I started my life as part of a family of liberal Democrats. I grew up in the sixties with a decidedly liberal Democratic bent. I voted for Hubert Humphrey against Richard Nixon in my school's mock election (Humphrey narrowly beat Nixon - it was Minnesota after all). I watched the Watergate proceedings all through summer vacation one year. I had the feeling that history was happening right in front of my eyes. I was horrified by the way the Republicans rallied around such a corrupt president, though I was pleased, when the time came, that Nixon did the right thing and resigned. Their behavior cemented my feelings against them.
I continued my liberal leanings (or so I thought) and habit of backing Democratic candidates; McGovern, Carter, Mondale (I was beginning to get bored), I did not vote for Dukakis, I just couldn't make myself, I voted Libertarian in protest, then Clinton (finally an exciting Democrat).
Clinton's first term was my last Democratic vote of any type. I voted for him because he was a Democrat and not a dolt. The idea of voting Republican had not yet even crossed my mind. Republicans were EVIL. That's what my party, the news and everyone I knew said (I am from Minnesota). That's why I didn't vote for Reagan, even though I liked him and I liked what he did for our country. I swallowed the whole trickle-down-economics-is-an-evil-plot-to-benefit-Reagan's-friends thing, hook line and sinker.
After Clinton had been in office just a short time I realized what a mistake I had made voting for him. He was such an obvious sleazball. The way Democrats rallied around him was worse than the way the Republicans had rallied around Nixon. Worse for two reasons. First, I had voted for him. He was a Democrat! They weren't supposed to do things like that. Second, his bald faced lying and manipulation of an obviously willing-to-be-manipulated press left no doubt of his moral bankruptcy (and the bankruptcy of the press). The way his party rallied around him left no doubt about their bankruptcy as well. Because of his success in beating scandals that no one had ever beaten before, his tactics were studied, improved, and implemented by other Democrats.
They got better and better at parsing the things they said so that anything they said couldn't hurt them in court. The louder they talked the less they said. They became accustomed to talking a lot and saying nothing. Their ideas disappeared. They became more and more willing to be anything it took to get and keep votes. The stopped standing for anything. They lost me completely.
In my search for a new party I began to really research the facts, something that had been difficult, if not impossible, before the internet (it's a good thing Al Gore invented it). I began to see that the Democratic party never really had stood for the things they said they stood for. Racial equality, individual liberties, civil rights, protecting the weak and poor... none of it. Their record speaks for itself. I felt cheated on a whole slough of levels. The things that I believed in, that I thought the Democrats represented, that they told me they represented, were much more in line with the Republicans. Racial equality, individual liberties, civil rights, protecting the weak and poor.
This latest primary brings it home in capitol letters. With nothing to stand for and a willingness to become whatever the moment demands, the Democratic flip-flopping on issues is unrivaled by anything short of the deck of a North Sea fishing trawler (no offence to North Sea Trawlers). Democratic voters have joined the flip-flopping and scrapped their beliefs, trading them in for a vague idea about which candidate is most likely to beat George Bush.
Democrats, the anti-war party of record, are actually trying to sell the idea that only a military man can legitimately run the country. They are trying to convince the public that Bush's service in the National Guard was not really military service and that he is not really qualified to be Commander in Chief. This after George Bush has run what is, arguably, the most successful military operation of all time. They are trying to convince the public that our economy is in trouble despite all of the evidence to the contrary (and ignoring the fact that Republicans are cleaning up after an economy that began spiraling downward on Clinton's watch and was accelerated by an unprecedented attack on our soil).
I don't think the public is that stupid.
Come on you Democrats, look at President Bush's record. Get over the fact that he's a Republican. Bush is a moderate. Why do you think moderate conservatives are frustrated with him? Because he is too right wing? No way. Look at the huge amount of money he has dedicated to fighting AIDS in Africa. Look at the healthcare initiative he has proposed. Look at his whole administration. Can you name a Democratic administration with as many people of color? Do you really think these people are just "token" appointments? People like Elaine Chao, Rod Paige, Colon Powell, Norman Mineta, Condoleezza Rice?
Wake up. Republicans are not evil. They are people a lot like you. But their party is not letting them down. Their party really stands for something. Do you think they voted for George Bush because he was the most likely candidate to beat Al Gore? Did they vote for him because of his eloquent speech-making? I hardly think so. They chose him because he stands for ideas that make the world a better place. Freedom, equality, safety, prosperity.
Don't just dismiss him out of hand because he's a Republican. LOOK at what he has done. Don't just take your candidate's point of view automatically. Look at the man. He is a good man who really cares about the people in this country. All of them.