Why I Vote For Democrats
People sometimes use a word and have no idea what the term means. Take the
word "liberal," for example. In North Georgia, to be a liberal is to be stupid,
wasteful, a Hell-bound worshipper of His Infernal Majesty, and, oh yes, weak.
That’s a good shortlist. The point is, according to the usual local definition,
no one in their right mind would become a liberal, much less admit to that sin
Since I am notoriously not "in my right mind," and as I see no sin in it, I will
tell you – I am a liberal. Yes, Virginia, we exist outside Hollywood and
Taxachusetts, elitist scumbags that we are. But why, why oh why would anyone
fritter their lives away in the service of a belief so completely wrong as
"liberalism" – or at least, as wrong as we’ve heard it portrayed for lo these 26
years since the Reagan Revolution began?
I’ll answer this question from my own point of view by telling you a few reasons
I vote for Democrats. My reasons involve my own definition of what I think being
a liberal means. Since the Democratic Party and I agree once in awhile, maybe
you’ll be able to see why I – like every right wing talk radio goofball – think
of them as the liberal party. But maybe you’ll also see why I don’t think that’s
a bad thing.
Due to space constraints and mercy for my audience’s attention span, I will be
making more assertions than giving arguments. Arguments to support these views
you may find in columns written over the past five years. So, in no particular
order, here is why I vote for Democrats.
1. They aren’t Republicans. The Republican Party has become the party of
selfishness, irresponsibility, bigotry, an un-Constitutional interpretation of
the power of the President, the support of torture and the violation of the
A. Why selfishness and irresponsibility? The basic creed of the party is "pull
yourself up by your own bootstraps," meaning they don’t believe we have any
responsibility to assist one another or prepare for the future. The party
doesn’t believe we have a responsibility to create safety nets to minimize the
effects of disasters and misfortunes, whether on a large scale or small. The
implication is that those who suffer misfortune or ignorance deserve their fate.
If someone chooses to assist them, fine, but individuals ought not be required
to do it by such things as taxation or law.
This is why we have witnessed the Republicans slowly destroy every government
agency that has anything to do with social services and this is why we witness
them prepare the way to dismantle the public schools.
B. So, why bigotry? The party’s adoption of a right wing Christian
fundamentalist definition of "family values" has, in practice, been used as a
cudgel to attack and vilify anyone the party disagrees with. That and
fundamentalist conspiracy theorists use it to claim that "the family is under
attack" in order to solidify control over their congregations – and over
legislators -- by throwing them into a terror.
Never mind that the definition of "family values" being used is one taught by
only a fragment of the Christian faith -- what business do purely religious
interpretations of anything have influencing secular lawmaking anyway? We are
not a theocracy, a "Christian nation," or however one wishes to say it. America
is a country of secular laws and government where people of a variety of faiths,
or no faith, have to get along. Any "law" that separates us and attempts to
enshrine in law one religious sect's views has no more claim to being called a
real law than the arbitrary jabberings of a monarch. And America isn't a
C. So, what’s this un-Constitutional idea of Presidential power? Go look up the
"unitary executive powers" theory and compare it to fascist ideas of "following
the Leader" from back in the 30s. There is little difference and neither of
these visions of Executive Power looks American. The last President who tried to
extend the Executive Branch’s powers as far as the second Bush White House has
was Nixon. And we all, hopefully, know why Nixon got ran out of office.
This White House is paying far too much attention to the ideas of a lawyer and
professor at Berkeley called John Yoo – this man is the mind behind the torture
document, the unitary executive powers theory, the PATRIOT Act, and so on. From
the on line encyclopedia, Wikipedia, one may learn that at a recent debate at
Notre Dame with another legal theorist, Professor Yoo candidly stated that there
is no law to prevent the President from "crushing the testicles" of a detainee’s
child if that’s what it took to get the job done. (You can find a video of the
debate there, too, just in case you think that's my "liberal bias" talking.)
And this last thing ought to answer any question as to why I say the Republican
Party has become the party of torture – men like Yoo are whom they are looking
to for intellectual and moral leadership.Call me quaint, old fashioned, even
simplistic, but I have a test for theories, laws, and uses of governmental
powers: from them, if anything can, will, or conceivably might create a
situation that looks anything like the Nazi Concentration Camps from WWII, I
refuse to support it. Anything like that is evil and wrong by definition, I
don’t care what the "reasoning" might be to justify it.
Moreover, if the Concentration Camps have already been built and people are
being tortured and murdered after we redefine them as not being completely
human, no, I am not going to sign on with that, either. The Republican Party
made a deal with the Devil in the name of "safety" and has created problems as
bad as terrorism. Many Republicans, like Sen. John McCain, don’t agree with
their own party on these issues – but outside Sen. McCain, where has the
movement been to reign in the President and torture?
2. I believe the rich and powerful are responsible for bearing more burdens than
people who are not rich or powerful. They control more resources, it is their
responsibility to use at least a portion of them on behalf of the common good
whether they volunteer for this duty or not. Therefore, I believe in heavy
taxation for those who control that sizable amount of wealth.
