I’m going to admit something to you now that I usually do my best to avoid admitting. I’ve voted Democratic. Not too long ago even. Back in the heady days of the dotcom boom, I was riding high working in Silicon Alley, and things were great. Not just for me, things were great for the guy working at the deli. Things were great for my friends in the ‘hood. Everyone, from the porter at the gym, to my drugged-out friend with no skills seemed to be doing well; lifted directly, or indirectly, by the huge cash infusion that fed the rush to make money out of this new thing called the Internet.
By the end of the ’90s, things had started to go south, but we all knew that good times don’t last forever, at least those of us with a passing knowledge of the economic cycle. And when it came time to vote in the 2000 election, I, a man in his mid-20s, less interested in public policy than making something of myself, voted for Gore/Lieberman against Bush.
Like me, Lieberman was Jewish, and fairly moderate, or at least what passed for moderate in those days. The idea of a Jewish VP gave me a deep sense of pride. I didn’t really know much about Gore other than his wife’s involvement in the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) back in the ’80s (I was a big fan of the bands she wanted to censor), but Gore was part of the Clinton team and whether Clinton was responsible or not, the economy had been rocking and rolling through most of his presidency. I just wanted to keep things going as they were. I’ve never been moved much by social issues, but I’ve always been a big believer in capitalism, and the idea of some scrappy underprivleged kid being able to make something of himself merely by working harder and smarter than everyone else. Because, in fact, that was my own story. And to be honest, when Bush was elected, my mainstream media-fed understanding of the facts told me we were in deep trouble.
In fact, we were, but not in the way I thought. Some nine months after taking office, we were attacked by terrorists, and the buildings that I grew up sketching as doodles on the back pages of my school composition books were knocked down, along with nearly 3,000 of my fellow New Yorkers. Like most, I sat on my couch watching the events unfold on TV for days. The company I worked for in lower Manhattan was closed, because everything below 14th street was shut down; unheard of for a city that never slept before. We were, for the first time in my adult life, in a serious war for our survival.
As the reality of the events of 9/11 became clear, my feelings towards Bush started to change. Here was a man who understood just how badly we were hit, and he vowed to do something about it. I came away from his famous “megaphone” speech moved. Perhaps it was because he was pandering to me, but I felt this man had his heart in the right place and understood that we needed to fight for our way of life and our very lives.
I supported Bush fully when he wanted to go into Afghanistan; after all, the Taliban was there, and they helped the terrorists who attacked us. When Bush pressed to go into Iraq, I supported that too, just as I supported Clinton’s decisionto go into Iraq in 1998, just as I supported Bush Sr’s decision to go to into Iraq in 1991. To be honest, all the anti-war rhetoric being spewed at the time just seemed like partisan nonsense; I definitely didn’t recall any anti-war movement in 1998 or 1991, not to mention the endless UN resolutions pointing to Hussein’s nefarious endeavors. I recalled the Seinfeld episode in the ’90s, in which Kramer almost shits himself when he thinks he sees Saddam Hussein on a city street; everyone seemed to understand that this was one evil son of a bitch. Post 9/11, and with the broken-window theory in mind, such a despot clearly couldn’t exist anymore. Yet for whatever reason, the Democrats whom I had previously voted with seemed all of a sudden to have a real problem with our aggression in Iraq. I may not be the smartest guy in the world, but this seemed blatantly and needlessly partisan; disingenuous, especially given the new problem of Islamic terror that we were now dealing with.
Events continued to unfold. The Enron and other financial scandals, the tax cuts. The opposition Bush faced, the blame he received, just seemed completely out of line. Democrats, especially during the Clinton era, seemed to celebrate the private sector. They seemed to understand that increased regulations hurt the economy, that people, and not government, were the solution to the problems we face. But in the 2000s, Democrats seemed to change.
This was no longer the Democratic party of JFK, who believed in strong national security and lower taxes. This wasn’t the moderate Democrats of the Clinton era, who after losing the house in 1994, moved to the center, and worked with the other side to help the 90s in one of the great decades of our nation’s history. This was a Democratic party that couldn’t seem to stand by its own vote to go to war. In fact it seemed to disavow its vote, claiming it was coerced, or that the intel that everyone had was somehow manipulated, laughably, by a smirking George Bush in some back room somewhere. Despite any evidence, Democrats chanted the familiar refrain, that Bush lied and people died. Some went so far as to blame American foreign policy of advancing freedom as the cause of 9/11, and an even smaller minority actually blamed Bush for directly causing 9/11. All the while, our country was fighitng two conflicts against Islamic terrorists and the governments that spawned them.
