Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Conversion, Part Two

Please join in the Valley of the Shadow Annual Fundraiser. We are raising $7,700. Please hit the Tip Jar here to contribute. Thank you
Here is Part One.

In College, my Cynicism of Ground Level politics faded to Idealism. My last year at Nassau Community College was the year of the Gulf war. Like every young Liberal Democrat student, I went out to protest.

Our issues at the protest were simple: Why didn't President George H.W. Bush support Democracies in the Middle East? Imagine my surprise twenty-five years later, the protests are about now: Why aren't we negotiating with Dictators and Theocrats?

At the time I was a Liberal, it meant that people should be liberated from tyranny, FDR was the guide back then. I question who modern Liberals follow now.

Than I transferred to SUNY-Stonybrook. Out in Long Island was a Republican Stronghold. During my time on campus, I became a Student Senator and than a University Senator.

This was also the year of the 1992 election. Here is where I started to question the foundation of Democratic thinking.

1) As a University Senator, I had to argue whether the Campus Police should have guns to protect the students. This was before the LIRR Shooting. When it came to discuss the issue in the University Senate, most Professors and Administrators (Liberals all), rather than look at pros and cons, were reflexively were against it. And when a Student Representative of the University Senate called for a vote, the meeting adjourned before any vote could be taken. I was shaken.

2) Then-former Governor Jerry Brown came to campus during the Primaries. It was my Swan Song before switching. Gov. Clinton was sounded like a re-fried Dukakis and Mondale (Ferraro representated Forest Hills and like every kid in 1984 in Forest Hills, cut out to see the event on Austin Street), so I didn't see anything new about him. When Brown came to campus, it was the Democratic staff with him which caused rumors to start flying. How back in 1992, the Liberal wing of the Democratic party seem to not a whit about Israel's survival. These were people in their 20's and early 30's, and word spread after Brown left. But the damage was done.

I called and let my parents know I was switching. Yes, they were surprised, but they accepted. I was going into uncharted territory.

Finally, around Summer Break, after I switched, Jack Chartier asked me when I was over at his house, if I wanted to switch back and help Hevesi? I declined. I'm sure someone can write the Alternate History on that Point of Divergence.

What happened next? Well, I'm writing a book about what I learned (both Dem and Rep). Also, I cite Aurora, Donald Douglas, and Jason's Blog there too.

As a Republican, I've traveled from Liberal Republican to Conservative, but my views never changed much from when I was a Democrat. For instance, Wilsonianism was originally a Democratic idea; So was supporting Israel. Since than, I've followed the party that believes in those things too.

Did you take a journey from one party to another? Why or why not?

socialize it


  1. Anonymous2:57 AM PDT

    JSF, fascinating story. I look forward to reading your book. What does a university senator do, by the way?
    Without going into too much detail about my past, I have had a radical transformation as well, though in my heart, I always knew right from wrong. My whole political radar is informed by my moral worldview. I see progressives as all about smashing down the moral pillars of society. The Netherlands is at the vanguard with their pedophile parties and free sex in the park. What do you think this kind of stuff does to families, the bedrock of our world? I also see Marxist economic theory as basically amoral at its heart. It thrives on theft and disappropriation rather than free will generosity. It's a bunch of elite bureaucrats putting impossible taxation burdens on the ordinary people while they themselves sit at the top of the food chain, smug and comfortable.
    I don't believe the nanny state has helped even one person, not here in our own countries and not in Africa where billions of dollars of aid have been sucked into a black hole. It's all too easy to take other people's money and reduce an entire population to comparative poverty rather than give out of your own pocket. Join a good charity as I have and spend some time in a third world country perhaps teaching or helping out in some way (as I have) if you want to be useful. Don't sit at the top of the tree taking stuff off everybody else.

  2. Anonymous2:58 AM PDT

    (By the way JSF, I hope you realize my 'you' was rhetorical and not you, you) :)

  3. Anonymous7:11 AM PDT

    I did journey form the Dems to the GOP.

    I marched in a small antiwar demonstration against the Gulf War. I remember suburban moms screaming epithets at our group.

    While I firmly believed in progressive ideals at the time, I was uncomfortable protesting. Perhaps that's telling.

    I supported Clinton in the 1990s, but felt betrayed by Lewinsky. Voted Gore in 2000, but wasn't unhappy when Bush won the recount.

    Voted Bush in 2004 and switched parties the next year. I came out as a neocon in 2007.

    You know the rest.

  4. JSF, while I have not switched ideologies, I have evolved over the years. I've pretty much never trusted republicans. To me, it's quite obvious that their allegiance is not to the people of America but to corporations and the religious wackjobs. I used to think that the democrats better represented the good of the people, but having worked amongst them I realized that rather than being better, they were just slightly less bad and just as beholden to lobbyists. Therefore I do not trust anyone in politics, and feel that the parties themselves have a bigger threat to democracy than any outside force you could imagine.

    My problem with your conversion and many others I have read is that the issues that seem to have pushed you have nothing to do with what is good for Americans. You are quite concerned about people in other countries, but I don't see anything in your ideology about helping make the future generations of this country better educated, healthier and more prosperous. In fact, the more money you are willing to spend fighting wars and killing people in these other countries, the less we can invest in our own. And why is it that the folks who romanticize war as such a great humanitarian thing we're doing for the rest of the world for the most part can't be bothered to actually go and fight? So few hawks on either side are willing to put their money where their mouths are. To me, that's a credibility issue.

