I was an idealistic and rebellious twentysomething with a desire to save the world, and I quickly registered as a Democrat because that felt right. As I became educated about the realities of the world, though, I began to doubt the change that those politicians promised would happen with every election. Stories of lies and infidelity filled the news about men and women I once respected and supported. How could someone take an oath, make a promise and break it so easily?
After becoming a mom in 2006 — a single mom at that — I felt a growing disillusionment with my chosen party. With a son who was born nine weeks prematurely and needed medical care, I was faced with difficult decisions. The first was leaving a job that I loved, because I couldn’t afford the kind of child care necessary to sustain a career that required a commute. My infant son also needed me for monitoring and his required medication.
I researched government assistance for moms, single moms, mixed-heritage moms. I came up short at every turn, and finally had to turn to government assistance to make ends meet. My early months as a mother proved to be a frustrating and humiliating experience. I found myself disconnected from a party that claimed to have my best interests at heart, but at every turn, I found stumbling blocks when I searched for ways to get back on my feet. I didn’t qualify for some assistance because I was getting child support, or because the home I lived in was valued at $1 million, even though it wasn’t mine.
Eventually, I worked my way through various temp jobs before landing a position managing global accounts for an amazing company. As I began my journey to financial and social recovery, I began to search outside the political sphere where I felt I no longer belonged. Because no matter what I heard come out of party leaders’ mouths, I experienced the exact opposite.
The solution to my political conundrum was a puzzling and long road. I decided to take action and volunteer, attend events, get to know people and ask questions to see if the Republican party might be a fit. (I had shuddered at the thought for so long, and I found myself curious.) I landed a volunteer gig helping Scott Wilk, an up-and-coming Southern California candidate, manage social media for his campaign. While I had struggled to find my footing, I felt I had found a place where I was appreciated, where people had real answers to my questions and a real investment in my success.
What resonated with me was that this candidate wanted to right the wrongs made in Sacramento to improve job creation, re-evaluate taxation and build a healthy place for families to live and thrive. As it began to appear to me, the Democratic party in California was moving away from supporting the stabilization and growth of our economy, and was continuing down a road of heavy taxation and financial mismanagement.
It was also in those moments that I made new friends who shared my goals and aspirations — not only as a resident of California, but also as a mother and a burgeoning entrepreneur. Shortly after that, I began the road to co-founding my own social marketing agency with a focus on supporting small businesses and nonprofit organizations.
The perception is that we’re all gun-toting racists, and that simply isn’t the case.
In today’s political climate, being a Republican seems to be synonymous with right-wing conservatives who want to control everything, and that truly isn’t the case. One can be a Republican and not be a conservative, and, of course, one can be a liberal and still be a Republican. That seems to be a shocking revelation to my friends, who are still uncertain of how I became a registered Republican. The perception is that we’re all gun-toting racists, and that simply isn’t the case. I’m for conservative government spending, limiting taxation, creating jobs, as well as a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body.
Not only that, but I have experienced the dysfunction of our government firsthand in places like the health-care industry, where I have struggled for the better part of Covered California’s inception to straighten out my son’s health care, due to the nature of our split home and two different government agencies that have zero alignment on information, registration or ability to talk to each other in any way shape or form. Fed up with dealing with the process, we took our business elsewhere.
Being a mom has heavily skewed my thought process about politics, and being an entrepreneur adds an entirely new dimension. The Republican community I have become engrained within supports those who struggle with upward mobility, and those who, like myself, seek to realize their American Dream. Where I once saw the Democrats as the champions of the middle and working class, the Republican party has chosen to reinvent itself with the purpose of creating a prosperous place to build a business, raise a family and invest in our futures.
Today’s political climate is full of hot-button issues and finger-pointing. At this point, I’ve seen conversations on Facebook and in the news about the two candidates who have been chosen by each party. And, I truly have to say that I don’t support either.
I can’t for one moment pretend that because I am a registered Republican that I will vote along party lines.
People are always asking, “Do you support Trump?” Honestly, I can’t say that I do. I can’t for one moment pretend that because I am a registered Republican that I will vote along party lines. And, yet I still don't see Hillary Clinton as a solid representative of the values that represent me as a voter. As a Main Street Republican, I am at a loss with this year’s events. And it has been grueling to attempt to explain our chosen candidate to my son.
It honestly breaks my heart to hear him ask questions about Trump:
“Can he really deport people who weren’t born here?”
“Is there really going to be a wall between the U.S and Mexico, and how will my family [my fiancé’s family has a home there] who lives there get back?”
“Does Mr. Trump really hate Mexicans?”
I could go on and on, but these questions shouldn’t even be part of our dinner table conversation. America is the land of opportunity, home of the brave and those who need protecting, and yet we have two candidates who don’t represent what I feel are great about this country. I don’t know how I will vote come November. There is a lot of time left for alternative candidates to make waves, and I’m still optimistic.
Being a Republican mom today has its challenges, given the current nominee. I’ve volunteered and worked on a lot of campaigns in the last five years, and I have met a lot of amazing people who are working hard to reform taxes, provide relief to small businesses and put real jobs back on the table. It’s frustrating to be overshadowed by such negativity, however I have faith because there are Republicans like Carly Fiorina, who is pro-marriage equality, has an awesome sense of humor and represents the kind of leader I hope to see succeed.
At the end of the day, I have faith in the people who represent me, and I also believe that good will overcome.