How I Became a Democrat

It’s been more than a year since the 2008 presidential election, when Illinois Senator Barack Obama and Arizona Senator John McCain engaged in that great, quadrennial contest for votes.

Initially, this poster was not quite sure who to support. Mr. Obama seemed quite the exciting, inspiring candidate. On the other hand, like many Americans, I was concerned about his relative lack of experience. Mr. McCain, I knew, was an honorable, decent man who had served the country well. Throughout the summer I hesitated, leaning towards the side of Senator McCain.

I remained in this state of mind until the Republican National Convention. It was then, in the second or third day of watching the RNC, that I decided to support Mr. Obama. More fundamentally, it was then that I decided to become a member of the Democratic Party.

This was because the experience left my deeply, profoundly uncomfortable with the Republican Party as it is today. I felt that an individual like myself would not have been welcome in that convention. I felt like a card-carrying computer geek in a room full of football jocks.

The RNC was very big on characterizing America as a nation of small towns and the Wild West. I remember, for instance, that a number of delegates wore cowboy hats. Others liked to chant “Drill, baby drill!” or “USA! USA!” The politicians – Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson – were fiery, inflamed, and sometimes quite hateful. At one point, I concluded that the Democratic Party’s appeals to small town-folk were hopeless. Small towns were in the very DNA of the Republican Party. They were just naturally more genuine than anything Democrats could hope to be.

That emphasis on rugged individualism and the good ‘ole days appeals to a large segment of white suburban America, the base of the Republican Party (very few Americans actually live in small towns). It left me, however, quite uncomfortable. I like small towns, but I also like colleges and big cities. I prefer curling up with a good book to horseback riding or backpacking – as I found out this past week. And I’d vote for the intelligent nerd over the awesome-to-hang-out-with dude.

I left the convention having concluded that the Republican Party was just not for me. Until that time I had considered myself an independent, quite happy to vote for either a Republican or Democrat. Ever since that experience I have been a Democrat. The party just appeals more to a guy like me.

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One Response to How I Became a Democrat

  1. Joe from NC says:

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Your story is similar to mine, only yours took place 3-4 years later. I couldn’t care less about which party won until 2004. I actually liked Bush better than Gore before that. I thought Gore came across as arrogant and personality-less (actually I still do-though now I wish he would have won). I initially thought Bush was likeable, although I was always concerned about his ties to the religious right. But what turned me off was George W. Bush’s and other Republican’s absolute embrace of anti-intellectualism and their whole “black and white” view of morality and patriotism that turned me off and lead me to cast my first presidential vote for John Kerry.

    For example, some liberals may overly focus on the mistakes the US has made in the past, but so many conservatives seem to feel that merely acknowledging that our country isn’t perfect means you hate it.
    Also, so many conservatives (and even more since Glenn Beck came around) seem to think that supporting any government involvement in the economy means you support Soviet-style Communism.

    I, like most American liberals, do not want the government to run the whole economy and don’t think the government should make sure everyone has the same amount of money. I simply believe the opportunity to succeed financially should be as equal as possible. And let’s face it, can anyone say that a child born in the inner city has the same opportunity for success that a child born in the southeast Connecticut “gold coast” has?

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