These are just some of the reasons that I cannot count myself among the Democratic party faithful. The Democrats are better than the Republicans, but the Spanish Inquisition was better than the Holocaust. It's nothing to cheer about. The Democratic vision for the future of the United States is not one of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (to steal a nice turn of phrase from the French). It is one of more equality, more fraternity, and more liberty in some areas, but not nearly enough. It is a future full of special interests and pork. It is a future better than the present but not enough better to be worth supporting unreservedly.
What's wrong with the Democrats? I don't have enough time to type out a full list of sins, so I'll pick a few choice ones at random. Perhaps the most concrete recent example is the way they behaved during the run up to the war in Iraq. Not only did they roll over like good little doggies playing dead when the Republicans shotgunned legislation authorizing the war through the two houses of congress (along with other fun little things like the Patriot Act and whatever the fuck else they wanted after 9/11) but they didn't even have the cojones to try and raise the level of debate to something resembling honesty. Iraq was never about weapons of mass destruction. That's just an angle they played up for the TV News channels because you can slap a nice graphic on it and talk about it in the same hushed tones that you talk about the local restaurants that may be mishandling your meat and making people sick. Why would it matter if Iraq did have those weapons? They didn't have anything like the technology to launch them anywhere near the United States, and despite the fact that Saddam Hussein's niece may have purchased a centerpiece from the same florist who sold a prom corsage to the ex-boyfriend of the cousin of a mid-level flunkie in Al-Qaeda, he wasn't going to give them to Islamic Fundementalists either. Fundementalists, including Osama Bin Laden, hated Saddam. He was #2 on their hit-list after the United States. Some people have claimed, post-facto, that we were concerned for Israel's safety. Israel can take care of itself with all the support we give it. It proved that when it bombed Iraq's nuclear reactor 21 years ago. I support our intervention in Israel's defense if there was an imminent threat, but the idea that Saddam might have some easily manufactured chemical weapons somewhere in his country hardly counts as that. Saddam Hussein was a crippled tyrant ruling over a decrepit country with a military so weak that it barely proved a speedbump on our way to Baghdad after we invaded. He was not a threat.
The invasion of Iraq wasn't about self-defense. It was about a few things. It was about oil, no matter anyone says to the contrary. The way we've behaved after the invasion proves that pretty incontravertibly. It was about establishing a foothold in the Middle East. Read up on the Wolfowitz plan, even if it does seem like something out of a Tom Clancy meets Stephen King novel. It was about doing something after 9/11, because Afghanistan (which actually made sense as a defensive action, seeing as how the Taliban was harboring Al Qaeda and refusing to expel them from the country) wasn't enough. We bombed some rubble, but we didn't overtake a recognizable dictator in a place that most Americans knew about. We needed to do something that felt concrete. It was also about finishing what Bush 41 started. Did the Democrats make this as clear as day? Some did, there were some who spoke out and I respect those individual politicians for that. As a whole, though, they chose to play it safe. They wanted Bush to hoist himself with his own petard so they gave him all the rope he needed. Then they acted outraged that the WMDs weren't there. The WMDs were irrelevant. Who cares if he had Sarin gas? We've got much worse stuff, and so does just about every important government on earth. Russia still has thousands of nuclear weapons and they're neither stable nor overly friendly. It was a total failure in moral leadership that the war in Iraq ever happened, and an even worse failure that it happened with so little outrage from our leadership. I think I lost the last vestiges of my political innocence there.
