Democrats ARE Independent
I wrote this for an acquaintance who wrote me about what being an “Independent meant to him.”
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about what another “Independent” thinker, thinks. I followed your tenure as a local official and was always impressed with your work on our behalf, so I would immediately dismiss category 1). Not a lazy bone in your body I would imagine, and being worried about politics was part of your job description.
(He maintained that independents came in four categories 1) “An impolite way to describe this group is to say they are lazy. The polite way would be to say they think they have better things to worry about than politics. 2) Those who believe that politics and parties are for politicians not the average citizen, 3) Fence hangers who have trouble making their mind up about anything and 4) Those who think the 2 party system does not offer enough choices and that another party or 2 are needed”)
I would also have to rule out category 2) because most successful leaders understand that politics is everywhere and to prevent the masses from having access, leaving “politics” to the elite politicians, well I think we would both agree that is a formula for disaster spelled, “Trust me with your tax dollars, I know better then you mere mortals.” Similarly 3) belong to people like Donald Trump who head whichever way the wind blows, changing direction and their minds moment to moment. Not your cup of tea. So my bet is you are a Category 4, an Independent thinker who considers the facts, then make up your mind unhinged from the peer pressure of a political party (that was four P’s in case you were counting).
I am a Democrat because I like minimum wage and I like health care, and I like that there are agencies to protect me from the large corporations bent on profits above people, the FDA to protect me from big Pharma, the EPA from those who would poison my air and water, the CIA from foreign powers and FBI for those within, the CDC from Ebola and Cancer causing chemicals. I like the people who make laws to protect me from Credit Card Companies and Payday lenders and make sure the bridges and tunnels I drive are not going to collapse and kill me one day. I liked the five day workweek with weekends and holidays off, and I liked Unions who joined forces to protect the worker from the owners who would exploit them. I now like my Social Security and my Medicare after working for 38 years and making my contributions to society and my retirement.
I consider myself to be a life-long Democrat, but I have voted for two (2) Republicans in my time. Arch Moore the Governor of West Virginia when I first moved there in 1980 because I didn’t like the negative campaigning of his Democratic rival. Arch went to jail for corruption. The other Republican I voted for was Wayne Gilchrest because he was a former educator, environmentalist, and all round trustworthy guy. Was sorry to see him go.
As an elected official in the Democratic Party, Treasurer for the Central Committee, I have to support the party line all the way; staying silent during primaries and then shouting from the rooftop during the General. I did not like the last guy who ran for Congress from our district on cycle ago, and even less the most recent guy. Privately I let people know what my feelings were, and publicly just did not have my heart in spending a lot of time helping someone who wasn’t even campaigning in my county. Our current Republican Congressional Representative, a card carrying member of the “Tea Party, aka “The Freedom Caucus.” He has motivated me to do something about it this time, and will support and promote a candidate that can give this vulnerable viper a run for his money this time around.
You addressed ideology in your piece. If being a Republican or a Democrat is like being in a social club, where you drink beer or play cards or whack a little white ball around a park, that’s one thing, but political parties should be more than that. In a representative democracy, you would expect to have some input regarding to how much you pay in taxes for your half acre, and how well the “government” takes care of the roads and bridges you drive on, and how safe your street is, and who is going to scrape you off the pavement after an accident. You listen to your candidate’s speeches and his promises, and you support him or her, and donate money to their campaigns for office and you hope that when they win that office they will stick to the promises they made.
I truly believe that the great divide has taken place because people have strong views on what they believe in; choice or killing babies…polluted rivers and skies or regulations killing jobs… science or religion….peace and love or might makes right…etc. Very little middle ground these days, and sides have been drawn with quite distinct understandings of what the “R” or what the “D” stands for.
Then there are those who look at the R’s and D’s and see STATUS QUO where the rich get rich and the poor just stay that way and the rest of us just struggle treading water until we retire. If you’re both smart and lucky, you own your house and it isn’t “under water”, own a car or two and some nice furniture, if you’re not, being not too smart and very unlucky or some combination thereof, you struggle to pay the rent, or the mortgage before they foreclose, and drive a rattle trap because you just finished your car payments and those, “Damn things went up a couple more thousand dollars from the last car I bought!”
If you want my opinion (stop reading here if you don’t), I think we are all very lucky to live in the United States. We all are doing a lot better than many countries, and a hell of a lot better than many third world countries where women are raped indiscriminately and bombs and bullets are a daily event. The trouble is that it’s all so relative. Telling a guy who is losing his house or job that he’s better off than some Afghan living in a mud hut has no relevance, no meaning to him, he only cares that he USED to have a job and USED to have house and now he DOESN’T and that just sucks, and he cannot accept the fact that his drinking and gambling and spending money on boats and ATV’s might have had something to do with his current financial failings, no he has to BLAME someone, and anyone will do. Enter a scalliwag like Trump who has the magic elixir, the cure to what ails ya, vote for ME and all your troubles will be GONE. People are gullible, desperate people are even more gullible in the adage you can “Fool Some of the People Some of the Time….there’s that group that , You Can Fool All of the Time, and they voted for Trump. There’s a group of people who will believe ANYTHING, and hate politicians, but LOVE people in authority who promise them the world.
Thanks for your piece, and for letting me think about why I am proud to call myself a Democrat because for the most part, I know what they stand for and I agree with those positions and my hope is that those elected on those positions (platforms) are allowed to do their jobs as long as they realize that just because you WIN, doesn’t mean you can forget all those who didn’t vote for you. Once you win you represent ALL OF US, and I think Democrats do a much better job of that than the Republicans.