Normal Nation

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I want to tell you about a new project I’m working on called NormalNation.org. It’s for politically independent Americans who are tired of partisan politics and business as usual in our broken two-party system. Normal people are generally fiscally responsible, culturally modern voters who are politically engaged and care about our country, but they don’t feel that either major political party represents them.

All politics is personal, and Normal Nation seeks to engage independent voters on a personal and emotional level. By sharing our individual stories of independence, we will build camaraderie among voters who wish to maintain their political autonomy.

One of my friends called it “Humans of New York for politics!” Yes, it is. Every independent has different reasons why neither political party represents them. By sharing our reasons, we’ll see that we have a lot in common with other.

Then, we’ll work together to bring free-market reforms to the electoral system, so that Americans don’t have to join a political party in order to participate in the political process.

Are you a normal person? Tell your personal political story. Join us! 

American Exceptionalism

Immigrants---Generic-jpgToday, presidential candidate Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press and voiced his support for building walls along the United States’s borders with Mexico AND Canada to keep immigrants from coming across the borders illegally. (Read about it here.) He and most of the other Republican presidential candidates have taken an ugly hardline approach to immigration that really bothers me.

I wrote last week that the definition of America is a that our country is a place that welcomes everyone from around the world. Immigration is why America was started in the first place. The way to solve the problem of illegal immigration is to increase the supply of visas so that people have the opportunity to immigrate legally. That’s the right thing to do, and it’s the American way. Read more

Whole Foods Conservative

Norman_Rockwell_Golden_Rule_440I heard a term a few years ago that I’ve often called myself – Whole Foods conservative. I’ve been thinking about that phrase a lot lately in the context of the current immigration discussion. Let me explain.

First, what’s a Whole Foods conservative? Well, it’s a culturally modern conservative. The growth of the Whole Foods retail chain is a great example of American cultural evolution, because it used to be that “health food stores” were only for 1970s hippies who were culturally out of the mainstream back in their heyday. There are other examples of that too, such as yoga practice, meditation and other cultural indicators that were once out in left field and are now mainstream.

Another way to look at Whole Foods in our modern culture is to look at our food tradition in general. It used to be that we had the Betty Crocker Cookbook and stereotypical American meat and potatoes food options. Now, in our new multi-cultural reality, we are fortunate to have a lot of diversity in the American diet. We need grocery stores, such as Whole Foods, to sell us what were once considered exotic food ingredients. Read more

FOX News Debate

I wrote this piece for The Advocate about last week’s Republican presidential debate. Now, I don’t think that any of the questions were unfair or shouldn’t have been asked, but it was clear that FOX had a definite strategy in determining which questions to ask to which candidates in order to further their goal of helping to elect a Republican president.

One part of the debate was especially telling for me. –

One prominent example of this strategy includes issues of concern to LGBT Americans. I know from my discussions with them that Fox executives know that opposition to civil marriage is an unacceptable position to the majority of Americans in 2015, but they also know that those who still oppose marriage equality make up a large portion of the GOP and Fox audience. They chose to pose the only question about marriage to Ohio Gov. John Kasich because his previously stated answer on the subject was the least offensive to most Americans of all the candidates. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has an answer similar to Kasich’s, but Kasich had the home state audience, guaranteed to show approval.

The Kasich position on marriage stops short of endorsing marriage equality so as not to offend the antigay portion of the GOP but recognizes the reality that civil marriage for gay couples is now legal in America. His position also recognizes the reality that most Americans have gay people in their lives and they want to share in the joy that marriage brings their gay friends and family members — even when his ultimate position is to deny them that joy under the law. His position is more based in reality than the positions of most of the Republican field.

Most in the field hold positions far outside the mainstream and that are just not realistic, such as supporting a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage or Rand Paul’s Fantasyland position to do away with civil marriage altogether — for gay couples and straight couples! That’s why Kasich was the only one to get the question, because by limiting the answers to only Kasich’s, Fox could include the issue in the debate without making the Republican Party look totally out of touch with real life in 2015.

