Confessions of a Former Dittohead

When I say I was the other side I don't mean I was a Christine Todd Whitman-type Republican who just didn't want to face reality. I was all-in. I have met the enemy, and he was me.
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Hi everyone. I'm the new guy here, and I figured I should probably introduce myself. My name's Jim, and I'm a former dittohead.


This is the part where you all go "Hi Jim!"

I guess that means I'm at about step 8 in the 12-step recovery process. I made a list of all the persons I had harmed, and I became willing to make amends to them all. Needless to say it's a long list -- 59,028,109 registered voters at last count.

I started blogging almost exactly one year ago. On February 1, 2005, I wrote my first diary entitled "Confessions of a Former Dittohead." In 2004 I had voted for my first Democrat -- ever. In my post-election funk, I had decided it was high time I confronted the chubby, drug-addicted, maritally challenged elephant in the living room of my political past. For the first 13 years of my politically active life I was a dittohead. I know how the other side thinks. I was the other side.

Now, when I say I was the other side I don't mean I was a Christine Todd Whitman-type Republican who just didn't want to face reality. I was all-in. I was the ruthless little snot you today see scrawling graffiti on the bathroom walls of Power Line or Free Republic. I have met the enemy, and he was me.

I voted Republican from the ages of 18 to 32. I was a Young Republican. I thought feminists were just ugly chicks who couldn't get dates. I believed in the sanctity of marriage, the flag, the fetus, and supply-side economics. In short, I was what Rush would describe as a "young skull-full of mush." And he would shape that mush into something hard, cold, and kinda evil.

But over the years, my life as a dittohead would die the death of a thousand cuts. The world that I lived in refused to conform to the world Rush was telling me about. When my best friend turned out to be gay, I discovered it was easy to hate "the gay agenda," but it was hard to hate "Scott." Abortion was cut and dried until I heard my friend Amy's story. After that I decided maybe I should just keep my womb-less self out of it. I believed whole-heartedly in the gospel that tax cuts led to more federal revenue until W hammered the last nail in that particular coffin. No one thing changed my mind. Rather, everything would change my mind.

About a year ago seeking nothing more than a post-election catharsis, I started writing down the reasons for my political transformation and posting them at the blog The Daily Kos. Within the first ten days folks were telling me I should write a book. Less than two months after that (through no fault of my own), I was signed by a publisher. And on April 1st, slightly over a year removed from the first time I typed the words "Confessions of a Former Dittohead," my book of the same name will hit bookshelves. It seemed like a much more economical way to reach those 59 million folks I've wronged. (It's also probably slightly more profitable than going door-to-door and asking for forgiveness...that profit motive is likely a throwback to my dittohead days).

I have a favorite dittohead phrase. I know I've used it before, and I've heard countless eyewitness accounts of others using it as well. "If you only understood politics, you'd be a Republican." Sound familiar? It is this sort of condescension in the face of reality that drives people crazy when dealing with dittoheads. It's not the ignorance, it's the arrogance. But the statement perfectly reflects how good life is "inside the bubble."

It's not an easy bubble to break out of, but neither is it an impossible one. There is a cure for the Full Frontal Limbaughtomy -- massive doses of the truth. It requires more than one treatment, the side effects are very unpleasant, and you'll need a lot of patience. But if you've got the stones for it, together we can change the world -- one dittohead at a time.

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