Category Archives: Party Politics

No.

So far in Georgia, not a single bill has failed in the Republican-led House or Senate in 23 legislative days. And it’s not because we have chambers just oozing with Liberty-minded reform or ideas full of resounding restoration of state sovereignty that will loosen the grip of the federal chokehold. For the last two months, I’ve watched the legislative session and each day, I wonder if our elected officials are even aware that there are two buttons on their desk: the one that is for ‘YES’ and seems to be worn down, and one fairly shiny one which is used for ‘NO.’

Contrarily, as a whole, Republicans are often characterized as ‘The Party of No.’ Whether it’s nocoming from our party meetings or from under the Gold Dome’s around the country, we seem to back ourselves into a corner as being anti-this and old-timer-that.

“No, you can’t be a Republican if you’re gay or have had sex before marriage,” says a GOP in South Carolina. “No, you’re not the right type of Republican,” say our GOP leaders.

“No, you won’t be guaranteed due process and equal protection under the law,” say many of our legislators who want to expand practices like civil forfeiture and no-knock warrants.
“No, you can’t dissent in a public forum because I have an (R) next to my name, so take a hike.”
“No, we won’t protect your privacy because public safety.”
Also in that category, include property rights and the Second Amendment. Don’t get greedy.
“Just move the ball down the field.”
“Come back next year.”

NO.

We are embracing the wrong kind of ‘No.’ Some of us kind of like the word ‘No.’
Now, I know I’m muddying the waters between political gain and party principles here, but daily I deliberate where we draw the line. The two do intertwine.

no1

We are the party of individualism – at our monthly meetings and in our legislatures. As an individual, I no longer care what a study says or what other states are doing. I am not interested in federal guidelines or ‘how it’s always been done.’ I am unimpressed by your vote which enables you to come back and ‘ask for something’ later. Un-im-pressed. I’m interested in someone who understands the use of discretion and the power of the word No. The command of the word, the negated color red, whether you’re standing alone or with a group of 50.

No, you will not advocate to expand the size and scope of government. Not for economic development and not for raccoons.
No, you will not vote to usurp local control.
No, you will not pander to the children. Or vote to tell someone how to parent.
No, you will not press YES for your own personal advancement.
No, you will not silence the individual.

I still consider myself a Republican. Some days begrudgingly, but I do. And as Republicans, we should pressure our fellow conservatives to say ‘yes’ to the word ‘no.’
If something provides a legitimate business model which in turn provides for personal accountability and responsibility, it’s fine by me. Our answer should be ‘No, don’t inhibit them.’
If a solution, medical or non-medical, approved or not approved, mainstream or not, works for just one person, it’s fine by me. Our answer should be ‘No, don’t inhibit them.’
If something satisfies someone else and largely doesn’t affect me or my everyday life, it’s fine by me. Our answer should be ‘No, don’t inhibit them.’

But maybe the problem is me. Maybe I have the wrong understanding of what our principles mean and what our Party stands for…at the local meetings and under the Dome. Someone is wrong, though, because No. We can’t all be right.

An Open Letter to the GA GOP & “the Liberty People”

The convention cycle is upon us and the shenanigans are already brewing. It’s prompted me to reevaluate our relationship and figure out who I want to take to the prom.

And I’ve decided neither. You’re both awful and we need a little time apart.

Not because I’m not conservative enough, though you both certainly like to paint that image. It’s mostly because you should treat others how you would like to be treated, and I don’t care to reciprocate how I, like many others, have been treated.

To you, down in front, the GA GOP. Perhaps it was the constant shaming for opinions from your HQ office during the 2014 midterm elections or the requests by party officers to “not say something like that” on social media. Or perhaps it was an open allegiance to a particular infightingcandidate during the primary season that affected an entire race. Or maybe the issue that a paid contractor for the party leaked information to the press to tarnish a Republican primary candidate…and still managed to stay on payroll with the GOP. Or maybe the post-election “pat on the back” email circulated essentially trashing our Lieutenant Governor, who is by no means perfect, but undeserving of a public attack because of a personal vendetta. All without any recourse or even concern.

Perhaps it’s the convenient oversight of your Chairman at every event over the last year and a half. Though it’s probably more about your lack of tolerance and the harsh reality that no one in your camp looks like me – or people who behave like me. But have you asked anyone what people really think of you? You’re out of touch with the people.

