no man’s land

or what happened to the party of Lincoln?

I used to be a republican. And it was a proud identifier for me for many years. I come from a small town in Southern Maryland who went away to Brown in the 90s. I spent 4 years surrounded by very liberal thinkers, and enjoyed lively debates and exposure to ideas very different from my own. Even then, i realized that politics couldn’t and shouldn’t be so black and white. Little did i know how that feeling would come home to roost in 2016.

I think the 2 party system is dead. Or at the very least dying. If there is anything i hope will come from this disaster of a presidency, it’s the realization that we can no longer walk around with our heads buried in the sand. The “other people” who we left to do the job of governing have completely lost their way. It is, in the words of our 5th grade President, #SAD.

Mentally for me, the first step was actually changing my party affiliation. Which i did in September. Why? Because i honestly can no longer stomach being affiliated with a party that supports such misogyny, hatred and flat out dishonesty. And yet, i am not quite a democrat. I am what i hope is a new breed of political activists — people who don’t have to believe EVERYTHING to believe anything.

I am not religious. But have a catholic education. Which means i have all the information i need to make a reasonable argument for my atheism. I honestly don’t judge you for your faith. Just as i would hope you wouldn’t judge me for my lack of it. However, what i have found is that my fiscally responsible political party, which used to believe in states rights and smaller government, has been co-opted by the religious right. Who let that happen?? Who decided that small government was inextricably tied to God in schools? Who decided that only conservatives got to be patriots? How did religion become the basis for an entire political party, when our government was FOUNDED on separation of church and state? How did we let these morality police decide that they got to keep the republican party? And IF THAT IS SERIOUSLY the case, where were all the morality police when the man running for President, on his 3rd wife, admitted to sexual assault? When did the republican party sell its soul to a 5th grade bully?

Actually it doesn’t really matter when. What matters is that it happened. On my watch. And yours. WE LET THIS HAPPEN. Our apathy. Our tunnel vision. Our self absorption. We are ALL at fault for the situation we find ourselves in. And it is up to us to find the solution. Therein lies the bigger problem. Did i run out and register as a democrat? Nope. You know why? Because i believe party loyalty is the problem. We are stuck on a hamster wheel of us vs. them. And its time to get off of it. Also, I’m a fiscal conservative. It’s hard to reconcile that with some of the more socialist tendency free college free healthcare schemes. It doesn’t mean they are wrong. It just means i don’t know how to pay for them. Clearly, neither do they. And that’s just a small part of the larger problem.

POLITICS IS NOT A GAME. And we need to stop treating it like one. If your main political goal is to BEAT me, then we are never going to win as a country. We have lost all ability to debate anything rationally. The intent of debate used to be to LEARN something. To hear another side of the story. To gain perspective that might create better understanding of the larger picture. We can not make good choices in life, about anything, if we never see things from any perspective but our own. It’s just that simple. The art of compromise has been all but lost. And in closing our hearts and minds to other people, we are all lost as well.

Governing is supposed to be a public service. For the greater good. And it’s time to start over. Every single position should have to be a yin and yang. 2 for 1. Until we can figure out how to put COUNTRY before PARTY, and PEOPLE before PROFIT, every position should have to be filled by 2 people. Who split the salary and the VOTE. Let them figure out how to compromise. Make them work together, with the best interests of both of their constituents to find a way forward. You want infrastructure — figure out how to pay for it without gutting medicaid. We need a BALANCE. And in the current system, it’s literally impossible. We are living the blame game in our country right now. It’s everyones’ fault and no ones. Everything is either/or. And we need to stop it.

We need SERIOUS people to start owning up to the problems. Fox News and MSNBC need to try to stop beating each other by only delivering the news that “their” people want to hear. Both networks need to show both sides of the story. How about Hannity follows Rachel. Or better yet, they host together. I don’t care that they don’t agree. I care about hearing BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY. And until we start opening our eyes to the ugly things we don’t want to hear, we are doomed to having megalomaniac, narcissistic bullies running for office. Who think winning is the reward. Not the actual governing.

I understand that my system won’t work. But it’s honestly no worse an idea than what we have now. Until we start throwing options on the table, we are going to be stuck where we are. And where we are now is no man’s land. There are no winners here. Well, maybe Russia. They seem pretty happy.

Originally published at on June 9, 2017.