Why I'm Voting Democrat

I've been a Republican all my life. I've voted straight Republican in almost every single election in which I've cast a ballot (except for two times when I knew for sure the Democrat was a good guy and the Republican was a sleeze ball). This is probably due to three basic reasons:
1. My parents are Republicans.
2. Conservative Christians in America widely (some would say blindly) support the Republican party. Republicans tend to jive with conservative Christians on hot-topic ethical issues like: abortion, gambling, and homosexuality.
3. I'm an upper-middle class white boy. Stereotypically, that aligns me with the Republican party.

But those reasons don't mean very much to me any more.
Here are the reasons, I recently registered myself as a Democrat and plan to vote (almost) straight Democrat in the next elections.
1. The Democratic party is more concerned about helping the poor. The Republican Party's emphasis on decreasing taxes and decreasing government spending (while cutting out some waste) also cuts out a great deal of assistance for the poor. When my wife worked in the social service sector in Johnson County, all of the old time social workers said that any time Republicans are elected to office, government social programs are slashed across the board. At that time, the wait for housing assistance was years long in some cities, and in Johnson County the program was closed - no new applicants - tough luck, hope your car is cozy. Poverty is a moral issue just as much as abortion or gambling or homosexuality.
2. The Republican Party seems more and more out of touch with the needs and desires of every day Americans.
3. Abortion is simply not the only voting issue. I think abortion is terrible, and I would like to see every kind of limitation possible imposed on this crime against humanity. However, that cannot blind me to the ongoing crimes against humanity which happen in our inner cities day and around our world day in and day out.
4. Democrats are more concerned, by in large, with contributing to global health and poverty assistance. Republicans, by in large, tend toward giving aid in the form of weapons and military training. Hmmm. Let's see, what's going to help more people, rice and books or bullets and bombs.
5. Democrats seem to understand that America is not perceived well in the global community because of our aggressive militarism and willingness to meddle in the internal affairs of other countries. Republicans seem to be willing to continue living as an American cowboy on the global range. As one US citizen who has lived outside America, I can see that this style of policy is simply not working for us.
6. I don't think the fight against rights for homosexuals is beneficial for our country, nor do I think it represents Christians (who are key players in this fight) in a positive or Christlike light. I just don't think Jesus would fight this fight.
7. I love the way Edwards and Obama (along with lesser known Democrats) are refusing to accept campaign donations from lobbyists. I think this is a small step toward reforming our grossly deformed campaign system which favors the rich and gives undo influence to large corporations.
8. Republicans tend to disregard or fight against any and all moves to care for our environment. This is actually an antiChristian stance. At the least, we are supposed be good stewards of our resources and to care for the poor. Destruction of our environment is wasting a precious, unrenewable resource (not to mention terrible long-term business). It also causes a disproportionate amount of harm to the poor who do not have the resources to avoid the negative impact of a harmed environment.

That's probably enough controversy for now. I just thought I'd put this out there to let some people know what I'm thinking on this.