And you. You Liberty People. Why are you SO angry?! Why are you slamming the door in the faces of people who believe in you? Elected officials who want to champion your causes but aren’t the same kind of purists? Why are you angry about GOP interest groups when here in Georgia, some of the aggressiveness of Liberty groups like Campaign for Liberty, Georgia Taxpayers United and Georgia Gun Owners has yanked away any opportunity for us to sit at the table? No one even listens because our messengers are equally as awful as Romney or Jeb or anything else you hate in the ‘establishment’ GOP. Why haven’t you learned from your mistakes? Why have you not tweaked a plan that appears to not be working? Also could you start showing up at things other than the convention. Perpetuating your own stereotype is only hurting the cause.
And if one more of you tells me I’m not confrontational enough…
But have you asked anyone what people really think of you? You’re out of touch with the process.

It’s amazing that y’all don’t get along because you’re just alike. So for now, I’ll take my shovel and bucket and dig my own holes with a few that feel the same way. We’re just not that into you anymore. I know plenty of people who are looking for a real movement. Something that is not only effective but also solution-based. Not hateful. Inclusive. Something that is sustainable. Something that will win in the next election cycle.

Sell out and merge together or never surrender and split apart, but stay well. 2015 and 2016 are sure to be a bumpy ride.

 

 

What Being Republican Means to Me

Since publishing my ballot and reasons, I’ve come under fire *once again* regarding my loyalty to the Republican party. From YR chairmen to GOP county chair leaders, my worthiness (and apparently right to continue to participate) is on the line. I was even chastised for spending ‘too much time’ in the ballot box. Informed and thoughtful voters be damned! Not only that, but my principles have been called into question for committing the ultimate sin and not casting a straight ballot, so… I figured if I characterized Republicanism in my own words, maybe people would have a better understanding.


Republica state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.
Republican(of a form of government, constitution, etc.) belonging to, or characteristic of a republic.
Republicanismthe ideology of governing a society or state as a republic (la. res publica), where the head of state is a representative of the people who hold popular sovereignty rather than the people being subjects of the head of state.


I think we all (would like to think we) have a firm understanding of the political and  policy definition of ‘Republican’, but as far as within the party and the membership card, where do we stand? What does that mean?

Something I noticed since voting is that Libertarians are happy if you vote for one or for all four of their candidates on the ballot. They are truly grateful for even one of your votes, even a consideration, and express a genuine concern for why you didn’t on the others. I have personally experienced this myself. Naturally, it made me wonder when Republicans stopped doing this? When did we garner our own sense of ‘GOP entitlement’ that we deserve votes and don’t have to thank people for them? (Side note, but try to keep this in mind for later.)

If you look to the GAGOP website, it’s cloaked individualism and freedom. In giant letters, the message is resounding. 2 of my 3 favorite words. Maybe 2 of my 5 or 7 favorite…I like words. I digress.

But most importantly, I agree. As a Republican, I do choose freedom. Freedom to expand the party outside of what it has been. Freedom to question, to think, to challenge. Freedom to change my mind, to call out a wrong, to expect better. The freedom to know that I can step away when it’s not fitting just right, but return when it is. The freedom to break the unwritten rules without facing a lifetime of exile. The freedom to select various individuals based on what suits me.

I’ve yet to have a conversation with a politically-unplugged friend of any age who fits into a perfect Republican box. But I tell them to come anyway. To vote where they can and try again next time. Republicanism, to me, means that as a voter, you come as you are and we will take what we can get. Being Republican means accepting those that don’t identify as a Republican voting on our tickets. (No more of that shaming nonsense like in CD-10 runoff.)

I believe the Party stands for limited government, not limited discourse. Limited government because individually, we each know what is best for us – not anyone else in regards to anything: healthcare, taxes, social issues, voting, party affiliation. All of it.

I don’t believe being a Republican means force-feeding a plate of food when I’m allergic to all the ingredients. I believe you can hold your nose under the right circumstances. I understand the concept. I held my nose for Romney and for McCain. The candidates were not my first pick but at the time, I was able to reconcile casting a vote for them. So I did. And I probably will again.

