Saturday, April 7, 2012

So Who Moved?

I have been a Democrat ever since I was old enough to vote. Growing up in the strong Union town that was 1970’s Akron, Ohio, there was nothing surprising about that. Akron was a Democrat town.

But it wasn’t just geography that made me a Democrat. My political beliefs have always been aligned with that party. I believe, for example, that how we treat our poor is important, that business isn’t concerned about the public good (they’re concerned about making money), and that war should always be as a last resort. There are many other positions that, if I were to illuminate, would just make me even more Democrat. I have consistently held these beliefs even as I have moved up the economic ladder, and even as I have moved into middle age. So I have been consistent for over 30 years.

What has not been consistent is how I, and on the macro level, the Democratic Party, has been viewed through the years. In the 1970’s we were the majority. In the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s we were often the minority. In the George W. Bush years of the 2000’s we started to become marginalized, especially those of us who were against the Iraq War, as anti-American. After Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, we were considered left-wing propagandists. When the Republicans won control of the House of Representatives through Tea Party support, we were radicals.

From the voice of the majority to, 30 years later, the far fringe. But the funny thing is, as I pointed out earlier, I didn’t move. So who did?

Kewpie Doll for you if you say the Republican Party.

Republicans have become the well-oiled weathervane of American politics, ever shifting to cater to wherever the prevailing winds are coming from. Now, I get that – to an extent. But what has happened to them is an outright hijack of their party by a true fringe movement. The Tea Party. A movement that came about under dubious pretenses – the election of a black president, fueled by dubious assertions – that said black president is going to ruin the country.

Well, four years later and we’re still standing. Quite better than in 2008 for that matter.

But that’s not the point I am trying to make here. The Tea Party is what they are, and by my count, that’s about twenty percent – at best – of the electorate. And twenty percent of vote in any election makes you, guess what – a loser. Every time.

So I don’t blame the Tea Party for what they are. They have their beliefs and they are entitled to them. Who I blame is the party that has pandered to them, and in the process has moved violently to the right. Want proof? Here you go –

There was once a president that had strong beliefs and a strong vision. He was very popular and served two full successful terms. But even he knew that, in order to get anything done in Washington, compromise had to happen. Legislation that served the interests of both Republicans and Democrats had to occur. This president raised taxes. This president raised defense spending. This president exploded the deficit.

This president was Ronald Reagan.

The same Ronald Reagan that today’s Republicans reverently refer to. The problem is, in today’s political climate, Reagan would not win a single primary, let alone nomination by his party. He would be branded as a Socialist conspirator who not only acknowledges the other side of the aisle, but actually works with them. Today’s Republicans do not take kindly to such traitorous actions. Current-day Republicans do not compromise. They do not budge. They have become the embodiment of far-right dogma. A large chunk of their supporters not only do not accept Obama as president, they believe he is a Muslim. Another large chunk do not even believe he was born in the United States. Folks, agree with me or not, but that is the definition of radical, fringe thinking. If you believe that the president is illegitimate, the radical is you.

As a result, we Democrats (remember us?) have been, in their eyes, moving father away.

But we aren’t the ones who have moved.

Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. And in this current political climate, a vacuum has been created by the Republican’s violent move to the right. So someone has to step into and fill that vacuum. It won’t be a Republican. They’ve been hijacked and hamstrung catering to a percent of the electorate that cannot elect anything.

So I will make this prediction now, and check back in November for confirmation. Barack Obama is going to be re-elected. And it won’t be because of Acorn, voter fraud or other concocted conspiracies. He will win the same way he won in 2008. With a solid majority of sane people.

The Republicans created the vacuum, and Obama will fill it.


Moxie Dawn said...

And it was the Republican Party who pushed through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, so who were the liberals and the racist/conservatives then? To suggest the Democrat Party hasn't also changed personality over the decades isn't completely accurate. So what does that mean? It means that people like you and all the others who have stood steadfast by certain beliefs and principles over the years should stop worrying about the party label that a handful of manipulators like to pin on all of us. Those same people who try to convince us that we should hate our neighbor or our family member because they voted the other way. The same people who put forth the myth that ordinary, real Americans are truly divided. Ordinary, real Americans may indeed vote Republican sometimes and vote Democrat at other times, but we are NOT that far apart on the things we all hold most dear.

Don't be duped by the party labels. That's what keeps them all elected.

Jerry B said...

There's a difference between 'changed personality over the decades' & a violent, sharp turn to the right. It's stupid politics since it creates a huge opening for your opponent. I cannot understand the Repub strategy of essentially abandoning the middle in favor of the evangelical, faith over science, fringe vote. Are they purposely trying to make themselves irrelevant?