Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Highjacking The SideTrack (Republican Guest Blogger)

When Jason asked me to take the keys to The SideTrack for the week, I was surprised. Surprised not only that the boys were taking an intentional break from blogging - something they've never done in the time I have known them - but also surprised that it was me they handed the keys to. I'm sure a 12 pack had to have been involved.

First of all, I am not a political blogger. My blog is filled with stories about my dead end job, my grumpy yet lovable husband, and my ungrateful cat. Second, and possibly most shocking to regular readers here, I am a Republican. Worse, you may say, I voted for George Bush in 2000 because I believed him (I voted for him in 2004 because my party offered nothing better and Al Gore gave me the willies). I will vote for McCain in November, not because I like him more than Obama or Clinton (Ok, maybe more than Clinton), but because he has an R next to his name. Sad, but true. I am a loyalist, who acknowledges the religious right and delusions of American empire have highjacked the soul of my GOP. Politically, Jason and I have little more in common than a dislike of Chris Cannon's faux leadership. Personally, we have little more in common than a love of B grade horror movies and Paul Thomas Anderson movies. Yet somehow we have remained friends enough that when he asked, I agreed to take the helm here for a bit.

And let me tell you it reeks of dirty hippies and Che Guevara in here!

For my first post, I want to do something I have been begging the SideTrack boys to do for a long time; write about themselves. Who they are, their political efforts outside of blogging, their favorite colors, etc. Jason has no interest, as he sees blogging as a tool. A means to an end. I see it as a network for strangers to become friends without knowing each other's last names. I also know that writing this post will piss Jason off, and I owe him because he is going to vote for Obama in November.

So who are they?

Three very different people make up The SideTrack. Jason , Craig, and Jeff (not Bell) P.

Jason is the voice of the group (in fact it is said he has never met an opinion he hasn't wanted to shout across a crowded room), who is obsessed with right and wrong, and talks entirely too much about Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. He loaned me a copy of Crashing the Gates, by Armstrong and Moulitsas that still has me frightened he may be right about the Democrat majority in our future. He is an idea guy, with a lot to say.

Craig is the strategic planner of the group (it is also often said that Jason would finish not a damn thing if Craig didn't remind him often he had agreed to do it) and I am told saves himself from total geekdom only by being a DMB fan, and condemns himself to total geekdom with the skill of making anything happen with code. Apparently his "Cheesy Potatoes" recipe is legendary in many parts of the world.

Jeff, I am told, is the conscience of the blog. Jeff keeps Jason and Craig out of jail when they are angry, and sane when they are in over their heads (which Jason admits is often). Jeff has also been missing in Washington state since October.

What you read on this blog is often the core of their political involvement, but at other times merely the tip of the iceberg. Jason has an ability to get very important people with very important sounding titles to store his number in their phonebooks, and actually answer when he calls. I don't know how he does it, but I know he does it with sincerity and an honest desire to make a difference. He tells me that none of this would be possible if the three of them, all longtime friends, did not work so well in unison, supporting each other. And it seems they are constantly involved in this project or that, this volunteer "opportunity" or that. It's impossible not to be inspired by either admiration or guilt, watching them go.

Politically, this blog cannot be narrowed down into a niche based on the personal politics of it's writers. Jason is as liberal-commie as they come, yet agrees with me that Obama's "hope" and "change" rhetoric wears thin quickly. Craig is an economist turned software programmer who has actually read (without chemical aide) The Federalist Papers and has disliked Hillary from the start. Jeff is a humanist who believes, truly, that every man/woman is equal, yet enjoys offensive jokes when in safe company, has been wearing an Obama '08 pin since they got a chance to meet him in Las Vegas last year, and does one hell of a rendition of the Jefferson's theme "Movin' on Up!" All of them will vote for Hillary if she wins the nomination, but they would prefer to reward Obama with the presidency because of the attention he has paid to grassroots efforts (and somehow they are able to overlook his lack of experience? Sorry, I had to throw that in).

This is The SideTrack, in a nutshell. But I want to ad here that there is much more to The SideTrack than just the words you see on your screen, or in your preferred RSS reader. These guys understand that people can regain control of their nation, and they believe that complaining only goes so far. Eventually you have to put the keyboard down and put your time where your mouth is. I have seen them inspire entire rooms of people into political activism, and I have seen them make the veins bulge on a Congressman's forehead.

I tried to fight liking them, I really did. They are unashamed liberals, through an through. Bipartisan is a dirty word here, yet pluralism can be spotted hidden under the John Lennon posters and Take Back the Nation dvds. Simply put, I will never vote as they do, and I will never be able to discuss tax policy with them without voices being raised and coffee mugs thrown, but I recognize that Utahn's would benefit from more who believe as these fella's do; that one person can truly make a difference, and that it really is up to one person to accept the responsibility of making that very difference.

For me, posting here until they return will be an opportunity to dialog with a different crowd, and expose myself to the multitude of email received here every day that I would probably never be caught dead reading in my own inbox (who is this Howard Dean guy, and why is he emailing them so often?). For you, perhaps I will do no more than provide you with the insight above into who you have been reading from all of these years, and a few links to things I find interesting each day.

Either way, knowing how irritated the guys are going to be reading this post, it has already been a lot of fun.

Signing off for now to go take money from poor people and hand it to a wealthy corporation. (See, Republicans can laugh at themselves too...)



  1. Al Gore didn't run in 2004. John Kerry did. No wonder you voted for Bush again, you weren't paying attention. :p

  2. I stand corrected, JM.

    And I confess, I did stop paying attention during that one, but Kerry (not gore) really did give me the willies.

  3. Well, hell, he gave me the willies, too. John Kerry was the Democratic Party version of Bob Dole.

    Everyone, it seemed, just felt that it was his turn to run, regardless of the fact that he's kinda boring as hell.

  4. It was intriguing for me to watch the Democratic Party with John Kerry then and the Republican Party with John McCain now.

    Reasons to stand that when a party can't rally behind the candidate that gets sent up, the party has lost touch with what made it a party in the first place.

    But does it always have to go that far before a party redefines it's message?