Politics is something I just can’t seem to get out of my system. I’ve been politically active since I was a kid. I have some of the obvious biases as an American in politics, which include the fact that I don’t care as much about *other* countries’ political systems as much as I do my own. But thanks to many conversations with people outside my own country I do finally understand that the American left is still right of center compared to most of the rest of the world.
So, to address the biases I hold, we first recognize that I’m an American who has spent little time outside her own country, I’m white, I’m college-educated and middle-class, with college-educated politically active parents. My parents were involved in the founding of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire. I grew up mostly in New Hampshire, a state where, thanks to the Primary, I got to meet just about every person who has ever run for President since Clinton’s first term.
I thought I understood politics when I was 13 and watched George W. Bush’s selection at the hands of a cluster-fuck of a Supreme Court move (I’m not speaking as a leftist, it was all a mess). I thought I was enlightened when after September 11th, 2001, everyone was writing messages on AOL Boards for the dead, and I was researching the relevance of the term “blowback”. I remember my indignation at unconstitutional wars, the largest increase of government size in history and more as President Bush’s first term continued. In 2004 I wasn’t even old enough to vote for President, but I was still walking door to door with my older brother in the freezing rain on Election Day in New Hampshire, trying to Get Out the Vote for John Kerry. I remember my utter despair, in all its teenage drama, at President Bush’s re-election.
In 2005, I even changed my major to Political Science over at Saint Anselm College, where I studied international and comparative politics and political philosophy (and a year later left to find a different academic calling). I was interviewed by Cheryl Senter on New Hampshire’s Public Radio in 2006 as a Motivated Young Voter. I also worked on a winning mayoral campaign, distributing literature and talking to voters for Frank Guinta in Manchester, New Hampshire during that time. For the record, I make no endorsement of his actions as a Congressman since – I wouldn’t and didn’t vote for him for that.
My dissatisfaction with the two major parties led me to pick up where my parents left off – getting involved with and eventually running for the board of the New Hampshire Libertarian Party. I held the position of 1st District Vice Chair from 2006-2008, when I choose not to run for re-election due to a number of factors including a move out of state (and National LP’s decision to run Bob Barr as their Presidential candidate, no thanks).
You could find me petitioning and rallying for Ron Paul during the primaries in the 2008 presidential election. You could also find me walking door to door in New Hampshire to get out the vote for Barack Obama in the weeks before the 2008 election. In 2012, I’ve been spotted at Gary Johnson rallies in Nevada.
I am and always have been a registered Independent (or Undeclared). I usually vote in Republican primaries. I’m a member of the Libertarian Party. I hold a number of Libertarian philosophies close to my heart and often refer to myself as a member of the “small-l, left-libertarian contingent”. I am very frustrated with the two party system in the US, but I entirely understand why power is batted between these two groups – groups that have slight differences in execution but still endeavor to appease their financial backers with a very particular brand of Bigger Government. I am also sympathetic to the social issues which cause so many people to remain with the two-party system, as I also possess a uterus and bristle at any attempt to legislate upon it.
So I stand up for various issues that are near and dear to me (reproductive freedom, gun rights, ending drug prohibition, ending spying on American civilians, separation of Church & State, ending drone strikes in the Middle East and whatever the hell else I care about on a given day), do my part to educate others, speak openly about my ideals, and sincerely hope that my desire that the world be getting better, not worse, is not a pretty dream but a possible reality.
That’s all any of us can really do – voting certainly doesn’t seem to matter. But I’ll do that too, anyway.