Political differences run deep within families. My father and mother-in-law are two of the most conservative people I know. Dad raised his kids in a laboratory of strong right Republicanism. Richard Nixon just about broke his spirit and laid waste to his political testimony that ‘conservatives’ were god’s people. He recovered though, by admitting that Tricky Dick was an outlier – he was a fallen angel much like his master, Satan. After all, mortals will be mortals. Despite his early hero’s fall from grace, dad remained true to his conservative underpinnings. Today, he relishes his latest political hero, Donald J. Trump.
And as far as mother-in-law, well she is the epitome of conservative; it was her birthright. Every Republican gathering and political contest in Central Idaho where I grew up had her mark. She was involved; she was the voice for the party; she was at the front of the march to glory and constitutional protection. She was the niece of Ezra T. Benson, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture during the Eisenhower years. She had a family reputation to uphold. And in her mind, she often did it single-handedly.
So, what happened to me? Where did I fall off the bandwagon? And why? I’ll tell you. I’ve marked my maturity and progress along my long and winding political way. Self-actualization has been a part of my conscious for decades. It all started when I began questioning things. And it never stopped. I still question everything and by extension, everybody.
I’m a member of the ‘unaffiliated.’ I’m alone; and I like it! By that I mean I intentionally don’t belong to a political party, unless you consider being unaffiliated a political leaning. I guess you could see it that way. It’s kind of like calling agnosticism a religion. Whatever floats your boat.
I blame much of my political affiliations or in this case, unaffiliations, on my parents. They taught me too well. They taught me to be independent – to step away from the crowd and create my own path if need be. “Joining-in is not always the best policy,” they would say. “Be your own man; don’t be swayed by the mob!”
Being independent of any ‘party’ affiliation makes me feel free and well, unaffiliated. When the political games, contests, and arguments ramp up every two years, I stand back and chuckle. “Hey Ocasek,” they say, “where do you stand on such-and-such issue?” “I’m for the United States, the U.S. Constitution as it applies to current times, inalienable rights for all citizens, and Cherry Cheesecake!” I throw in cherry cheesecake, because in my opinion, it has replaced apple pie as the traditional U.S. symbol of comfort and freedom.
I have my political opinions, of course – a lot of them, in fact! But they’re intentionally not screwed into the popular political party framework. Take abortion, for example. That issue has been argued for fifty years. And there is no resolution. Why? Because politicians from both parties like to use it as a battering ram every time the question of high-brow, low-brow comes up. Abortion has bought high-brow republicans votes for decades. They love it! It gives them the ‘moral’ edge at the polls. But how many times have they honestly dug in and tried to repeal that dastardly act? Zero! Yep, zero. Repealing is too dangerous; they would lose votes.
With party politics, it’s always about votes and the power those votes carry. That’s why for the past four years, Donald J. Trump has not been called-out or reigned-in once by his party. He carries and wields the power of the national conservative vote. He’s power to the party. He has a cult following. People love him; they worship him; he is their king – their savior. And his political underlings, who have their own cult followings, must toe the party line and cling to their master’s coat tails to stay in favor and maintain power.
After colluding with foreign governmental powers to undermine the U.S. election process and bring doubt and derision upon his political foe, Donald J. Trump was impeached. But his party literally sat and said nothing in the Senate court proceedings. In fact, they defied the process – subpoenas and calls to testify – because telling the truth about their master would shatter their proverbial glass house.
The next four years will be all-telling with a ‘new sheriff’ in town. Joe Biden has gotten busy even before officially taking the mantle of president. He has already begun addressing problems and issues. From my unaffiliated viewpoint, I remain skeptical. He’s been in the political quagmire nearly fifty years, lapping at the public trough. His chosen cabinet members are a lot of old party relics we all know. John Kerry has been around the block and in some cases, has had his butt kicked around the block. But to be fair, nothing negative can be said until Biden and his chosen few begin to show their mettle and leadership – or not.
As party unaffiliated, I will be watching.