Have You Voted Yet? If Not, Vote Democratic Party Today No Matter What

I’ve already voted.

That was last Wednesday morning, when the Farmers’ Market visited Madison for the second to the last time with their wares and veggies.  When I completed my week’s buys, I went over to the Clerk’s office in City Hall and voted.  That was easy.  Some states like Wisconsin are luckier than others.  In these times, there is always the possibility for voter suppression and intimidation, rather than voter’s choices.

I also voted straight Democratic Party except for a couple of cases.  One was not voting for the retention as Dane County Sheriff of David Mahoney.  Mahoney is running as a Democrat.  Reason: I was thoroughly disgusted and appalled with his handling of the shooting death of Eugene Walker, a just-released ex-convict who went ballistic over his former girlfriend leaving him.  Two wrongs–domestic violence, and then the police murder of a man clearly out of his mind, but unarmed–doesn’t make it right.  Even if the guy first beats up the sheriff’s deputy who killed him. I’m sure that this was not what his battered ex-girlfriend bargained for when she or someone else called the cops.  It wasn’t what his mother wanted either, who witnessed Walker’s shooting.

There seems to be a plethora of these kinds of cases where the cops shoot someone down like a dog because the guy’s deranged and probably needs some meds and to go back to the slammer. Then they justify it among themselves as saving the taxpayers’ money with the shooting, and say publicly that the cop/deputy didn’t know whether the guy was still armed, or did everything by the book.  I’m not wrong on this. So Sheriff David Mahoney doesn’t deserve my vote; I refuse to go lockstep into that madness. I’ve reserved the right not to vote straight Democratic by simply leaving a portion or two blank just to show my disapproval and protest.  The other Dem candidate I did not know very well, so I left it open, too.

I refuse to vote for Republicans, period. A Southern white mentality has taken over this party, thanks to Richard Nixon’s (and Pat Buchanan’s and Pat Moynihan‘s) shenanigans way back when, among other issues that I cannot stomach. They’ve given birth in turn to Faux Noise, Murdoch and Ailes, the right-wing punditocracy, the Christian Reich Wing and the Tea Party are all symptoms of this same mentality.  The Republicans are becoming a hate party, much like the Democratic Party after Reconstruction.  They’ve simply switched parties.  Don’t even believe the black stooges like Michael Steele (who I look to see jettisoned after the midterms) that things will get better if we only join them.  Even during Nixon’s presidency they were touting themselves as the party of Lincoln and trying to get blacks to join them.  Uh-uh.  Former GOP congressman now lobbyist J.C. Watts is proof against that idea, but he still spouts idiocies that social programs are the new slavery.  As if he knows what slavery really was.  There is only one black Congressional hopeful who stands a chance to win his race, and the others have complained of the lack of interest by the GOP in supporting black candidates both at the national and state level. As Tavis Smiley succinctly pointed out, the last time the year of the black Republican was proclaimed, it fizzled out.  No, the Republican-Tea Bagger Movement is solely an aggrieved white person’s movement.

Why do I vote Democratic Party?  My affiliation with the Democrats goes back to 1972, when I was 18 and I proudly voted for McGovern over Nixon.  I was also happy to be a Democrat for my deceased grandparents who thought Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the greatest president ever, although they probably didn’t know that his wife Eleanor was probably more pro-black (and pro-Jewish) than he was.  My grandparents and many other relatives were unable to vote.  I was also a Democrat because of Bobby Kennedy’s example–a willingness to change, a willingness to find allies–more than the assassinated president as well.

Since then, I’ve voted steadily and unrelentingly Dem, in local, state and Federal races.  I’ve held my nose and voted for presidential candidates that I didn’t feel enthused or uncomfortable about (Carter, Gore, Kerry, Dukakis), but the alternative was even worse to comprehend.   If I’ve voted for Democrats,  it is hard to leave something to which I feel emotionally, if not historically, connected.

