(Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Since the age of 21, I have been a Republican. That's 45 years. Chose that party in my youth because my parents were members.

As I came to understand the issues, policies, and debates, I stayed with the party because their belief system and mine were much better aligned. Democratic philosophy is not  wrong, but I believed Republican's were more "right."

For the record, I served on the Minnehaha County Republican Committee for a term. It was not fun.

Forward thinking was not embraced. Democrats and the media have stolen the word "Progressive", so I won't use it here.

It was obvious during my time on the committee the good old boys, and girls, were deeply entrenched, and were not open to discussing anything new. I am glad I had the experience, and equally glad I am done with it.

Also, for the record, I have held elective office. Two five-year terms as Mayor of Sioux Falls, 1974-84.

I write this so you understand I know what it is like to "play the game."  Creating policy, debating, promoting, and getting beat up. It is exhilarating work. I miss it.

Watching our elected leaders in Washington the past ten years has been frustrating. No budgets passed on time, constant finger pointing, no acceptance of responsibility for over spending.

The "fiscal cliff" mess is a microcosm of the larger ongoing problem.

Our elected leaders are not doing the job we elected them to do. Equal blame goes to both parties. There is no end in sight. I am sad for us, them, and the country. As much as I would love to fire all of them, I can't.

I have thought long and hard about what I can do to make a small difference. My conclusion, leave the party. Actually, leave both parties.

They are no longer interested in what is good for the country, only what is good for themselves, and the people who feed their campaigns.

I have a belief system. On financial issues, I am conservative (lean to the right.) On social issues, I don't want the government handing down edicts about how we are supposed to live. In today's terminology, that belief makes me a liberal (lean to the left).

Today I registered as a Libertarian. Their platform is short and simple. About eight pages. Basically it says, "Don't spend money we don't have. Let people make their own personal decisions."

Makes sense to me.