Wed Sep-10-08 06:03 PM
The story of how I became a Democrat (Or: Thank you Keith Olbermann, DU, etc)
I admit it, I grew up in a Republican leaning family. My dad has long extolled the virtues of Reagan (although he readily admits to voting for Jimmy in '76). I watched with awe the 2000 elections, hoping GWB would beat Al Gore. I was genuinely excited when the SCOTUS decided in Bush's favor. My faith in GWB was reaffirmed durin 9/11. I remember remarking to friends how lucky we were to have a strong Christian in office. I thought Bush had legitimately won Florida. I was looking forward to the true recount done months later (which was never fully reported on by the MSM). In all this, I've always been an MSNBC fan. I remember watching intently Oliver North'a show, and also "The Spin Room" with Tucker Carlson.
I was initially pro-Iraq War. I believed that Bush was telling the truth, but WMDs wasn't the main reason I was supportive of the War. I believed Hussein to be a vicious dictator, who had killed millions of Kurds in genocide, and this it would be best for the world if he were not around anymore. The day they found him, boy was that cool!
Fast forward to 2004, and I was one of those idiots that got caught up in the swift-boating. I didn't really like John Kerry, and I probably used the swift boating as an excuse to not like him. I remember staying up till 5 am on election night in the basement of my fraternity (I was a member of Triangle Fraternity, an engineering and sciences fraternity, from 2004-2006). I was happy that Bush had defeated Kerry.
Shortly after the election, on November 2, 2005, I was arrested in a McDonald's parking lot. My pledge brothers and I were travelling from Lawrence to Table Rock Lake for out walkout (essentially an escape from the active members for the weekend). We stopped in Harrisonville, Mo to get gas and food. My friend had given me money to get alcohol with (I went with a 21 yr old active to get it), and he wanted his $8 back. I told him, "No. Consider it your rent for the weekend" -- we were going to be staying at my parent's lake cabin. We got to the McDonald's, and one thing led to another, and we were soon arguing in the parking lot. When I refused to get out of my car to talk to my 2 friends, one said he was going to puke all over my cabin during the weekend. I got out, and put my hand around his neck, and my other friend put me in a headlock to calm me down. The scuffle lasted literally less than 15 seconds. We broke up of our own accord. Some soccer mom called the cops, meanwhile, I got back into my car to try and cool down. 3 minutes later, 4-6 cop cars swarmed the parking lot, and a cop approached my door. I rolled the window down a crack, and he said, " Get out of the car." I asked him three times, "What's the matter, officer?" After realizing he was ordering me out, I got out of the car and was immediately placed under arrest. I spent the next 20 hours in a prison holding cell.
This event opened my eyes to the injustice of the law system. While I had gotten into a scuffle (NOT a fight as no punches were thrown and no true violence occurred), I didn't feel I deserved to be put in jail. I mark this as a defining moment in my life, and I realized that if a white middle class college kid can get arrested for essentially nothing, what about minorities?
I first watched "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann by chance. It was September, 11, 2006, and I was scanning the channels, and saw KO on a tv set in front of the remains of the Twin Towers. Listening to his voracious condemnation of Bush et al, I found myself agreeing more and more with him. I became addicted somewhat to his show, and soon bought John Dean's books "Worse than Watergate" and "Broken Government".
After moving out into an apartment by myself, I started spending more time on internet news sites and blogs. I was so incredibly happy to see the Republicans face large losses in the 2006 midterm elections, and thought things would finally get on the right track. I now identified myself as an Independent Democrat (not in the Joementum sense). Around the time of the elections, I found Talking Points Memo, and soon DU. I lurked for about a year, before finally joining in February 2008, after listening to Barack Obama's speech after the Iowa Caucuses. I thought Obama was just what our country needed, what I needed, and was instantly an Obama supporter. I know he will change this country and help restore our name in the world.
So here I am now, a fully social liberal (while an economic moderate). To me, the most important issues are civil liberties and the right of privacy of all peoples. Government has no right being in anybody's bedroom or determining personal issues. Pro choice, pro-Constitution, pro-habeus corpus. Anti-discrimination, anti-religious injection into politics and government, anti-Iraq War.
I couldn't have made my transition without all of the wonderful people here on DU; to name a few (and there are many more): CaliforniaPeggy, madfloridian, kpete, DS1, proud2bliberal, and others. Thank you all for your great example of progressive values, inclusion, and friendship. Oh, and JeffR, because the DUzy awards are just fucking awesome (didn't think I'd get through an entire OP without cussing, did you?)
So, that is my story. I am not a perfect person, and I will never be, but I hope each day to become more tolerant, more accepting, and more informed. I believe Senator Obama when he says this election is not about him, it is about US. The American People. We can change this world. We truly are the ones we have been waiting for.
(If you actually made it all the way through this OP, then many thanks to you.)