I grew up in grew up in a family of Democrats – Dad was a teacher, Mom had a little hippie inclination – and it’s probably not a huge shock that’s how I started out as well. At North Dakota Boys State, I wrote a party platform that would have made Paul Wellstone blanche in horror – not because I was an especially well-read or committed econommic “progressive”, but becasue that was the water in which I figuratively swam as a teenager.
In college, my major advisor, Dr. Blake, convinced me that it just wasn’t true – that I was in fact a conservative. And he was right. I voted for Reagan in my first presidential election, and never really went back.
About ten years later, disgusted with the 1994 Crime Bill, I left and went to the Libertarians (just in time to miss a great redemptive moment in GOP history – but I had two babies at home at the time, so I wasn’t actually doing that much political thinking, to be honest.
Four years later, I went back, figuring the problems in the GOP were best fixed on the inside. It’s still an ongoing battle – maybe never moreso.
One thing I didn’t do? Spend years making theatrical amends to Republicans for having been a Demorat; trashing my former Republican friends to my (temporary) Libertarian pals; hovering over Libertarians’ sayings to find things to pounce on to show my GOP friends I was a true believer.
I’ve encountered a lot of that lately – various people I know who’ve left one party or another, and felt the need to not just express their new beliefs (yay, more power to you!) but expound on how blinkered, deluded, malformed and stupid the people in their old party are, and how very decisively they’ve left them behind.
One longtime real-life as well as social media friend felt the need to issue a heartfelt – “theatric” might be a better term – public apology to all his new (Democrat in this case) friends for ever having been a Republican sympathizer.
But that was just the most extreme example.
The only comparison I have is with a jilted spouse whose ex ran off with the cabana boy or secretary, and spends years sputtering first with rage, then the sort of passive-aggressive sniping that becomes a lifestyle (and a tiresome one) if you let it.
And it’s a pretty ecumenical phenomenon. I’ve seen it with ex-Republicans in the Libertarian party, Republican Trump supporters AND Never-Trumpers, ex-Trump supporters of any and no affiliation – and I’m sure it happens with ex-Democrats too.
I mean – your political beliefs changed. If your politics are so closely tied to your personality and the fabric of your life that you have to spend that kind of time and energy attacking not only your old beliefs, but the people who still hold them?
It creeps me out. Seriously.