Friday, February 1, 2008

Time for A Change

Who else watched the debate between Clinton and Obama last night on CNN? If you missed it, you can find the links to download a computer or an ipod version here, or watch a special replay, Saturday, beginning 7 p.m. ET, on CNN.

I voted Republican all my adult life, because the first time I could vote in a presidential election, the Democrats offered us George McGovern and radical changes in the party planks. I reluctantly voted for Nixon, and was justly rewarded with shame when his true colors were revealed in the Watergate scandal.

Although I was born a Democrat, the offspring of workingmen and farmers up the ages, I have a strong stubborn streak, and maybe I'm just a slow learner - for certain I am gullible! Although I distrusted Reagan's social policies on the poor and helpless (regard the mentally ill being turned out of mental hospitals under his watch as California Governor), I also was afraid of the Red Menace, and like most of my generation, was sure Reagan would keep us safe from communism. I was proud of Reagan's support of Lech Wałęsa and Poland's Solidarity movement early in his first term of office, but Reagan's busting of the air controller's union strike made me nervous, although I told myself it was for the good of the nation. Later the historic fall of the Berlin Wall crowned Reagan's second term and seemed to justify my choice, and I stayed loyal to the Reagan ticket, with Bush (Senior).

After eight years of Clinton, I was economically comfortable and philosophically miserable. I believed the Republicans promises of compassionate conservatism, and voted for Bush. I knew I made a very bad mistake when he started out by trashing the protections for the National Forests, and appointing the anti-environmentalist, Gale Norton, to guard them. Still, I had hope for Congress.

Hope withered, soured, and eventually turned into a belated but furious outrage. Cronyism put the country at risk with a dingbat lawyer in charge of the vital Federal Emergency Management Agency, and exacerbated the disaster after Hurricane Rita. Hypocrisy, which had railed for years at Democrat Barney Franks, turned a blind eye to Republican Congressman Mark Foley's pursuit of teenage boys serving as pages in the House and Senate. The 'compassionate' part of 'conservatism' got left behind in vote after vote, as did the children and old people, the poor people and the laborers. Even the middle class lost ground under Bush and the Republicans. Tax breaks favored the wealthiest people in the country, while the poor grew poorer. One began to think of the French nobility enjoying their delicacies and luxuries while the workers went hungry. Food banks reported record numbers of users.

The fight against terrorists threatened to become a suspension of basic human rights with torture at Guantanamo and at Abu Ghraib, and violations of our freedom in the U.S. with domestic spying. The list of women and children injured or killed in the our attacks against terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq grew every month, giving me nightmares. Could our military forces be incapable of differentiating between armed combatants and children? The incredibly high rate of suicide among our military at this time says they also think it is very wrong - so wrong they have to choose whether to live with themselves or their orders.

We voted Democratic at the last election and helped put the Democrats in control of the Senate and the House. The Republicans might as well save their breath and their money in this presidential race: it is only a question of whether Hillary or Barack will be the next President. The only people left to vote Republican are such a minority in our country, that I think the Democrats will win with a landslide as great or greater than that of Reagan in his first term, and it is going to be a very cold day in Hell before another Republican sits in the White House.

The Republican's conservative movement is intellectually and morally bankrupt. They have have betrayed the trust of people who will not forget.

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