Getting Started
The Mythos of a Gen-X Male

A Former Republican Against Bush

Let me first establish my credentials. I became a Republican back in 1988 (when I was 14), despite the conservative Democrat family I grew up in. I voted for GHWBush in 1992 and bemoaned the election of Bill Clinton. I supported the impeachment and conviction of President Clinton. I voted for GWBush in 2000.

But I left the Republican Party in 2003 after deciding that the drift of the party over the last decade had left me outside of the party (I was always too much of an independent spirit anyway). I haven't joined the Democrat Party, I'm now an Independent (but that just doesn't feel very satisfying). This year I'll be voting for John Kerry. Why? Because even though I may not agree with Kerry on a lot of things, I don't thin we can vote for George W. Bush. Let me tell you why I'm, as a disaffected Republican, opposed to this President.

One thing I've long held to is fiscal responsibility. That's often called a conservative principle. Yet this President has been highly irresponsible with the public funds. One might respond that Ronald Reagan also ran up huge debts. I've always viewed that as required by ending the Cold War and cutting taxes to stimulate an economy that desperately needed it. Though the war on terror might require running a public debt, to cut taxes so severely after the greatest period of economic growth and prosperity in our history was unnecessary. Just a few years ago we were running surpluses. It looked like we had finally gotten in the fiscal house in order and would now be able to solve some of our abiding social problems. Now we are running huge debts and will be unable to afford to solve our lasting problems for some time. It is a betrayal of the "conservative" vision.

As a environmentalist, I can't support this President. The Republican Party has had a long, glorious record on the environment. Teddy Roosevelt created the National Park system. It was under Richard Nixon that the Clean Air and Water Acts were passed, along with the Endangered Species Act. Under GHWBush there was the Wetlands Protection Act and a new Clean Air Act. But from everything I hear and read this administration has an abysmal record on the environment, betraying the long held principles of the party.

It was Republicans like Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft that understood that corporations could weld overwhelming power and not for the common good. Therefore, they busted trusts and reined in the corporations of their time. This administration has pandered to corporate interests, has not agressivley pursued corporate reform after the many recent scandals, and has cut taxes in ways that allowed the corporations to make more money and increase their power and influence.

I have always read the Constitution strictly. And part of what I have held to strictly is individual liberties. Yet this adminstration has violated civil liberties and supports infringing upon them even more, to the detriment of the Constitution. The Patriot Act will be viewed as negatively by history as the Alien and Sedition Acts. The holding of prisoners without legal council and any recourse is a violation of our fundamental democratic principles. And the encouragement of the amendment against gay marriage violates the 14th amendment of the Constitution.

I am an internationalist. Though there have always been some isolationist on all sides of the political spectrum, the Republican Party post-WWII was strongly in favour of engagement. I am a huge fan and supporter of GHWBush. The first President Bush was a great diplomat. He understood the end of the Cold War to be an opportunity for the international institutions created at the end of the Second World War to work as they were intended. It was a new world order that would be governed by the rule of law (go back and read the speeches of world leaders in 1990 and 1991). He proceeded to strengthen the role of the United Nations and fostered America's historic alliances, while creating new friendships. The world's dream after the end of WWII was to end arbitrary use of force and to use it only to help those in need and stop those committing evil. In the 90's we began to see how it could fulfill it's mission -- navigating the end of the Eastern Bloc and the reunification of Germany, liberating Kuwait, the humanitarian work in Somalia, etc. I think the first failure of the new world order was not getting militarily involved in the Balkans sooner. But the current President Bush has worked to destroy the work of his father and the dream since the Second World War that we could govern the world by the rule of law.

And my final objection comes not from my views on policy. I cannot vote for George W. Bush because I am a Christian. I am a disciple of Jesus the Christ. As such I am to be concerned for the least of these. As such I am to work for the inclusion of all people. Forgiveness, humility, and mercy are to govern my actions not vengeance, arrogance, and wrath. We Christians are to help to create a kingdom of peace and love.

What I can stand least about this administration is its abuse of religion. It uses religious language to convey that it is on a mission from God. Yet this mission violates everything I understand about God as revealed in Jesus the Christ. They pander to the worst forces in American religion and have empowered those forces in unprecedented ways. The level of dogmatic arrogance with which they swagger while they turn a ruthless attack upon their domestic political critics reveals a deep viciousness.

Ultimately, for me, the election of 2004 is not merely a matter of policy. I find it impossible to imagine how a "good" Republican or a "good" conservative could support this administration for re-election. But what I cannot imagine is how anyone who claims to be a disciple of Jesus of Christ could vote for George W. Bush. I will borrow the apocalyptic hyperbole of this administration. The choice in 2004 is a choice for evil or a choice to resist evil.

And that is why this former Republican opposes George W. Bush.


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Jacob Zimmer

It only took 10 years for me to convince you heh? ;) It has been a pleasure to be your friend and watch you grow and learn and change. Now I am not saying that right-ness is defined by agreeing with me nor am I saying that wisdom is defined by opposing the Republican Party. But your decision does ressurect my lost optimism that the teaching of Christ have not been lost admist the dogma of Machiavellian politics and empirialistic fear.

Your essay is well written but I am surprised to see no mention of the war in Iraq which you vocally oppose. You make convincing and honestly original arguments regarding economics, environment, international relations, the constitution and religion, but what about the biggie: lying to COngress, the American people and the world about a fabricated threat in order to scare people into support that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths?

On the blog, wow, looks great. The album and book covers are a nice choice and the layout is easy to navigate. The gray background is, well, gray and so the black text does not show up well. Yellow on blue is the easiest on the eyes reading words on a monitor.

Scott Jones

The war's the context for the whole thing, but is especially addressed in the points on internationalism and why I must, as a Christian, oppose the administration.

