I missed posting this column last week for the first time since I started writing it last October. That's because the week saw some transition in my life that I never would have expected -- not in a million years from this time last year when I, a lifelong Democrat and dedicated Liberal Pinko Subversive Enviro Hippy Freak, actually took a job working for the -- the -- Republican Party of New Mexico. At the time, of course I needed to pay the rent, and I thought it was going to last maybe a couple of weeks or a month. They needed some emergency-type data entry to get them caught up with recording their donations, and I was available. We all compromise our principles now and then, usually for reasons of survival. Thankfully, they didn't ask my party affiliation during the interview.
One project led to another and I kept showing up for work since nothing else popped up. The people were and are very cool. The pay was great for the work I was doing. And since I was doing a good job they didn't want to let me go. I keyed in dollars and answered the phone there through a brutal special election to fill the seat vacated when our congressman died, through the primary election, through the general election last November, and through all the impeachment nastiness that most of us have now forgotten. Early on I kept quiet, kept a poker face. I didn't wholeheartedly support, in my own mind, what was going on, but I was beginning to see things in a different light. I was not the diehard Democrat that I had been in my younger years anyway -- my sociopolitical view was beginning to have some tolerance for what was on the right side of its vision. Then, I saw from an elephant perspective the behavior and campaign tactics of the New Mexico demos during the special election. The Nixon debacle primarily was what made me a Democrat. And now I see that the Democrats have become what I saw the Republicans to be during the early 70's, thanks mostly to Slick Willy I believe.
I'm not a Democrat anymore. Yes, I reregistered as a Republican after the special election last year. My views have changed, though I still reject the label of conservative. I reject the label of liberal too. I am neither because I am both. My opinion depends on the issue at hand. Formerly, my knee would jerk and my heart would bleed with the leftest of liberals while my long flowing hair would blow in the breeze, but now I am more realistic about things political and social as I get my hair cut every 6-8 weeks. We all grow up eventually.
A couple of weeks ago, the Deputy Director of the state party quit to go to work for a presidential campaign. His title was Deputy Director but really he was head computer geek, in charge of crunching numbers for voter analysis and doing pulls on our donor database for further fundraising. I was the only other geek on staff, so I inherited his job.
Initially, I experienced some odd physical symptoms: queasiness in my stomach, anxiety that seemed to have no basis even though I had acquired more responsibility. I knew that it was likely because of some residual internal conflict over my position.
In the past, I haven't been one to remember my dreams too often, so I haven't been one to interpret them much, though I've also been a bit of a New Age spirit guy since moving to New Mexico 15 years ago. But last Thursday morning I recalled a dream from the night before that I had had a sex change operation. Naturally I found this disconcerting. I do believe in the symbolism of dreams, and I surprised myself further by actually sharing this dream with my wife on the way to work the next morning. In our discussion, I snapped that this dream is very symbolic of the monumental change in my perspective, politically and socially. I've been through many changes in my life, none as big as the dream indicated, but none as big as the one I've actually experienced over the last year.
It's still a job and not a cause for me personally. I don't think I could ever be a gung-ho Republican (nor Democrat); I think for myself too much and don't look to party platforms for my beliefs. But I can be a gung-ho computer geek and eagerly embrace the challenge of learning to derive meaningful information from databases, and learning to maintain an office computer network. And, I get to maintain the party's web page. This could actually be the first job I've ever had that I really want to go to.
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