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Letters from the Politically Homeless
Never Voted Blue Before, But Voting For Biden - Politically Homeless
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Never Voted Blue Before, But Voting For Biden - Politically Homeless

Real people. Real letters. Real problems. No solutions.
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Politics these days have become so divided and divisive that it’s become the norm to view the other side of the aisle as “the enemy”. People are being told to “pick a side” and that there’s no room for middle ground. We here at Phetasy believe that there are a lot more people in the middle than politicians and the media would have us believe.

We’re collecting stories from the ever growing number of people who are finding themselves Politically Homeless and posting them here on Substack. If you have moved from conservative to liberal, or liberal to conservative, if you feel you’ve stayed in the same place and your party has swerved drastically away from you, if you had a moment that awakened you to the insanity and hypocrisy on both sides, if you keep your mouth shut anytime a political topic comes up because you’re afraid your opinion will cause you to lose friends or your job, you’re not as alone as you might think.

Our goal is to shine a light on people’s earnest, individual experiences and show them they’re not alone.

Some letters have been edited for clarity and brevity. If you’re politically homeless and would like to share your story, please email us at iampoliticallyhomeless@gmail.com. All submissions will remain anonymous.

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Letter 96:

May 31, 2024

Hey Bridget,

Longtime fan, first time writer.

I first remember feeling disenfranchised by the results of the 2012 election. That year, and in the 4 years previous, I had been a rather radical right winger. When I realized Obama was here to stay, I slowly started to separate my political identity from my sense of self. I’m really glad I did… I was wasting so much time and energy debating politics online, and all I got from it was depression and anger. I realized it’s so unhealthy to identify strongly with any ideology.

But in 2016, I found myself in a friend group who couldn’t stop virtue signaling. It was unbearable, all the times we were together would be spent talking about politics they all agreed on. At the time, I knew I wouldn’t be voting for Trump as I found him repellent and unprincipled, but I still felt isolated by the constant left-wing virtue signaling. I asked them to stop, but they seemingly couldn’t. Finally one night it came to religion, and despite being former Christians, and them knowing I still was a Christian, they couldn’t leave that alone either. I walked out, and after that board game night was over I never hung out with them again, save once with one person to explain why I felt so hurt.

I’d lost a large part of my social circle to political differences. In this moment, Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind offered me a lot of comfort, helping me to see how political conversations are tinged with morality. How allegiance to a political party is more like rooting for a sports team than being dedicated to principles. It’s all tribal, always has been. But being without a tribe, I felt very lonely and isolated. I tried going to a few political meetups about bridging the partisan divide, and I met a few people who expanded my political circle.

Initially, Trump’s presidency struck me as mere chaotic incompetence. I was glad that the country seemed to still basically function without anyone strong at the helm. But when Covid hit, the lack of leadership was felt dramatically. I felt we needed someone good with science, risk-assessment, and communication at the helm. Trump was anything but that, and sure enough soon the whole issue became just as polarized as anything. While I believe Fauci was doing his best, his missteps in communication destroyed trust in institutions the moment America needed them most (specifically, recommending no masks as a noble lie so that healthcare workers could get them).

Compared to my governor, Jared Polis of Colorado, the difference was night and day. Polis was sensible, didn’t overreach, communicated well, and set sensible policies that let people adjust their own risk tolerance levels. And later in 2020, when the BLM protests escalated into riots, again Trump’s lack of leadership and authoritarian bent just made everything worse. I realized that America did need a competent leader, not just a figurehead, because times of crises demand it.

I also learned a lot from Michael Lewis’s book The Fifth Risk. In it, he describes the smaller government agencies that do work the free market can’t accomplish, particularly agencies that aid small towns and farmers like FEMA. Trumps presidency had gutted those organizations - as a libertarian, this book did the most to persuade me that there were some things only government could truly do. I highly recommend it to all small-government types.

