But I thought I was a Republican…

Ever since my 12th grade civics class at Riverside High School, I thought I was a republican.  In college as I took Macro-Economics (thanks to my wonderful Econ professor, Harlan Smith), the class seemed to speak to me and show me how fiscal conservative I was.

Background:  I am the daughter of small business owners and coal miners.  Growing up in Southern WV, most residents were Reagan Democrats.  We had strong labor unions.  Mining was the biggest provider of jobs in the small state.   My paternal family all voted democrat because of this.  I, however, never grew up knowing the true need for labor unions.  The hard, grunt work had been done by the time I was born.  So the only thing I saw was being in a small business family.  Seeing the need for help to the middle class.

But let’s take a look at the Democratic party of the past.  They weren’t that progressive.  When progressive social issues took the lead, then party members of the past jumped ship.  Most notably in the 2000 Election.  The same voters who voted to elect Dukakis and Clinton, jumped to vote George W. Bush.   Keep in mind, they voted against, then for Reagan at re-election.

In the same light, the GOP as it is today, is not as it was when it’s first successful candidate was elected.  That man was Abraham Lincoln, you know the guy who was against slavery.

A once blue state, has turned red.  West Virginia is not a progressive state.  It’s highly racist.  And the LGBTQ community is not widely accepted.  Homosexuality and divorce are preached against more than finding a way to stop the drug problem riddling the state.  But that’s a topic all in it’s own.

I thought I was a republican though.

In a similar light as Meghan McCain who is a progressive Republican. That’s what I thought I was.  I thought I was a socially progressive person who didn’t want government involved in my day to day life while paying the amount of taxes proportionate to my income.

When civil rights and the constitution came into play in 2008 and 2012, a new term entered my vocabulary.  Could I be a Libertarian?  And I probably was becoming one.  I believe my rights should not infringe on anyone else’s.  The constitution is our biggest defense of those rights.

Then Donald Trump happened.

I’m not sure if I just believed I was a republican, or if I was and through life experience switched parties. But after the primary win of Donald Trump for the GOP presidential candidate, I knew in my heart, I could never vote for that ma n.  And I didn’t.  Not even in the primary.  I wasn’t a huge fan of Hillary, because republican leaders were telling me not to trust her.  But really, why should I trust them?

I voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States.  In my opinion she was the better candidate.

And that leads us to today…

I don’t even know where to begin.  Well, first, I was never active in politics before. Ever.  The only thing I had ever done was march three blocks to the State Capital in Charleston for the state to fund a new high school and bridge in my end of the Kanawha Valley.   We needed the bridge, we needed the school.  To get one, we needed the other.  So we marched on the Capital.

I wasn’t a member of Marshall University’s SGA, or political organization.  I did have a couple friends who were SGA President/Vice-President.  But other than putting up a few posters or handing out bottles of water with the campaign logo on them, that was where my involvement ended.

That was until now.  Now that we have an orange, reality TV-star as our sitting President. A President who wants to ban all Muslims, regardless of immigration status, from entering our country.  A President who has strong ties to Russia.  A President who claimed he would drain the swamp, but has just added a few more gators.  A President who thinks women who have abortion should be punished.  A President who’s staff regularly gets on television and blatantly lies.  “Largest audience to watch an inauguration. Period.” “The power of the president will not be questioned.” “He gave an…alternative fact.”

I could go on, but I won’t.

The rhetoric coming from the White House, and the threat on basic rights which have already been debated and granted through the Supreme Court of the United States, well it fucking scares me.  Trump as president fucking scares the shit out of me.

I am white, with mixed race ancestors.  I am a Christian, but I have Jewish and Native American ancestry. While I myself have never known more than gender discrimination, I still want to fight for those who deal with discrimination in everything they do.  It’s never been wrong for me to be attracted to men. And my skin color doesn’t limit me at all.  There isn’t a group of people wanting to extract me from their community.

Well, I mean, I’m sure my neighbors think I’m an asshole, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

So not only has Donald Trump make me question my membership to a party I thought I was for sixteen plus years, he’s gotten me active in politics.  I am watching more political tv than ever. I am reading the national news papers. I’m listening to Pod Save America. And I am contacting my representatives. I’m looking for town halls hosted by my representatives.  Mind you Mike Kelly, Pennsylvania’s 3rd District Representative, isn’t holding a town hall.

And it’s not just on the federal level. I’m contacting my state reps too.

One thing I’ve learned, while the protests and speaking out may not change the situation we are currently in, it is needed.  The rest of the World needs to see that the majority of Americans ($65.8 million, majority by $3M) voted against hate.

So, I think I’m a Democrat.




Author: sarahbethpenn

29 yr old WV native, NC transplant. Loves music, movies, books, comics, & nerdy things.

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