[Ed. – This is from a few years ago, but still compelling. Worth pointing out that Ms. Goska was immersed in leftism as a lifestyle, something that in her description comes off as a cult in which one would eventually have to get burned out. It’s no excuse for wrong-headed attitudes, to observe that many people who vote left don’t make quite as much of a lifestyle of it. But I do hope those people read her post, and ponder some of the things they’re buying into.]
How far left was I? So far left my beloved uncle was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party in a Communist country. When I returned to his Slovak village to buy him a mass card, the priest refused to sell me one. So far left that a self-identified terrorist proposed marriage to me. So far left I was a two-time Peace Corps volunteer and I have a degree from UC Berkeley. So far left that my Teamster mother used to tell anyone who would listen that she voted for Gus Hall, Communist Party chairman, for president. I wore a button saying “Eat the Rich.” To me it wasn’t a metaphor.
I voted Republican in the last presidential election.
Below are the top ten reasons I am no longer a leftist. This is not a rigorous comparison of theories. This list is idiosyncratic, impressionistic, and intuitive. It’s an accounting of the milestones on my herky-jerky journey.
Reading this anecdote, I felt that I was confronting the signature essence of my social life among leftists. We rushed to cast everyone in one of three roles: victim, victimizer, or champion of the oppressed. We lived our lives in a constant state of outraged indignation. I did not want to live that way anymore. I wanted to cultivate a disposition of gratitude. I wanted to see others, not as victims or victimizers, but as potential friends, as loved creations of God. I wanted to understand the point of view of people with whom I disagreed without immediately demonizing them as enemy oppressors.
9) Selective Outrage …
If hate were the only reason, I’d stop being a leftist for this reason alone. …
I experienced powerful cognitive dissonance when I recognized the hate. The rightest of my right-wing acquaintances — I had no right-wing friends — expressed nothing like this. My right-wing acquaintances talked about loving: God, their family, their community. I’m not saying that the right-wingers I knew were better people; I don’t know that they were. I’m speaking here, merely, about language.