A Democrat’s Dilemma


Perhaps you have noticed (perhaps you have not) that I have not made many political posts lately.  There is a reason for this… but not an easily articulated one.  In its most simple terms, I’m a bit disgusted with the current state of politics in this country and haven’t the foggiest idea what to make of any of it at times.

I’ve been engaging in what can only be called “personal political introspection”… looking back at the who’s/why’s/what’s/where’s/how’s of my political views.  With the exception of my grandmother, my family was generally apolitical as I was growing up.

My grandmother was a hardcore Democrat and with the exception of my Mom, she was the person I spent more time with than any other.  She was also the person I watched the most TV with, news with and played Trivial Pursuit with… I stayed with my grandparents after school and during summers, most notably during the summer of “Luke and Laura” on General Hospital.  We would watch my grandmother’s “stories” and I would play in the backyard and look forward to my grandfather coming home from work so we could watch Scooby-Doo together.  During the news hour was when I would hear my grandmother going on about what a wonderful man Jimmy Carter was and what a monster Ronald Reagan was.  I recall her anger at Reagan referring to Gaddafi (sp?) as a “mad dog” and the USSR as the “Evil Empire”… I recall getting into arguments with fellow Cub Scouts over the Carter/Reagan election even though I had no clue what I was talking about (and I’m more than positive the other kids didn’t either).

As I grew older we still talked politics… but only she and I.  My Mom began asking my opinions on matters but usually deferred to whatever my Dad was voting on.  We both, my grandma and me, would commiserate on our grudging respect for George H.W. Bush, our love of Bill Clinton, our disdain for his constant attackers and our absolute hatred of George W. Bush.  She called him “fish mouth” for reasons I’ve never fully understood.  She died in February of 2002… sadly, she had to witness the horror of 9/11… but I was always grateful for being able to speak with her about it and gain some understanding through the benefit of her perspectives.

Hers was the perspective of a woman born in 1922 to a wealthy family… only to have that wealth wiped out in 1929.  Growing up in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, her brothers worked in coal mines, her father owned a speakeasy (and had one leg) and the community she was raised in was a community of mixed ethnicity.  Before World War II she worked for the Democratic Party and was one of the first persons to know of the attack on Pearl Harbor… whereas my grandfather was already in the Navy, heading out to war.  She was an FDR woman all the way… my grandfather’s politics were unknown until 1960 (he couldn’t vote until he left the military)… he voted for Kennedy.

My grandmother taught me much… the origin of hate, of racism, of small mindedness, of provincial attitudes.  Although she was not perfect in her own life, she taught me perfection of the human spirit… that we can become better than what we were and what we are.  I hate to think of what she would think of the state of American politics today…

Perhaps she would not think it is quite as bad as it seems… perhaps having the long view of time would aid her feelings of hopelessness and frustration with the direction things are headed… I don’t know.

When I met Mrs. Blahg, she considered me to be a bit on the conservative side… largely due to my support of police and the military (my grandfather was 20 year Navy, my Dad was Army and 30 year police… I’m biased, it’s true).  She was the one who subscribed to Mother Jones, I subscribed to National Geographic… and now that we have kids and my wife works all the time, I’m now the liberal bulldog and she supported John McCain for a short time (pre-Palin… she didn’t go off the deep end).  Again… all a matter of perspective.

I always considered myself a moderate Democrat… I believe in compromise… I understand we live in a representative federalism and all views must be taken into account and all must give as well as take.  But in late 2000, that changed for me.  I was no longer a moderate, according to our new president and the new world order of the neo-con movement, I was a hard core, left wing, unpatriotic and un-American liberal not worthy to chew the gum on Dick Cheney’s shoe.  In late 2008… we got hope.

Three years later… that hope has been squandered… and here is my dilemma… I am disappointed in my president.  Barack Obama came into office with the momentum of history and a will of the people to make the changes necessary… and for all the talk of how rotten the Republican opposition has been (and it has been unconscionable), and all the talk of what a miserable negotiator the President has been… what caused the most despondency in me was his recent loosening of EPA regulations regarding smog control.  He ignored the science, and caved in to political pressure, the very thing he promised us he would not do.  The straw that broke this camel’s back.

That is but one item on a laundry list of disappointments… not just with the President, but with my fellow Americans on the left… my fellow Americans on the right… and both sides insistence on giving equal weight to the fringe elements on both ends of the spectrum.  Tea Party?  Ignorant people making ignorant claims.  Truthers?  Pseudo intellectuals making specious arguments in favor of wackadoo conspiracies and backing attention mongering criminals (looking at you Wiki-leaks).

Where are the reasonable adults trying to do what’s right for the country?  To do what’s right for the people of this country?  Why shut down government and risk our international credit rating and economic well being of the world just to make some minor political point?  Why cave in and not stand up for what we believe in?  I don’t understand.  Where are the leaders we need for the Twenty First Century?

It is that lack of understanding that is causing me concern… if my grandmother were alive I would seek her counsel… has it been this bad before?  What does it take to get out of this national funk we seem to be in?  Are we as a people more ignorant, lazy and self aggrandized than we were in the past?  I, and I believe, we have lost our perspective.   When elected officials take it upon themselves to claim that experts in their fields, whether they be scientists, educators, firefighters, police, etc., don’t know what they are talking about and some businessman from Podunk Shitsville does… when down is up and left is right… what are we to do?  Do we glorify ignorance while at the same time expecting everyone to get a college education?  For what?  To denounce that education in favor of greed?  Money?  The destruction of the environment?  Why?

I have no answers… I have questions, concerns, fears and worries… I have a dilemma.  What is a Democrat to do when his party has become a mouse in the face of idiotic elephants?

E Pluribus Unum,
Cornelius J. Blahg

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