"We're right, they're wrong."
- James Carville
Well, James, you got it at least half right. They're wrong. I'm not so
sure about us anymore, though.
Hell, I'm not even sure who "us" is, anymore. Folks who've followed my
campaign rants over the last couple election cycles will know that I've
been a highly partisan Democrat for as long as I've had any political
opinions at all. Like I always say sometimes, I was 16 before I knew that
the holy trinity wasn't the father, the son and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
It was an article of faith in the house I grew up in - if you work for
wages, you should be a Democrat. If you care about civil rights and civil
liberties, you should be a Democrat. If you're anything other than a
rich, old, white, Protestant male, you should be a Democrat.
Why was that, exactly? Well, there were reasons, once. It was
Democratic politicians that supported collective bargaining legislation,
minimum wage legislation, civil rights legislation, environmental
protection and a host of other things seen as good and progressive by all
right thinking people, meaning those who had access to the inspired wisdom
that led to agreement with me, of course. Sure, Democratic Presidents had
a bad habit of dragging us into wars, but, hey, defense workers need jobs
too. And granted, not all Democrats supported all the right things all
the time, but there were enough that did to get some good things done, and
to make continued association with the party seem like a good thing
Were. Big word there. These days, it's hard to tell the difference
between the parties on most of the issues that created the Democratic
coalition. Sure, there are some rhetorical differences on reproductive
choice, gay rights and some other ideas that have come to the table fairly
recently, but what's actually been done on any of those fronts lately?
And can the Democratic Party still hold itself out as the party of working
people? Is there still a commitment to civil liberties at the top levels
of the Party? Is there even a slender thread of reform or progress in the
fabric of the 21st century incarnation of the the Democratic Party?
Not so's I can see, I'm afraid.
And I've tried. It's finally reached the point, though, that my
rose-colored specs have been completely clouded by the smokescreen laid
down by the Clintonian wing of the party as they try to pretend that the
whole GATT/NAFTA/WTO web of international corporate welfare is good for
American workers, good for the world environment, good for anything at all
exept the expansion of the wallets of those rich, old, white, Protestent
males that I always though were Republicans. In order to see anything at
all, I had to take off the specs, and the reality of the Democrats today
is not a pretty sight. Civil rights and civil liberties have disappeared
in the wake of the race to wage the biggest, baddest War On (some) Drugs.
Working people? Give me a break. There's not the least bit of tangible
concern about the increasing disparity in wealth in this country. If you
haven't got what it takes to become a dot.com millionaire, well, then your
daddy better be rich already, or you'll be spending your life pouring
lattes for people who already got theirs. The rare voice in the Democratic
Party that raises any concern about these kinds of issues is marginalized
mighty fast. It's reached the point that a centrist like Bill Bradley was
painted as the great hope of the left in the primaries. What they meant
is that in the Democratic Party, there's no left left.
The problem is, we may not be right anymore, but they're still wrong. If
the Democrats are reduced to paying lip service to the people they need
for success, well, the Republican's won't even say something nice while
they put it in.
So what's a progressive voter to do? Well, since winning doesn't seem to
make much difference in what happens, maybe its high time to re-examine
the old theories that argue that a third party vote is a wasted vote.
Maybe the only way to win is to say no to the whole damn Repulicrat mess,
and toss out the Demublicans at the same time.
Next month, calling Mr. Rader....