BuzzFlash Reader Commentary
November 12, 2002
BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY
Hello there. This past election was such a downer for me that I'm considering changing my registration from Democrat to Independent after a lifetime of membership in the Democratic Party.
Part of the blame must go to Ed Sullivan, who hosted a television variety show in the 1950s and 60s. By the third week the Beatles appeared on his show in 1964, they no longer looked like "girls" to me because of their long hair. They became my idols. I guess the following steps to a belief in love, peace, civil rights and protecting mother earth were inevitable. I didn't have the heart to tell my father when I turned 21 that I registered as a Democrat.
It wasn't always that way. As a youngster growing up in Orange County, California in the 1950s, I was privileged to have early exposure to the John Birch Society's "commie under every bed" paranoia. In sixth grade I proudly wore my Nixon/Lodge button to school only to be stunned to learn there were other children's families who supported John F. Kennedy for president.
But after being a good and true peace activist during college, I remained a loyal Democrat through the good years and the bad. They were the last, best hope of the country when President Nixon resigned in disgrace. I stuck with them when President Carter, a brilliant and soulful man, but sorry administrator, was voted out. I was faithful through the eight years when Ronald Reagan, "god of Republicanism," reigned over one of the most corrupt administrations in the history of the country with some 200 officials being arrested and convicted of crimes.
It was a painful period in the 1980s when those who were wealthy cashed in on a stock market made of cards, while those who had little fell further into poverty having no money to invest. The minions who barely scraped by had the privilege of producing most of the billions of dollars in taxes that bailed out those who made millions in the Reagan-produced savings and loan scandals. But, what the heck. He was a good storyteller. Does it really matter that he talked about his war experiences, incognizant of the fact those were movies he had made? He never served in the military.
Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, was coerced by environmentalists into taking a canoe ride through the Grand Canyon with the mistaken belief that it would foster in Watt an acknowledgment that some parts of nature are worth preserving. The tactic backfired when Watt said the canoe trip was the most boring thing he'd ever done and he forged full-steam ahead in dismantling environmental protection regulations.
Michael Dukakis ran a lousy campaign in 1988 and George "Pappy" Bush became president. Well, everyone makes a mistake. I consider Bush, Sr. to be an insignificant little footnote in history, with the exception of his appointment of Clarence "Uncle Tom" Thomas to the Supreme Court.
Bill Clinton was a consummate politician and a brilliant man. While many of his economic policies were conservative enough that he could have been more accurately termed a "moderate Republican," he at least held true to most Democratic social policies. He presided over economic growth and supported civil rights and freedoms. He was respected in other countries for his intelligence, his grasp of history, politics and economics. For the most part, foreigners were bewildered by Americans' obsession with Clinton's private life, as his personal actions are not uncommon among leaders of other countries.
But, it is that very obsession, along with flagrant disregard of election laws and democracy, that put George "Junior" Bush in the White House, and put me where I am today.
I am an American citizen without a party.
On Nov. 5, 2002, I realized that the Democratic Party leaders do not represent Democratic principles or me. The Democrats in the federal government have become mealy-mouthed cheerleaders for an unelected president. They have supported war without cause, economic policies that widen the gap between rich and poor and which send many more people down the slope toward poverty.
During the 2002 campaign, I heard not one word about the failing economy, Bush's rampantly unfair tax schemes that favor the wealthy, rising unemployment and poverty, people without health insurance, the gutting of retirement funds for average people, the plundering of a budget surplus created by a Democratic president into another Republican created deficit. I heard nothing about Junior Bush's lies, his rabid penchant for unjustified war, or the corrupt people who became wealthy through unethical and corrupt business practices and who now serve in his administration.
Where were the voices of the Democrats running for office? Oh yes. The voice I heard the loudest was killed. The few other faint voices in the distance were reelected. The others who brought out their tutus and pon pons and joined the cheering squad for Junior Bush were voted out.
So, is the Democratic Party over? Is it time to go?
Where does that leave me? If I am no longer a Democrat, what am I? I can register with the Green party. While I support many of the Green platforms, I just can't erase the spectacle of Ralph Nader's impact on the 2000 election. I can register with the Libertarians. They believe there should be no government. Given what we have right now in Washington D.C., I'm inclined to agree with them. I could register as an independent, but there is no "independent party." There is no group with whom I can bond with our mutual political leanings. I can register Republican. I think I qualify as a Republican in that I have my MBA from a top ten university. My husband has his MBA. We live in the burbs, go to church, belong to the PTA and donate to charities. Hmmm. A Republican. Not in this lifetime.
So, here I am. I still believe in love, peace, civil rights and protecting mother earth. And I have no party to represent me.
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