I do not believe in big government, nor in small government. I believe in good,
effective government used to collectively attack problems we cannot overcome
otherwise. Such government has to be funded. Taxes are the means by which we do
"But," comes the whine," if we tax the rich, it’ll hurt the economy! They won’t
be able to invest as much, etc." Conservative economists are always fond of
pointing out that just because the wealthy have more, it doesn’t mean those with
less are being deprived of anything. There isn’t a fixed amount of money in the
world, they say; if poorer people want more money, they just need to work harder
and make more of it. And that is pretty much my return answer to the rich: if,
after you are taxed on your hundreds of thousands, millions, or billions and
you’re dissatisfied with the remaining amount, all you need to do is work harder
or invest more wisely and make some more money. Just like the rest of us, except
heavy taxes won’t leave you destitute – nowhere near it. So get over it.
My second response is, if the middle and lower classes had more of their income
freed up after the tax money from the wealthy was used to, say, lower healthcare
costs and college tuition, they could take their money and go invest it just as
well as a wealthy person. Collectively, this would keep the economy going and
give more people an interest in seeing things advance. All anyone would need to
do is go to an investment firm and hire a pro to help make decisions. After all,
that is exactly what most wealthy people do – or did you think they sit around
on a phone all day yelling "buy" and "sell" and paying attention to the markets?
3. I believe access to a basic level of healthcare, physical and mental, is a
basic human right; I believe universal education to the graduate school level
and beyond for those who can go that far is a basic human right. I believe a
minimum of housing, clothing, and food in emergency situations (short term or
chronic) are basic human rights. Why? Because the country was founded on at
least three principles – the inalienable (i.e. can’t take them away) rights to
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those who do not like the
ramifications of these principles can take it up with Tom Jefferson & Co.
4. I don’t believe minorities and poor people are plotting to destroy things or
take over the country. No, I do not believe there is a conspiracy amongst
Hispanic people to invade America. I believe they are the poor from economically
depressed areas and places that are politically harsh. They are coming here
because we have jobs and political freedom (until we lose our paranoid minds,
round them up, and shove them into a Concentration Camp claiming that they may
be "terrorists" or some such nonsense).
Nor do I believe people who are gay or lesbian are sitting around dreaming up
ways to destroy the family and undermine Western Civilization. Mainly, it seems
to me they wish to be left, like everyone else, to live in peace and privacy to
enjoy the same rights as anyone else without being made to feel as if they are
Walking Abominations in the eyes of the law. These people are not alien life
forms – they are people, like you and me, with the same motives, desires, and
5. I believe we have a lot of work to do before things are just and fair between
the races, especially between black people and whites. Many black people begin
life with disadvantages and "40 acres and a mule" never happened. We owe a debt
that needs to be set right, at the very least through keeping programs like
Affirmative Action alive.
Also, the debt our nation owes to Native Americans is simply mind-boggling. How
many people would like to be reminded that Dahlonega and the surrounding
counties legally belong to the Cherokee Nation, illegally put on the Trail of
Tears and mercilessly marched out to Oklahoma? We can’t repair the damages of
history, but we can at least make attempts to "level the playing field" so
people do not continue to be punished by the past.
And yes, I believe in equal rights for women, equal pay, equal treatment -- the
works. Why? They're humans.
6. Drug addicts need intensive treatment, not (or not only) prison, and the
treatment needs to be medical and scientifically sound. Laws, jails, and
punishments alone do not cure drug addiction. Drug abuse, including alcoholism,
is a societal problem, not an individual’s moral failing.
7. I believe in unfettered freedom of the press. I believe in the separation of
church and state – their mixture destroys religion and turns a government
tyrannical. I believe in Habeas Corpus. I believe in trial by jury and the right
to representation whether you can afford it or not. I believe in the right of
privacy, that a person is sovereign in their person, homes, and property. I
believe the law limits government, even the Executive Branch (and, at this
point, perhaps most especially the Executive Branch). I believe that if the
government wants to search my property, tap my phone, get my phone or e-mail
records, or open my mail, they MUST have judicial oversight. "National security"
does not excuse just any action. I believe that the right wing has abandoned
each of these principles and that their capriciousness concerning each of these
threaten our country. Their party's shortsightedness and fear mongering threaten
you and me.
So, for these and many other reasons I vote for Democrats. The Democrats aren’t
perfect – neither am I – and their platform doesn’t always live up to my hopes.
And they are in a bad habit of nominating bland people or people without a
chance in Hell of taking major offices. And, yes, their last President had an
affair and lied about it. But if I had to take my choice between a philanderer
in the White House and a White House full of smooth-talking loose cannons using
the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as a doormat, excusing all
manner of un-American activity saying they’re keeping us "safe," I’ll take the
adulterer, every time.
But I guess that just sounds like something a crazy liberal would say.