Monday, September 26, 2005


Why Are Democrats Democrats

A couple of weeks ago Melinda Henneberger in Newsweek Online expressed the sentiment - "I still dare to hope Democrats may yet remember why they are Democrats, though."

This reminded me of a farmer I knew who passed away a couple of years ago. At the time of his death, the farmer had a net worth of approximately $10,000,000.

This man was a devout Catholic. He once paid $10,000 for a signed photograph of the Pope to hang on his wall. Every Sunday and holy day of obligation, he could be seen at Mass. At the times he was too ill to attend he would watch a Mass on television. As prescribed by the Church, he did the sacrament of Reconciliation, etc. He refused to attend his daughter's wedding because she didn't get married in the Catholic church. A little much but illustrates my point on how seriously this man took his religion.

During Bill Clinton's campaign for a second term I asked him if he know that Clinton and the Democrats supported a woman's right to abortion. He did not. I told him that I wasn't voting for Clinton because of this and other reason. The farmer replied that he was voting Democrat because "everyone knows that the Democrats have done more for farmers than the Republicans ever would."

Politics is very much a game of power. Most politicians are politicians because they want to be in a position of power. The paradox of democracy is that to have power you have to convince a majority of the people to allow you to have that power. One really good way to do that is to take money from someone (the evil rich and evil corporations) and give it to someone else (groups of people that exist in large enough numbers to enable you to win an election if they vote for you).

Thus, many are Democrats because they believe that if they vote for Democrats they will get something for nothing, a free handout. Of course, the Democrats elected to power have to make sure these people never gain true independence because they (the Democrats) would no longer be able to lure their votes by promises of free money and other handouts. Farmer, "poor" people, whomever, the Democrats are trying to by their votes except for those in the top 5% of income.

For some, the fun of being a Democrat is living in an expensive house, in a lily white suburb shielded from the masses, getting rich off these same corporations you criticize while you pontificate about the evils and selfishness of others. And pretending you care.

The reason I'm a Democrat can be summed up in a statement by the most progressive governor Georgia ever had. Zell Miller said "Not everyone can be born rich and handsome, and that's why we have a Democratic Party." I just wish that old line Southern Democrats like Zell Miller and Sam Nunn had stuck around to fight against the crazies on the left side of the aisle instead of letting them take over the national organization.

The reason most people vote for Democrats is because Democrats aren't Republicans. Now, that's not a very constructive platform, I'll give you that, but we've still got a 50-50 split in the country.

I'm a Democrat mainly because I'm a rebellious youth who grew up in a very Republican and conservative hometown. I was exposed to the very worst of the right wing at a very early age, and we were able to idolize underdog liberals throughout history. I sure don't vote for Democrats because I want something for nothing, and my taxes sure haven't gone down since Republicans took office!

There are good eggs and bad eggs on both sides; and I'd vote for good, American Consensus style conservative or liberal candidates over any ideolouge on either side. John McCain would make a great Republican President. Bill Richardson would make a great Democratic President. Niether may ever get the nomination, and that's the real sad thing.

But I can see why you'd think that Democrats are all living in the expensive houses, what with the ones that are usually on TV. I can tell you with complete honesty that most Democrats (and even, for that matter, most Republicans) I know are renters or are first time homebuyers, working 40 hours a week and trying to get ahead. And of all those cats I know, they always think it's the other side living in the big expensive homes.
I have a lot of respect for Zel Miller. He's an old line Democrat that I used to be. U.S. News & World Report once defined these people as ethnic conservatives.

I fit in this category quite well. To bad this group isn't a stronger part of the Democratic Party any more.

Part of the reason I'm conservative is that, although my hometown is strongly Republican, I grew up in a very liberal family. I saw tremendous hypocrisy.

Criticizing the rich simply because they were rich. Complaining that auto manufacturers don't make cars that get good enough mileage. Accusing the government of not doing enough for the poor. Etc, etc.

All the while they were getting rich and doing little or nothing to help the poor or even struggling members of their own families. Driving big cars that get poor mileage. Getting rich working with big corporations.

None of this would bother me except except the contradiction between them and their professed beliefs.

One well known ranting liberal blogger has made a lot of money writing and selling software to banks (big, bad corporations), lives in a $300,000 house (about 5 times the median value where he lives), drives a car that gets 18 mpg highway and lives in a lily white neighborhood (used to live in a gated community) and rants against the corporations, rich, wants higher CAFE standards and "gas stamps" for the poor. Married, no children. I know him quite well, basically a good guy, but to my knowledge does nothing significant personally to help the poor or act in other ways consistent with his philosophy except rant.

Give the right candidate I would vote Democrat as quickly as Republican. I did vote for Michael Dukakis and George McGovern. But the far left of the Democratic Party is too far left for my pleasure and I don't believe all these "Great Society" programs are working. In reality, the programs create a greater dependence by the poor on the government and make it harder to pull one's self up from porverty which is really the only way anyone escapes poverty.
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