I believe the Republican party has deep roots in strong foundations like Washington, Jefferson,  Locke and Von Mises. I believe that if you value any of those, you have a purpose. (I’d really like to ditch Lincoln, but no one asked me.)

To me, Republicanism isn’t just about government and it doesn’t just ‘happen’ during election cycles. It isn’t about telling people “you’re either with us or against us”. Being a Republican means that my definition doesn’t have to match yours. It is exactly what they keep telling us it is: individual freedom. In every way possible.

Maybe I believe in something that is already gone or maybe something that is only getting started.

Why I Can’t Care About My Vote

I knew it when I made my decision early in the summer. I knew people would be mad. I knew some GOP folks would be disappointed and I knew some ‘expected better.’

People are mad as hell about us non-straight-ticket voters. We’re wasting votes, they won’t count, it’s a vote for Reid/Obama/Pelosi/Jimmy Carter/Hitler, it’s unprincipled, it’s wrong. In reality, I’ve never publicly stated who I’m voting for in which races and I’ve been rather critical of all the candidates…because no one is perfect. I’ve been honest with those that ask. But even the idea of questioning has put me on the chopping block with people I call friends.

There are folks who have stopped calling, texting, engaging. They feel they have to distance themselves from me, politically…at least “through the election cycle.” Because that’s what a lot of political friends are…surface level. Whether they’re angry, bitter, scared, I seem to have become a threat to their credibility. Seems like most people just don’t know what to do about me…and anyone else who isn’t cut from the 2014 cloth.

It’s like I left the farm, married outside the cult, sought refuge with the enemy, branded a scarlet letter…however you want to describe it. And I’m not alone. The laundry list of folks who aren’t voting straight ticket this year and have been shunned and outcasted by their fellow party pals is miles long.

For me, 2014 is the first major election cycle where I’ve interacted with people in this capacity and on this level. In 2010, I was just a baby envelope-licking volunteer and in 2012, I was still a ‘Jessica What’s-her-last-name?” I certainly didn’t vocalize my opinions as I do now.

To say that it’s frustrating to hear 60%, 70% and 80% friends are sufficient to be accepted by fellow conservatives but then see it fail in practicality is an understatement. What’s interesting is that I’ve had SEVERAL people ask me privately who I’m voting for in specific races, but only one of them has asked me why. And that person is 21 years old. I think that speaks volumes about what’s going on in our political environment right now. The why stopped mattering months ago.  It’s war now and we’re out for blood.

Like I wrote in a previous article about the worst thing about people in politics, I can’t be angry with the people who don’t agree with me or the ones who feel I have abandoned the GOP in some races on the ballot. It’s not the first time for some other folks but it is for me, and politics certainly isn’t the end-all-be-all of life (amazing fact, isn’t it?!). But politics is personal – whether it be about candidates or issues, it’s painfully personal- and all about relationships. In the quiet, the shunned are sad about what this as all come to.

To be clear, this isn’t a ‘woe is me’ plea.  I’m just fine and I’ll continue to be just fine. I’ve yet to write something I don’t stand behind and I’m not too damaged by the political process to not admit when I’m wrong. There are plenty of people ‘protest voting’ out of anger but what about those of us who genuinely feel convicted to do something different?

I think a lot of people assumed I had ‘toned it down’ after the Delvis Dutton campaign, and in a lot of ways I have, but if I took anything away from that experience, it’s to stay true to my principles and convictions. If that means that folks within the GOP don’t ever let us seasonal and rogue Republicans back into their rodeo ring, so be it. Conscience and principle is a sword I’m willing to fall on. If that means losing friends and influence, I’m okay with that too.

The reality is that whether this election ends in November or January, it will end. Then what happens? Do we hug it out? Or is the nail in the coffin bludgeoned by a sledgehammer prepared for a shallow grave of GOP used-to-be’s who will taint the cause because of that one time we fled the compound?

The Worst Thing About People in Politics…

Yesterday was annoying. Mitt Romney came to town for a lunchtime fundraiser for Attorney General Sam Olens. My first thought: Who has a fundraiser at 1pm on a weekday? Second question: Why on earth would anyone attend?

