The Many Things That Caused Me to Wake Up and #WalkAway...

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Growing up, I always felt out of place. Like there was something wrong with me…

I was taught both at home and in school that there was only one way to look at the world, and that if I ever asked questions about alternative viewpoints, I was a bad person who would end up both broke and alone.

I was taught that doing well in school and that going to college was the key to getting a good job. That it was a foolhardy venture to be entrepreneurial before I was in my 40s or 50s after at least two decades of experience in the work force.

The Today Show was the show of choice when I woke up in the mornings and went downstairs to eat breakfast as a kid. NBC Nightly News was on at the dinner table.

I was taught that we grew up in a democratic-republic, and that Democrats were the moral, good arbiters of our society.

Don’t you know?

Republicans are greedy, corrupt corporatists who don’t care about the common good!

So long as they kept lining their pockets with our money, they don’t care if the US goes to hell in a hand basket!!

When George W. Bush won the presidency in 2000, I was told that the country was in trouble.

I was told that Al Gore won the popular vote, and that one of the recount attempts was going to unseat ‘Dubble-ya’ before he even began his presidency.

During my sophomore year of college, the Obama-McCain election was underway. Everyone and their mother during that election thought Obama was going to save our nation, and that Sarah Palin would be extremely dangerous as Vice President.

She claimed to see Russia from her house in Alaska… How dumb could she be?!!

God forbid President McCain croaked (RIP John)! That dumb bitch was going to be president!!

My views started to slowly change during this same semester of college…

Thanks to Syracuse University’s liberal arts requirements, I had to take an Intro to Political Science class.

My grade was based on my average on four papers regarding the major policies being discussed during the Election Cycle going on at the time.

My first paper was on immigration, and whether I believed that America should be more lenient with illegal immigrants.

Growing up, I had been around many illegal immigrants and their families.

My parents employed several to clean the house and to babysit me and my brothers throughout my childhood.

I worked with many at the few menial jobs I had during my late teenage summers.

They all seemed to be nice people. I thought heading into the paper that I was for sure going to side with the Libs, and propose that all immigrants entering our country should be given a Green Card or a Work Visa.

I believed that the Republican argument for maintaining our national security was bullshit!

That is, until I read the paper’s instructions…

I was (interestingly) allowed to pick either side of the argument. However, I had to support my side with both legislation and facts.

As I did digging into both sides of the illegal immigration debate, I found that I was actually pretty damn anti-illegal immigration.

Ultimately, I came to find that the US’s immigration laws have to be respected, and that the illegals coming in were blatantly disregarding them.

While I wasn’t going to call ICE (or its equivalent) at the time on the illegals I knew, my opinion on this issue definitely changed in the few days I took to research and to write this paper…

I wrote the paper, and handed it in.

A week later, I got the paper back. The professor gave me a ‘C-’ written in red ink on the final page of the paper.

Below the grade, he wrote in the same red ink, ‘Beautifully written. Well-cited and well-researched. Not convincing.’

This pissed me off to no end!

Not to toot my own horn, but if you hadn’t picked up on it by now, I’m an excellent writer.

I took a lot of time to read up on what I needed to, and I actually learned something through my own research and through thinking through a position.

I followed the paper’s instructions, and my professor acknowledged as much!

I set up a meeting with my professor to go over the grade, and he wouldn’t budge…

I knew from that moment on that if I wanted to get a good grade in his class, I’d have to pick up on what his vantage point was, and support it in my future papers - Whether I agreed with his views (I didn’t - At all!) or not.

You’d think that this would’ve been my #walkaway moment. I regret to say that it wasn’t…

I voted for Barack Obama in 2012. It’s one of the biggest regrets I have in my life.

The MSM says he was the only president in recent memory to have a scandal-free tenure in office, but we all know that’s not true!

(If you want to quickly brush up on the many scandals that plagued the Obama Administration, please read Hans Spakovsky’s piece over at The Heritage Foundation’s site here: https://www.heritage.org/political-process/commentary/obamas-scandal-free-administration-myth)

In late 2015 and early 2016, I was a Bernie Bro!

I know, I know - Even more depressing than voting for Obama not once, but twice (I stupidly voted for him back in ‘08, as well) :-(

Bernie seemed legit.

He seemed to want what’s best for the poor and the middle class, and that seemed fair to me.

But then, right as we thought it was going to be a Bernie-Trump showdown for the presidency, the DNC rigged the presidential nomination to go to Hillary Clinton!

The MSM was actually pretty transparent about this, even though a few days later, they about-faced and seemed to fully endorse Hillary as their candidate.

They said she was going to wipe the floor with Trump, and that the Dems were going to win! It wasn’t even going to be a fair fight.

This is when I got turned on to Ben Shapiro - A brilliant, young Orthodox Jew who was a conservative.

He was able to refute just about all of the Left’s viewpoints on just about everything.

That changed my life!

I started listening to his show on the Daily Wire every day. Then Andrew Klavan. Then Michael Knowles.

The list continued to grow.

Steven Crowder. Even Milo Yionnapolous!

This much became clear: I had a lot more in common with these guys than I did with Hillary Clinton, or even my formerly beloved Bernie Sanders.

I did my own research, and learned about the evils of socialism. The 100 million-plus lives it’s taken throughout recorded human history.

Failed nations like Venezuela, where affluence was once abundant not too long ago!

Then, I picked up on how crazy the Left became.

Dinesh D’Souza’s recent book, The Big Lie, really opened my eyes to the fascist policies of the Left.

While some of the claims in the book may have been a little exaggerated, thugs like Antifa and the ‘violent rhetoric’ espoused by Democratic pundits like Maxine Waters really got my blood churning.

While my anger built over the past couple years, I realized enough was enough.

I’m tired of feeling like a stranger in my own backyard.

I’m tired of walking on eggshells with my friends, my family, and even my girlfriend at times - Just because we disagree!

I’m tired of making cogent points when confronted, and getting nothing but emotional vitriol in response.

This is why I’ve walked away from the Democratic party.

While I’m more towards the Libertarian side of the Right, I am certainly right of center.

Individualism. Peace. Tolerance. Free markets. Property rights.

That’s what I care about! (Thanks, Jason Stapleton)

I founded Empire State Conservative Network with a few of my friends who either have similar stories to me, or have been able to see the light all along.

We may differ on some policy matters and on the President’s performance in regards to certain issues, but we’re not going to ostracize each other when and if we disagree.

We created this platform to bring our fellow New York Conservatives a local place for likeminded individuals.

You are not alone. We hear you.

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I can’t wait for what’s to come. Thanks for reading, and let’s get that #redwave going this coming Tuesday, November 6th!

- Pete