I spent years absorbed in Republican rhetoric. How could I not support small government, individual liberty, low taxes, upholding the constitution, and fighting terrorism?
Over time, I came to recognize inconsistencies within Republican policy and eventually came to the conclusion that it's "principles," held by so many Americans like myself, had been extorted as little more than talking points. The foundations of American freedom had been bastardized by power-hungry men in suits in order to achieve reelection.
"The Land of the Free"
The drug war is a single, straight forward example of how the Republican agenda betrays its own principles. How can a Republican glorify small government when their policy has created the largest prison population in the world with approximately half of federal prisoners being non-violent drug offenders? How can you support individual liberty in the "land of the free" when individuals are thrown in cages for peaceful personal health decisions? How do you support low taxes when billions are spent annually on a cause which has failed since it's conception? Most importantly, how can you claim to be a champion for the constitution when your federal crusade to eliminate drugs rests on bypassing the 10th amendment? (Constitutionally, according to the 10th amendment, alcohol prohibition had to be ratified by passing the 18th amendment, which ratifies the federal drug war?)
Claiming to be what they're not
I escaped Republicanism by separating myself from mob mentality and cognitive dissonance. I viewed my opinions from an outside perspective. When I stopped making excuses for a flawed Party, I realized that not only in the drug war, but in the entire Republican agenda, there was tyranny and deceit where I once saw freedom and truth. The strength of tribal mentality had convinced a nation of Republicans such as myself that small government means unparalleled military spending, a militarized police state, and a war on drugs. To quote George Orwell's 1984, "War is Peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength".
The Republican foreign policy, which promised to eradicate terrorism, seemed to create it in a constant cycle of supporting rebels and new regimes, destabilizing middle eastern governments and creating power vacuums which are inevitably filled by terrorists. A cycle which is repeated at the cost of trillions of dollars; a bill handed to the taxpayers. Don't forget that the executive golden child of the Republican party, Ronald Raegan, funded the Mujahideen during the Cold War… an organization led by a man named Osama Bin Laden, which evolved into Al Qaeda. Don't forget that, under Republican foreign policy, Americans paid for it not just monetarily but physically.
I could go on about how Republicans have betrayed conservative principles, from unconstitutional acts to funding expensive endeavors through high taxation, but I hope I can leave this research to you.
So what am I?
Has my drift away from Republicanism led me to become a Democrat? Absolutely not. I despise the Democrat and Republican parties equally, in fact, they often serve the same interests. The only true representation I have found in small government, individual liberty, low taxes, upholding the constitution, and preventing terrorism has been in Libertarian ideology. I believe that these principles are what have fostered the strength and prosperity of the United States, principles which stand in the way of Republican and Democrat agendas alike.