Former California State Assemblywoman, and current County Supervisor, Kristen Olsen wrote an interesting OpEd piece in the Modesto Bee on November 13th, 2018.
A lifelong Republican, Ms. Olsen delivered an address at the California Priorities Summit where she stated that she believes the California Republican party is a victim of its refusal to separate itself "today’s toxic, national brand of Republican politics.".
I agree. In fact, I more than agree. I stand on a chair, swing a kitchen towel around and yell, "IT'S ABOUT TIME SOMEONE SAID SOMETHING!".
I can look back on my development as a voting member of the citizenry and see what most would call a natural progression of beliefs. I am the embodiment of the old saying often attributed to Churchill. When I voted for the first time, at age 18, I voted Libertarian. My reasons were not because of the values of small government and self sufficiency that group espoused; rather, it was because they stated that Marijuana should be legal. I smoked Marijuana. Therefore, that was my party.
Taxes? Government spending? Social Justice programs? International trade? War? Crime? Who cares! I was 18, a senior in High School and wanted to be edgy.
As I grew in knowledge and experience, I aligned myself with the then Democratic Party. The ideals seemed right. Also, my father was a staunch conservative and WW2 vet and immoral, a racist
and a variety of other things that pointed to his lack of heart for the little guy. Therefore, in reaction to him, I aligned myself with the party of what was then good solid Catholic Social Justice. The DNC espoused beliefs in stuff I could support and keep my 'I am a Good Person' card.
Getting sober, returning to my Catholic Faith, facing my past (I am a post abortive woman) and making amends to my family (and God) has had a great deal to do with my changing political beliefs. For one thing, removing alcohol and drugs from my life allowed me to exercise my brain and make decisions based on facts and emotions. I align myself more and more with the Will of God and I found myself less and less able to give myself whole-heartedly to either political party. My affiliation would change with each election cycle - sometimes a registered Democrat, sometimes a registered Republican.
I read more. I learned more about me, about my Faith traditions, about the reasoning behind things like the Dignity of the Human Person.
I worked in different areas - Social Services, Health Services, Law Enforcement. I found myself more willing to listen, to try and determine what the cause behind a person assertion was and then examine that cause.
Eventually, because of the toxic nature of national politics, I left BOTH parties, never to return. Because I get to have friends who have supported Donald Trump and friends who proudly put knitted hats with cat ears on their heads, I have discovered a personal truth.
I do not belong with either side.
Women who march against Mr. Trump do not represent me; however, most of the women who support Donald Trump do not represent me either. Women who wear signs saying they are 'proud' of their abortions are the same ones who, forty years ago told me to shut up about the emotional pain I was feeling because I would 'ruin it' for everyone. The women who declare things like "women who wait to report a sexual assault" are the same ones who told me I 'asked for it' when I was raped and beaten because, after all, I was an active alcoholic at that time so what did I expect.
Men who declare themselves 'pro women' dismiss women like me as religious fanatics and won't listen to me either - we do not matter to them. If I dare to ask them why it is ok for a man to mock my religion and my gender I am told to just shut up - after all, it is done for charity so I just need to keep quiet.
People who deny that there is such a thing as White Privilege in our society don't want me around and the people who declare that someone like Elizabeth Warren is a indigenous person don't want me to open my mouth.
Lest you think I am an orphan, let me assure you that I am not. Politically I am no longer affiliated with the GOP or the DNC. I am neither blue nor red. Instead, I am a member of - and newly appointed Vice Chair - of the American Solidarity Party of California.
Modeled on Christian Democratic Parties, we are a group that welcomes people of all Faiths and no Faith. Our coming together grew from a dissatisfaction with the status quo and a refusal to accept that we HAVE to do things one way or no way. Small? You bet. But we are growing for the very reasons Kristen Olsen outlined in her piece. BOTH major parties are committing suicide. People are convinced, however, that there is no answer and that is where we - the ASP - open a door to an alternative.
For me, a 62 year old woman with bleached out platinum hair, a love for the Rolling Stones, horror movies, Zombie shows and Forty-Niner Football and a determination to do her best to apply Catholic Social Teachings to all political issues, the American Solidarity Party is now my political home. I proudly proclaim that I am a third party gal once again. I belong to a party that believes being Pro-Life is different from being anti-abortion, that it is possible for communities to solve their problems with support from the federal government, rather than interference from the same. We may not agree 100% with each other but the overall attempt in every day interaction is to LISTEN, evaluate and then come to an agreement based on our want for a common good and common ground while using common sense.
I am not a Nasty Woman. I am not someone who thinks Michelle Obama is a man and her children are not her own. I do not believe giving woman information on abortion and alternatives to that means I am trying to destroy reproductive rights and I do not think all immigrants need to be treated like cattle. I support GOOD law enforcement, a strong military and a quest for peace in the world. I do not think all Republicans are evil and all Democrats are evil. I disagree with their parties' platforms.
Because I believe that there are more men and women out there who are like me, I urge you all to learn about the American Solidarity Party. We are NOT communists. We are not trying to impose a theocracy in the United States. We are men and women who have tired of the ugly, toxic and flat out wacky behavior of our fellow Americans and we want to offer you a political home.
Find us here and do not lose heart. The GOP and the DNC may be killing themselves, but you can find refuge from their bloodletting.