Last night I was at a meeting of an organization I belong to, and afterwards another regular mentioned to me that he had wondered why I was a Republican. There were a lot of others there and I didn't want to spend a lot of time discussing the matter because I knew that others might break in and the nature of the group meant I'd probably be so grossly outnumbered that it would be an unpleasant experience, so all I did was repeat a line I'd put into a letter to the editor of a local newspaper; "...the Republicans are the party of freedom, and the Democrats are the party of 'socialism light.'" This led to further arguments afout "Star Wars" and President Clinton, as I feared, and I never got to say much more on the "why" question.
But it seems to me that there are two parts to the answer: why I became a Republican, and why I remain one. The first is so easy: I grew up when New York City, my birthplace, was dominated by the Democrats and under the thumb of a corrupt Democratic machine (popularly called Tammany Hall) while both the President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the Governor, Nelson A. Rockefeller, were in my mind doing a good job of running their respective governments. Comparing the two parties' records left me a clear decision to make, and I joined the Republican Party in my mind well before I could in fact -- you had to be 21 to register and vote then, so I could not officially join the party till I was 21, but I've been a Republican in fact since I was in my early teens.
Now, I find myself in agreement with Republicans on some issues and with Democrats on others. (For a good summary of my beliefs, see my first post on this blog, back in February 2006!) But it seems to me that on the issues I consider most important, I'm with the GOP, and that is why I am still a Republican.
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