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Opinion

From My Orbit: Why are you a Republican? Why are you a Democrat?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - Updated: 10:58 AM
Michele Longworth
I have said it many times before, and I’ll say it again, I hate politics.  Yet, I had considered running for public office.
I was raised in a primarily Republican family and had been told when I was young that Republicans are conservatives and don’t typically spend a lot of money.  I remember my grandpa telling me that Democrats liked to start wars.
The things I hate about politics are: The way one candidate’s rhetoric seems to completely bash their opponent and vice versa; How candidates will throw out half truths about the other candidate; How fake news seems to spread like wildfire; and How many people believe things that simply aren’t true.
And, all of the negative ads leave a bitter taste in my mouth.
The first president I remember well was Ronald Reagan.  My third grade class had a Patriotic program planned, and our teacher at the time, Mrs. Barbara Jones sent a letter to him, inviting him to our program.  He sent a letter to our class explaining that he couldn’t come, but wished us well.  Mrs. Jones made copies of the letter for all of us to keep.  Now, I just wonder where mine is.  But that was a neat memory for me.
I also remember hearing something along the way that President Reagan loved eating jellybeans.  Not just any old jelly beans, but Jelly Bellys.  I liked him because he always seemed to have a sense of humor about him.
I turned 18 in 1990, so my first election that I was able to vote in was in 1992: George Herbert Walker Bush vs William Jefferson Clinton.  Bush lost to Clinton, who served two terms as president.  I don’t know that I had strong feelings about either one of them as president.  But, ever since I turned 18, I’ve been voting.  Even in the years when there isn’t a presidential election, I vote.
This recent campaign is unlike any that I’ve ever witnessed, and I will say I was not happy with either candidate.  I admit when The Apprentice began I loved watching the show, mainly because it was set in New York City, and I’m slightly obsessed with that city.  But I did enjoy watching Donald Trump and the contestants.  I even got hooked into watching Celebrity Apprentice for a season or two.  When he launched his bid for the presidency, I thought like many political pundits that eventually the bubble would burst, and one of the other Republican candidates would emerge as the forerunner.  But, that didn’t happen.
I liked Trump as the reality star, but I wasn’t sure about him as a potential presidential nominee and I’m still not certain about him as president.  I’m a Republican, and I’m nervous too about his temperament and behavior.
I wasn’t overly fond of Hillary Clinton either.  But, she did make an early morning stop in Paducah and I had considered trying to go see her but things didn’t work out for me to make it.
I’ve seen so many posts on social media since Election night, and I get that Democrats are upset and scared about the future of our country.  I get it.  But do Democrats not realize that when a Democrat is elected into office, the Republicans probably feel the same anxiety too?
When Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama won the presidential elections, I don’t remember being overly scared.  Maybe that’s because Clinton had been a former governor and had experience.  Obama was a junior senator when he was elected to office.
I realize Trump has not had political experience and that has everyone quaking in their shoes.  Even if Hillary Clinton would have been elected, I would still be frightful because of the overall condition that our country is in.
Trump won.  He’ll be inaugurated and sworn is as the next president of the United States.  Even though for me personally the jury is still out on him as a leader, I respect the office of the presidency.  Even if Trump had not won and Clinton had won, I would have been supportive of her if she had been elected.
I’m all for everyone’s right to protest, but after weeks of protesting, wouldn’t peoples’ time be better spent focusing on what they can do as an individual or collectively as a group to help make their communities a better place to live?
I’m a registered Republican, but when it comes to local elections, I’ve crossed party lines before, and I’ll do it again because on a local level, people can hopefully have more of an opportunity to meet and know the candidates who are running for public office.  I think it’s much harder to actually know the candidates who are running in a statewide or presidential election.
I know from looking at the Republican and Democratic platforms there are many issues that separate the two parties.  But what does it mean to be a Democrat or to be a Republican?  To me they are just more labels that separate people.
It’s interesting to me, when looking at the presidents this country has had, the very first president, George Washington, it lists he was not affiliated with either party.  It’s also interesting to me that it lists Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and John Quincy Adams as being affiliated with Democratic-Republican Party.
I don’t like the word politician because to me, if I ever do make the leap and run for an office, I would not consider myself to be a politician.  I would run for office to be a public servant, listening to the community members and trying my best to help and facilitate the needs of the people to whatever office I might be one day be in.
I do like that little saying how politicians are like dirty diapers and need to be changed often and for the same reason.
All we can do is hope for the best.
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