These days, I have grown increasingly disgusted with former President Bill Clinton and his continual meddling, not only for his own self-aggrandizement but for his still politically viable wife, now the Secretary of State.  Since this episode with Kendrick Meek of Florida, I’ve become even more convinced that the Clintonistas still have a cold dead grip on the party.  The President, who was quoted as saying that he admired the Clinton Administration, put in many Clinton-connected people into office, as well as keeping Republican holdovers.  This was a mistake, in my view, as well as in the view of other Dems who had had it long ago with the Clintons and their Democratic Leadership Council and their New Democrats. The DLC has become nothing less than the Clintons’ platform to promote themselves and Republican Lite policies and strategies.  They are Democrats in Name Only.

I thought that President Obama would not only indulge in his admiration, but open up his administration to other points-of-view and other policies, and not just window-dressing.   But no.  The fix was in when it was revealed that he had bowed to Big Pharma over health care reform.  His arrogance, that he prayed to God at the Wailing Wall to show him when and where he erred, has taken him over. He’s unable to laugh at himself  or take himself to task for his choices, as when he said “heckova job” to Jon Stewart.   He even declared himself a New Democrat in 2009.  The politics and policies of twenty years ago has gotten him in trouble not only with the Repubs and the Baggers, and the grassroots Democrats, but with the American people.  What remains is the discovery of the blue dress. 

I am not saying that the President hasn’t accomplished anything.  He has.  A lot.  I also know that compromise is one thing, but selling out is yet another to those who loathe him and us.  Pandering to the likes of a Lieberman, and yet scuttling Shirley Sherrod? And we don’t hear a lot about what he has accomplished for Americans, thanks to the Right Wing Noise Machine.  Republicans dearly wanted him to fail; still others wanted him to die or threatened his life like a bunch of homegrown terrorists.  I wanted him to succeed, but not in this way.

As the real rats seem to desert the sinking ship, including the ones that added “hippie-punching” to the political lexicon, just who does the President have at his back, other than Michelle?  It may be black people, but even they are wondering whether he has their interests at heart as well, with staggering numbers of middle-class, well-educated and -trained blacks (as well as lower class blacks and youth) who are still out of work and/or losing their homes.

Voter suppression is back with a vengeance.  These people aren’t just intimidating blacks at the polling place, but in their own homes.  Check this from Mother Jones Magazine:

A voting rights lawyer has filed a complaint with the Department of Justice that elderly black voters are being harassed and intimidated at their homes in eastern Texas. Gerry Hebert, executive director of the Campaign Legal Center, submitted a complaint on Thursday to the DOJ claiming that at least seven elderly black voters “were being harassed by two unidentified white women” who visited their homes in Bowie County to question them about their mail-in ballot applications. The women are described as middle-aged, local Republican activists who had accessed publicly available information about which voters had requested mail-in ballots.

The complaint claims that the women showed up unannounced this week at the home of 78-year-old Willard Wherry, of Dekalb, who had voted by mail. The pair proceeded to grill Wherry about who had helped him to fill out his mail-in ballot, repeatedly questioning whether anyone had showed up at his home to assist him. “We are just trying to be sure no one is trying to coax someone to vote,” one of the woman said, according to Hebert’s complaint.

If you are going to vote, help someone to go vote themselves. If you see that someone (especially of color and elderly) is being harassed because they wish to vote and to vote Democratic, get in these people’s faces. Stand them down. They are bullies.

As indicated by the recent donnybrook regarding the Florida Senate candidacy of Kendrick Meek, pragmatism did not win out because it wasn’t called for.  Meek and his politician mother were long-time friends of the Clintons, and did not support Barack Obama in his bid for the presidency.  But Meek was practically dismissed in backstairs finagling by Bill Clinton and Charlie Crist.  Clinton (and perhaps Obama) don’t want to see a right-wing extreme case like Marco Rubio take this seat, so they tried to influence Meek to throw the race to Crist, a former Republican who has never indicated that he would caucus with the Democrats.

In other words, Crist would be just another Senator Joe Lieberman, happy to give the Democrats a knife in the back at the wrong moment, whereas Meek did everything right according to the book.  If Meek was going down, then he was going down in the pursuit of black Democrat aspirations and principles, and honorably. 

