Why I left the GOP – An Insider Comes Clean

George W. Bush

This week, Salon.com published an article by Jeremiah Goulka that was an unexpectedly good read. I feel I should share this piece as it discusses a subject that I find particularly fascinating….  The refusal to admit to yourself when you’ve been fooled and how it relates to so many in the Republican Party.

This is the story of how in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and later in Iraq, I discovered that what I believed to be the full spectrum of reality was just a small slice of it and how that discovery knocked down my Republican worldview.

I always imagined that I was full of heart, but it turned out that I was oblivious.  Like so many Republicans, I had assumed that society’s “losers” had somehow earned their deserts.  As I came to recognize that poverty is not earned or chosen or deserved, and that our use of force is far less precise than I had believed, I realized with a shock that I had effectively viewed whole swaths of the country and the world as second-class people.

This is not your typical party switching story as it crosses over into the subject of this website.  It helps me get closer to answering questions that I have been asking myself for years.  Why do so many Republicans not understand their advantages?  How can good Christian people be so callous towards the poor?  How did a party with a proud history of fighting for civil rights take such a racist turn?  It’s also a very interesting read.

Many people see the wider spectrum of reality because they grew up on the receiving end.  As a retired African-American general in the Marine Corps said to me after I told him my story, “No one has to explain institutional racism to a black man.”

Jeremiah Goulka writes about American politics and culture. His most recent work has been published in the American Prospect and Salon. He was formerly an analyst at the RAND Corporation, a recovery worker in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, and an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice.  Check his story out.

On a website with such an unpleasant theme, it’s nice to post something that gives you a little hope every once in a while.

“Why I left the GOP” on Salon.com. Originally published at TomDispatch.com.

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