I have always fancied myself an Independent…

I used to be a Republican. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. (1984 – Detroit). I always liked to think of myself as a very liberal Republican. Conservative on finances and military/security and liberal on social issues.

Oh these many years later, I’m now a Democrat. A fiscally conservative, socially liberal Democrat.

But, I’ve taken great pride to actually read the ballot in advance of entering the booth. My Mother, Esther – the most staunch Democrat in this hemisphere taught me that. Read the ballot initiatives. If you don’t understand something about them, ask questions or do the research. We’d sit at the dining room table into my adult years and go through the measures. We sometimes agreed whole heartedly and cheer that we were in concurrence. Then sometimes we’d debate, until one of us gave in to the other (there were those times when we agreed to disagreed – I am my Mother’s son after all, but more frequently we came to one mind on matters political) and then we’d move on to the next.

Now that we live states apart, we have drifted from going over our ballot initiatives. The things that matter most in Texas aren’t always the same in California. But it was delightful to just get off the phone with her a moment ago. I could listen to her for hours rant about those “Damn Republicans”. In her advanced age, I wonder if she thinks the party name has actually been changed to “Damn Republicans” because she doesn’t seem to be able to refer to them without adding that prefix.

So goes this election cycle.

Being a ballot reader, in advance of the booth – I also have had an independent streak. I don’t always vote Democrat down the line. I take the time to learn about each candidate, even the minor party ones. I am certainly not adverse to voting for a Damn Republican, er – or just Republican. Certainly there are good ones! I know this to be true. Mostly I’m interested in the individual. The one I get a sense really does want what is best for the country, State, District, Precinct, Parrish, whatever.

This cycle though, has created a jaded view of the process that I hadn’t anticipated. And, perhaps it is another by product of this election that some of us might not have seen. The death of the Independent-streak in some of us who are happy to cross party lines for the right candidate.

I have to say, with all the vitriol that we’ve seen coming from both sides, it’s been a challenge to not be dissatisfied with it all. But in the end, the litmus test I applied is which candidate seems to have a genuine concern for the country. I don’t believe this to be Trump. At all. No.

Just looking at their history one has dedicated her entire life to the assistance of others in a very direct way, the other only in an indirect way and mostly from a non altruistic perspective. You can argue this I know. The point isn’t to make you wrong, and me right – I’m merely discussing how I came to my own conclusion.

But in these pronouncements and conversations during this cycle, the idea that Mr. Trump would pander to the lowest base of human fears and bigotry, the idea that he would intentionally seek to appoint a judge that would revoke Rob’s and my marriage is an affront to human rights and liberty. You can argue of course, that – that would never happen. But, the suggestion of it, is no less offensive. And, what change that has evoked this election, different from all the others is that it’s caused me (and some others I know) to go “All In”.

I’ve not taken the time to seek out the differences in some of the down ticket candidates. I made my mind up before entering the booth that I was voting straight ticket down ALL THE WAY. (I couldn’t actually hit “straight ticket” because some of our elections, like city council are non-partisan and I wanted to see http://www.jimmyflannigan.com/vote our friend Jimmy Flannigan elected, he’s a tremendous friend to our community. But nevertheless, I merely went down the ballot, check, check, check, Democrat, Democrat, Democrat.

That had never happened before. And, it left me feeling somewhat robbed of the overall political participation experience. Now. I know I wasn’t ‘robbed’ in the truest sense – I could have continued my tradition to be an informed voter and make selections the way I “usually” have. But there is nothing “usual” about this election. And, drastic commentary and flagrant disregard for human rights has required an equally drastic approach.

For my part, I’m sorry to all the qualified Republican, Libertarian, Green-party or otherwise candidates that would make good elected officials. I think perhaps you ‘were’ robbed during this cycle. My hope is that somehow, no matter how this turns out, we can restore whatever, if anything might be left of civility in our society and not seek to obstruct or otherwise derail progress or productivity. It appears that has been horrible for the country and all of us. I hope my hope isn’t too hopeful.