January 17, 2006

To Be Right, Think Left

When I was MUCH younger, I was a died-in-the-wool Republican. I wrote Ronald Reagan when I was a few days short of my 10th birthday, telling him he was doing a wonderful job, that he should wish George Shultz well in the Mid-East peace process, and I openly rooted for Jesse Jackson to win the Democratic nomination against Dukakis, as in my immortal words, "he didn't stand a chance against Bush." Of course, given that I ended my two-page letter by begging the jelly bean bearing septuagenerian for his massive horde of canceled stamps to increase my own collection, my focuses weren't exactly grounded in sound politics.

As I grew older, I was an on the fence political player, voting for the best candidates, regardless of party. It seemed often the Republicans would have interesting options, and at other times, the Democrats stood for those things I was looking for. But by 1992, things had irrevocably changed. The Republican party was not the party of common sense at all, but grounded in right-wing fundamentalism, religious warfare and cronyism. Clinton did some fantastic things while holding office, but didn't have the benefit of a Democratic congress for long, and was stymied through real and faux scandals like no other president in our history.

As we know, his foibles helped aid George Jr's ascendancy to the top step, and for the last six years, we've had to be overwhelmingly embarrassed, frightened and offended by what's gone on in Washington. The idea that such a shady cast of characters could single-handedly more than roll back decades of good will both domestically and around the globe is astounding. The clear ignorance of consequence and knowledge of history is dumbfounding, and scary to behold as we see things go more and more off-track - with very real allegations of lies and deceit coming from every direction, whether it be a made-up costly war under false pretense and wacky ideology, or a silent war against our own citizens through wire-tapping, artificial no-fly lists, and infiltration of private groups. I fear that even if the Democrats were to take over both houses of Congress and elect a presidential candidate, it will take decades to undo the damage, and we may never recover. The unabashed excesses of violence we have inflicted in the Arab states has surely created more hatred against America than ever existed before it, and we may be forever defending ourselves against new enemies at overwhelming personal and financial cost.

We need change. We need it now, and I don't think we can wait until 2008 to take a chance in trusting the foolish American electorate again.

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