Friday, June 30, 2006

Politics, Policies, Parties ???

I've been thinking about Parties and what they stand for and I have to admit to some confusion. I do not mistake Democratic Party of Oregon with the general voter who puts a "D" on his registration or the politician who puts a "D" on his filing, but I also cannot get away from the idea that a Party and it's candidates ought to have something in common. I used DPO as an example because I'm active in it, but really I'm talking about Parties in general.

I remember when Republican meant being fiscally conservative and advocating less government (sure, I've also read that they were once radical enough to contain A Lincoln) and actually running campaigns on that. I hear the words occasionally, but never see the action. Somehow fiscal conservatism now means no millionaire left behind and less government means more governmemnt intrusion into people's lives while the mechanism goes to hell. I can intellectually understand Republican aversion to Minimum Wage Law and equally argue against it, but I cannot understand how Republican and the last 6 years of administration coexist. If I had put an "R" after my name as a voter on the basis of my definition, I'd be in open revolt. Funny thing is that in my converstions with "good Republicans" and reading of their "stuff" I don't see it.

Democrats seem to be in revolt, something 40 years of history says is usual, but where that revolt is going I sure don't know. DLC seems to be divorced from any reality I can make out, they can't win elections but they propose and act on policies that seem based only on being more Republican as a vote winning strategy, but ignore actual Democratic policies that could win votes. Civil Liberties used to be a Democratic Party mantra, then along came Gun Control and Organized Crime and suddenly those Civil Liberties were disposable. Now when the Republicans are trampling on some of them the Democrats can't seem to make the case that ALL Civil Liberties are important, they're still caught in the dilemma created by having concern for some and not others. Instead of making a case that freedom of religion is about protecting religion from government, they now want to run around touting their "faith." The Republicans have offered a clear and obvious case of the danger to religion through their governmentalization of it and the response is "we need the 'value voter' on our side."

Since that play is obviously for the "Christian" vote my question is does a policy of protecting and uplifting the poor and powerless need God dragged into it? Or is the problem that there isn't such a policy? If the ideals of Christ are a basic part of your policy shouldn't they sell to the Christians? If they don't sell to the voters you want, then who exactly are they? Are they the Old Testament thumpers of the Republican's Religious Right? Exactly what use does the Democratic Party have for that bunch? I'm sure it would elevate the Party to include those who dress up hate, intolerance, and superiority in religious garb.

Somehow, I don't think I'm being stupid or unfair about this. If you believe that a part of government's business is to provide a level playing field and to mitigate some of the consequences of wealth and power then being a Democrat ought to be an obvious choice and vote. If it's not an obvious choice then there's a failure on the part of the Democratic elected officials. No they can't adopt into law those policies when they're completely in the minority, but they can be very public in their desire and their opposition. They can quit being gentle about it, there's no politeness in the Republican public stance regarding Democrats, their policies don't "favor" the rich, they're all about the rich and powerful, they're a crushing blow to the poor and powerless and an example of the worst abuses of managed capitalism. Plain speaking and plain language can reach the electorate, hedging and equivocating leave them cold.

You could say, " You're 11% shows how well that worked for you," but the actual case is that I did a poor job of getting my word out, a result of being a neophyte, starting late, and political poverty, and isolation. What that 11% actually shows is that plain speaking and plain language overcame the disadvantages, a campaign that well run should've gotten 1%.

With a 99% incumbent return the real miracle is that any of those people stay connected with the electorate and that any of the electorate thinks there's a reason to vote. If you listen to the elected officials their divorcement from reality is obvious and you start to wonder if they've got the only job they could get. How exactly is Rick Santorum fit to be elected to something beyond the Grand Poobah of the Exalted Order of Duh, much less returned? Push your candidates to talk to the electorate like they have brains and can take the truth, and to take actual real stands in real terms.

There really is a limit to how much more stupidity this country can absorb in it's law making. At some point the citizens will just quit voting. The government will get out of control. The social and economic contract will be completely broken. We will become a 3rd world nation of serfs and plutocrats, and most horrifically, one that's armed and pissed off.

For the sake of all of us, vote. If you don't belong to a Party, ie Independent, join a Party and affect who get's nominated in the Primaries. The solution isn't to have to pick between other people's choices, the solution is to pick the candidate and get him elected, a candidate who stands for something and will continue to stand for something. Things are running downhill fast folks, the time for disengagement is long past, there is no intellectual purity in standing apart from the "system" it won't stand apart from you.

You think I'm only talking to Democrats? Hey Republicans, how did you ever wind up with this bunch? Same way. Same stuff, alienate enough citizens that they become non-voters or Independents. I know I'm shouting into the wind, but at least I'm shouting...