My interest in politics dates back to when I was a little girl watching the news every night with my dad. When I was in third grade, I gained control of the TV set when I lived with my grandparents, because they never watched TV. What did I watch? The news. The presidential campaign of 1968.
Two days after I graduated from high school, I went to work on Capitol Hill. I got a job answering constituent mail in the office of a Florida congressman. Eventually I ended up in the office of Sen. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt from New Mexico. Jack was a former Apollo 17 astronaut, the second-to-last man ever to walk on the moon, the only scientist to go there. He was a moderate Republican. After he was defeated for reelection, I went to work for then-Sen. Dan Quayle. I worked there for a year before leaving to get married and start a family.
During all this time, I was staunch Republican. The very first vote I ever cast for President was for Ronald Reagan, and the only area where I really disagreed with Republicans was on the issue of abortion rights. I voted again for Reagan in 1984 and for George H.W. Bush and my former boss, Dan Quayle, in 1988.
Between 1988 and 1992, something happened. For one thing, I had two small children, and we were struggling financially. I was working sometimes 80 hours a week, going entire days never seeing my kids. Trying to make ends meet in the high-cost D.C. area was a constant battle.
Still a news-aholic, it was during this time that I happened to see then-Sen. Bob Dole on TV talking about tax policy. It was the first time I’d ever heard the now familiar claim that raising taxes on higher income-earners was tantamount to punishing them for hard work. In that instant, I realized the Republican party had left me behind. I was kinda working hard, too. Yet a third of my income was going to pay taxes. Another third went to day care.
By the election of 1992, following a recession in which my husband’s hours were gradually cut back until he was finally let go from his company, I knew the Republicans no longer cared about me. My husband’s job hunt resulted in us having to relocate to a town I had never heard of, where we had no support system — no friends, no family — and where our apartment was even smaller than the one we’d had in northern Virginia. I saw it for the first time on the day we moved in.
The first time I ever voted for a Democrat was when I cast my vote for Bill Clinton. Since that time, not only has the Republican party done nothing to win me back, quite the contrary, they have dug in their heels, become more partisan than ever, and have proven to me over and over that the struggles of ordinary people like me are of no concern to them.
So, that’s how I became a recovering Republican. But I still love politics. I study it for fun. And it gets more interesting all the time. I welcome viewpoints from all angles, as long as they are respectful and supported by facts. I do not suffer fools. Personal attacks and reliance on fake news will not be tolerated here. If you’re interested in thoughtful discussion, please leave a comment on one of my posts. If you’re interested in trolling, please move along.