Pearls & Vodka

Mandy from the Middle

Charles Wheelan wrote in his book, THE CENTRIST MANIFESTO, “We need an insurgency of the rational: a generation of Americans who are fed up with the current political system, who believe we can do better, and most important, who are ready to do something about it. Are you one of those people?”

I’ve been asking myself since November of last year if I am one of those people.

I wrote an article for my blog on November 9th, 2016 about casting my vote for Donald J. Trump for President of the United States of America. I received the expected backlash, and occasional praise for my voting decision and my decision to publish my vote. I started that blog post by talking about how much I love this country. Nothing about that has changed. I still stand behind the vote I cast on that day. Do I wish things had gone differently? Yes. Do I wish there would have been another candidate? Yes.  Do I wholeheartedly stand behind everything President Trump has done? No. Do I still respect “the office?” Yes, that is how I was raised. Am I still proud of my friends who are working the Administration? Yes, I know their hearts and I believe in them.

But do I find myself looking for something outside of the Party I have grown up supporting my entire life? Yes. Am I becoming a Democrat? Absolutely not.

This blog post has actually been several months in the making. In fact, I’ve chosen to remain silent on my blog for a few months now. But in the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” I’m not in any way implying that what will come out of this blog today will be my proclamation of “the right thing.” I am simply choosing to take the time to put out there what is right for me, today, and a little bit of the reason behind why. I reserve the right to come back later and say that my ideology has continued to grow and evolve, and that the more I learn the more I change. I hope that I am able to come back and say that actually.

So what does all of this mean? Glad you asked.

For me, this means after 34 years of calling myself a Republican, I’m not sure I can anymore. I cannot in any way call myself a Democrat either however, so please, my friends on the Left, hold your applause. You might be from the Left, or the Right, but today, “I’m Mandy from the Middle” it’s a pleasure to meet you and I hope you’ll hear me out and attempt to see my heart.

Recently I read Charles Wheelan’s book, THE CENTRIST MANIFESTO (quoted at the beginning), and it completely changed my point of view. Not in a “drinking the Kool-Aid” way, but in a “there has to be a better way,” way. From reading Mr. Wheelan’s book I was introduced to his organization, “The Centrist Project.” I’ve not become a “founding member,” yet, but I am doing a lot of research into their work and their philosophy and from what I’ve seen so far, I like it. While I’m at it, let me give them a plug, check them out at www.centristproject.org/. It might not be for you, but then again, it might. If nothing else, I hope it spurs you to think more about what you believe, why, and what you are doing about it. It certainly has for me.

On their website you will see their tenant, “A centrist is someone who seeks the best ideas to solve problems, regardless of where they come from on the political spectrum.” I can unequivocally say, today, that is where I am in my life.

I am no longer interested in promoting a “party” platform.  I’m more interested in promoting my country.  I believe wholeheartedly if we do not start focusing on our long-term interests we will be leaving a heap of a disaster for our children. I believe in seeking out the truth, not the campaign rhetoric, in making mindful decisions about the questions we face.  I believe we MUST, and I declare MUST, find a common ground where we can still fight for our beliefs while understanding those who see things differently.  These statements that are true to my life fall right in line with the principles of “The Centrist Project.”

They are not focused on forming another “party” and I love that. The last thing we need in this country is another party. If you disagree, please remember, partisan politics elected Donald Trump. And some of you are still OK with that, and that’s fine. But I think there’s a lot of you out there that are not OK with that, and that is fine also.  The only thing that is not fine, is doing nothing.

For me, I’m more concerned today with finding solutions that involve everyone. Solutions that better everyone. And solutions that protect everyone. I believe finding those solutions requires folks from all walks of life, all nationalities, all religions, all sexual orientations, all socioeconomic classes and all parts of the country. If we continue down the path of Left and Right, we will just continue to perpetuate the same chaos we see today.

So why am I writing this today? Glad you asked.

I cannot, in good conscience, sit by idly and not say a word about the Republican Bill on Healthcare.

I believe there are issues with the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare.  But this Bill that has been introduced is not the solution. This Bill is however, a perfect example of why I can no longer get behind the “Two-Party System” that has divided our Nation.

The Better Care Reconciliation Act, AKA BCRA, does not do what the Republicans are trying to shove through the vote. The BCRA touts that it will “stabilize the collapsing insurance markets that have left millions of Americans with few options.” While I agree the ACA has damaged our insurance market, I do not believe the BCRA will stabilize anything.  By repealing essential health benefits like mental health care all we are doing is crippling an already wounded nation.  The BCRA will leave the children on Medicaid waivers defined as a “non-mandatory population,” how can this even be? There are thousands and thousands of children who rely daily on those services. The plan shows a cut of over 800 BILLION federal dollars in Medicaid care that they expect states to just come up with. Seriously?

I just can’t do it anymore. I just can’t stand by without exercising my freedom of speech to beg, to IMPLORE, my Representatives and Senators to vote NO on BCRA. Instead, vote YES on America. Vote YES on our children. Vote YES on those who cannot help themselves.

Earlier I shared that I have been pondering since November if I am one of those people who is fed up and ready to exercise my common sense, my rational side, and work to do better. The answer is YES. Sure, I still lean RIGHT, but more than anything I want to lean in the direction that will create a better place for my little boy to grow up and that means working together, LEFT, RIGHT, MIDDLE, even the “OUT THERE” to do what is right. I am fed up with the current political system, I know we can do better.

Congressman Rouzer and Senator Tillis, you will be hearing from me.

Sincerely,

Mandy from the Middle

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