Have you ever seen a picture of this above graph floating around? You’ve probably had friends take it and share it, especially around a National Election year. The graph above is my results, and yes, I have taken it a few times over the years and have watched the red dot move a little more to the right and a little more downward each time.
You may be asking “why have you taken it multiple times,” and it is not a bad question to ask. The answer is quite simple, really, and that is I know as a person I tend to evolve. Not majorly, mind you, I do have some corner stone principles that build an unshakable foundation, but I have come under certain realizations.
I want to start with when I first remember taking note of politics. It was 2000, and I remember my at the time Geography teacher, I believe, ask us 6th graders what we thought about the Election that was underway. At that time I recall my mother liking George W. Bush over the dashing, dapper, former Vice President and “lockbox hero” Al Gore. I recall this time frame being the first time I glanced at a President Debate, and not too much sticks out in terms of memories of it or recalling information.
I guess more than anything, I trusted in my mother, and therefore leaned toward favoring Bush.
Now remember, this was before 9/11, before the wars, before the election debacles. In fact, the “recount” election debacle was what first drew my deeper attention to detail at such a young age. I had questions about that; who made a mistake, who messed up what, did Jeb pulls strings to help his brother out, and so on. It was a controversial subject that I recall living out, and piqued my interest in the political world ever so slightly.
The birth of interest.
But then came a real changing historic point in 9/11/2001. Being as young as I was, the first thing that set in my mind was fear, and honestly, fear probably settled in the minds of a lot of Americans. It was the single most devastating act of terrorism conducted on U.S. soil ever, with nearly 3,000 lives gone in the blink of an eye on a Tuesday Morning that seemed to begin as a beautiful and sunny day.
And here is where I will maybe lose some people…but I believe George W. Bush was the right man at the right time, if just considering what he did to try to bring the country together. This was that pivotal moment where everybody went to the store and bought a flag-hanging kit, nearly every house on every street covered with a flag hanging on the front porch. There seemed to be a genuine unity, and President Bush solemnly declared in front of a Joint Session of Congress a mere 9 days later:
Americans are asking: What is expected of us?
I ask you to live your lives and hug your children.
I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat.
I ask you to uphold the values of America and remember why so many have come here.
We’re in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith.
I ask you to continue to support the victims of this tragedy with your contributions.
George Bush ultimately in my mind did not live up to those words, albeit it probably was not all in his hands anyway (This includes the controversial PATRIOT Act which was not an executive order so we could shift responsibilities and blames to the congressional/senatorial level, the course of the Afghanistan and Iraq War which could also be shifted that way, but regardless, the figurehead is the figurehead.) Despite all his imperfections, despite all his shortcomings, I did not then believe, nor do I now, that George W. Bush was a bad person. Misguided, with the very wrong key players surrounding him, for sure, but not bad. Not evil. Simply just as most people are, not perfect.
In fact, a little digging into the past and you will find that President Bush, in terms of gallup numbers at least, held both the record highest and lowest job approval ratings.
Needless to say, this is where the birth of my political interest and involvement sparked. The words of the speech are resounding: be calm and resolute; Uphold the values of America and remember why so many have come here; We’re in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them.
The world was changing around me, and really for the first time I took note that being an American (which, guess what folks, is true Privilege) did not mean that bad things would not happen because we’re in the greatest country on earth.
That weird kid…
At that time I would have told you I was a happy, proud Conservative Republican. While I was lost and struggling in my personal spirituality due to several life factors, I was still a devoted weekly church goer. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck were a constant for listening when it came to political discourse.
My friends and fellow students could tell you; I went to Cab Calloway School of the Arts, and a good to fair amount of the students there at that time (probably safe to bet now as well) I would label today as liberal progressives. I was the kid that went to the GOP Headquarters after school, which was conveniently right across the street. I would stop in, talk with the receptionist, the chairmen, occasionally be lucky enough to cross paths with Former Governor and then-current Representative Mike Castle, who at that time was virtually the only winning Republican in Delaware, and more-so a moderate.
I would grab a yard sign or two, a bumper sticker, a campaign button, and everyone who knew me could tell you I may quite a few “political statement” t-shirts. I recall being on a class trip and one of the patrons of the event actually approached me and had a lengthy discussion, noting that he did not agree with my points of view but had to ultimately respect and even find it a little cool that I was willing to put my own creativity into play to create my own shirts and be so open to talking about politics without being judgmental about it.
At that time, I was firmly in favor of the “War on Terror.” Chalk it up to being young and naive, but honestly, we were targeting at first organizations of oppression and violent tendencies, like dismantling the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. However, in that I was never one to speak out against an individuals faith. I perfectly remember the days following 9-11 one of our teachers asking the class to air out our thoughts. One student said “We should just nuke them. Nuke them all.” I stood firm, saying “No, that isn’t right. There are innocent people there…more terrorized than we ever will be. They need our help, they don’t need that sort of hell brought upon them.”
A Political and Spiritual Struggle seemingly lose ground…
It was always important to me to not single out Religious peoples because I myself, even in my struggles, was always considered one of those outcast, fringe, devoted people, and I never liked that feeling, the feeling of so many not even bothering to try to understand what exactly you believed or why, just what they read about your beliefs, or heard, or joked about. I still held to my convictions, and I didn’t want to be treated that way, so I therefore was not going to treat others that way.
…Except I did. Not toward religions, but towards other things. Sexuality, for example, especially in terms of the LGBTQIA+-$&%AndWhateverOtherLettersNumbersOrSymbolsTheyMayAdd…Thanks to struggling spirituality and the dogma laid out…while it was never along the lines of “You have to hate the gays,” it was a “love them but reject their lifestyle” sort of message, one that I truly struggled with every day, because attending the progressive environment of Cab Calloway, I was virtually surrounded by different people, and I always carried that belief of “Not my business, not my life, not affecting my life” attitude.