I was determined throughout the pandemic to remain sensible about evaluating risk. I read about micromorts in FT. I tried to figure out my risk profile for the vaccine, and decided it was certainly the right call for someone as overweight as I was. But I listened to the careful moderates throughout… trying to avoid being a Covidian or a Covidiot. Covid was real, and it was worse than the flu. However, it wasn’t going to end all life as we knew it.

Meanwhile, one of my closest friends began to go down the Q-Anon pathway. It was heartbreaking to see. Simple stories always had secretive, deep-state causes. Six-second video clips were enough evidence of wild and crazy stories. Major, provable news stories were completely fake. He refused to pull up out of the nosedive, and I lost that friendship. First, I lost the closeness of the relationship, then later he cut me out of his life for refusing to listen to or tolerate his bullshit.

So, I’ve lost very close friends and community to both the left and the right. Political polarization and tribalism is one of my number one issues. I care deeply about mending the wound that recent presidents have left on our country. People need to disconnect their identities from politics, it is an unhealthy way to live.

But I’m frankly appalled at the right wing this election cycle. I fully understand how they got to where they are… I was there in 2012, believing conspiracies and making exceptions for my side. But I believe Trump is a truly uniquely bad candidate, a threat to America. In 2016, I asked how can any Christian support a compulsive liar with no principles? How can they tolerate his meanness, even celebrating it? In 2020, it got so much worse. His compulsive lying, chaotic, unprincipled positions, and complete lack of empathy made so many issues so much worse.

But in 2021, we saw Trump literally try to steal the election. According to his own words, he “didn’t want anyone to know he had lost, its embarrassing…” he was so obsessed with his self image, he took any false avenue to try to overturn the results. I have no objection to him using the courts system, but he went far beyond legal means to illegal schemes. He hired fake slates of electors, brought in cronies of his own to cast ballots and create confusion. He threatened, cajoled, and pleaded with Georgia election officials to simply “find” the votes needed for him to win. He even tried to replace the attorney general so that he could say he was pursuing cases for which there was no evidence. And when none of that worked, he pressed Pence to act outside of the law to stop the peaceful transfer of power. When Pence refused, he attempted to march down to the capital to stop the proceedings himself, grappling with the secret service detail when they wouldn’t let him go. Knowing full well his people were armed and angry, he told them to fight like hell “or they wouldn’t have a country anymore,” then sat and watched on Fox News while the protestors broke into the capital, fought with officers, barged into congressional offices, and chanted “hang Mike Pence.” When asked to tweet telling the protesters to go home, he said he thought they weren’t doing anything wrong, and that Mike Pence deserved it. This is all well documented in the January 6th report, plain as day.

No one who has one drop of patriotism in their body should ever want to let this maniac near power again. But for a few principled elected officials, we might have seen one of these plans work, plunging the country into a constitutional crisis. And yet, when it came time to impeach, a few republicans felt so afraid of violence from trumps constituents that they chose not to impeach, and the vote fell short of the required 2/3 majority. The republicans failed to do the right thing, because they were afraid for their lives. How frightening to live in a country where mobs literally rule.

For all the talk of tyranny on the right when they talk about vaccines or taxes, I sure wish they could care about basic principles like the right to vote, to a free and fair election, and the peaceful transfer of power. I cannot believe that people want more Trump, after Jan 6. The extent to which tribal loyalty will make someone abandon their principles extends far past what I thought possible.

So, even though I’ve never voted blue before in my life, even voting for write in candidates last time… I fundamentally believe that it’s my duty as an American to vote against Trump, so I will be voting for Biden. Shame on the republicans who claim to care about freedom, tyranny and the rule of law. Shame on the cowards like Nikki Haley who endorse him after all anyway. Shame on every republican congressman who didn’t vote to impeach in 2020, when we could have been done with this clown show once and for all. But, alas, the dumpster fire burns on…

Sincerely,

Politically Homeless

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Some letters have been edited for clarity and brevity. If you'd like to share your story, email us at iampoliticallyhomeless@gmail.com. All submissions will remain anonymous.

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Beyond Parody with Bridget Phetasy
Letters from the Politically Homeless
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