Matthew Maddox

Wow. Pretty powerful stuff, especially coming from a professed former Republican. By US standards, I'm on the far left of the political spectrum, but I generally agree with your points about traditional Republican values, and how this administration has sounded the death knell for honoring those values with its neoconservative agenda.

While I voted against Bush the Elder and strongly opposed many of his administration's policies, it was difficult not to respect him. I often felt like his personal agenda was thwarted by the more right-wing elements of the party. Bush, Sr. was once a prominent member of the "liberal" Republican movement of the 70s.

I, too, will be voting for Kerry, although he wasn't my first choice. I was intrigued by Dean's raw populism, but it was Kucinich that was really speaking truth to power. Nonetheless, I think you accurately frame the choice as a "good vs. evil" issue, and I think many moderate Americans will see it in roughly the same terms.

So, three cheers for an early end to a very bad presidency.

Brittany Wooten

welcome to the world of blogs!! you've been sucked in and now you'll never go back! :)

David Chapman


Our mutual friend Bruce recommended your site. Well said...Well done. Thanks for sharing.

I recommend an article in Sunday April 4, 2004 Austin American Statesman on the polarization of America and the "ideological purification" of our two parties.

I think (hope?) that we are seeing the early stages of a breakdown in the two party system into a multi party system. As the two major parties polarize, more and more of us are going to find a need for a place that fits us better. It is hard to imagine that those of us who value fiscal conservatism, social justice, the rule of law, freedom of religion, tolerance for diversity, a sober reliance on hope and resist violence, will fail to find a common voice in the political world.

They say geese in formation honk encouragement to each other on the journey. So here's honking at ya. Thanks again for yours.


john glass


my prayers have been answered!!!


now, if i can only get to all of those other Republicans who still have their souls but are in severe danger of losing them...


p.s. in case you missed it growing up, read sinclair lewis' "It can't happen here" and get scared, get real scared if george et al win the re-election in '04

Joe Kendrick

I don't know where to begin...I see your points on a few of the topics. I agree that the war has been abused by the Bush administration. I am uneasy to agree with you on the fact that we as Christians shouldn't vote for Bush. Jesus did teach about peace, love, mercy, understanding; however, Jesus wasn't always a peaceful man. I am not going to be an OBU dick and use the scriptures to emphaize this. I don't want to start a fight; however telling someone not to vote for bush because they are a disciple of Christ is kind of like saying we're going to hell because we are not southern baptist or church of christ. Sometimes you have fight for what you believe in. Sometimes you have to say what the F***. Sometimes doing the right thing means not doing the right thing

Jacob Zimmer

It was the fall of 1992, a few months before the election and a band that was invited to perform in Raley Chapel told us who Christians should vote for. The audience cheered and applauded.

Jacob Zimmer

And yes Jesus was always a peaceful man. Turning over the moneychanger tables in the temple is a far cry from violence and war. Jesus said if you live by the sword you will die by the sword. Like Scott said, Jesus was a pacifist.

Joe Kendrick

I know Jesus was a peaceful man but he wasn't peaceful all the time. And I am not just talking about the money table turning nor am I comparing war to his outburst. I never said Jesus wasn't a pacifist, just not an extreme one. Meaning he let people have it when they were wrong. Not have like a spanking or beating but he didn't turn away when one his disciples made a mistake or leave someone who was in danger. What I am saying is not everything can be settled peacefully. Not talking about starting a fight everytime you turn around. Some things can be handled democratically and somethings not. I agree that this war was somewhat unjust. I believe Bush is using religion to his advantage. We all have our views and ideas.

Joe Kendrick

I know Jesus was a peaceful man but he wasn't peaceful all the time. And I am not just talking about the money table turning nor am I comparing war to his outburst. I never said Jesus wasn't a pacifist, just not an extreme one. Meaning he let people have it when they were wrong. Not have like a spanking or beating but he didn't turn away when one his disciples made a mistake or leave someone who was in danger. I guess my diffinition of what pacifist is different than others.

Scott Jones

Joe. Thanks for all the good comments. I'm enjoying this blog thing and the debates.

I'm not a pacifist. I just think that ultimately great evil has to be resisted by force (like the Nazis). And I do agree that Jesus was tough on people. Even some of the key current pacifists, like Yoder & Hauerwas, are pretty tough on people.

I know my original claim that a Christian can't support Bush was kind of extreme. It is genuinely what I think. Or at least the somewhat milder statement that I don't understand "how" a Christian can support Bush. But I did write it somewhat with hyperbole and to provoke thought and discussion. And Jacob's right about some of the context. I've gotten tired of the far right feeling like they can speak dogmatically about what Christians must do and not do in relation to politics. I think they need to see that there are Christians who feel just as strongly the other way.



I have noticed that the more intelligent the Republican, the more likely he/she will vote for Kerry.
Bush has tarnished America's image, and God only knows what else he has done....I am sure you are aware of most of them.

Dale Lature

Great post Scott. I posted on my blog about your post, after seeing it linked on Jesus Politics. From one former SBCer to another, well said. I am so disgusted with the present leadership of the SBC and its selling of its soul to nationalism. A lot like the Church of Germany that sided with Hitler. While the sins are less horrific (except for the Iraqis who suffer the wounds of an undeserved and deceitful and selfish war), the destruction is nevertheless ongoing and needs to be stopped by all the political means and soul-force that cxan be mustered by the Church in America (wherever it remains).


Dale Lature

Hey, Yoder and Hauerwas are also sitting on my desk, in process. I also am looking at several Bonhoeffer books (a must read in these times needing Church wisdom and resistance to evil.)


Scott Jones

So, what was really my first post back in April is finding new life. That's exciting. Thanks for the link.

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