Most of us were not born Centrists, and instead were raised into one of the two main parties. My Centrist Story is a series of personal stories from every day Centrist Project supporters explaining why they support the Centrist Project today. If you would like to contribute your own story, please submit it to Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a photo of yourself to be shared on the post and on social media.
Today, James Davis shares his story and tells us why he supports the Centrist Project.
My name is James Davis and I am a Centrist, but for most of my life I was a self-proclaimed Republican. I grew up in rural Maine and am ingrained with certain qualities that I learned from my father. My father is the type of person who never preaches and always leads by example. He sets the example through hard work, public service, and a strong faith. I have always valued these qualities, and seeing them reflected in the Republican Party, I identified myself as a Republican. However, as I grew older I became disillusioned with what I saw as factions of my party, elements that spoke of hatred and radicalism. It is because of these things that I have pursued a different path, and here is a little story of how I got there.
I first got interested in public policy when I was 16 and was appointed to be a representative to Maine’s Boys State program. Fuel was added to this fire throughout high school by different scholastic programs and culminated with a handshake from Kofi Annan at the United Nations in NYC when I was 18. I was hooked. I went on to study Political Science and International Relations and become heavily involved in Model United Nations. Looking back now I thought I knew it all, but my real education came when I joined the military.
I joined the Navy at age 23 and became an Information Warfare Specialist working for the Defense Intelligence Agency. I was surrounded by all different types of people, from all walks of life, from all over the country. I was able to gain perspective through personal interaction instead of from a “Primary Source” and if I have learned anything over the years it is that nothing compares to face to face interaction if you want to really understand something. There was one curious individual that really lit a spark for me. He was the type of person that questioned everything and was not afraid to be vocal about it. On some points his perspectives were frustrating for me and his ideologies really had no compass. This was something I certainly was not used to coming from a very strict academic environment that told me that you are either a republican, a democrat, a libertarian, a communist, a socialist, a fascist, etc… But he helped me reject all these preordained templates of ideology that just put each of us in a box. He helped me to start thinking for myself.
In 2012 the election of Barrack Obama helped solidify this perspective. I grew increasingly frustrated by the apathy of my fellow Americans not just towards one another, but to the issues themselves. So I decided to do something about it. I created a Think Tank on Facebook and invited all the smartest/most engaging people I could think of to it. It was a safe environment where people could talk about current events without getting chopped down for it. This platform grew into a Facebook page that I administer today called “The Amalgamist” where the goal is to make sure people are informed, not simply opinionated. The work I have been doing on this page over the last year lead to a coalition with “The Centrist Project.” The Centrist Project is a cause that I believe in whole heartedly. While the specific policy might still be in its infancy, the general idea of the project is a virtue in and of itself. We must stop adhering to partisan talking points where every year we elect politicians who do not represent us. We will be better off if we elect people based on a clear understanding of the ideas, rather than talking points.