Photo by Steve Boyd
Just another gun-toting Barack Obama supporter
November 3, 2008 —
A few days from now I’ll be loading the guns and dogs into a gas-guzzling, king-cab pickup truck and driving out to Kansas for a week of bird hunting. Alongside me will be my brother – a die-hard Republican – and two military friends of ours; one retired, one currently working in the Pentagon.
When we wake up before dawn on that first day I’ll reach for my ammo case to put a few shells in my pocket – and on that case will be a Barack Obama sticker.
You shouldn’t be.
There’s a fundamental misunderstanding in this country about what it means to be liberal or conservative. The political parties and mass media have appropriated our beliefs, generalized them, and divided them up into one category or another. But life isn't that clean. It's not black-and-white, and it's certainly not red-and-blue.
I watch football, shoot guns and drink Budweiser – but that doesn't automatically make me a Republican.
I also listen to the Beatles, eat sushi and wear a Tibetan silver bracelet – but that doesn't automatically make me a Democrat.
When I vote for our leaders, the number one quality I’m looking for is leadership. There’s no such thing as a candidate who I agree with 100 percent. In national and local elections I’m looking for someone who has a plan, is trustworthy, stable, and intelligent. They must be well-informed and willing to stick with their plan and try and do what’s best for their constituents. If it doesn’t work, they need to be held accountable.
I’m a fiscal conservative who doesn’t like the idea of big government. But I’m a social liberal who doesn’t think the issue of gay marriage is worth talking about. The Republican Party has given a lot of lip-service to the idea of small government over the past eight years, but under them we’ve socialized the banks and run up the largest deficit in history. Government has become larger (we’ve added an entirely new “Homeland Security” branch) and the public has been shut out of the White House under the most secretive, paranoid administration since Nixon.
On the home front, our local Republican party has failed to deliver a coherent message. They’ve spent their time making promises to lower taxes, which always sounds nice, but it simply can’t be done without eliminating public services. I think good roads, good schools, solid infrastructure, affordable housing and excellent public transit are mandatory for a functional Eagle County, and I know the Republicans cannot deliver lower taxes and quality services at the same time.
So this year I’m a Democrat.
Does that mean I have to turn in my shotgun at the Democratic headquarters, trade my truck in for a Prius, and pick up some arugula and tofu at the organic market on my way home?
No, it doesn’t (although my other car IS a Prius, and I actually love arugula ... but that's not the point).
Like most people, I am who I am, and I don’t fit into the clean categories so over-used by political strategists and talking heads.
More than any one thing which we’ll learn from Tuesday’s election, it will be that America has turned the page. It’s a new America, a different America, and demographics don’t define us. Fear-mongering won’t work this time around. This time, in Colorado and around the country, we’ll be voting for leadership.
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