Personally, I can’t stand Romney. I’m sure he is a wonderful husband and a doting father (not so good to the pups, but I digress) but he represents yet another failure of the Republican party. A complete and utter failure. Relax, we know he didn’t do it alone. He’s not all to blame, but that is what he represents. And then you add in the whole ‘Will he run again in 2016’ thing and we’re circling the drain of wasted time and painful memories yet again.

So back to yesterday. All the pictures were understandably irritating and I was once again reminded that the Republican Party is painfully and gut-wrenchingly diverse and there are still people who love him. People who idolize him. People who hang on his every moderately-purple word. And by him, I mean all the people like him because there are plenty of Romney-like figures floating around with (R).

The worst thing about people in politics that that you will never understand the real reason someone supports a candidate. Life experiences, financial obligations (or lack thereof), friendships, employment, childhood, family, physical (and mental, God love it) health status, they all play a role. And sometimes the reason is ‘just because’ and that’s hard for many of us to understand.

The worst thing about people in politics is that we don’t get any input on how others think. You can, at some point in the process, influence why they think something – and more often than not this is done by negative reinforcement (i.e. – angry Ron Paul supporting convention attendees) which I don’t recommend, but it is done that way. The positive stuff takes much more time. Generally, political people are set in their ways. It takes a system-rocking earthquake to chip away at the ole fundamental block. People in politics think the way they do because of every experience they’ve had to date. And lets not forget that the political game is unforgiving. People remember everything. If you ran that stop sign in that roundabout just that one time because you were sure you were right…it will never be forgotten.

The worst thing about people in politics is that we are always talking on different wavelengths. My way is more principled than your way. Your way is more effective than mine. You’ve been doing it this way for as long as you can remember and heck, look at all you’ve accomplished. We are so sure that we are right and we are so one-track-minded that we talk at each other and check our decorum at the door. Especially during election season – which is basically always.

The worst thing about people in politics is that we are playing the party game. But everyone has a role in the Republican party (even if it’s not in an ‘official capacity’) and those of us that don’t fit that perfect cookie cutter Republican mold are often angered by the actions of others. Us Liberty-minded folks get mad when these ‘Standard Republicans’…support Republicans? They say our candidates are too ‘Libertarian minded’ while we stomp around mad because they run a Romney or a Christie or a Perdue…someone we don’t see in our own vision of ‘conservatism’. But we can’t be mad that a party official tries to mobilize people for the nominee. We can’t be mad that an activist is spending their Saturday licking envelopes for someone who whooped your hiney in a primary. That’s their job. Just because it’s not your way doesn’t make it wrong.

The worst thing about people in politics is that we are all different and see the final destination as something unlike anyone else’s vision. The road map to get there recommends a different route, the means of which you transport yourself are different and the snacks you pack for the road probably taste like crap…in the eyes of someone else. The ones you have to worry about are the ones that don’t have goals, the ones that are just treading water and standing around waiting to put a nail in your tire.

But the worst thing about people in politics is that it’s also the best thing about people in politics.

Why I’m Not Voting Straight (R) in November

unicorn

Wednesday I received a call on behalf of a Republican campaign asking if I was supporting [X] candidate. When I said, no, it got a little …tense. I keep telling people my ballot will be a colorful amalgamation of decisions. Some Red, some 3rd party and a few skips, but never any Blue. Naturally this upset said representative who told me that I can’t always get what I want and taking my ball and going home is wrong. Oh, and, I’m wasting my vote. A wonderful example of voter outreach and engagement.

Let me tell you why this isn’t working, especially with millennials. You see, Democrats are out in the community telling people what they will do for the community, the state, the country, and we’re over here doing the ‘NO WAY Macarena ‘on the Highway to Hell. Our talking points are:

  • ‘Jason Carter is bad for Georgia’
  • ‘Michelle Nunn has ties to Obama’
  • And my personal favorite, ‘John Barrow used tax dollars to pay for his campaign Facebook page’.

No kidding. They’re liberals. OF COURSE these rhetoric lines are applicable. This shouldn’t be surprising information to anyone. But those aren’t convincing reasons to go vote. Those are just reasons to not do anything on Election Day because Republicans aren’t saying why their candidate is ‘the best’. It seems like all we’ve seen lately are hit pieces on consultants that aren’t on the payroll and a push for Senate Majority. We get it. Those are valid points but we need more substance.  We may not agree with the fact that Democrats are out talking about what voters will get out of voting (D) but at least they’re offering something tangible. We have things to offer too, like limited government, lower taxes and economic freedom.

