It was 2008, I was just a few months away from graduating High School in Brooklyn, New York. I vividly remember being urged to register to vote because in a few short months I was going to have the oppurtunity to vote in the Presidential election. Not just ANY Presidential election but one that could change history forever. My thoughts at the time? Yeah, whatever. I was 18 and the Yankees were closing the original Yankee Stadium and they were in danger of missing the playoffs. That was literally all I cared about. Well, that and figuring out my Summer plans, who I was taking to prom? Where I was going to after prom? You know, normal teenage boy stuff. Plus, whoever becomes President doesn’t matter to me. We’re ALWAYS going to be at war in the Middle East. That was my knowledge of politics in 2008.
Fast forward a few days and I give in, I register…but wait, what party am I? In my head all I thought was “Well..Jay-Z is my favorite rapper, he had a song called Black Republican with Nas..should I be a Republican? Pretty sure my Mom is a Democrat, I think she liked Clinton. I know my Grandparents are Democrats but I think they voted for Bush. I think New York is mostly Democratic, I guess I’ll register as a Democrat.” I gotta say, I was pretty proud, this was it, I am going to pay attention to politics now. I have a voice!
In the following months inching closer to the election it was pretty evident I made the right choice on becoming a Democrat..I mean, David Lettermen constantly showed how DUMB George W. Bush was, to him at least. Plus, every scene on the news showed how our soldiers were fighting overseas and losing their lives. This was all Bush’s fault! Once he’s gone the war will be over..plus it’s going to be pretty cool to finally have a Black President. I was tired of the status quo. There was no way I could vote for John McCain! I mean he’s a Republican, all they care about was war! As time went on, I did more research, I pulled up their issues, their resolutions and I voted….for Bob Barr….because I couldn’t choose with my conscience and the knowledge I had at hand.
Let’s fast forward now ten years (and a few days into 2019) the propaganda machine back then hooked me without even allowing me to make my own decision. My decision to become a Democrat was based on David Lettermen, CBS/CNN/ABC and what everyone else was doing. Yet, even back then being a Democrat was different then being a Democrat now. You lost me in about 2013 after I realized our vote really does matter and I’ll tell you how.
When I was a kid it seemed that the main issue between Republicans and Democrats were simple..tax rates, guns and abortion. The only one I had a strong opinion on at the time was abortion. I was a Catholic School student my entire life and could never fathom an innocent baby (you can argue it’s not but to me it is) can just be taken away from the world, but I took enough American History classes to understand Roe v. Wade and that a nationwide pass on allowing abortions was near impossible.
While I can honestly say that those issues are still front and center of what separates Democrats and Republicans it’s the extra curricular arguments that totally lost me and made me the Republican I am.
Democrats, here is a message from someone I think is a good listener, someone with common sense and someone that truly tries to hear both sides of an argument, that would be ME! My advice is simple…..re-build your party. You have let far left liberal millennials go too far, run amok and define you as the following: You are being defined as the party that wants men to be allowed to use the women’s restroom and vice versa. We don’t care if you want a sex change, at least I don't..go be happy but don’t sit here and tell me because you “define” as a woman that some 45 year old pedophile can go in the same restroom as a 9 year old girl. You are being defined as the party that hates CHRISTMAS. Seriously, did you not like opening gifts as a kid? Save it. Saying Merry Christmas isn’t racist, anti-muslim, antisemetic or whatever else you think it is. It’s wishing someone well. If you’re Jewish and wish me a Happy Channukah..I’ll say it back. What I won’t do is think you’re offensive. You are being defined as people that hate our law enforcement officers and cheer when they are brutally killed in the line of the duty. The thin line that protects us from being safe and some of the worst people immaginable. We watched the news and we heard the chants “What do we want, dead cops. When do we want it, now” Republicans, normal Democrats, moderates, libertarians, every party under the sun were all disgusted. Last but not least, you have defined yourselves as the party who hates America, the greatest country in the world. You cheered when athletes take a knee during our National Anthem, you yell when someone has a flag flying in front of their house.
I know that this message may come off as me speaking to all Democrats but I’m not. I am speaking to my generation of Democrats. The generation that thinks that I am a racist, a sexist, a misogynist simply because I voted for Donald Trump. So while you sit there and try and define me, you’ll probably read this and scoff at the way I define you.
-Raimondo “Ray” Denaro, 2017 City Council Candidate.