    And Aurora, you are an extremist nutjob. Does anyone actually take you seriously? If I were into playing those kinds of games, I'd be demanding JSF to denounce you.

  5. I've switched from 3rd Party leaning (independent, libertarian, constitution) to the GOP this year, mostly due to Mitt Romney's presidential bid. I believe that the GOP has the best chance of getting our country back to what our founding fathers envisioned it to be.

  6. Aurora,

    A University Senator represents the students when the Whole University (Admin, Professors, meet at the University Senate. I represented 10,000 students.


    Reading the tale, it was a combination of circumstances that caused the switch. Remeber, Jack Chartier was kicked out by other Democrats, that was one factor.

    Also, the debate at SUNY-Stony Brook opened my eyes a lot. All the self-professed Liberal leaning Professors and Admins had already made their decision without asking students, who lived on the campus. I predicted the LIRR shooting by five years. The LIRR was only down the road from the campus.

    Tie in that sense of security, the falling apart of NYC and then Liberals saying, "Guns aren't needed because we think guns aren't needed," The Logic of that statement hurt my head.

    Then-Governor Brown's staff provided the tipping point. But ironically, most of my views haven't changed since I was a Democrat.

  7. JSF, I really want to understand your switch. But it's just not making sense to me from a rational standpoint. You basically traded one corrupt institution for another. And I still do not see any bit of your political ideology doing anything to improve day to day life for hard working Americans.

  8. Jason,

    I grew up learning about the idealized world of politics until I joined Jack Chartier's campaign. Then, I learned about Logrolling and Machine Politics.

    Idealism was a factor; but not a big one (it still resides at the 40% mark).

    In the first half, I mention about growing up in NYC in the 70's. The best way to describe how dangerous it was is to say at 5 years old, I could not ride my Big Wheels in the area because of the Chaos outside.

    I switched because I saw the GOP as a means of stopping the entropy. I remember the 444 days of the Iranian Hostage Crisis; Embassies are supposed to be sacrosent in Diplomacy, and Carter could not stop the Chaos there.

    Yes, parties are corrupt. But if you read History, no Sacred Cows are ever exempt. FDR did imprison the Japanese Americans, Wilson made Sedition a Federal Crime, the list goes on.

    For me, it is the holding back of the Chaos. And I believe it is better to be affiliated than unaffiliated because, when someone has your "back", you can fight for the ideals you want.

  9. JSF, you really think that either party gives a rats ass about their average rank and file except for 3 minutes on election day? The only backs these organizations ever have are the ones worth millions of dollars to them. We're just cattle to them. And while I at least understand the thinking behind your hawkishness at home and abroad, I still haven't seen anything about how you want to improve day to day life, create jobs, improve education, improve health care, etc, at least not in this country.

  10. Jason,

    Those bread and butter issues? They are important, but in my own worldview, Government shouldn't be the only thing that does the work. If Government does, then are we not slaves of Caeser then?

    I'm reading Ancient Roman History for my fiction book, and there, Governement ended up the whim of one person. Here, at least, there are no Governement Bread and Circuses'. There are even checks and balances.

    One thing that is core to Conservative philosiphy is, the Government that does more will end up taking your freedom. Look at how well Welfare worked in the poorest communities in the US. There the Federal Government did take care of the Bread and Butter issues.

    Also, when I worked at the RNC during the early 90's, I looked at who was bankrolling both parties (I saw a PAC and major donor list); The Rich don't support Republicans and the small companies don't support Democrats.

    Each of those Bread and Butter issues eventually will get a Blog Post, but I believe the answer to your question lies in the local version of the Parties. That is where change begins in politics.

  11. JSF, are you going to actually support these positions logically, or should I preemptively start banging my head against the wall now?

  12. I went from being a die hard Republican when I dated you to a Libertarian. I did this because I feel that the philosophy of the party and the direction of the party were not in sync. Republicans are almost like Democrats now. I also felt like the party didn't represent who I am. So, I went ahead and joined the Libertarians, even ran for office on their ticket a few years ago. When I get resettled somewhere maybe I will do so again. My you've been busy on this blog. I don't know what other comments to make on the other posts right now. What about the Patterson Scandal now?

  13. Jason,

    What don't you get? I've told you the issues, the personalities and the Tipping Point. I've shown the outside reasons and the internal ones.

    Now I'm confused. What don't you understand between the two posts and the comments?

  14. JSF, Maybe you need to flesh it out a bit, but I just see any truly compelling reasons to switch sides. I could see reasons to quit politics, but not to jump from one corrupt institution to another one.

    But my last comment was specifically about your upcoming posts trying to defend the republican domestic policy and ideology. It should be a doozy!

  15. I also took a journey one that led me away from a rigid party affliation to a more fluid and flexible one. My journey largely result of exteremes of humanity I have seen. I have seen great goodness, and I have also seen its antithesis, I have seen evil in my life that qualifies as an anathema and an abomination.

    These extremes have left me greatly disillusioned with a two party system and yet I retain the hope that one day more viable alternative parties may arise.


Welcome to the Valley! Please comment about the post and keep to the subject.

There is only one person (JSF) keeping track of comments, so as long as what you write is civil and close to the purpose of the post, you will see it.

Keep this in mind: Politics should not be Personal; then you have a place here.

Write! History will remember your words!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...