As I've written before, I come from a long line of Republicans. My maternal grandfather was a Reaganite Conservative Republican in every sense, and on the State Legislature. When I got an earring, every single male member of my family (except my Dad's father) told me I'd ruined my future -- that none of them would ever even consider hiring someone with an earring. Especially if it was in my right ear, because that meant I was gay.
Times have changed. My conservative grandfather has passed on. My Dad's parents have chilled decidedly, accepting my (and my siblings') defection from the Catholic Church and my sister's budding political activism (and waffling sexual preferences), and still loving and supporting all of us. While many of my aunts and uncles are still in varying states of religious right-wing denial, my parents and grandparents are increasingly socially liberal, and one of my favorite uncles is considering a run for state office as an independent (he won't run as a Republican anymore, but he won't embrace the Democratic party either). Years of university theater, gay roommates, same-sex partners, and kids moving to California have now softened their perceptions of society at large, and all of it's infinitely weird variations.
Yet, despite an increased social concern, both of my parents still vote Republican. I believe some of it is out of habit, tradition, and a misunderstanding of the modern Democratic Party (and it's legacy of Progressive Liberalism -- social reform AND fiscal responsibility). I think what is really missing in the socially-accepting but fiscally-conservative American heartland is a true understanding of what has happened to the modern Republican party under Religious and Neocon stewardship.
It is my goal to change my parents' minds (and the minds of other one-time Republicans whose social conscience is too big to fit in the Neocons' nutshell) before the November election. Over the summer and into the fall, I'll be publishing these "Political Primers" -- really, just collections of links to stories, articles and editorials that my parents and others like them might not otherwise see.
Look -- I'm not some brilliant political scientist, obviously. What I know is a combination of what I read, see and hear, and what my brain extrapolates from that knowledge, just like my parents, and just like everyone else. These articles aren't a way to say "I'm smarter that you," or "my beliefs are right and yours are wrong." Rather, they're a way to say, "We believe more of the same things than you realize. Here are some things you might not have read, that may (hopefully) bring you to the conclusion that re-electing Bush is not the way to make our country better."
This first group of links deals with general election issues. More will come, dealing with Iraq, 9/11, the economy, social issues, the Bush legacy and more. This first batch comes entirely (by coincidence) from Salon.com.*
*A note. All of these articles are availible to read for free. Salon.com articles require you sit through a 15 second advertsiement in order to receive a "Day Pass" to Salon content. Other sites may do the same. It's painless, I assure you, and worth it.