A political awakening

October 15, 2008

I wrote this in response to a thread started by a guy who has come to the realization that politics sucks, and that the Republican party has left him. 

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Welcome, brother.

I made this mental, philosophical and spiritual journey some years ago.  I grew up in Southern California in the 1970s.  Back then, the Golden State was fiscally conservative, yet socially liberal.  Nobody cared if you lit up a bong or slept with someone of the same sex, so long as the government kept is hands out of your wallet.  Basically, a libertarian philosophy.  By the time I left California in 1988, it had changed…a lot.

I can’t really put my finger on when my “conversion” started, exactly, as it’s not like I just woke up and said “Damn…I can’t stand the Republicans anymore”.  It was more a slow erosion of the trust, hope and promise that Reagan brought when he wiped the floor with Jimmy Carter, which was a great event that the country needed after Nixon, Ford and Carter (I watched Nixon resign on TV, though at 11 years of age I didn’t really get it).  I lived through the gas lines during the shortages, remember the home loan interest rates in the mid-teens.  America needed changing, long before Tehran happened.

If I had to put a start on the corrosion that started eating at my political soul, I’d have to say it started during Bush I, with his “read my lips” lie, his “assault weapon” ban and his “vision” thing.  In 1992, during the election, a short man with a funny voice brought out all sorts of charts, looked under the hood, and said that America needed changing.  A lot of Americans agreed, and we ended up with Bill Clinton.  I voted for that little man, and while I disliked Clinton, I do not regret my vote, mostly because I don’t know that Bush I would have been any better.

I’ve voted third party/candidate in several elections, especially at the state level.  Doing so has helped cause Arizona to elect a governor who is very into sensible shoes (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  My vote during the election where Matt Salmon, a conservative Republican, lost to Janet Napalitano was a vote against Salmon, not for the third party.  Salmon had really done a blatant about-face about gun rights, leaving gun owners high-and-dry when we needed him most, after promising (repeatedly) never to abandon his staunch RKBA stance.  We believed him, and in him, since he’d kept so many promises as a US Congressman, and when he walked away from us, gun owners let him know their disdain, loud and clear.  It’s actually a lesson we believe Republicans in Arizona have learned.  But I digress.

I’ve long disliked both parties, but had some hope when Bush II was elected, and continued to support him right up until the Patriot Act was rammed through Congress in October 2001.  I know there are many here who support the Patriot Act, but in my opinion it’s done as much to increase the scope and reach of government into our lives as it has in “saving” us from terrorists.   We will disagree on this, and that’s fine.  But the sheer scope of what was passed, and how quickly, with so little scrutiny, demonstrates that all these things had been sitting on a shelf…waiting for the right moment to be dusted off and presented to Congress.  On September 11, 2001, 19 members of the “Religion of Peace” provided that moment.  And while Bush, I believe, had the country’s best interests at heart in passing/signing everything he had thereafter, I just don’t like it.  But, again I digress.

So, since the late 1990’s, my political philosophy was much like yours now…I refused to vote the lesser of two evils because, well, the choice is still “evil”.  I likened the Republican party to an abusive husband, and Republican base voters as battered wives.  The GOP could always count on the base’s vote because, what were they going to do, go vote for a Democrat…especially after 1992?  The base was always hopeful that “this time will be different. I know he loves me, and he’s just doing this for my own good and he otherwise provides a reasonable life for me.”  I think voters have become tired of being battered wives.

I think many in the base became disillusioned with the continued hard-right turn (religious wise) that the party took, such that it was even more extreme than what Reagan promoted that caused my Democrat college friends to seethe.  Whether this was true or not, I can’t say, but it appeared so to me.  Vague references to God always came about in the presidencies, but George W. Bush’s blatant invocation of God as being a guiding influence (perhaps not in those words) on his politics caused many in the GOP to do a double-take, even those who understand that the country was founded in Christian principles.  I think the religion thing was what killed Romney’s chances, and what I think might hurt McCain via Palin. It’s my opinion that most Americans believe in God, but don’t want it to be a blatant part of political philosophy and action.  Again, my opinion only.

So, the result is an inexperienced leftist who professes a belief in God, yet attended a church for 20 years whose pastor preached hatred of America and that Whitey was the oppressor of Black America, on the top of a ticket that wants to raise taxes, cut military and move our country toward something that’s an anathema of everything upon which our country was founded.  His second in this duel is a lying older guy who’s made a career out of trying to control people’s lives.

But on the other side, we have a lurching old man who’s willingness to throw his own people, platform and party under the bus is matched only by his ability to see the Ghosts of Corruption Past, Present and Future, and do everything in his power to evade the founding principles of the party whose policies he claims to represent.  His second is an inexperienced right-winger who wears her religion as a badge of honor, and if not on her sleeve then certainly as a shiny lapel pin.  The upside to Palin is that at least she has walked her talk, something worthy of a lot of respect.  I’d say that she’s the only real honorable candidate of the entire bunch.

Both parties, who unashamedly hosed the American taxpayer by passing this “bailout” against the wishes of the public, are basically offering the same thing:  two entrenched political systems willing to tell you how to live your life, spend your money and raise your kids promoting an old man and inexperienced newcomer as our Saviours who will lead us to the Promised Land.  The saving grace is that at least the Republican’s inexperienced person is not at the top of the ticket.

In the end, I think the GOP’s stance is pretty much “Vote McCain: He sucks less!”  Hardly exciting enough to make one want to go to the polls.

However, it’s the prospect of alllllll the judges at the federal level, including SCOTUS, that the next president is very likely to appoint, that has me leaning toward voting for Palin, I mean for McCain.  The prospect of Obama’s Legions of socialist and communist judges having sway over our way of life scares the shit out of me…more so than the prospect of a doddering rich dude wanting to buy up all bad home mortgages to help solve the housing crisis.

So, as much as I don’t want to, I will likely vote McCain.

Because I know the Republican party really loves me, and is just doing it for my own good.

TimW
Phoenix