I was never much involved or even interested in politics as a kid. The most I ever really knew was who was President at any particular time. It didn’t interest me because it didn’t affect me. Or so I thought.
As time went on, I stayed about as far away from politics as I could since polite folks never debated politics or religion. At least that’s what I had been told on many occasions. I remember the highlights; the Star Wars program, Iran-Contra, Reagan’s summits with Mikhail Gorbachev, the Berlin Wall coming down and so on. But never did I really immerse myself in the real meat of `80s and early `90s politics.
I joined the Marine Corps in my junior year of high school shocking almost everyone who knew me, including my parents. They could have never guessed that the military was for me. Then again, neither did I really. I guess I saw the Marine Corps as a way out of the dead town that we lived in. Even though ours was the second largest city in the state, it was still effectively dead, unless you wanted to get into manufacturing. I did briefly follow the rise and fall of Ross Perot’s bid for the Presidency. His idea of running the country like a business seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately, his dropping from the race and subsequent reemergence left a bad taste in my mouth about politics that would last a long time.
Starting in late 1992 and early 1993, I began listening a bit more to the goings-on of D.C. politics. My upbringing being as it was, I was firmly against anything Slick Willy tried to pull on us God-fearing Republicans. While in the service, I was not too fond of his dealings with the military and I sure didn’t want to serve with any gays. Time, as they say, has a way of tempering your views. By the time I left the Marines in 1996, Clinton was being re-elected and the country was doing pretty well for itself, but still I didn’t educate myself politically. I was still an apathetic young man who couldn’t comprehend how much politics really affected me and my way of life. I had been all about the party.
In 1999, I met the woman of my dreams and got married at the ripe old age of 25. No real interest in politics yet. I was a young man in love who just inherited a family I could call my own. The upcoming election of 2000, was one that got me ever more interested in politics and one that I finally voted in as a way of expressing my strong views against anyone associated with those Jack-Asses (Dems). I firmly believed that Bush was going to do great things for the country. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20.
After 9/11 changed the face of American politics and our lives forever, I really started to take a more active role in defining my political beliefs on the basis of my views rather than my mother’s and father’s. I knew almost immediately that Bin Laden was involved with that sad day in our history and felt a strong, immediate response was necessary to “teach them a lesson” so to speak. The beginnings of the Afghanistan campaign as launched by President Bush was just the kind of response that I thought we needed to finally catch the madman responsible, however long it took. Then, all of a sudden, the message changed. The focus stopped being about Bin Laden and Al Qaeda and became about Iran, Iraq, and North Korea-those 3 nations that comprised Bush’s Axis of Evil.
Bush’s January 2001 State of the Union address absolutely floored me, as I’m sure it did many of you. The allegations that were made concerning Iraq were outrageous to say the least. Of course Saddam failed to comply with 12 years of sanctions, but did that warrant the end of trying to find a diplomatic solution? Not in my mind it didn’t.
By the time we invaded Iraq in March 2003, I couldn’t tear myself away from CNN and their embedded reporters. Like many of you, I laughed long and loud at the Iraqi Information Minister’s cries that the Americans are dying at the walls of Baghdad, that they will never take Saddam International Airport even as we had already done so. I became more and more convinced that Bush’s way was not the right way to handle Iraq nor our country. Leading up to the Presidential Election of 2004, I devoured political reading material on the Internet in an effort to try and separate the wheat from the chaff in the multitude of candidates running against Bush. I personally like Dean and his Internet groupies until that fateful scream after the Iowa Caucus. I started to delve deeper into John Edwards’ platform in an effort to kind of feel out his politics as well. Unfortunately, John Kerry became the Democrats lone hope against War-President Bush. I won’t go over my thoughts about what killed the Kerry campaign suffice it to say that he didn’t fight back as hard as he could have.
Those of you who have followed me from my humble past at Unpopular Opinions to my humble present here at The Bulldog Says… know that the final nail in the coffin for me was when my brother RoadRage was stop-lossed and sent to Iraq just days before Christmas 2004. Since then I have posted about policy failures by Bush, some family issues, the injustice of RoadRage’s stop-loss which prevented his retirement, and other things as well. I also made the crucial decision to enter politics myself. No more am I apathetic about politics. No more do I think that politics doesn’t affect me. Political decisions affect everything from the amount of sales tax you pay for a bag of groceries to the condition of the streets you drive on to the amount of income tax you are subjected to. It affects all of us, everyday.
So now you know how my political awakening came about. Tell me about yours…