Custom Search

Friday, August 8, 2008

What Got Us Here

I'm about to admit publicly a fact that I've been hiding for many, many years. In 2000, I voted for George Bush. There. I said it. Now here's why.

My parents are in no way liberals. Abortion, for instance, is a major issue for them. My brother and sisters continue to rag on my father for voting for Nixon in '68. But a funny thing happened. America became more conservative, and as this sea change occurred, my moderate parents moved ever closer to the left.

My parents are New Deal babies. They believe a government has a social responsibility to its constituents. When Ronald Reagan became president, this philosophy was painted as radical. My earliest political memory is my grandmother, Irene, calling Reagan a 'damn idiot' during one of his State of the Union addresses. I stayed up to watch Mondale lose with my mother, hoping beyond hope that Reagan would not win again. I rooted for Dukakis in '88.

But then the Iraq War I happened. My father was adamantly against the war, but my sister Michelle, my mother, and I were impressed. George Bush and his aides had confronted a notoriously bad man and prevented him from attaining his wishes of regional domination. He also got us out immediately afterward, and did all of this with immense international support. Republicans couldn't be all bad, right?

Bill Clinton held the office for the rest of the '90's, and the idealistic teen I became was fairly disillusioned. I watched Rwanda happen, and our government did nothing. I watched Bosnia happen for years and years, and our government did nothing for the longest time. At home, I saw a president forced into mortal combat with an unyielding Republican majority in Congress. Nothing got done.

Then Bill did the Monica in the Oval Office. I was truly appalled. Looking back now, most of my anger was jealousy. I suffered from the pious self-righteousness of the 'not-getting-laid'. In '00, Al Gore ran a ridiculously awful campaign. I watched the whole thing thinking, "He's gonna let the boob son win. How is that possible?" Sickened, when I entered the booth I couldn't vote for anyone who had made such a fiasco out of a sure thing. Hey, Bush had Cheney with him and Powell, right? Just like the old days!

So I voted for George Bush.

Very quickly, I discovered the error of my ways and I intend on making up for that failure of conscientious citizenship.

But I was not alone. Millions of fellow Americans were similarly hood-winked. My father has developed a wacky conspiracy theory that the right is a concentrated, shadowy organization (a true Evil Empire) which developed plans hundreds of years into the future intending to disenfranchise the American citizen. I don't believe this, because I don't know how it explains the current disaster which is the Republican party. I do believe there is an industrial cabal, though, who intends to use the Republican party as a means to further their short-term, selfish goals. And I believe this has been going on for years and has reached its pinnacle in the George Bush II administration.

Thomas Frank agrees. In Salon, he discusses his great new book,
"The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule" , where he does all the research to reveal the greedy machinations of the forces behind today's Republican party. Frank reveals that an extreme, corporate, anti-government hatred existed before the depression. This from a 1928 pamphlet:
"The best public servant is the worst one. A thoroughly first-rate man in public service is corrosive. He eats holes in our liberties. The better he is and the longer he stays the greater the danger. If he is an enthusiast -- a bright-eyed madman who is frantic to make this the finest government in the world -- the black plague is a house pet by comparison."

The forces behind the Republican party still believe this. We must inform everyone that the Republicans are sock puppets of corporate interests who care very little about America's long-term well-being. Sure, the Democrats receive contributions as well from corporate America. But there is in no way the incestuous relationship between money, lobbyists, and policy as there is with the Republicans.

Do not repeat the same mistake I did. Inform yourself, and vote for the future.

No comments: