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7 Reasons I'm not a Republican anymore

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

I'm not a Democrat because I'm a hippy — Republicans just lost sight of what's important

I voted for John McCain in the primary against George W. Bush. I used to be a Republican. But things started changing after that, and while my world view expanding as I transitioned into full-fledged adulthood certainly played into it, my departure was much quicker than that — and it was mainly because of the continuing decline in values of the Republican Party.

They're in the power of greedy corporations and the wealthy, and their policies and misleading rhetoric show that. The reason I went to the so-called Dark Side isn't because I'm actually a Democrat, it's because Republicans have no idea what's important to a majority of Americans and refuse to accept scientific facts.

1. Support of the Constitution?

My ass. If they supported the Constitution, they'd be livid someone wanted to ban gay marriage. One reason they give for their objection to gay marriage is religion — which means they're ignoring both the First (freedom of religion) and Fourteenth (equal protection) Amendments and completely ignoring the First's Establishment Clause (unduly favoring one religion over another, including non-religion). Another is tradition, which isn't a valid reason for objection to anything.

The government shouldn't be telling two consenting adults who they can and can't marry. But they think they should… unless you start in on things they want to do.

2. Specifically, the Second Amendment

They want to tell adults what they can and can't do in their own homes or that they can't publicly declare their love and commitment in a legally binding ceremony, yet if you tell them it's inappropriate to carry a weapon in public places around children when there's no reason to expect inherent danger, you're infringing on their rights.

I actually support the Second Amendment; what I don't support are gun owners' rights to eschew common sense and public safety in a situation in which they're very unlikely to need to defend their lives. Carrying a gun makes you more likely to injure or kill someone with it. Carrying it into Starbucks makes me think you don't take its power seriously enough to own it.

3. Bogus health care reform ideas

Their ideas for improving health care are literally nonsensical. They make it sound good, but it's essentially a call to go back to the way it was when their buddies in the massive health regime were getting mad cash (and donating it to them).

What they're proposing didn't work before, and it won't work now. "Obamacare," as they like to call it, despite the fact that Congress is responsible for its final form, is working better, but it's time to face facts. Socialized medicine costs less — both for people and for the government. Anyone who claims to be fiscally conservative should be pouring through the socialized European models to find out what works best and why.

What's worse? We have fewer doctors and hospitals, and our life expectancy just now caught up to other developed countries. I used to think socialized health care was idiotic. Now I know I was wrong, and I can admit that.

4. Abortion

My first issue here is that they don't believe abortion is a health care issue. What? It's a medical procedure — one some women require in order to save their lives. Regardless of what you believe about abortion for unwanted pregnancies, that's just medically incorrect. And refusing to have health insurance pay for it is dastardly.

Whether or not the abortion is medically necessary, I think a woman — not the government, her husband or boyfriend or one-night stand or rapist, her family... the woman — has to be in charge of her own medical decisions and weigh those decisions with the only person qualified to advise her: her doctor. Child birth is a medical procedure, too. Supposedly, they agree: "We believe that taking care of one’s health is an individual responsibility." Why isn't it the woman's responsibility to decide which medical procedure she wants?

5. Positions are based on fabrications

Many of their positions are based on fabricated evidence, flawed studies and a simple refusal to ignore science.

And they pass this baloney on to the public through the GOP position website (which conveniently cites zero sources for anything they claim) and then repeat it over and over until people think it's the truth. These are two such examples straight from their site, but I can't read more than three or four paragraphs without finding one.

6. They don't care about me, just their big-business buddies

This is but one example, but their page about conservation is laughable. It doesn't mention climate change once (because they still deny it's happening despite scientific evidence to the contrary). They're mad Obama closed (environmentally dangerous) coal plants that cost Americans jobs while simultaneously (and somehow with Obama's support) trying to sneak through another trade agreement that would, as NAFTA did, send American jobs overseas. And they'd pay for this by cutting Medicare (which would harm one of the groups least likely to be able to get a job and get health insurance).

And they wanted to do all this without letting you read it first (I have no idea if I disagree with it... I haven't read it!). Because they think it's OK if the people don't read stuff before the president just signs it, right? Oh, wait. #47Traitors

Then why would they do this? Because energy companies that will be impacted by real conservation laws (the ones that donate to their campaigns) can lose money if real conservation laws are made. Because major corporations want TPP because it will save them money not to have to pay higher (closer to fair) American wages. That's why they don't want Obamacare; that's why they don't want to raise minimum wage; that's why they don't want to tax corporations or wealthy people fairly. Unfortunately, that's why they make a lot of their decisions.

What's more important to most Americans? Fighting gay marriage or keeping their jobs? Because poll after poll shows they care most about the economy.

7. They're betraying their constituency

I think the thing that irritated me most when I was younger was the feeling of betrayal. They told me they believed in the Constitution (except they apparently think freedom of religion only applies to people who specifically align with the Christian God and only white people deserve the protection of the Fourth Amendment). They claimed they believed in freedom for all (not just whomever they decide is the chosen few). They claim they believe in the will and welfare of the people, but they constantly reject it (or the minimum wage would already be raised, and they wouldn't have initially fought Obama on even doing something about health care).

The reality is, they just want what's best for them. What lines their pockets and keeps them in power. That's what all politicians want, and I've just determined that Democrats need the average American more to stay that way (which puts them on our side).

Just because someone says a few things you like doesn't mean you should side with them on everything. Assume everything they say is a lie until you can verify it — on both sides of the aisle (politicians = liars regardless of party). Don't just believe the first thing you read either. You have to read both sides of the argument, or you don't have the full picture. You have to know if there's any bias or a flaw in their scientific method. Don't assume because you agree with them on a lot of stuff, they must be right about everything. Remember: Their job is to align with us (all of us, not just the ones they choose to listen to), not the other way around — oh, and to uphold the Constitution and laws of our nation regardless of whether they agree with them.

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