One Man’s Journey To Independent Status

Reared by a Hoover Republican and LBJ Democrat, it was inevitable that I would come to dislike both mainstream political parties, at least thinking back on it now. It should be pointed out that mom and pop were both pretty conservative people, and still are, just that in the grand scheme of things, my mom was a bit more liberal about some things.

That’s one of the things that really chaps my ass these days, how those two words, conservative and liberal, are used. Neither one is a synonym for elephants and donkeys, and shouldn’t be used as such.

Neither should the two words be used to belittle anyone. They’re not bad words, and if you think either is a negative term, you don’t understand their definitions and should not use them until you do. Get in touch with me to know when.

The first time I remember the adults getting all in a tizzy about politics was the presidential race in 1960. Kennedy vs. Nixon, now that was a true race between a crooked liberal and a crooked conservative. There is the recollection of one particularly nasty confrontation between my father and grandfather at a Thanksgiving gathering of the clan just after the JFK/LBJ ticket won. Kids were ultimately sent away from the table, so I didn’t witness it all. But being the curious little sum’bitch that I was and still am, my young fat butt stayed within earshot.

Exact words I do not recall, just that for a long time I felt like a bunch at the table were ganging up on my dad, and that was something I didn’t cotton to. Even back then, I either cottoned to things or I didn’t. This feeling of being amongst the minority was further entrenched as a result of buying into my pop’s Texas Aggie ways, only to realize a couple of years later the majority of the relatives were not amused.

That isn’t to say I wasn’t intrigued by stories my grandpa would tell about his college days with Lyndon, or how he was always a Longhorns fan, especially after earning his masters from Texas. My grandfather was also conservative, yet a democrat, you young folks won’t understand that. A friend was a friend and besides, the Dems were also friends to the farmer in those days. Nowadays, they’re friends to the farming conglomerates and corporations. A story for another day.

Being an Aggie and a Republican are really about the closest I’ve been to being a rebel or anarchist or radical or any other words along those lines. It’s understandable that would disappoint some of you to read, especially since I’m still an Aggie, though that devotion has admittedly waned on the sports level. To quote Bill Murray from Meatballs!, “It just doesn’t matter” is how I’ve come to look at a lot of sports these days, my biggest thrill along those fronts being a fantasy baseball bunch I’m truly proud to be part of the past 29 years. Again, another day.

My separation from the GOP really began on Aug. 8, 1974 when Nixon announced his resignation from office in a prime-time broadcast that I can best describe as an evening in which the entire country seemed to hold a bazillion hurricane parties. Some were of the let’s drink all the whiskey in case there’s no tomorrow type soirées. Others were more hunker down, praise the lord and observe this passing storm gatherings. Others were like the one I attended, less than a month in advance of starting college. It had more of a TV event like some of the early space launches and moon landings, only with bong hits and beer instead of Kool-aid and cookies like when we’d watch those NASA reports not many years earlier.

Still, Nixon resigning was the beginning of the end for me. Fourteen years later, in 1988, I voted for a donkey or elephant for the last time in a federal election. There are people who tell me I’m wasting my vote when picking someone from a fringe party at any level, but then I’ve also heard some of those same people curse or bless the Perot voters in 1992 for that year’s results, so what the fuck do they know?

When either party begins to conduct business from a right or wrong concept instead of right & left, then I’ll join them. When either party really understands what the original Bill of Rights really means, I’ll buy in. Until then, I’m leaning Roseanne Barr for 2012, though I think she should’ve picked Drew Carey for a running mate.

Enough about me, now what about you?

About the Author: A crotchety old man since his birth during Gen. Eisenhower’s first term as US president, Willie B. Lakey resides in the bee-yoo-tiful Texas Hill Country along with his wife, too many cats and his beloved beer fridge. Employed as an overworked and underpaid freelance sportswriter, his few moments of happiness usually come when communing with critters, tending his garden or sippin’ cold beer and enjoying tunes at Gruene Hall.

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