Dear Republicans: Open. Your. Eyes.

I used to be a Republican.

I wasn’t just any other Republican.

I was a Rush Limbaugh worshipping, gun toting, liberal hating, ultra evangelical, deep dyed in the wool red blooded conservative Republican.

There was no one more conservative than me. And I was proud of it.

If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would eventually become a far left progressive democrat one day, I would have not only laughed, but probably punched you in the face. Yet, here I am.

What changed? What changed was the fact that slowly, over time, I realized how unreasonable, irrational and narrow minded my fellow Republicans were. It started with the backing of idiots like Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Todd Akin and Richard Murdouck. And how Republicans would go down with those ships in the name of ideological purity, throwing the elections away. It caused me to take a step back and examine why my fellow Republicans were clinging so tightly to conservative purity. That caused me to further examine my issues and become a bit more grounded.

Then the refusal to back common sense gun control after 6 year olds were mowed down like grass in a classroom at Sandy Hook. We had the chance to lead and show not just the rest of the country, but the whole word that we are ready to do what is necessary to prevent gun violence. Instead, we stuck our fingers in our ears and refused to budge, basically pissing on the graves of the dead kids.

2014 was close to my last straw. We had droves and droves of migrants coming to the border in a border crisis. We had plenty of Republicans willing to show they had a heart and pass the DREAM Act as well as common sense immigration reform. Yet, the hardliners shut that down. Once again, showing that Republicans were careless, heartless monsters who refuse to help others in need. Very “Christian” of them.

The 2016 election was my last effort to find any common ground with the Republican Party and Conservatism. I backed John Kasich as he seemed to be the only reasonable candidate in the field with a chance to win. But once it was clear that Republicans were jumping onto the orange faced buffoon named Donald Trump, I was done. I refused to remain in a party that supported such an idiot. I refused to remain in a party that further embraced racism, bigotry, hate, and idiocy. I refused to adhere to a political ideology that seemed to require no critical thinking, empathy or compassion. Not only did I leave the Republican Party, but I did my research and became a progressive democrat. I consider myself to be a critical thinker with a heart, and there was no better place for me to go.

What happened? I opened my eyes. I was willing to unchain myself from the shackles of ideological conservative purity. Once unchained, it was like I saw everything in a different light, from a different angle, in a different scope. My adherence to conservative purity and ideology was like a road block, and once removed I was able to have a sense of direction. It all finally made sense. I wish I had become a progressive democrat sooner. I threw out all my Republican gear, I married my wife, I hyphenated my last name, and begin to work hard for Hillary Clinton and Pramila Jayapal. I became a volunteer for Kshama Sawant. I became very involved in local Seattle progressive politics, joining arms with people I once despised due to political differences.

This is my message to all you Conservative Republicans and Trump supporters out there – don’t be afraid. Open your eyes and take a step back. You owe it to yourself to critically examine your beliefs and why you hold those beliefs. Think critically. There is a good chance you will come to the conclusion that conservatism isn’t all it’s hyped up to be.

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