Today’s Democrats are even further removed from the Democratic party I once voted for (well perhaps not, but more on that later). JFK, were he alive today, wouldn’t recognize Obama’s redistributive policies and disdain for the private sector. From, “Ask not what your country can do for you,” to “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” Today’s Democrats claim to be inclusive, while in the same breath, chastise those who cling to their guns or religion, or who practice the mormon faith. They use a homophobic term to describe the Tea Party, when the worst thing the GOP calls them is “liberal.” Anyone who dares object to paying for other people’s contraception and abortifacients, is somehow against women’s rights.
Today’s Democrats collude in the halls of our mainstream media, flat-out ignoring news that hurts their political chances, while overdoing it on anything that could be used against their opposition. Hard truths are cast as “gaffes” when spoken by Republicans, but flat-out dishonesty covered for when spoken by the left. Never mind the special responsibility the press has to report the facts as our fourth estate. Instead, when our media, 90 percent of whom vote Democratic, uses the term “fact check,” it’s just another opportunity to sell the liberal party line.
Today’s Democrats trot out words like fairness, meaning anything but: fairness to them is when the rich, who already shoulder most of the tax burden, should be compelled to pay ever more while a growing and soon-to-be majority segment of the population pays relatively little or nothing, or actually gets back more then they put in. Today’s Democrats turn an honest discussion about who should pay for contraception into a dishonest one about two futures: one in which if the GOP is elected, women will be sent back to the kitchens, barefoot and pregnant, with duct tape over their mouths and no control over their futures.
Today’s Democrats vilify business. They protest in front of CEOs’ homes, occupy public spaces, defecate on police cars and commit rape, all in the name of replacing capitalism with something “better.” While I grew up aspiring to be successful, today’s Democrats look upon success with scorn, as something to be viewed with suspicion. Today’s Democrats view Americans as one group of successful Americans, versus the victim class that simply can’t cope without liberal, government programs. Today’s Democrats believe that the pay of executives working in the private sector is actually the business of government. Today’s Democrats hold an ideology that is hurtful, not only to those who believe in these distorted views, but to the nation overall, and its future endeavors.
Today’s Democrats are egoists. They support their facebook celebrity of a president who would rather meet with DJ Pimp with a Limp and Letterman, than the PM of Israel. A man who as part of his relection campaign “store,” offers a flag of the United States, except modified to replace the stars with his logo, an unheard-of statement of disrespect to which no prior president would ever have lowered himself. Whereas other presidents respected this country and served it, this president respects himself and expects us to serve him. And in his and his followers esteemed opinion, the greatest accomplishment of this nation is in it’s election of him, not the transformation American-style freedom has had on virtually all aspects of the world we live in.
To today’s Democrats, white men are either ignorant or racist unless they vote in lockstep with the party. The founding documents are slavery-abetting evil and our founding fathers weren’t courageous for their time, they were cowards for not dealing with the issues of slavery and women’s rights, even though the truth is that they established the very idea of individual rights and laid the groundwork for slaves to be freed and women to be treated equally. Today’s Democrats claim to be tolerant, while expressing the utmost intolerance of anyone or anything that doesn’t support their view. Today’s Democrats are, plainly speaking, cynical, depressed, childish, and immature.
Worse, today’s Democrats are the ones who are truly ignorant. In all of their clamor for something different than American-style freedom, in all of their rhetoric of fundamentally changing America, they neglect the reality that their collectivist, statist views are precisely what our forefathers were escaping from, not to mention the hordes of immigrants who have come here since. They ignore that all of their solutions have been tried before, many, many times in fact, and all with horrible results for the souls involved. They avoid the fact that capitalism, free markets and the celebration of the individual, are actually what is truly new. They ignore the truth that fundamental change already happened a little over 200 years ago when this great nation was formed, and that one recession, no matter how bad, is hardly an excuse to change all of that.
Perhaps Democrats have always been this way, but it certainly hasn’t felt like it to me. Again, Clinton seemed to be able to cross the aisle and gain a modest amount of support from the other side. Democrats and Republicans alike agreed Carter wasn’t getting the job done, and helped to elect Reagan in a landslide. As a country, we’ve always seemed to come together, to do what’s right for this country, and based on the ideals of this country. Sure, there are always single issues voters and party die hards, but that’s true on both sides of the aisle and hasn’t really mattered. Until recently that is. In the admitted unscientifically reached view of this author, Democrats of the past never seemed to have as much disdain for America and all the possibilities it offers, as today’s Democrats seem to.
The media-deployed conventional wisdom is that the GOP has gotten more extreme. Silliness, when you consider who the GOP primary winner has been these last few elections. And at least per my own personal view, the exact opposite is true.
This isn’t your father’s Democratic party.