Party change sparks party change

Published 1:35 am Friday, June 17, 2011

To the Editor:

I did something today I would never have imagined doing. I changed my party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. This has no major effect on anyone, but it makes me feel better and will raise me up in the eyes of my son who has been a registered Democrat all of his three years of being eligible to vote.

When I became eligible to vote 40 years ago, the Republican Party generally stood for what I believed in. I try to practice fiscal responsibility personally and I expect my elected officials to do likewise in government. There are some areas in which you just must spend money, without cutting too many corners, whether you like it or not, because it is the responsible thing to do. When you are elected to public office you are there to serve, and mean-spiritedness has no place.

Locally, I have been appalled at the conduct and attitude of some of the Republican members of our county commission. Because Democrats usually prevailed, I did nothing but shake my head in disbelief at the Republicans and voted for the Democrats.

Recently I reached the breaking point. It was the Republicans in the state Legislature that put me over the edge. Thankfully, I can say I did not put a one of them in office (nor any of the Republicans on the county commission) – and I’ll help to oust them in 2012.

Governor Perdue just vetoed the budget, knowing the veto would probably be overridden, but she felt she had to stand up for what she believed was right and the responsible thing for North Carolina. Cutting funding to historic sites is tragic, but a strong education system is the future of our state. When the graduation rate is rising, it doesn’t make sense to cut More at Four and Smart Start. These programs help ensure that some children will get a strong foundation preventing future dropouts. Cutting out the Teaching Fellows program which helps young North Carolinians go to college in return for teaching in our state is beyond my comprehension. Funding for Governor’s School is being eliminated; the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching is being dismantled. Our university system is taking a major hit along with the public schools. As an educator, I am aghast. Had the one cent sales tax been extended, much of this would be unnecessary. When the NCAE opposed education cuts, legislators said that public school teachers can no longer have their dues to this organization paid by payroll deduction. This action is purely mean-spirited and vindictive.

I can no longer support people who want to isolate and deny civil rights to people because they speak a different language or live a lifestyle that someone else deems inappropriate. I hope my education, age, life experience, and faith have given me more wisdom and compassion than that.

So, today I became a Democrat. Of no significance to anyone, but I feel better.