Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Damn Republicans and other jokes in life...

I don't often rant about my political leanings...I find as I grow older I am more tolerant of others' opinions (namely that they have a right to have opposing views than me, even if I don't agree), and I also find myself realizing that I LIKE my point of view, but I like talking about politics with EVERYBODY even more.

When I think of my first bent towards political anything, I find myself thinking about my Grandma, who died this February at the age of 94.

She would often hear me talk about something, whether it was political or not, and just shake her head with that "been there, heard that, done that" look that only age and experience can give you.

She had the luck of being born on the exact same day, in the exact same year as Ronald Reagan -- February 6, 1911. While President Reagan was President, apparently through the magic of computers and Social Security numbers, she received a printed White House birthday card, allegedly signed by the President.

I was at her house one year for her birthday when she got one in the mail, and she opened it, read it, rolled her eyes, and tossed it in the trash. I was a teenager at the time and oblivious to politics, so I thought it was quite an honor, even if it was a preprinted one.

"Damn Republicans," she said.

This was a first for me on two fronts -- first, that Gram never swore up til then in my presence, and second, I never knew where she stood politically.

I sure found out quickly that day just what she thought, at least I summed it up later.

I really think Gram, like many of her generation, appreciated the efforts of FDR to end the Depression, and that there were others along the line of her life like John F. Kennedy who must have struck a chord with her in their diligence towards bettering society, from Civil Rights to social programs that would stand up for the weakest among us.

Other than that -- I don't think she spent a lot of time thinking about how she would vote, just that she found Democrats more in line with her values as a poor person trying to get by and working hard through life.

As I have now lived through Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush II, I often wonder why our country leans so far left one moment, and so far right the next. I wonder how it is that so many people can swing an election so far one way one year (like Reagan's landslide victory in 1980) and then create such close calls as we've had in the past two elections.

I feel like I need to go take another Poli Sci class...Not just to learn about our system, which is so tragically polarized these days, but other systems like the Brits, who have the Stark Raving Loony Environmentalist Party, or something like it.

Well, I guess I can look on the brights side...at least Bush's ratings are in the basement. He's earned every bit of it, in my opinion.

No need to comment if you can't handle this post...There's nowhere I can go with this...just something I'm thinking about.


Tammy said...

Well, I live in a country where you can vote for the Marijuana Party and the Communist Party, not to mention any number of parties that want to separate from this country to make their own country. Needless to say, you have to wade through alot to get through to the stuff that really matters.

And having experienced the "reign" of a political party that barely has support from a third of the population here, but still gets to do as it pleases, including stealing millions of dollars from taxpayers with the front to keep separatists in the party, come to find out they were filtering this money under the table to their own political party to win campaigns, (my goodness what a sentence so far...lol) I am thankful that in the political structure of the US, at least there is an attempt for some checks and balances, for accountability.

But with that said (honestly not sure where that all came from, except we're facing another election here...sigh...) I do like to hear alternative points of view ad to discuss it if it is done thoughtfully and with respect. And I am like you, I no longer feel I have to get other people to believe as I do, as long as they have the respect to hear me out when they actually ask for my opinion.

And FWIW, the only time I heard my Grampa cuss was when he said "Damn Democrats" and I am not kidding you...

Thanks for always making me think...

Lauren said...

As we near the gubernatorial election here in Virginia, I've been scratching my head about this polarization myself. We have far left and far right and nothing in between. The two parties have become so powerful that thrid parties are rendered impotent and relegated to a campaign consisting of yard signs and church picnics. It's sad... it's infuriating... and I feel powerless to do anything about it!

I think that another part of the problem is the relative political ignorance of the majority of the electorate. I can count on one hand the number of friends, associates, acquaintences or colleagues who really understand the issues and what each of the political parties stands for. No one watched the debates here in Virginia... no one's read the platforms of the candidates... they're simply basing their choice on the television commercials (which have become vitriolic).

As you know, I used to be a card-carrying Republican. The reason I joined the party was because of its belief in the limited powers of the Federal Government. The reason I'm no LONGER a CCR is that the party has abandoned its roots and is running willy-nilly -- spending, spending, spending -- and has taken on the mantle of the far right wing wackos who feel it's their duty to convert everyone to their beliefs and mores.

Geesh... I think I should stop now... I feel my blood pressure creeping up! LOL

So... we have a "damn Republicans" and a "damn Democrats"... I'll go ya one better: Damn Politicians!

Love ya! Your semi-Libertarian friend... Lauren.

I think special interests should be OUTLAWED and lobbies SHUT DOWN! Let's get back to good ole grass-roots politics!


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