Thursday, June 14, 2007

Equal time

In US politics, I’m a Democrat. I’ve never voted for a Republican for president, but some years it would be fair to say I’ve merely voted against the Republican. That’s because I’m not a knee-jerk party loyalist. I’m about to prove that again.

I received an email newsletter from Democrats Abroad, which is a fine organisation. They try to find American citizens who are Democrats living outside the
United States, register them to vote, then help them to do so. Up until this president took power, they were also active in lobbying on behalf of the interests of Americans living overseas. Now, they’re far too busy to focus on much besides electing Democrats.

So I think they’re some of the “good guys”. But that doesn’t excuse this nonsense in their newsletter:

As predicted, our majorities in Congress were too slim to override President Bush’s veto and set a firm timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. But the war appropriations bill that was passed is not what Bush wanted: it holds him accountable for meeting milestones there—and aims to get us out. Yes, it is frustrating not to be bringing our troops home today, but Bush’s putting his name on a document that does not grant him imperial powers is, sadly enough, a real step forward. We have made this much progress only because you voted and spoke out. Please don't stop. Tell your senators and congressperson where you stand on ending the war in Iraq; they need to know. [emphasis added]

Are they serious? Bush got exactly what he wanted and, contrary to this propaganda, it does not hold him accountable for anything or to anyone. There are no real milestones, since they’re totally optional. “Aims to get us out?” How, exactly, do they figure that when Bush got everything he wanted and the American people—who elected Democrats to change things—got nothing?

To say that the war appropriations bill “does not grant [Bush] imperial powers” would be a hilarious joke if it weren’t so deadly serious—and wrong. Bush has, and continues to exercise, all the imperial powers he wants and, so far, the Democrats haven’t been able to stop him.

I’ve heard it argued that the Democrats are holding back as some sort of plan to take back the White House in the 2008 elections. Can someone please tell me why electing Democrats who say one thing then do another is better than electing Republicans who at least tell you upfront they’ll screw you and the country? I mean, really: Do we need a “Republican Lite” party?

I want a Democratic Party that stands for something and means it. I want a party that isn’t afraid to stand on principle, that has convictions, first of all, and then has the courage to hold to them even in the face of the lies and distortions coming from the right. I want a party I can believe in for a change.

Just because I support the Democrats, they can’t expect to get a free ride from me. I criticise the Republican Party because I believe they’re wrong in almost every conceivable way. So if the Democratic Party insists on being only a kinder, gentler version of the Republicans, they can expect criticism from me, too.

The fact is, there’s no way I’ll vote for a Republican for president in 2008 because I can’t stand any of their candidates. But what I want is to be able to vote for the Democrat, not just against the Republican. Is that asking too much?

I do agree with them about on thing, though: The importance of US citizens telling their Members of Congress to end the war. Tell them, especially if they're Democrats. Apparently, they need the reminder.

1 comment:

ReMARKable Palate said...

So do what I do every time, vote for the PERSON, not the party. Until we start realizing that voting for who we believe best represents our interests without regard to "electability" is the only thing that can change this seemingly entrenched 2 party system. Ultimately, who cares what they call themselves, if they don't do what they promise, they're all motherfuckers.