Most of my friends from college are Democrats. I normally have better sense than to push the issue of politics in that group, for the sheer fact of being outnumbered (with the exception of a recent and unnecessary comment-skirmish on a friend's site--again, friend, apologies.) Being the minority voice is intimidating, after all. I changed the subject often.
I believe what I believe. I was raised in a Conservative Republican home, flirted with switching parties for a little while in college, and then decided against it. I'm a Conservative. I'm registered as a Republican, though I'm not a party-liner. I lean to the right. That's it.
But most of my friends are Democrats. Many are liberals. As are several of you, my lovely readers. And that's fine.
But I'm not. I can't be. The reasons why, I'll explain in depth at a later time.
My last girlfriend was a left-leaning moderate. She would jokingly cite her Oregon upbringing. When I was with her, I was not as outspokenly Conservative. Because I was with her, and whatever she said was pretty much fine by me. This was not her fault at all. It was mine. I'm a follower.
Most of my friends are Democrats and/or "liberal". And most of my favorite bands too. It really bums me out.
The alternate title of this post is "My Favorite Music Gets me Down."
Ben Folds? Yep. Dave Matthews? Yeah. Damien Rice? You betcha. Crows? Mostly. U2? Yep. Bowie? Probably. Morrisey? Oh yeah. Radiohead? Yeah.
Getting the picture? I can barely listen to the radio. The Beastie Boys' new album has a few tracks that are specifically anti-Bush. Everytime I turn on the news, it seems like there's another DNC benefit concert featuring the band in my CD player.
But wait--it gets better. My favorite authors? Sure.
Most vocal is Dave Eggers, a writer I greatly admire, whose website not only has the "Daily Reason to Dispatch Bush", but is also hawking its Dictionary of the Future, which contains definitions of an overwhelmingly anti-Conservative, anti-administration nature.
At this point, you--my beloved readers--are likely divided into two camps. On the one hand (guess which), there are those who say "geez, Dave, that sucks" or some incomprehensible rant about "the liberal media at work." On the other hand, there are those who will no doubt respond with some degree of "figure it out, Dave--we're all right, you're wrong, and Bush is (a/the) stupid/evil/liar/oil-whore/Hitler/Antichrist."
Feel free to flood the comment box with both sides. In the end, it doesn't matter to me, because I still believe what I believe. I still think what I think. I have weighed the ideologies in the balance and found one just slightly better than the other.
But what bothers me is the hysteria that surrounds so much political discussion, hysteria that I've certainly contributed to at one point or another. There are red states and there are blue ones. There is one side and there is the other. And an infinite gap in between. So-called independents are just playing semantic games. Nader voters aren't in the center, they're just farther to the side than the others.
But when there are political topics opened, everyone plugs their ears and starts screaming. And in the end, we're all deaf. And blue-faced.
I will try to spell out as clearly as I can, in the coming weeks, why I believe what I do, why I will vote the way I will vote, and what I think and feel about certain pressing social issues. Not that it will do any good. Half of you will simply think that I'm a conservative due to the fact that I was raised properly and I'm a good Christian, and the other half will write me off as just a mindless neo-con clone, out of touch with the real world. Both groups are wrong, I think.
What is to come (not immediately, but soon) is for the sliver of you, the one or two of you, who haven't already decided that a) the Dubya Administration is plotting the downfall of humanity; or b) George W. Bush is the greatest president America has or will ever have.
I believe you're out there, somewhere.
This is for you.