Also, this “straight slate” thing isn’t working for a lot of people. No Republican can honestly tell me that Perdue and Deal (and everyone from CD-1 to Insurance Commissioner) is exactly the same ‘type’ of Republican and believes all of the same things and therefore, they all deserve the exact same support. Puh-leeze.
There’s a reason that every restaurant doesn’t have a price fix menu. People like choices. Choose an entrée and then the sides you like based on flavor and calories. Even Panera Bread gives you the option of chips, fruit, or bread.

Right now, it doesn’t matter who I’m not voting for in November. What matters is the ‘why’.  With 60 days to go, the GOP has got to offer some answers, some hardline reasons.  The reality is this: On a national level, Republicans have hurt many people too, especially in the eyes of the skeptical millennials and Independents – you know, those folks you’ll need should there be a runoff, and definitely by 2016. And the non-politico types don’t always separate federal and state-level folks (hence the reason we are, rightfully, hammering Obama/Pelosi/Reid ties). People have been burned. It’s no longer acceptable to say ‘If you’re not with us, you’re against us’. Tell me why. Show me why. Give me tangible evidence. Talk about policy. Stop using tag lines. Paint me a beautiful picture flowing with Liberty. Otherwise, I will have no choice but to paint my colorful amalgamation on my ballot on Election Day.

And if not accepting the one-size-fits-all slate makes me ‘not Republican enough’, then so be it. There’s a laundry list of people behind me thinking the exact same thing.  But that will directly contradict the GOP talking head slogan of ‘We have to side with the folks that agree with 70% of the time and not focus on the 30%’. Does my 70% have a seat at the table?

Stereotypes & Stigmas of Women in Politics: Religious Rants & Pro Life Marches

The media isn’t always wrong. Across the board, both parties are horrible at bringing out the women base, unless of course it’s through hot button issues like birth control and abortion. We often times use men to be the talking heads of these issues (when it should be women – both conservative and liberal) and then keep women in the back row on every other issue. Women bring more value to the conversation than just religious rants and pro-life marches.

It’s no secret: we are really bad at letting women play in the political arena. It’s not specific to the GOP, but we are definitely batting at the amateur level, mainly on an internal level.

So naturally, I’ve compiled a list of how we label our ladies who play ball for the GOP. I won’t name names, because that wouldn’t be appropriate, but I would imagine it won’t be difficult for anyone paying attention to politics on any level to pin point who’s who.

The Woman in the Boxy Jacket: This woman is, generally speaking, very smart, eloquent and well-versed on the issues but they’ve been forced into a boxy jacket because men are intimidated by them. The boxy jacket represents a strong personality that can match up against anyone without question, but we quickly label her
as ‘wicked’ and ‘ferocious’. This woman can’t be direct without being called ‘unstable’ and can’t call out a wrong without being ‘bitter’. We don’t support her publicly but then wonder why she can’t get elected.

The Attractive & Spunky Politico
This woman is usually vibrant and cheery both in personality and physical features, but her upward mobility is limited because men in politics have reservations about hiring her for fear of rumors of sexual impropriety. The majority of her accomplishments will likely also be tainted by the same stigma. If she would just pipe down and put on a boxy jacket, she could get somewhere. Or that’s what we tell her. We like her, but she’s dangerous.

The Quiet Frumpy Girl Who Doesn’t Have A Lot To Say
This girl will get offered all the jobs but she’ll lack the zeal because she’s too malleable. We can tell her who to support and what issues to champion, but it isn’t pure. She won’t be able to match up head to head with a liberal or recruit folks to the party because she doesn’t know why she’s doing it. For some reason, these are the people we put on our front lines.

The Judgmental Old Lady With 8 Pins on Her Tweed Jacket.
This lady knows everything. She’s been around long enough to watch the cycles of every election since FDR but that’s not enough. She knows what we had and what we need, but she’s just a little off her rocker. Bless her heart, she’s lost it a little in her old age. We still let her hang around, begrudgingly.

