I think I owe it to myself, a former DINO, to give some reflection to the Sen. Arlen Specter(D-PA) matter.
I can’t defend what he did today. Mid-term no less, a traitor is a traitor. Arlen Specter’s departure from the GOP represents just one more duplicitous RINO that we don’t need. Move along, nothing to see here. We don’t need grief counseling to help us absorb the shock of our loss. Our dearly departed Benedict Arlen already has elephants dancing on his grave.
This entire situation makes me wonder if I too, am a traitor? Seriously, how could I be the slightest bit upset with Specter when I turned my back on the Democrats nearly 2 years ago? Was I a traitor to the Democratic Party when I did not vote for Obama? Yes , I suppose in many ways I was. But according to the Democrats, I was also a traitor when I voted for Hillary Clinton rather than Barack Obama in my state democratic primary. I have no regrets about anything or anyone I have voted for in 2008.
Taken together, Sen. Specter and I similarly appear as two guiltless traitors to our political parties with one glaring exception. Specter claims that his rejection of the GOP is partly because the party is no longer grounded in the moderate principles it once was. In other words, it is the GOP that has changed not him. The GOP has ventured too far right, Specters argues. Yet it is my understanding that most Republicans widely believe the party has moved more left since Specter joined during the Reagan era. Maybe its Specter that has changed. Perhaps it is he who focuses on all things political through the lens of a liberal.
By contrast, at least I was woman enough to admit that it was not really the Democrats that changed. It was I. Granted, most Democrats are now in fact Obamacrats who invite confusion into the DNC which will ultimately undermine the party, nevertheless they are still Democrats. I was always a DINO. Before I switched parties, there were a number of instances where I was called a Republican by my liberal friends. I was never ever a dangerously liberal Democrat or a moonbat.
I began my first foray into the GOP while volunteering for a school paper. I had to cover a fundraiser for a Republican women’s group. Laura Bush, then First lady of Texas was the keynote speaker. Looking around the room, the only people of color were the caterers and myself. This party is so racist, I thought. Why couldn’t this be Hillary Clinton I was listening to? I sat in the back of the room. This way no one would ask me to fetch them a pat of butter. Imagine my surprise when people actually reached out to me, not for butter or a margarita refresh. They wanted to introduce themselves to me and were actually quite nice.
Mrs. Bush made a superb impression on me during her speech in which she addressed the charitable contributions of the Republicans as juxtaposed with those of the Democrats. “They call us heartless,” she said. “…but we deliver diapers to young mothers, food…” This surprised me as I as was programmed to believe the in liberal hype of GOP miserliness and snobbery. Sounds like mom did not give me the full story.
As the day progressed, I met more and more Republicans that I immediately hit it off with. Forgotten in the chatter, chicken fried steak and ice tea was my hatred for the Grand Old Party. I used to shudder at the thought of being in the same study group as a Republican. Now here I am speaking with the enemy.
I was about to leave when unexpectedly, a woman touched my arm and said “Laura Bush would like to speak with you.”
To which I replied “Oh? Why?”
“She wants to give you a interview,” she said.
I was nervous and rather flustered (subtext:scared shitless) as the woman left and returned five minutes later with Laura Bush. As they were walking towards me, both in brilliant red suits, I noticed that Laura Bush was smiling at me. Where is that expected icy, haughty purse -lipped conservative veneer? Instead, I was bestowed the privilege of an interview with a caring and compassionate woman who is a hard worker. That moment will always reamain one of the highlights of my life.
The following day, I was contacted by a representative from the Texas RNC. They wanted me to consider joining the party. I said, “NO” Nada, Nine, No way. I laughed out loud. I told them that as a black woman there was nothing that they could do or say that would EVER validate my belonging to the Republican Party. My response reflected years of GOP mistrust and stereotypes that had been branded into my brain since Watergate. African Americans are democrats for a reason and I knew it. Not that I could tell you what those reasons were (cough) but who cares? Why should I illuminate my political options now when my race already has made the choice for me?
After my scathing rejection of the RNC’s offer, who would have thought that I would be a Republican today?
I am a DINO who came out of the closet. It is a tough decision for anyone to make. I recalled that during that moment with Laura Bush so many years ago, I learned that I will never again assume that I know everything about every political group. I now embrace the Republican label and feel most at home here. I can only wish the same for Arlen Specter.
Autographed Letter Signed,