Read my entire op ed here.

 

Stories of Independence

Independent-votersThose of us who are politically independent have all taken different paths in our political journeys. I am sharing the story of my evolution from team-player Republican to freethinking independent in my forthcoming memoir NO HOPE: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should Too). I want to share some of your stories of independence, too.

Are you a former Democrat or former Republican? Or have you always been independent? Why don’t either of the major political parties represent you? How did you come to join the 43 percent of Americans who don’t identify with a party? I’d love to share some of your stories this fall when I am promoting my book.

You see, there are many many people across the country who will relate to our frustrations with the parties. They’ll hear our stories and realize that they should leave the parties too. Will you help others to join the ranks of independents by sharing your experience and perspective?

Would you be willing to write a blog post or send a short video to tell everyone why you are politically independent? I’m looking for essays (250 – 1000 words) and videos (under 2 minutes). If you are willing to share your story on a new website I’m setting up for this purpose, please send them to info@jimmylasalvia.com. Or email the same address if you have questions about it.

Just send me a note and we can talk about it. info@jimmylasalvia.com

Thanks!

Jimmy’s Thought for the Day

If you want to change the world then you have to build a movement by making a personal connection and creating a common bond with people. Meetings, panel discussions, paid advertising, conferences, meetings, and meetings don’t change the world, people do. It takes people who are personally motivated and emotionally invested. People.

NO HOPE: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should Too)

I am working on some re-designs for my website. I can’t wait share the new look with you later this summer.

In the meantime, I want to share the image of the cover of my forthcoming book, NO HOPE: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should Too). The book will be published by Skyhorse Publishing and released on October 6th.

No Hope Cover

You can pre-order your hardcover copies on Amazon or Barnes & Noble now. (Electronic versions coming soon.)

When Right vs. Left Becomes Right vs. Wrong

I wrote this piece for The Advocate earlier this week. I decided to re-post it here as my last post here for a while. I am going to do some work on this website over the next couple of months, so I am not going to generate any more content here until I unveil my new design some time this summer.

When Right vs. Left Becomes Right vs. Wrong

The recent backlash and boycotts sparked after gay New York businessmen Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass hosted a meet-and-greet for presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz reminded me of 2008, when Manhunt’s Jonathan Crutchley was condemned for contributing to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign. I thought to myself, Times change.

I thought the boycotts and backlash against Crutchley in 2008 were extreme and wrong, based on the standards and norms of that time. Today, we are living in a different time. Today, Ted Cruz’s views, which are more extreme than McCain’s ever were, are so far outside the mainstream that they are simply considered unacceptable to most Americans.

Sen. Cruz has mapped out the most antigay extreme path to the GOP nomination possible. He sent that message by announcing his candidacy at the late Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, and he has been beating the antigay drum on the campaign trail ever since. He’s doing that because there is still a large portion of the GOP primary electorate who hold the extreme views of the past.

I spent most of my career as an openly gay conservative Republican working in the trenches of the culture wars. Before I left the GOP last year, I worked to help conservatives to evolve culturally, specifically on attitudes and issues affecting LGBT Americans. I spent more than a decade engaging in dialogue with conservatives in an effort to help them. I always tried to keep the mood of the country in perspective when advocating for engagement and coalition with antigay politicians. Now, in 2015, we are way past the tipping point of public opinion in favor of equal treatment for gay Americans.

The bottom line is that Cruz and the Republican Party have failed to evolve. Cultural evolution has always played a role in American politics. Slavery, women’s suffrage, civil rights, the sexual revolution, women’s lib, and other cultural movements have all had an impact on policy and politics. Societal standards and norms change over time. When it comes to cultural issues in politics, it’s likely that today’s deeply held belief will become tomorrow’s untenable position. Eventually, right versus left becomes right versus wrong in voters’ minds. That doesn’t happen with every issue, but it’s important to recognize it when it does. We’ve seen it over and over again — political movements that fail to evolve will ultimately be left in the past. Remember the Dixiecrats?  Read more