Later this year I'll be taking my children to register to vote, and am going to re-register myself - this time as a Democrat, for the first time in my life. Why not independent, as I've always been?
Although I am a conservative, I cannot register Republican. @GOP take note - If you want to grow the party, you must remove the shame associated with affiliating with the party. Your stubborn refusal to drain the swamp makes it impossible for many of us to associate with you. I am always hearing about how the GOP needs to have outreach to minority voters. Not true - the @GOP needs empathy. How are we minorities supposed to affiliate with those in the @GOP who consistently blame us for racial issues? How are we supposed to affiliate with those who remain willfully ignorant of the struggles of minorities, or worse, deny their very existence?
Perhaps more importantly, why should a conservative register Democratic rather than independent? Staying on the sidelines is irresponsible given the magnitude of the problems in front of us.
It is 2012, and we live in a modern society with modern problems, and solutions from the 18th and 19th centuries are not going to cut it. Our country is over ten times bigger, and the degree of connection is far, far greater than it was then. It was normal for an individual to never visit or interact with another state back then, yet today it is near impossible to do anything without engaging in interstate commerce. What party is offering solutions to these national problems?
The Democratic party is trying. They may be wrong on lots of issues, but at least they are not pretending like a modern, wealthy superpower can prosper on ideas formulated 200 years ago. And if I affiliate myself with the Democrats, perhaps I can influence them to promote better ideas.
The @GOP is not trying to solve our modern problems. They are denying our modern problems. They are denying any problem that cannot be solved with a return to some bygone age (which ironically, never existed.) There is no point in affiliating with a party that refuses to face the very real challenges we face. As an example, I believe in conservative solutions to health care, but there is no way to promote them within the @GOP, as they deny the basic premise that there is a problem. Much the same when considering climate change, foreign policy, equality, and a host of other issues.
At the end of the day, we have to make a choice. Are the problems we face serious and national, or not? Ask yourself which party is advancing modern solutions to national problems. Affiliate yourself, and then work for the best ideas. This is what I am teaching my children, and I will be teaching them in that grand tradition - my example.