I’m a Democrat, and pretty much in the “Progressive” category of this tribe.
I don’t know exactly when I became a Democrat. Both sides of my family are German-Lutherans, weekly church-goers, including three uncles, a Dad and a Granddad as ministers, so through and through conservative but not particularly political. The only specific political discourse I remember as a child is from a grocery-store-owning godfather who at every dinner would exclaim how much he hated Truman.
And when it became my opportunity to vote, I just checked the box for whomever I happen to “like” at the time, without deep convictions. But recently I’ve been trying to remember at what point I “became” a Democrat – signing on the proverbial dotted line you might say.
It probably happened with a vote for JFK, since when you’re young you’re often a hero-worshipper, then for LBJ (though I hated and actively protested the Viet Nam war), and have voted for all the Democratic aspirants to the White House ever since.
I still don’t have much of a political “philosophy,” if philosophy is even the right word here . I think Democrats tend to support “workers” rather than “bankers” (pretty loose categories, I admit) and we’re usually on the side of historical movements that have pushed Americans forward (rather than hanging on to some hidebound status quo) – particularly when it comes to civil rights.
So I am especially happy these days, not just with Joe Biden, but with the group of young progressives tackling systemic racism; pushing for single payer healthcare (which is and should be considered a basic human right if we are going to have true equality in this country); and a humane approach to immigration, legal or otherwise.
And in the current run-up to November 3, I keep wondering what makes a Republican these day, and have questions about what a Republican really stands for — in particular, a philosophically-grounded conservative Republican who still intends to vote for Donald Trump and other GOP candidates.
Question #1: How can a Republican support the party’s wave of attempts to limit voting in the upcoming election?
Voting – each United States citizen given the right to select those who will make decisions for them – is the foundational American right, the basis of America’s power. But by default, those proposing restrictions on voting do so by claiming an attempt to reduce voter fraud, an obvious canard, since having no evidence that voter fraud is either widespread or in any way even slightly significant.
So how does a Republican rationalize form of “patriotism” – especially those with a conservative philosophy and belief in a Constitution guaranteeing this right to all?
Question #2: How can a Republican support someone who says that climate change is a “hoax,” and has done everything possible to eliminate the regulations designed to slow global warming?
With the overwhelming agreement by climate scientists that climate change is real – and currently putting us on a tipping point from which it will be hard to recover – how does one deny the increasing occurrence of rising seas, worsening storms, flooding, and out-of-control fires, reported on a daily basis?
Though we are not yet experiencing the very worst, most cataclysmic of these effects today, they are inevitable in terms of how they will impact our grandchildren, our great grandchildren, and all those children around the world.
So how does a Republican support someone who simply doesn’t seem to care, that doesn’t feel it necessary – even if global warming is a hoax — to do whatever necessary to work for cleaner air, cleaner water.
Question #3: How can a Republican support someone who obviously has so much distain for women?
The president of course denies each and every one of the allegations against him by women who claim he has abused, even raped them. But there are just too many of these accusations, too often verified, to be so easily denied – especially when he has frequently admitted his own bad behavior. And then there is simply the pattern, the pattern of denigrating and insulting women, the pattern of disgusting misogyny.
So how can a Republican vote for someone who is saying to the men of this country – brothers, husbands, sons, grandsons – that this how you treat your sisters, your wives, your sisters, your mothers, all women?
Just wondering . . .