The Work Horse Soccer Mom. This woman is invaluable to any party in which she participates, and while that value will be acknowledged, it will stop there. There’s not much time for an opinion or feedback. Just stuff the envelopes and make those calls, please. We’ve got the rest handled.

You see, we’re hurting our own. This fight will never be about feminism, as the left would like to claim, so please don’t be mistaken. But we squash the ones that can be successful in helping our brand- and judging by the stereotype list- that’s A LOT of them. This is about the boxes we lock women into in the political realm. We’re all guilty of being judgmental, but the perpetuation of the rumors, stigmas and  stereotypes is breaking our brand.

I’ve always said, politics or not, women are the harshest critics of other women. But at some point, both men AND women have to draw the line in the sand for when we stop stereotyping and start recognizing the value of the individual. After all, that is what we stand for – the individual. This isn’t just affecting the ‘image’ of our party or causing tension among activists. It bleeds into elections and engagement and outreach. It stunts growth and it halts volunteers. It affects the involved and the un-involved. It brings our numbers to a screeching halt.

Why I Chase Unicorns & Leprechauns

Compromise is a funny thing. In politics, you’re asked to compromise on everything: on candidates, on talking points, and most often, on policy. Everything is a negotiation and everything is a chess move. There’s a method to all of this madness.

We’re forced to compromise because of the apathy and the money it takes to win an election. A government no longer run by the people has left us grasping for anything similar to what we used to know and accepting the bits and pieces of something that is ‘good’. When we consider the welfare state, social programs, the lack of enforcement of immigration laws, the overreach, and the student loan bubble, it leaves us wondering ‘What is left to compromise?

I take a lot of heat for my idealism. A lot. Probably daily someone shames me for it. If someone dislikes me, it is mostly likely due to the fact that they see me as unwilling to move and my willingness to fight you until we’re both blue in the face. (That, or I previously wrote a blog about them. #sorrynotsorry) I had a discussion with someone yesterday about principles and ‘appealing to the masses’. It’s difficult to appeal to everyone when you’re principled. People who are liked by everyone are probably selling out somewhere along the line. It just isn’t possible in life, but especially in politics. But what about appealing to everyone, having principles and somehow implementing it?
I present to you this beautiful chart I crafted on a paper towel:

“Jessica’s Scale of Feasibility”

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I fully recognize that I’m out there dangling on my own (or with a small minority) on A LOT of issues, but utopia and perfection start the conversation on a less complicated platform. Imagine if we began every policy conversation, partisan or not, right in the middle. There’s a reason lawyers aim high in settlement negotiations. There’s a reason Haliegh’s Hope Act (HB 885) should have covered more ground in the initial draft. There’s a reason a comprehensive gun law has all kinds of bells and whistles in it before it gets to a vote. There’s a reason candidates ask for more money than they believe they will obtain. You ask for that $1,000 donation in hopes of getting $500. You don’t ask for $500 because you need $500. You’ll end up with $250 almost every time.

Idealism presents wiggle room for improvement. We should all strive to be idealistic on at least one issue. It keeps the purity. And we have to acknowledge that on one issue –just one- we expect nothing less than perfection from start to finish. We acknowledge that progress isn’t sufficient. The quick-to-bloom rose may smell better but cabbage makes better soup.

In a day when our policy is lacking principle, it’s even more important that we look to people to represent those principles whether in elected office or just in those pesky activists.  That’s where the principle will be restored. So whether you’re consistently principled, or consistently inconsistent, be principled.  Idealistic in principle and practical in application.

“Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.” – George Carlin

This Is Stupid

Today I am mad as hell. Yesterday afternoon I found out that a candidate I voted for accepted money – A LOT OF MONEY- from one of my least favorite organizations. Like, THE WORST. The one that I dislike the most. The Anti-Liberty.

I’m a passionate person invested in politics so naturally my anger came seething from me in the form of clenched fists and brisk walks around the park. I wanted to yell, to stomp my feet and to quit. ‘This is so stupid!’, I thought to myself. ‘Why bother? Just stop paying attention, stop caring! Someone like me can never beat the game of money.’ And it happens all the time.

But I cant do that. Because the political world doesn’t stop- or even slow down- because I don’t like it. It doesn’t pause when I hiccup, or make the wrong choice. It doesn’t ease up when it seems like everyone around me is ‘selling out’ or when I feel like I’m riding a bike through two feet of peanut butter.

