Tag Archives: Georgia politics

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?

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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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BooHooing and Finger-pointing in Senate 14

crying babyUPDATE: 12:21 P.M.
The Georgia Campaign Finance et.al has removed the ‘fines owed’ for Bruce Thompson and Matt Laughridge.

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Cherokee sure does have a knack for lying candidates.  Or those that leave out a large portion of the facts.
Matt Laughridge has put out a hit piece video of the sort of resembles something a democrat would do. Read below and you too will feel the irony.

Don’t try to fool us, Mr. Laughridge. ALL 5 (4 REPUBLICANS and 1 Democrat) CANDIDATES in the Senate 14 race outstanding fines.
If you’re asking if it upsets us, the answer is yes. We want all candidates to pay their fines and file their paperwork in a timely fashion but since you haven’t either, let’s call it a wash and move on. What is not included in that ‘wash’ is the sneakiness of trying to exclude himself from claims of ethics fines. So I present to The People, Exhibit A:

Mr. Laughridge, in his video attacking Dwight Pullen and Bruce Thompson, also said “Both claimed to be Republicans but their voting records don’t support the claim.” I present The People Exhibit B which shows a  few points:

  • Bruce Thompson has NOT voted Democrat in any election dating back to 2004.
  • Dwight Pullen did pull the lever on the Democrat side in the 2010 primary.
  • Both Thompson and Pullen have voted MORE TIMES than Mr. Laughridge who seems to be new to this whole voting thing as a whole. He is young, so maybe he voted out-of-state at college or something (I would like to know where he was in 2008, but I digress), but his claims about his opponents are disturbingly inaccurate.

SD14_Voter_History_1179x155                                                                                   (h/t to Bartow Politics for the most excellent graphic from the Georgia voter database)

What this says to me is that Mr. Laughridge is grasping for straws…probably because of a last-minute poll showing him in 3rd place and not headed to a run-off. That’s just speculation but all the other candidates are out there working to meet voters and Mr. Laughridge is stomping his feet and pressing videos that evoke the same emotion of the anti-Big Bird videos from the Romney election.  I have confidence that the voters in Senate District 14 have enough common sense to see past this ridiculous unsubstantiated video that was clearly produced out of desperation.

There’s a nice little voter guide from Bartow Politics here.
I’ll also note that this video was produced by that same ol’ company that was dissolved by the pesky Secretary of State.

Picking & Choosing in the Republican Party

I have many different ‘kinds’ of friends in politics. I spend time with a nice spread of Republicans, conservatives who won’t classify as Republicans, liberty-conservatives, libertarians, anarchists, and maybe 1 or 2 (gasp!) liberals.

Post-convention, though, it seems that not only am I coming down from a political overload, I’m also recovering from the pressures of a social quandary. Everyone has an opinion on who you should talk to, who you should ignore, who you have to introduce yourself to and who you can’t be seen with.  This tends to come from their own personal interactions with the people they’re ‘warning’ you about. I’m guilty of it, too. We all create our own ‘haters’ by working in the party. I even have ‘friends’ that I coddle just because I’m a tad bit intimidated by the idea of being on their bad side. But just because you don’t have a positive relationship with someone, doesn’t mean the next person won’t. (There are a few stop sign runners who may be exempt from this, but we’re speaking generally here.) And let’s be honest, I don’t really do well when someone tells me not to do something. I’ve already befriended half of the Republican outcasts. I also tend to believe that everyone can bounce back from bad decisions in politics. My first campaign was for John Albers, for Heaven’s sake.

Besides, you run into the predicament of running out of people to talk to. If everyone has at least one hater and you have a substantial networking circle, eventually you won’t be chatting, or working, or seen with anyone. You’ll be the guy with the lollipop in the corner. No one wants to be *that* guy.

I’ll continue to think and learn for myself. I’m a watcher. If someone is a bad-news-bear, I’ll figure it out. It may be naive, but I’ll hold off on blackballing someone until they personally screw me. And not in the manner that Seth Harp referenced at the Cobb YR debate.