Elaine Miller: Why I Became a Republican

Sunday, 26 Aug 2012 03:37 PM

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I was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and grew up in an area known as Boro Park.

Brooklyn, as everyone knows is defined by its neighborhoods. Bensonhurst, Canarsie. Red Hook. We lived in Boro Park. In fact, we lived at the epicenter of Boro Park, at the intersection of 49th Street and 15th Avenue.

Our modern, post-war apartment house took up the entire front of the street from 49th to 50th Street. The apartment in which we resided overlooked Temple Beth-El, once designated as the most beautiful synagogue in Brooklyn. Cantor Moshe Koussevitsky, one of the most renowned cantors of the last century, chanted there.

And we were Democrats.

At least all the adults were.

If there were Republicans in Brooklyn, I never met them. In later years, after I switched party registration I was wont to say "You could more easily run into someone from Tibet than a Republican."

The Democratic party was the party of Roosevelt who had rescued America from the Great Depression, saved the Jews from extermination and ended World War II. Hadn't he?

The Democratic Party had youthful, auburn-haired JFK, devoted to his wife and children. Wasn't he? He spoke of doing things "for the country." Very patriotic.

And so the years went by. I always voted Democrat. It was a given.

I moved to Palm Beach County, Fla., and voted Democrat. I never really thought of the fact that the Democratic candidates I voted for came from a party that advocated segregation less than a decade before I relocated here. Separate but equal. I knew it was wrong, recoiled at what I heard had happened in southeast Florida, the KKK, separate entrances, separate schools, separate dressing rooms in retail stores, but it was history. Wasn't it?

I went to the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners.

Then about six or seven years ago, I was sitting through another reception and listening to person after person crowding the dais, asking for this, asking for that, verbally assaulting Republicans, including the sitting President and I thought "What am I doing here? I don't belong here."

And that was that.

I went online and registered as a Republican.

Since then I have met more empowered women and minorities in the GOP than I ever met in the Democratic Party. I don't hear Democrat bashing. In fact, I hear a desire to engage Democrats in debate.

What I hear from the Democrats is more name calling, marginalization, demonization, class division, a mocking of American values, an apology for our values, achievements.

I think if I were to venture to return to Boro Park, I would now find many familiar individuals.

Tibetans, all.

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