Charlie Harper once told me “This is an industry that is thankless, shallow, and soul crushing. It is designed to abuse the idealistic for the benefit of the soulless.” It’s probably the most honest statement anyone in politics has ever told me.

Politics is dirty. It’s filthy. It’s disheartening. People are mean. They lie. They stab you in the back. They say what they have to say and do what they have to do to get elected. They lose sight of why they were ‘doing it’ in the first place. They will be wrong. (You will be wrong!) They will let you down. (I can only think of two elected officials I know with certainty have never disappointed me. 2. Two. Dos.) That’s because everyone has their eye on the prize and rarely do those prizes look identical. And that’s okay.

So the days you want to give up, you absolutely should. You should go home to your family, or friends, or dogs, or a glass bottle of wine. Then, you should remind yourself why you’re doing it because at one point, there was a purity and a focus in you. You should take breaks and recharge, but never feel defeated. The system is the system. It will be broken whether you step up to the plate or not. You can either work within it (and it will run you over sometimes) or quit, but we all suffer every time one person drops out and stops articulating an opinion or fighting their own fight.

It doesn’t matter if you’re so Red, you’re already working on your “Draft Mitt Romney” Facebook page for 2016, or the Libertarian skipping every race on the ballot, or the Blue Dog donating to HillaryPac every day (just kidding- those folks don’t make money!).
The reality is that by playing the game in your own little way, somewhere along the line, while beating The Drum, you’ll change a heart and mind. You’ll lose some and you’ll win some, but you can’t say the same if you quit for good. So do quit. But just for the night.

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Mean Girls in the GOP

women
Dear Ladies of the GOP,

They say “There’s nothing faker than watching two women meet for the first time.” That is true as true can be. It’s no secret that women are tougher on other women than they are on men. The woman standing next to you could agree with every last thing you say and do and you may still find a reason to hate her. It may be her age, her outfit, the color of her hair, the way she’s smiling but there are some of you who will always find a reason. This is nothing new but it seems to be becoming more prevalent within our own party, which has cranked my ‘what the hell?’ thought train.

The first time I went to a local YR meeting, I was verbally assaulted by someone who was not only a member but a candidate running for public office- for no good reason other than the fact that I was a young female. I wouldn’t have gone back to that chapter if I didn’t have to for work. We see woman candidates take heat for their clothing, their make up, and their weight. We watched this last GA GOP Convention cycle as a group of older woman continuously ganged up on another young female. Almost daily I see women attacking women on Facebook, publicly trying to make them feel stupid. ( I know all the men reading this are thinking “You are in charge of your own emotions. No one can make you feel any particular way.” Blah. Blah. Blah) I won’t use the word bullying but it’s a close second. Straying from the issues and looking to falsely and publicly embarrass, shame, humiliate, and so on, someone’s character (not principles, but character) is wrong. It’s wrong because it’s not constructive and it doesn’t help the party, it doesn’t help the cause and it certainly doesn’t advance the conservative message. It helps you feel better about yourself for an hour. And everyone just stands around like it’s okay. Liberals continue to drive the message and recruit people to their party while you’re upset that Susan wore a purple shift dress and you thought it made her look more available than you.

My closest friend in Georgia politics? We disagree on almost everything. We rarely support the same candidates and we’ve argued about issues that we don’t see eye to eye on, yet we walk into events together sporting our competing stickers and we support each others ventures. Never do we tear each other down. Everything offered up is constructive, like, “Hey I heard this…” or “Maybe you could tell your candidate to {x}”.  We learned early that we have nothing to gain from competing with each other. And we’re 23 and 24 years old–just past the post of childhood. Do we need to set the example for you?

I am in no way saying women should support women candidates simply for the reason that they are women. I’m just saying you don’t have to tear them down simply because they are women. I’m not saying you shouldn’t vet someone and I’m not saying everyone should be immediate best friends. That will never happen. But how on earth will we ever recruit new women to the party if we shut the door before they’re even up the sidewalk? I expect older, long-standing party ladies to set a better example. I expect that conservative women will not exclude other conservative women. I expect that as an activist in the party, you want to advance liberty, freedom and conservative principles and not your mean girl agenda.

That is all.