WHY I AM NOW AN INDEPENDENT VOTER
The Independent Knight
What even does that mean? Well, for the last four years I’ve had a political blog that served simply to reflect my own apprehensions, fears, and very deep concerns about Trump being President. Blogs are like that.. they can represent hobbies, story-telling, spiritual awareness, how-to projects, a way to keep family and friends apprised of their lives, a form of therapy to express anxiety, happiness, and success. Essentially blogging allows to those of us that participate in this medium a way by which we can all extend ourselves beyond our own local worlds and get feedback from others on the words we write. We bloggers can also be who we want to be, even if outside our personal norms. It’s the proverbial expression of our id, ego, and super egos (loosely those mean… who we are in reality, how we ARE perceived by others, and how we WANT to be perceived by others; check more HERE).
Egos are not a negative human attribute at all (although that does have an extreme, as we all know). In the world of creative expression.. the arts, journalism, authoring a book, being an actor, a stand-up comic… all illustrates that having an ego of some sort motivates and provides incentive to exchange information; it causes leaders to lead, teachers to teach, comics to make us laugh, scientists to promote their findings.
But because one chooses not to blog does not mean a shortage of ego. Blogging is just one form of human expression as a result of the Internet. My former blog was a political opinion blog. As such it was a vehicle for me to vent, pontificate, articulate, regurgitate, my various exasperations regarding the state of the country with the Orange Man running the show. For sure that meant my former blog served to provide some therapy to release some political angst onto an uncaring world. In a more subtle way I was also taking on the idea of assuming the role in being an ever-so-slight political activist in that I did have some hope of changing at least the mind of one person in my four years of doing that. The reality is more like I was “yelling” and “screaming” and some others who replied made for good “echoes”, but sometimes there was also a healthy exchange of ideological thought… rare as that was. But let’s get this ABOUT ME stuff outta the way first.
Yeah, well.. ok.. people who stop by a blog are generally attracted by a content theme a search pulled them to, or cyber surfers followed a link to a post they found had merit. When interested enough the reader may want to know “where does this person come from”, and that’s not necessarily a geography question as much as it is a quest to learn an author’s level of credibility. Personally I do explore the About Me page of any blog of interest simply to understand where a person’s drive and/or passion may come from given we are all products of our own life experiences. As for me… well, the fact I might be following proper usage of “most” of the King’s English and grammar rules… I’ve likely made it into college and maybe beyond. So public education worked to some measure in my case… and I can communicate in written form. I’ve had a career in entrepreneurship having started three businesses.. service, retail, mail order…. and in mid level corporate management. I consider myself a “manager” but (sadly) that is no trade of and by itself. Philosophically I am a humanist… and my degree was in the Behavioral Sciences. I’m a U.S. Air Force vet of the Vietnam Era, as a security cop (ah.. a clue to my age!). Now.. all that means nothing other than informing you, a reader actually having an interest enough to make it this far, that I might have a slight inkling of what I might be writing about. But that’s neither here nor there regarding what I may write being some sage wisdom brought down from the mountain. If you are sparked into thinking on any points I may make… then do your due diligence and “critical think” for yourself. I am sage and I am wise.. and I am also a legend in my own mind (one of those ego things?). This is why my kids don’t listen to me so why should anyone else.
The Day I Renounced The GOP
On Election Day 2020 I went to my state’s online voter registration site and changed my party affiliation from having been a lifelong Republican to a newbie Independent, or rather, a proud, “No Party Preference”. Why specifically on Election Day did I change? In one singular final act of my defiance to this “new” defecating, Trump-inspired Republicanism, I wanted the post-election stats and pollsters to see my Republican vote going toward the Democrat candidate. After doing that I felt my “mission” was completed when Trump lost (we all know my blog didn’t do a thing…. but in my own mind I at least tried) and I shut down the blog with my impression of “dropping the mike” and walking off stage. I’m now starting a new blog to begin my own “fight” to assure the Constitution is maintained at a time of a Trump invigorated cultural divide. More on this later.
OK, But Why Did I Change?
The Republican Party that I knew all my life, that represented most of my personal inclinations for keeping America on a steady course as a benevolent world power, while meeting a measure of fiscal responsibility in creating the necessary social programs to balance our society, and provide for the common defense.. vanished with the Age of Trump. Decency, traditional norms of behavior, and just plain moral character was part of the presidency I had known all my life. To me the President becomes the image of our nation around the world. Trump was appalling in that role.
