Why I became a Republican
I am sometimes asked by liberal voters in my district why I became a Republican. My sense is that they are not only curious about me, but also trying to reassure themselves that it’s OK for them to make the switch in November 2010. Republicans are demonized thoroughly in our media and popular culture. As Josef Stalin observed, the purpose of propaganda is not to convince you it is true, but that all other alternatives are ridiculous.
So here it is. I became a Republican because I saw first-hand that the big government policies I had believed in as a student simply did not work. I saw that in many cases, they made the lives of the poor worse. And I also saw that poor communities began to thrive when people were given freedom, security, and opportunity. Coupled with the far-left’s hostility to America and Israel after 9/11, those experiences changed my views.
I write about my political conversion more extensively in a forthcoming anthology of young conservative writers that has been compiled by Jonah Goldberg. (My chapter is entitled: “A ‘Frank’ Exchange: The Tale of My Political Conversion.”) My path is not so different from that of other leftists who changed their minds. We are not alone: millions of Americans are having second thoughts, and the results will be clear in November.
I occasionally meet “establishment” Republicans who wonder why I did not run in a more traditionally Republican district. There are two simple reasons: 1. I love my community, and want to represent it and see it succeed; 2. I believe that the values of freedom, security, and opportunity are important for everyone–especially for those communities that have been trapped in one-party misrule for several generations.
I’m not asking people to convert. I am helping to build new Republican strength in our district, and I hope more and more people get involved. Yet I also realize that political identity is as important to many people as religious identity–maybe even more so. I’m offering those folks a way out of the failed policies of Nancy Pelosi and the radicalism of Jan Schakowsky. I’m reminding them of what they already know–the power of choice.