Matthew Hoy

Well, Tribune readers, it’s been fun

I didn’t leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left me.

I may one day return, but that day is at least four, and possibly eight, years off.

Like approximately 11 percent of voters in San Luis Obispo County last year, I couldn’t in good conscience mark my ballot for either President Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

While I still support the vast majority of the self-professed ideals of the GOP, I cannot put my faith in a narcissistic egomaniac who is now the titular head of the party. The Tribune has expressed its opinion that it would like a conservative Republican to write in this space semi-monthly, and I no longer fit that description.

So, this is my final column for The Tribune. I will continue to write — as I have for the past 15 years — at my blog, and I may pop in periodically in the Facebook comments beneath stories, letters and opinion pieces on The Tribune’s website.

I’ve often said that I’m a conservative first, and, until last summer, a Republican second.

I’m still a conservative, which means I will praise Republicans when they get it right and criticize them when they get it wrong. The same goes for Democrats and third-party politicos of any stripe. But in the future, you’ll have to read that at my blog.

I appreciate the opportunity The Tribune has given me over the past year to share my opinions and insights with you.

The 40 percent of San Luis Obispo County citizens who cast their vote for President Donald Trump last November deserve to have their point of view represented in the Opinion pages of this newspaper.

The editors of the Tribune don’t believe that I’m the best person to do that, so I wish Andrea Seastrand, my successor, the best of luck in articulating those beliefs to readers.

On another note:

It would be a breath of fresh air if we could tone down the level of vitriol in our politics today.

Reading some of the Letters to the Editor and various columnists can make one despair at how divided Americans are today. Reading the comments below the various articles could quickly convince many that we have a mental health crisis.

Before you sit down to write a letter or leave a comment, there’s a few things you should do.

Take a deep breath.

Realize that the person you’re responding to, whether on the political left or right, isn’t really a fascist, or a communist or a nazi.

But what about …?

No, not even that person.

It wasn’t different when your side did it. Whatever “it” is or was.

Realize that the politicians on your side are just as cynical, hypocritical and self-interested as the ones on the other side.

Your political opponents are not evil, they are just wrong.

Name-calling and insults do nothing to convince them that they’re wrong — they just convince them that you’re crazy.

And there’s way too much crazy around here.

Matthew Hoy is a former reporter, editor and page designer. Read Hoy’s blog at Follow him on Twitter @Hoystory.