I evolved in my degree of Republicanism throughout my life. As a teen I was more a “my country right or wrong” nationalist and I tended to respect authority, and governmental authority as knowing more than I did. Since those somewhat heady days of Baby Boomer social upheaval I became more of a Liberal Conservative… a moderate. Trump brought out the worst of this country and I am not going along with it. I am all for social change.. as long as it changes Constitutionally. But I want NO MAGA change.
On the other hand…. I find many of the Democrat policies and programs needing far more scrutiny than they typically get. So given there is no political party representing my particular interests for the nation… I am now an Independent… and honestly, I should have made this decision long ago. So I created this blog to promote being an Independent. After all, a democracy is all about independence, is it not? A Trump supporter can be an Independent as well as a Trump non-supporter. I much more prefer debating the issues and policies individually than being morally beholding to some set of what is essentially a cultural ideology of a larger group of like minded people. As a registered member of the GOP there were a fair number of traditional GOP ideals I did not favor or support. I also never held myself to voting a straight ticket. Some years I voted for a Democratic candidate for President because I thought that person might do a better job… rather than vote for a person my party chose to push some broad agenda I only half supported at best.
Now, this doesn’t mean my decision to drop out of the GOP is the “best” decision for anyone else.. but rather it was MY decision based on my own principles and ideals. What I am suggesting is that Americans in general have gotten way too used to siding with a political party that doesn’t completely represent the person they are. We tend to join as a social default; a normal desire to be broadly accepted, or included, rather than being alone. The current divisiveness has pointed to a marked increase in people opting to become Independent voters given both parties… certainly with those members in Congress… as being markedly inept and blundering clowns. Yes.. the current GOP.. or what’s left of it… is a complete immoral and mindless Right Wing Trump party. But the Dems aren’t behaving all that well either. Maybe it’s time to screw the ideologies and focus on the issues… and who can carry them forward.
But even while the Trumpster was not occupying my White House anymore it didn’t really reduce the groundswell of lies, falsehoods, nutty conspiracies, and idiocies of trying to deal with the pandemic. It also didn’t quell the nonsense surrounding Trump’s Insurrection at the Capitol before he left the White House, and all the lies about a fraud election. The election fraud challenges, whacky re-counts, and new GOP-inspired restrictive state voting laws are simply placing the icon of democracy.. our right to vote… in jeopardy. If nothing else.. maybe I can do my tiny effort to fight that through here, and as a registered Independent.
OK, That Explains The “Independent” Thing But What’s This “Knight” Thing All About?
Like many human beings, particularly male humans, I was given an instinctual propensity to want to defend.. protect… guard… other more vulnerable humans. Now.. keep in mind this does not always mean taking up a sword to fight or engage in fisticuffs to ward off a physical attack against the vulnerable. It’s not all about defending a woman’s virtue and honor (although “virtue” and “honor” itself is relative) by force. It’s not about a super ego thing in imagining myself as being a super hero. For me “the knight thing” is a metaphor of sorts in a political role I prefer to acknowledge that enters the realm of defending my country as represented inside the Constitution. If you need a label it might be more like I’m a “knight in defense of our Constitutional democracy”… yet most anyone of any political persuasion these days will make that claim for themselves as well. Another misused label is “patriot”. I don’t see myself as “fighting for freedom” as much as I see myself defending the freedom we have, and far less about asserting some broad cultural preference like “making America great again”. I never doubted America’s greatness at any time of my life… but I have doubted it’s leadership and various policies along the way, and have supported using free speech and my singular vote to try and affect reason and change.
But I made A Pledge And Gave Oaths… And That Still Matters To Me
My blog title has this byline… …AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS… We’ve all uttered those words at one time or another… many times in fact. When all is said and done I maintain a serious reference to the oaths and pledges I have taken in my past.
As with most Americans, my first pledge was the Pledge of Allegiance. That becomes more important as we mature, yet as we mature we recite it far less.
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,”
The second pledge was the Boy Scout Oath….
“On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
12 points to Scout Law… “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
The last pledge was when I entered the military….