That was the first political awakening, and maybe even spiritual awakening, that I ever came across in my life. “Who cares what consenting people do in their lives?” I would think to myself. “Why am I debating and discussing if it is ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ for someone to be gay?” At the end of the day I didn’t care what a person was, as long as they were respectful of me as a person, and I always had the intention of respecting them as a person. Did not matter if I “agreed” with their “lifestyle” or not.
I did not know it then, but that was the birthplace of a future Libertarian (Libertarian-ish, at least).
John Kerry, John Edwards, and my continued support for W.
The 2004 Election came up and I was truly in deep. The GOP headquarters knew my name, I was attended rallies, they sent me and my buddy on a trip to CPAC in D.C., we had the workings for a Young Republicans club for me and my friend to chair, we were frequently meeting candidate for Governor Bill Lee, who enjoyed our youthful enthusiasm.
At that time, we had already begun the invasion of Iraq, which many were opposed to. At the time, foolish me thought about all the bad things surrounding Saddam Hussein, the Weapons of Mass Destruction, the chemical weapons, the people there at the mercy of an authoritative regime…and we had begun already. The respective branches of the Government conceded, so did some key ally nations.
Virtually every student I can remember was in support of John Kerry. In their eyes, George W. Bush was a warmongering doofus who wanted to take all the oil Iraq had to offer and evoke a little revenge on behalf of his father, George H. W. Bush.
There I was, wearing my own self-made Bush shirts, sporting political phrases I came up with, being the fringe, not caving to the popular opinion, still moderately favoring President Bush all the way through, not believing in ulterior motives and actually lacking confidence in people like John Kerry and many of the Democrats, who at that time, a majority favored and voted for in favor of the Iraq War, including Kerry himself, who then continually struggled backtracking and defending himself.
Then along came Obama.
When Barack Hussein Obama stepped into play, it was against John McCain and Sarah Palin, neither of which I could say I was a true fan of. At this point in my life, I was stepping away from Mormonism, and started becoming a little more socially liberal. At this phase, I started asking the questions “why should Government have the power over Marriage? Why are we having a legal fight over whether or not Gays can be wed? Who cares that deeply what another person is doing with another person, which is virtually not the business of anyone else.”
There was many aspects to Barack Obama that were off-putting to me, namely when he declared Universal Healthcare. At that time I was slowly realizing that I did not support the ideas of Government having limitless powers over such unique, individualistic issues such as health care on a wide-scale. At this time, I was still covered by my Mother’s health insurance, but I knew that sooner or later I would be an adult and have to worry about this issue on my own. I took no comfort in the idea that the Government would mandate me into the collective for my own good.
And that is shortly what it became, did it not? People were told they could keep their Doctor, and they couldn’t. People were told they could keep their plans, and shortly some were consolidated and even eliminated. Those who refused to purchase Health insurance on the exchanges because of astronomical pricing or the feeling it was a useless wasteful expense opted to not sign up for insurance and pay a Government enforced penalty for not buying a service they either did not want or could not afford.
And in came rolling the turn toward Libertarianism…
Mind you, at this juncture, Obama had some slight wins in my book. Wanting to get out of Iraq, for one, as I was fed up with the continual struggle, was a positive, even if Obama turned out to be an utter failure in my opinion in terms of being “anti-war” (drone bombings abound, terrible ISIS approach, terrible Syria strategy). One thing Obama was excellent at: using technological platforms to push a message at the time that people felt was needed: Change. Thus in 2008, he narrowly swayed me to pulling the lever for him.
But the next 4 years were quite lackluster, and I was swayed by Mitt Romney in 2012 to vote Republican, along with a wave of tea-party conservatism. Obama stayed, some promising tea-party Republicans came into town…and nothing happened. Literally nothing happened. Only a few of those tea-party players turned out to be genuine in their character and conviction. It gave us names like Rand Paul, Thomas Massie, Mike Lee, Justin Amash, maybe a handful of others, but the rest were seemingly a charade. The Republican control did nothing…it quite literally sat on its hands, lead by Mitch McConnell, and waited for 2016.
2016: The Year of Insanity, The Final Straw, and the Limited Government Awakening
Then came 2015, Pre-Election season, the birth of FritzCast. I pretty much had enough, I was done playing games with such serious issues. I began reading the Declaration of Independence over and over again. I started to re-immerse myself in life long passions of American History, of Liberty, Freedom, Exceptionalism. I started off with it feeling promising…I had fallen prey to those sappy dank Bernie Sanders memes with the inspiring things he would say with all the socialism rhetoric seemingly cut out, thinking he was a likeable guy with high odds of beating establishment groomed and hand-picked Hillary Clinton. The Republican Party had 16 (SIX-EFFIN-TEEN) candidates…surely we would come to a head with great debates of different ideologies.
NOPE. Nope nope nope. Turns out Bernie, while a nice guy, was the polar opposite ideology of me, and he didn’t win anyway, so in turn you received a Legacy Name candidate (Hillary Clinton), and an unruly glorified Reality Television Star in Donald Trump, providing three of what I believe are the worst Presidential Debates to ever be aired on Television, two campaigns that were incredibly divisive, an ever more increasingly divided America that is continually losing sight of the ideals and principles that the nation was founded on, brilliantly written and highlighted in The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, all of which are whipped and beaten to the point where they’ve lost their spirit.
Consider this Chapter I, and I have only just begun.