Monday, April 22, 2013

Why I Would Volunteer For Ben McKenzie's Political Campaign...

...even though I am a Republican.  And he -- clearly -- is not.

Why am I discussing this?

Late last week, a conservative-type politician Tweeted some really lame-ass thing about gun control and the Boston tragedy.  Now, Mr. McKenzie did not comment on this lame-ass statement directly.  At least on Twitter.  What he did -- and the only thing he did -- was Retweet the guy's apology.  I suppose you could interpret Mr. McKenzie's response in more than one way.  But, I thought it got his feeings about the whole debacle across in a classy manner.  So, I sent out a couple of Tweets to Mr. McKenzie expressing my admiration for his handling of the situation and telling him that I would be happy to volunteer for his campaign if he ever decides to run for public office.

Yesterday, I noticed that somebody with a Blackberry had read several of my more political blog posts.  Nobody with a Blackberry had ever read my blog before.  Also -- who uses a Blackberry, anymore?  I researched that question and discovered that, generally, people heavily involved in politics and business still do.  So, I was wondering if some political-type had seen my Tweet and wondered why a Republican would want to work on the campaign of a Democrat.  Especially a Democrat who -- on the face of it -- seems pretty dang liberal.  Perhaps this politically curious person looked at my Twitter bio and discovered there the link to my blog and clicked on it.

So, this post is for you, Blackberry Person.

I am going to explain why this Republican would volunteer for Mr. McKenzie's campaign.

First of all, it is NOT:
     1. because of "The O.C.,"
     2. because of "SouthLAnd," or
     3. because he is a little bit nice-looking.

Rather, it is because of the following:

As a Catholic, maybe I have never been a tried-and-true Republican.  In fact, on many issues of social justice, I lean more towards the Democrats.  And I always have.  But, I also have to say that I am unhappy with what I am seeing in the Republican Party as of late.  For example, I find the whole Tea Party thing to be out-of-touch with reality.  Wake up, people.  Getting rid of the Department of Education or the Fed would have disastrous consequences.  It also seems to me that the Republican Party has gotten itself too enmeshed with religious groups.  I do believe that religious groups should have a voice in society -- a public voice.  But, the level of involvement of certain religious groups in politics is beginning to seem a bit inappropriate to me.  We do have a pluralistic society.  Frankly, I believe that we need to come up with a way of living with each other in our country that, as much as possible, respects the consciences of all peoples, the sincerely-held ideas of all people of good-will -- religious and secular, alike.  Maybe we will make some mistakes along the way.  But, perhaps it's worth a try.

And this is where Mr. McKenzie comes in.  From what I have heard him say and seen him do, his liberalism seems to come from a place of compassion, from a genuine concern for both the good of individuals and the Common Good.  Objectively, he is well-educated.  He holds a double major from UVa in foreign relations and economics (I believe).  He seems to think before he speaks.  He seems to think before he acts.  He seems to think, period.  Also, I was impressed by his behavior in the last election.  What he did and said publicly was positive and uplifting.  He even made me feel uplifted, even though I voted for a different person.  Why did he make me feel uplifted?  Because of his genuine belief that we can move forward in our country, making it a better place for all.  He and I may not agree on all the methods that should be used to make our country better, but at least he believes it can be better.  And, along with that, he appears to be a fair person who would be able to listen to and work with people of different ideas -- at least reasonable people of different ideas.  Yes, from a couple things that he has said, he is probably rather passionate in a political discussion.  But, he appears to be an honest guy, a "straight-shooter," so I can handle the passion.

So, even though we may not agree on everything (even some very important things), I believe Mr. McKenzie is a person of excellent character, possessing those vital qualities necessary to lead our country forward -- integrity, compassion, honesty, passion, goodwill, intelligence, and a good grasp of the realities of our day.  And this is why I would volunteer for his campaign -- because I believe that people with those qualities should have a chance to represent us in government, even if those people are not exactly like me.  That is the beauty of our political system.  That is the beauty of our country.