“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
That military oath tends to bring into focus the idea of a knighthood… who we defend, why we defend, and, as within the Scout Oath, our duty and honor… to preserve our people, our form of government, and our interests as Americans, around the world. A U.S. soldier IS like a knight in protecting, defending, what we have. In saying this oath one is under no mystery that you are, in making this oath, defending the nation with your life if necessary (and when I gave this oath Vietnam was very much in our minds). This makes this oath singularly different but no less important in context than the others I’ve taken.
Now, I would guess that some of you by now might be making a mental construct and laughing me off that perhaps I am just “jousting at windmills”.. as the proverbial Don Quixote… in my fantasy roll of self-proclaimed knighthood. No.. my ideals are not imaginary “windmill” opponents but rather as real as they exist within me and represent the fight, insignificant as it is at this level, in trying to contain the lies and idiocies reflected on both sides of the divide, but grossly manifested with Trump Republicans. More on this later.
What It Means To Support And Defend The Constitution (Things Many People Tend To Forget… According To Me)
You will note that it says “…I will support and defend the Constitution..” It does NOT say you pledge your support to a political party, a culture, a society, an individual, a slogan, a phrase, or some racial or spiritual ideology. When you support the Constitution it means you actually support what’s written in it, you support the precepts that those words present, and you support.. and have faith in… the process for our governance, the institutions, and the manner.. the democracy… by which that all can be adapted, changed, or modified. When you pledge to support and defend the Constitution this means you support the Bill of Rights as the foundation for our justice system, our legislative process, and the absolute judgement of the Supreme Court in interpreting our laws to assure our freedoms are maintained. But most importantly for every American is that we are supporting and defending our right to vote for those people who lead us, make our laws, and administer justice.
But What’s This Thing Called “Our Way Of Life”?
To be sure every American soldier goes off to engage an enemy to “defend the country”. This is the generic motivation that suggests we are not only defending the Constitution but also our way of life…. which is not specifically stated in any pledge I’ve ever given. The reality is that our common belief in the Constitution from Day One 1789 has created the culture that has defined all of us as Americans. Our constant promotion of human rights through our Bill of Rights, our moral benevolence as a result of our economic bounty in helping other nations and peoples not as fortunate as us, the courage in how passionate we are as a nation in protecting what we have.. and expanding those efforts globally… the national pride in exhibiting our freedoms to choose our own individual destinies, a free market economy, and of course welcoming the melting pot diversity as a strength… all this trickling down to how we raise our families and engage in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness under the protection that continued faith in the Constitution provides. In the end defending the Constitution is a means of protecting “our way of life”.
Now, the rub comes in with the evolving reality that our way of life indeed changes, often from generation to generation. The Marine fighting on the beaches of Iwo Jima was very likely with the mindset of the day that he was keeping Japan from invading America and traveling to his farm in Nebraska to harm and oppress his family. That was their fear that motivated. By comparison, the first American soldiers fighting in Vietnam might have felt they were preventing the domino-effect spread of Communism given the Cold War fears of that day and age. The Army soldier in Desert Storm was liberating a conquered country and oppressed people in Kuwait… and had little inclination that he was defending America from being conquered or his family in Chicago being harmed. My point is that times change and so does that “way of life” we want to defend. The way of life of the Greatest Generation of World War 2 was way different than that of the Boomers of the 50’s and 60’s, and way different than Gen X of today.
But In Our Divisive Times Everyone Claims To Be A “Patriot” To Their Own Ideology.. A “Knight” To Their Own Cause, Right?
Of course, even those with their own interpretation of what the Constitution means in our divisive politics. Our current Right Wing, for example… will also lay claim to adhering to those pledges and oaths. So how do we define who we are and where we are at if everyone claims to be using the same political “bible” (the Constitution)? Only you can determine that and much of that depends on your own ability to separate the wheat from the chaff in all the wind blowing around. I’m am not going to suggest I can help you with that. Which means only YOU can decide which opponent to joust, or idea to defend. This is my blog to promote being an Independent voter, regardless what side of the fence you are balancing on. I am all for shedding your party.. not shredding your ideals. In other words… vote for the person not the party; vote for the issue and not the party platform.
If you’re an American, you ARE a voter. Being a knight for American democracy provides a measure of hope we all remain voters in that democracy.
Consider reading the next Page… Being Independent Does Not Mean Being Impartial.