If the issue was just Iraq, I could get past that. Everyone has failings and failures, and after 9/11 nobody knew quite what the right thing to do was. It's not just Iraq though, not by a long shot. The Democrats have long been the party of pork, although the Republicans have surmounted them in recent years. I hate pork, hate it with a passion. Not just because it's stealing, but because it undermines all the other work that government has to do. Taxes are important for any democracy. The government needs to be well funded enough to execute it's various missions. Taxes are a necessary evil, though. When you take money from someone, backed up by force, you need to do something worthwhile with it. When you spend $50 million of it on an indoor rainforest, or on agricultural subsidies, which would be a bad idea even if they didn't cost anything, or military waste, or the millions of other things that government should not be doing, then you're betraying that person. You're taking their money for your own personal gain, and it's no better than robbery. I have no problem with reasonably high taxes, even above 50%, if they're necessary. I don't mind taking money from people to feed and educate children, or for the legitimate defensive needs of the country, even a little bit for public television and radio so that we can have a media channel free from the control of rich interests (even though there are certainly problems with government funded media.) When you take money for wasteful purposes then you make it much harder to justify taking it for legitimate purposes. When you tax unfairly, as we do, allowing the rich to hide their money offshore and avoid paying taxes through illegal schemes that the government won't unravel thanks to their political contributions. Well, how do you tell a family that's barely getting by that you're taking %30 of their money under those circumstances? I am ashamed of our government's waste, because I know that taxes are a huge burden and they do prevent people from leading better lives, in some cases from getting necessary medical treatment or education for their children. Government waste makes me sick to my stomach, and the Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans in this area. What a betrayal of the people.
Then there's the way the Democrats treat minorities. They're much better than the Republicans, as they actually pay attention to people without white skin or piles of green. That attention isn't always beneficial though. Welfare was a very problematic program that needed reform, but not the kind of reform that it got. Not the heartless anti-parent unreasoning reform the Republicans pushed through. The Democrats could have taken the lead here and offered constructive solutions, but they didn't. They pretended the problem wasn't real, that Welfare wasn't bad for the recipients (which it was in many cases) and they dropped the ball. The Democrats refuse to face up to the serious cultural problems among minority youth today. Discrimination is a major issue, but the issues Bill Cosby talks about are hardly minor. There's a disrespect for academic pursuits, hard work, and morality. Sex and violence are all too common and far too celebrated. Government shouldn't ban any forms of expression, even destructive and crude ones, but it can offer alternatives. It should also put a stop to the violence and fear, we need more discipline in the schools and more police on the streets in the neighborhoods where people are afraid at night. We also need to stop locking up people for non-violent drug offenses. That alone would free up the resources necessary to make an impact in other areas. I can see putting someone away for 20 years if he sells plutonium, but for Pot? The war on drugs is a war on black people, but it's popular among hypocrits so the Democrats support the so-called 'war.' It's a travesty.
On education they roll over to the unions and the courts, which have made disciplining children virtually impossible. The democrats haven't made an effort to fund the IRS or fight corporate welfare. Where's the discussion of inequitable distribution of transportation funds? Alternative energy sources? They are sprinkled in here or there but nothing ever gets done, even when they are fully in power. The Democrats are the better party, but they are not a good party. They are rife with corruption and moral weakness, just as the Republicans are. They don't have many dynamic leaders or exciting ideas. I support them begrudgingly, but they don't excite me or give me confidence. They're a step in the right direction. A single step.
I have a job interview at 2:30 today for a position that doesn't pay well but is at night, which I prefer. It's data entry, though, and I don't like data entry. 6 hours of mindlessness a night for $16 an hour, no benefits. That's what my degree is worth? I might as well hear them out, see if they'll offer me more or a different position, but I want to find something that I want to do. I did well in school and I'm a hard worker. I'm willing to put forth effort, do overtime, and I don't need much money so long as I'm not miserable at work. Ugh.
Theresa Heinz-Kerry makes me vaguely uncomfortable. I don't despise her or anything, but she comes off as unbelievably fake and she married her way to the top. She also used to hate the Democrats and I think she's disingenous about supporting them now. I assume she married John because she wanted to retain political power and he needed money. There doesn't seem to be any 'heat' between them. I can't judge, not fairly at least, but that's the feeling I get.
Yesterday there was a crack of lightning so bright and with so much thunder that it sounded like a building had exploded. It kept rumbling for like 10 seconds. Freaky. Car alarms were going off for the next 20 minutes. It sounded like Aliens were invading.
My friend's very responsible and professional girlfriend got fired from her job yesterday after 2 days there. Welcome to the Bush economy. I'm sure they'll note the job she held for 48 hours as one that they 'created.' Wonderful.