On May 15, 2013 my world view changed dramatically. I welcomed a beautiful Wednesday morning with a new sense of energy. I felt lighter, like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. What had changed? What made such a huge difference in my life in a single day?
I became a normal, average, everyday citizen again. Just a few hours prior I performed one final official duty. I recognized the election of the first woman mayor of Omaha, Mayor Jean Stothert. Once that task was finished, I quietly went home to my wife and laid my head down on my pillow one last time as the Chairman of the Douglas County Democratic Party.
Last week I was on the Tom Becka Show which was being covered by my good friend Crash Davis. We were talking about many different topics and the phrase “Reformed Democrat” came up. I even joked that I was going to copyright that phrase. The reason it was mentioned was that many republicans in our community are surprised by my personal stances on various issues. In fact while having lunch with Bryan Baumgart, Republican Chair of Douglas County, he asked me why I wasn’t in fact a Republican.
I arrived to Nebraska in April 2007 and until the city elections of 2013, I have been strongly linked with the Democratic Party. In fact I came to Nebraska to become the first Executive Director of the Douglas County Democratic Party to prep for the upcoming 2008 Caucus and 2008 Elections.
So being so entangled with the party, I became stereotyped as a Liberal Democrat. We are all guilty of this stereotyping behavior when we identify a person with a political party. So because I was a “liberal democrat” I was cast as a pro-abortion, pro-tax, envirofundmentalist who was against anyone trying to run a business and was in essence a socialist.
You see, I believe in gun ownership rights, I am a fiscal conservative, ObamaCare was put together wrong, and those here illegally should not be just given citizenship on a silver platter. I want a strong defense, I want the government out of my wallet, bedroom and boardroom and I rather have my local government with more authority over my everyday life.
But on the other side of this coin called Kris J Pierce, I want background checks for gun ownership, the government shouldn’t have authority of one’s body (no matter what the gender), I support gay marriage (why shouldn’t they suffer with the rest of us), there must be a social safety net (within reason), and I want clean water to drink and air to breathe and the government has a role to play.
Here is the kicker…I have ALWAYS had these core beliefs even when I was Chairman of the Democratic Party. This is what angers me about our current political system. We have two major political parties and there is nothing that will change that in the near or long term. There seems to be no room for those of us, and there are MANY OF US, that have core values that fit in one party but not the other and vice versa. So for those of us that want to be part of the “political” world have two choices…either join up or shut up; and I don’t like either of those options. Many would register as an Independent if that was taken seriously as a true political party. Don’t point out State Senator Chambers because he is electable because he is Ernie Chambers and not because of this political affiliation.
In the discussion with Crash Davis, he asked me a very good question that I actually stammered on. He asked if there was any way that true real moderate politician could win elective office. In reality, I am not sure there is a way for a true moderate to win elective office. We find ourselves in a time where politicians have to run to the extremes of their parties to win the party’s nomination and then run even faster to the center to win the general election. We as voters really have no way to know where these politicians stand. Is it with the extremes of their parties or do they is it when they talk like centrists?
So how can a person who wants to be a public servant, but has true core values of both the major parties? Can the voters of Omaha, Douglas County or Nebraska cast a vote for a person that shares some of their own beliefs and also at the same time have those that in some way violate their own? Can a person running for office raise the money needed to run a campaign to win this office without being a person of means that can self-finance? All of these are questions that must be answered and I wait for the day that a True and Fulltime Moderate can answer these questions and be a true representative of all the people.