The thought plagued me. There are three options and three options only. You must check one of the boxes: Republican, Democrat, or Independent. It is probably a default of mine that I have such an existential crisis during something as cursory as filling in a form, yet the thought still plagued me.
I once believed I would never leave the Republican Party. It always had its defects, to be sure, but those defects were defects I was willing to accept. After all, men only differ on the evils they consider acceptable. But then a terrible thing happened: I became quite religious and my values completely upended. I thought less and less of economics, and more and more of family and religion. The Grand Old Party still listens to people like me on these things, but that is about all they do. I grew tired of having to constantly prove my case to those who supposedly were my friends.
Option Two, the Democratic Party, was never an option. The things I value most are the things they treat with outright scorn or what may be called wrathful apathy.
And then there is Independent. However, this last option is one that still leaves much to be desired. The name is often associated with “moderate,” which is something I am not, but there are deeper problems still. I can imagine the questions now. “So you are an Independent?” “Well, yes, as in I am not a member of the GOP or Democratic Party, but you see, I am not really independent. I left those parties because they declared their independence from the past. They have forgotten the dead. What I really am is an Independent Tory, although I take no pride in the label. It is rather like being an ocean-liner in Nebraska, far separated from what is necessary to achieve your greatest potential. I am a Tory without a culture, without a tradition, without a heritage, without a family. All we have is the stuff, and partisans on both sides keep assuring me the stuff makes it all worthwhile. All have forgotten that all is vanity. So you could say that I am an Independent. I am an Independent because everyone around me is united in declaring their independence and I, for one, want nothing to do with it.”
I then snapped back to reality and realized my views are not among those my society is willing to offer. I left the boxes blank, illegibly scratched “Tory” under them, and went about my day.