I very rarely venture into politics on this blog. This, in fact, might be the first time.
My father, Keith Nelstead, was a Republican, a one-term member of the Montana House of Representatives (1971), and twice an unsuccessful candidate for Yellowstone County assessor. A great childhood memory of mine is sitting with my dad at his desk in the legislative chamber in Helena while votes were going on, waiting to see if the other legislators would vote the same way my dad did. Another memory is watching the 1968 Republican National Convention on our little black and white television, looking for the sign for the Montana delegation, and maybe even seeing Dad on the convention floor.
My grandfather was a Republican. He served a long time in the Montana legislature, representing Ekalaka and Miles City on and off for much of the 1920s through the 1950s. I suppose my great-great grandparents would have been Republicans too, if only they had had such a thing in mid-nineteenth century Norway.
Once, when my dad was running for office, the unions were about to make their candidate endorsements—a rather predictable outcome in most cases—and my dad actually went to be interviewed by the union officials. They asked him, “Keith, why are you a Republican?” He answered, “I was born a Republican!” Dad didn’t get the union’s endorsement, but neither did his Democrat opponent! (I wasn’t very old; I hope I got the story correct).
So, I guess I was born a Republican too. I often have described myself as an independent, but the truth is I almost always have voted for Republicans. I believe in conservative political values, such as not spending more than one takes in (I wish more Republicans would stick to that). I don’t think the Department of Education has done much positive for K-12 education. I think everyone should have good health insurance, but I think national health insurance would be a step backwards for most of us. I am strongly pro-life, and cannot vote for a candidate (Barack Obama) who has as strong of a pro-abortion voting record as anyone in the Senate.
I don’t agree with everything done by Republicans: I was opposed to the Iraq war (I didn’t see a way out), and I think government regulations have an important role, whether on Wall Street or in taking care of the environment.
I think my political viewpoints are in step with a majority of Americans. Think about it, only two Democrats have won a presidential election in the past forty years! Jimmy Carter only won because of a backlash against the Republicans in the wake of Watergate, and Bill Clinton won on an economic platform that wasn’t all that different than that of his predecessors, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan (I know that statement will make many cringe from both parties, but I think it is largely true).
I’m voting for John McCain for President. He was my favorite back in the primaries, and I believe he is the better choice for a number of reasons, in terms of both foreign and domestic affairs.
I don’t write this as a wealthy country club Republican; I have spent the past six years serving as a missionary and teacher overseas, and am presently looking for employment in a difficult economy.
I believe John McCain is also a good choice for president in terms of the environment. Read more about it in my next post: Green elephants.
Grace and Peace