was I after Bill Clinton was elected president if HE could win…well little good girl Jen would have NO problem! (and then came the pledging of the sorority) it started to all go down hill from there…he he he…(down the bunny hill)

I admit, having a love-affair school-girl crush on the character in Family Ties- Alex P. Keaton *might* have swayed my affiliation as well…And then there was my HS sweetheart, well, he *might have had* little dolls of past Republican presidents, which I found to be cute…but I think these things has more to do with me being attracted to the more conservative-esque political type of MAN. (Which Shaggy identified, however was still conflicted over MY thoughts) but in my defense, I’ve come along way. A small town girl yes, but we DID have a college in town! And I did have a cool Aunt who I determined to be *more socially liberal* who I looked up to in every way. And then there was the magical ART class in High School which karma linked me to my other self at the time, my artsy-left leaning self, my Katie.

So where am I going with this? Ah…

I registered Republican when I was 18 because that is what I thought I was…today I am still a Republican in order to be affiliated with a major party and to vote in the primaries. I see myself as more of a moderate-independent middle ground person. Almost Libertarian, although I want to do a lot more reading up on this party. WHY Republican and not Democrat though and my response is this, basically, I believe in personal responsibility and limited government. Two fundamentals *associated* with the Republican party, although utilized for their own agenda at specific times. I drove home from college in 92 to make sure I could vote for Bush, in 96 I voted Republican again, this time for Clinton…oh wait, I mean Democrat ; ) I felt that Clinton was much more moderate and able to work with others for change. and 00? I wanted John McCain but the $$$$$$$ was against this vote from the beginning. Hence, the alternative. (ALTHOUGH again, I did state with conviction that I would rather have Al Gore as my president than Hillary Clinton as my senator ANYDAY. Boo hiss.)

And with all of THAT…you all exclaim.”Who cares!” Well, I do. I think many people are afraid of KNOWING that some of their views fit one party better than the other. I do know myself pretty well and what I believe, but I read freaking political journals and non-fiction for fun.

Whatcha talkin' bout Willis?