Switching sides: why I am now a Democrat

Submitted by Linda Porterfield

Originally from Stratford, Connecticut, life-long Republicans Eileen and George Kachmar are retired teachers and have called Florida home for the past thirty years.

Recently, on July 10th at 11:00 am while driving north on Route 41 in Port Charlotte, they noticed Charlotte County Democrat volunteers holding Biden signs near the road in front of the Democratic headquarters.  On impulse they made a U-turn, drove into the parking lot and entered the building.  At 11:30 am, with an armload of Biden yard signs and bumper stickers, they left the building … as newly minted registered Democrats committing to support Joe Biden.

What could abruptly destroy their combined 80 years of consistent Republican loyalty and break an entrenched family tradition of Republican support surviving for generations?

Eileen’s answer is Donald J. Trump.

“We are now both recovering Republicans,” explained Eileen, admitting that she also sometimes thinks with an “independent” slant. Although she did not vote for Trump in 2016, both she and George (who did vote for Trump) remained with the republican party after that election.  Throughout the past 3 and ½ years, however, Eileen has realized “this is not the Republican Party I have experienced with my family and from previous years of support.” Something deeply important changed for them:  the complete absence of integrity and character from the man now leading the party.

Trump’s repeated lies, ties to corruption, attacks on women, minorities, legal immigrants and challenges to traditional domestic policies that make America what it is today inspired the Kachmars’ switch to the Democratic Party. Eileen recalled a particularly stunning incident, one that she will never forget, during a nationally televised Trump speech. With his own voice and spastic body movements, Trump physically and verbally mocked a courageous, questioning journalist appearing to be suffering from a neurological disorder and unable to control movement of his arms. For Eileen, that one horrible moment helped to seal the deal.

She remains puzzled about the unbending Republican support from friends and family. She questions “how can anyone interpret Trump’s actions and policies as actually favorable to the American people? The President of the United States is oblivious to the daily display and reports of the suffering of Americans and their families.”

Although integrity is paramount, it’s not that Eileen and George are unconcerned about Trump’s influence and impact on the issues facing us today.  They are concerned.

A huge worry for Eileen is health care.  She feels very privileged that health care has always been available for herself and George, even though years ago they narrowly avoided a potentially financially devastating situation created by the interaction of waiting periods and pre-existing conditions.  In this election cycle protection for pre-existing conditions promised by the Trump administration never materialized.  Eileen is very concerned for the 5.4 million Americans losing Obamacare during the pandemic just between February and May due to ignored systemic enrollment issues. The potential for COVID-19 to become a pre-existing condition is real and threatening to victims no longer insured.

As an education professional, Eileen remains alarmed at the prospects of children returning to school in August.  She feels “the entire pandemic experience threatens to lower academic achievement whether in school or at home. Without robust procedural and structural efforts possibly requiring stimulus funding, it is doubtful this premature action can happen safely for either students or teachers.”

Along with the lack of integrity flowing from the oval office, the ONE issue that finally tipped the scales of loyalty for Eileen and George was the administration’s blind denial and lies pertaining to COVID-19 and the failure to enact a national plan to manage the pandemic.  The resulting impact of this negligence on daily lives, jobs, financial and economic security and even the way we greet each other may be with us forever.  And for people like the Kachmars, who enjoyed their lives as they were, this was a deal-breaker.

We welcome Eileen and George as new Charlotte County Democrats and applaud their courage to break from tradition. Concerns inspiring their shift in allegiance may sound familiar if you, too, are from a different political affiliation and, after 3.5 years of the current republican administration, are questioning why.

Your story is also important. If you would like to share, please call 941-764-8440 or stop by our office at 3596 Tamiami Trail, Suite 202, Port Charlotte, Fl. If you need a final incentive to resolve doubts about remaining with your party take a look at Biden’s Visions for America.  You will see that Biden has a plan for protecting and expanding the pillars of support defining our democracy and for restoring access to the American Dream.

Compare Biden’s vision to anything you can find resembling a Trump vision and you may then find inspiration.

And remember…you are not obligated to formally change parties to vote for Joe.  The only requirement is a desire to save our democracy.  That’s exactly what is at stake on November 3rd.  We can win this election if more people like Eileen and George, and possibly you, become tired of the lies, corruption and negligence and join the fight to make Trump a one term president.

Vote BLUE.Image Credits: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/president-donald-trump-usa-america-5161887/