In her speech at the GOP convention, within the context of her life story about fulfilling the American dream and standing up to preserve the promise of America for the next generation (see previous post), New Mexico’s Governor Susana Martinez told the story about her conversion from Democrat to Republican. Before she ran for district attorney, a couple of Republicans had invited her to lunch. She knew they had a party switch in mind, so her plan was to enjoy the free meal with her husband and then politely go on their way. But during that lunch, her hosts didn’t use the words “Democrat” or “Republican”, “liberal” or “conservative”. They talked about the issues. For example, they talked about welfare, whether it should be a hand up or a way of life; and they talked about the size of government, about how much it should tax families and small businesses. When Susana left, she had a startling realization. She turned to her husband and said, “I’ll be damned – we’re Republicans.”
Have you ever had a conversation with someone, been totally in sync with them in your discussion of values and issues, and then found out that they are a Democrat? You wonder how this could be possible, knowing that their values are far removed from those of the other party. As you probe a little deeper, you find that their parents or even grandparents were Democrats; and much like religion, they follow in the footsteps of their elders. They don’t realize that the Democrat Party has moved further and further to the left, and further away from their own conservative values. Ronald Reagan was a Democrat before he became the standard bearer for the conservatives. He once said, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the party left me.” This seems to be true for many people.
We don’t join a political party like we join a church or country club, and we shouldn’t cling to a party like a sports fan that remains loyal to his favorite team. Rather, we should vote for the candidate whose positions best reflect our values. Most of us have been taught that good manners preclude talking to others about religion and politics because those topics can be so contentious. But with so much at stake in this November election, with the future of America hanging in the balance, we need to be bold in talking to those in our circles of influence. As we engage in meaningful conversations with others, we must help them to see where their values align and encourage them to vote accordingly.