Now, how is that?  There have been only a few black senators, including Obama; it is easier for a black person to win a seat in the House than in the Senate.  It is one of the last “old boy” bastions on the Potomac.  A black man or woman as a U.S. senator is like a jewel in the crown, like the presidency.  So Clinton hung Kendrick Meek publicly out to dry, saying that Meek reneged on a deal to throw his support to Crist.  Whether Meek did agree, or whether he changed his mind so as not to disappoint his supporters black and white; or whether he too was upset about how little he was valued as a friend and ally, Clinton’s dealmaking with the enemy was appalling. 

This happening a week before the midterms may have stirred some of the Dem base and fence sitters to send a message back to the Clintonistas, to help Meek do better in this three-way election. This is the kind of betrayal, though, that made the rank and file Dems retch 20 years earlier.  Clinton’s kind of Democrat sucks up to Republicans or tries to outdo Ronald Reagan.  Just how long ago was the Reagan presidency? Whatever happened to loyalty to Democratic values, and sticking with Democrats to the end? 

Despite all the claptrappery that Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, Gingrich, and the ‘Baggers love to spout about a dangerous and organized Left, there is no such thing.  The spectacular days of the Weather Underground and other Sixties fringe organizations that only attracted a few (hundred?) adherents are long gone now.  McGovern’s electoral debacle in 1972, however, led to Watergate, and that famous bumper sticker that said the driver was from Massachusetts, the only state that the Dem standard bearer won. This vision of the New Lefties and hippies that supposedly took over the party that these media liars (and the DLC) always throw up to their rank in file and it cannot be further from the truth.  What they did in 1972 made the Party more inclusive by 1976.

The Democratic Left these days is far different than what Faux Noise wants to depict.  It’s a loose coalition of many interests.  Those who vote Dem also have their own individual causes that they support. Grassroots Dems would be known as Social Democrats in Europe in temperament.

Unfortunately, those who have possession of the purse have far more power than we do at the bottom. K Street is still humming. And thanks to the Supreme Court, more money is being emptied on Republicans from the banksters, the Koch brothers, and other corporate interests who are fed up with President Obama and his regulations and the tight restraints on business as usual.

I don’t think that it is going to be as bad a blowout as the Gallup organization is predicting. There may be some surprises and some squeakers.  I can only hope that Feingold and Barrett win; but Barrett, in my view, has some ‘splaining to do, especially about Milwaukee and the white flight suburban crowd that ignores the black community.   But if the Republicans do take power, watch for several things to occur: (1) the coalition between the Baggers and the Repubs to eventually shatter; (2) the eminences gris of the GOP to form a phalanx against Sarah Palin or even attempt to discredit her permanently; (3) the House trying to turn back any legislation or to repeal already standing legislation to help Americans; (4) the House attempting to impeach the President; (5) the extremist Baggers embarrassing themselves like Andrew Jackson’s so-called mud-caked and buckskin-clad legislators from “the west” (actually what is now known as the Midwest); (6) the Bagger contingent investigating the Obama White House from everything to corruption to his supposed fraudulent birth certificate. Of course, this is mild to what Devona Walker predicts, from privatizing Social Security to killing the food stamp program.

If an alternative party ever sprang up that was amenable to overthrowing the same old, same old of the two parties and had the support of other important groups other than progressives, then we’d really see something coalesce.  So far, however, that has not happened, even with the Green Party in the United States, which is rather benign compared to the feisty European versions.  That’s right.  There are several Green Parties in Europe, but no one there will be lumping them together if one faction goes violent.

Despite all, I stick with the Democrats, through thick and thin, through a lot of insensitivity, dismissal, and disrespect.  Add to that racism, sexism, and homophobia. It’s hardly the party of the Left that I would like to see, and I think many of us have long understood that it is not the man, but the ideals. It is the party that the Democratic Left turns to in the mainstream to keep alive and to achieve the unfinished and continuing business in the Republic, be it health care, job creation, marriage equality, veterans rights. We’ll fight on within the system. I will continue to vote as a Democrat until the next best viable thing does come together that has widespread appeal and accountability to Americans. Or, Buddhist gods be praised, the Democrats finally straighten up and fly…right, but I am not expending too much breath about this. Then, I’m gone.

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~ by blksista on November 1, 2010.

 
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