Dear Diary, The Republican Years

15 11 2009

When I was in college I was a Republican.

I reveal this now as some may wonder why I am about to embark on a cross-country road trip with the second coming of Barry Goldwater.

Yes, I know what it is like to be a Republican because, you see, I was a Republican.

As soon as I reached my 18th birthday, I went down to the Supervisor of Elections office and registered as a Republican. In those days, this was considered a stupid thing to do in Gulf County.

“You’ll never be able to vote,” my father fumed.

Gulf County was solidly Democratic at the time. Only a handful of Republicans existed and they were mainly transplants from the North.

All of the local elected officials were Democrats, but this didn’t bother me. The 80s were coming to a close. Reagan’s Revolution was progressing full steam ahead and I was a believer.

At Troy, I joined the College Republicans and worked on Fob James’ winning campaign for Governor of Alabama.

The ideals of limited government, family values and fiscal conservatism appealed to me then, although as a frat boy, I did little to advance them.

I was so vocal in right-wing ideology that fellow poly-sci students once waited outside of our government class just to greet me with a “Heil, mein Führer!” salute.

The first presidential election that I was eligible to vote in, I cast my ballot for George H.W. Bush. He lost, of course, to Bill Clinton, but that didn’t stop me from voting for Bob Dole the next time around.

Dole lost too, but by that time, I was beginning my career as a journalist. Soon, I would began to consider other thoughts, other ways of life and other people.

When I returned to Florida, years later, I would again visit the Supervisor of Elections office and register to vote. This time as a Democrat.

I am grateful that as a U.S. citizen, my government provides me with a food allowance during these difficult times. It took me 37 years to swallow my pride and apply for food stamps.

I don’t like being on food stamps, but I suppose, one must eat.

“It’s hard out there isn’t John?,” the lady asked as she reviewed my application for the government’s EBT program.

She knew the answer, but her tone was more along the lines of, “see I told you so.”

In these tough times, I am reminded that God has a plan for all of us. It’s called the circle of life.

Still, the question is, “When does one come full circle?” …. Am I close?

This trip out West with Mr. Smith will likely provide an answer, or at the very least, a conservative guess.





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