Which Way Do I Lean?

And Other Frequently Asked Questions


Which way do you Lean?

For starters, this question implies that I lean, and I patently disagree with any statement that suggests my core foundational beliefs are so unstable that they require me to lean.  It also suggests that we have an established list of fundamental beliefs that we attribute to each party.  Forgive me for pointing out what seems to only be obvious to me, but these political parties don’t look anything like they did twenty years ago.  Anyone who says they have “always been Republican” or “always been Democrat” are undoubtedly the ones “leaning” because I currently do not know how to define a member of either party.

Another reason I essentially refuse to answer this question is because it immediately ends productive debate about any topic.  If I say I lean right on a topic, the person talking to me immediately has an idea of what I believe, and I think I’m far too open-minded for that assessment.  If I were to say I lean right on the economy, for instance, a person from the left might immediately see me as a person who believes in eliminating corporate taxes while a person from the right might immediately see me as someone who will share a meme about the atrocities of socialism.  The economy is FAR too complex for me to be either person.  And if you find me sharing a political meme, it will be one that essentially says “Stop with the fearmongering and propagandizing and the politicalization of everything and let’s find a way to compromise and do everything politically with honesty and transparency.”  

There isn’t a single political topic that is so simplistic that I “lean” at all.  And if you want to say I do, I “lean” towards sitting at a table among adults with no preconceived ideas about how we might solve a problem, and I’ll sit there and have an adult conversation about the pros and cons of any and every topic, and I’ll respect every opinion at the table, and I hope like hell I learn something while I sit there.  Nothing in that scenario requires that I “lean.”  It requires that I conduct the business of government as a person who might represent a region of people, not a political party’s constantly redefining platform of ideas and beliefs.  I lean towards doing what is right by the people of whatever region I might represent, and I lean towards doing what is right by the Constitution of North Carolina and the United States.

If you aren’t a member of a party, how do I know what your values are?

This question was recently asked as a continuation of the first question about which way I lean, and I answered them together.  I stated that I would forever refuse to pin values to any one political party as if one party has them and one party doesn’t, because I refuse to stereotype entire populations of people, and I believe doing so puts barriers up that hinder unity among Americans and does nothing but further the worsening division we have seen in this country.  If a person is so closed-minded about the values of an entire political party and ALL of its members, it is worthless to have a meaningful political discussion with that person.  And yet the percentage of Americans who are that closed-minded is worsening every single day.  

But the person that asked me this question asked me about my values, so I answered.  I said I believe in educating our children in the best way possible with the best teachers imaginable, I believe in common decency among Americans, I believe I am no better or worse than any other person on this Earth, I believe God made ALL of us, not just those who chose to believe He exists, I believe in humility and respect and bold, daring honesty and grown ups capable of realizing that we are all VERY different, and because of that we have to be very deliberate and brave in our ability to compromise so that we can all exist together as peacefully as possible.  I will fail at these values from time to time, but if you have an ideal about the person you want to be, you will constantly fail because perfection is impossible.  But I get to create my own ideals, and I get to do so without the labels that saddle political parties.  It’s very freeing to know that.

Why are you running unaffiliated when you have little chance to win?

Because somebody had to.  Our politicians are accomplishing nothing.  They exist to be unbending in their beliefs and to blame the other party for everything wrong.  They make up lies and carefully select data to tell a story that is not even close to halfway true.  They do not represent the entire region in which they represent, they openly reject constituents from the opposing party.  They are terrible stewards of OUR money.  They let campaign contributions decide how they will vote.  They let the leaders of their parties influence and bully them to do things with which they do not agree.  They no longer perform a job of service; they only care about the power of their party.  And that is NOT their job.  

In addition, we have an honesty problem in this country.  We have a propaganda problem.  We have an indecency problem.  A hate problem.  A closed-minded, intolerant problem.  A hypocrisy problem.  A fearmongering problem.  An “I believe everything I see on social media” problem.  A politician worship problem.  An “I believe everything my favorite politician says” problem.

Somebody had to get loud about all the things our political parties are NOT doing – as well as all the terrible things they ARE doing – and somebody needs to represent all the people who see how wrong that is but have no voice with which to challenge it.

Describe what a politician should be.

Full disclosure, nobody asked me this question.  I just wrote it one day and loved every word.

Politics is not a career, it's a service. It is not meant to be what allows you to retire comfortably on an island. It is not meant to be a position of celebrity. It is not meant to create polarization but to create a better society. Some ugliness in politics in inevitable, but being political is a choice. A good politician should serve with honor, integrity, humility, and good intentions for all people, he or she should lead in a way that trains an even better replacement, and when power begins to change the reason they originally ran for office, they should leave. Their service will be appreciated, but it is then someone else's turn. Because it will always be about service and to create a better, stronger, more equitable county, state, or country for all the people they serve. We must get back to that. I understand the purpose that political parties serve, but they are currently leaving that purpose unfulfilled. Elected office is a service to a region, not a service to a party.