Friday, November 11, 2016

I Switched -- No Party Affiliation!

I have needed my husband more this past week than probably any time since his death ten months ago. Of course, I miss him every day and several times have caught myself wanting to call him to discuss little and big events.

My need for him recently is because of the Presidential election. He was the political one in the family. He always paid attention to world-wide events and watched both CNN and FOX news so he could form unbiased views. He was a registered voter with no party affiliation. Last fall, when all this Presidential election hoopla began, he didn't have a favorite candidate. This was well before the primaries so he had lots of choices --16 Republican candidates and Bernie was still around to cause a stir in the other group. I remember my husband saying that if Trump succeeded, it would tear the Republican party apart and that Hillary had too much baggage to succeed. Time will tell if his Trump prediction is correct although several times during the campaign, I thought it would happen. He nailed the Hillary prediction, though.

I’m a Democrat. I registered with that party so I could vote in the primaries and have more of a choice in candidates. I have voted in several presidential elections since turning 18 years old. My first Presidential vote was for Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Since then, I have voted mainly for Democratic candidates. I align myself with those who want to help education, the middle class and most importantly and selfishly, help the disabled since I have a child with a disability. In my experience, one of the first acts that Republicans take is to cut funds from the disabled and public education. Oh, they usually put the money back eventually after those who need it suffer a little while. To me, the Republicans, especially at the state level, beat up the weak kids first. It’s not that the Democrats are always great with their choices in spending or other issues, but they appear to care about the underdog more. 

After my son was born with Down syndrome, I joined of a new-to-me group -- people who advocate for those who can’t for themselves. I teach in a public high school, and many of the young people I teach also need advocates since their parents may not be present, physically or mentally. In my profession, I’m exposed to all types of people – black, white, gay, straight, Christian, atheist, etc. I see good and bad in all. I tell my students, “I love you all because you are children of the Lord, but there are times when I don’t like you.” My dislike has nothing to do with their sexual identity (which changes daily with teenagers), their religion, or their race. It has to do with behavior and work ethic, but I will go to bat for the worst one of them if I see that he is being wronged.

Both Democrats and Republicans used fear in their recent campaigns – “Is this the man you want to have the nuclear codes?” “Do you want your children hearing this language from your President?” “She is a criminal and will sell out to the highest bidder!”  I admit that I am fearful for the people for whom I advocate. I am afraid that the advances this country has made in acceptance for people with differences from the norm will recede and that the respect that women majorly deserve will lessen. I’m afraid that the illegal immigrant who cleans and cares for a close friend will be shipped back to Mexico and be separated from her American-born children. I have needed my husband to talk with me about all of this and maybe to calm my fears.

Yesterday, I changed my voter information to No Party Affiliation. To me, people assume that if I’m a Democrat, I’m some crazy, tree-hugging liberal or if I’m a Republican, I’m a racist homophobe. I'm fine with giving up my choices in a primary election. In this past election, the two parties made major pushes to sway the independent voters. I want candidates to want and need my vote, not simply expect it because I'm a member of that party. I'm so dissatisfied with both major parties that I'm happy to distance myself from them.

I think my husband would be ok with my decision. I sure would like to talk to him about it.