All the voters who are Independent? Your ranks just grew by one last week.
That’s right, last week, I changed my party affiliation. No more Donkey Blue for me, at least not for the time being. For the now, however, I felt it was something that I needed to do. While the ideals of the Democratic Party are still the ideals that closely match my own, the truth is that it’s all lip service. They talk a good game about hope and change and moving forward…which, I suppose, is at least a more uplifting message than the one of divisiveness and exclusion that the Republican Party has embraced of late.
Ultimately, however, it’s the Democrats who prove more disappointing. See, I actually want to see all those wonderful promises come to fruition. I want equality for all, whether it’s for civil unions or equal pay or a college degree. I want women to continue to have the right to choose what happens to our bodies, whether it be through the provision of birth control or abortions. I might not believe in either or I might believe in both…doesn’t matter. I want the choice to be available. I want universal healthcare (not the muddled joke of Obamacare, which was doctored by the insurance companies who’ve helped make a mess of the system in the first place). I want decent public education, affordable higher education…I might not like kids, but I know that an educated youth becomes a knowledgeable and inventive workforce and might even give us a qualified leader or two.
Obviously, we’re in a bit of a shortage on that front.
I want all these things, and for years I have bought into the delusion that the Democrats were going to make good on all their promises.
The only thing that I have learned, however, is that Democrats and Republicans are alike in one significant way: They will make perfectly crafted promises as a means of keeping us in line. Promises addressing key party platform issues like Equal Pay, Abortion Rights, Freedom of Religion, Taxed Enough Already…these all become nothing more than leashes used by the politicians to keep their constituents at heel.
I’m tired of heeling. So I became Independent. Actually, the state of Maryland calls it “Unaffiliated.” That’s fine. I have to admit, I had a moment of indecision when it was time to click submit and send my changes to the voter registration board. I remember how excited I was to be able to register to vote when I turned 18. I couldn’t wait! It was a bigger deal to me than finally turning 21. I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to be a Democrat. Donkey Blue, through and through.
Bill Clinton was my first. It’s been all downhill since.
Will I still reach a point where I regret changing my affiliation? I don’t know. I did consider the fact that the more moderates, like me, who grow weary of either party and abandon them for Independent or another party alternative means that only the hardcore nutjobs will be left as actual registered Democrats or Republicans. Prophets know what might happen then. Obviously, we’ve seen a small-scale version of this already transpiring, with long-time moderate Republicans being replaced by TEA Party hindrances to the system.
Of course, if more people start leaving the two controlling parties and joining alternatives, we might actually become a country that acknowledges more than just the two hot messes we have now.
We can have many hot messes! And then we’d be Canada 😉
By becoming unaffiliated, I’ve lost my ability to vote in any primaries. Primary season is over this election cycle, so I have time to mull over this fact. Right now, though…now that it’s done? I feel a sense of peace. I’m sure that will change once the politicians from both sides realize that I’ve become a “free agent” and start pelting me with mailings and calls. No worries. That’s why there are shredders and caller ID.
Would I encourage others to become Independent? Only if you’ve reached the same point of disillusionment with your chosen party that I have reached. Even if it’s just for right now, even if it’s just for a little while. Stop toeing the party line for yet another run at a race controlled by empty promises.