Friday, December 24, 2010


I have always considered myself politically independent, but I became involved in politics this fall.  I really wanted to see Jim DeMint defeated as senator, and I also hoped the Democrats would hold onto their margins in the House and Senate so that we could continue to pull out of the national disasters (wars and financial irresponsibility) brought about by the previous administration.  I sent money to candidates; I volunteered at the local Democratic Headquarters; I sent money to the DCCC; I called registered voters; I sent more money to the DNC; I canvassed local neighborhoods; I went to rallies for the Democratic candidate for Governor.

And it was all for naught.  Worse than that, it was a disaster.  I should know enough to stay out of politics - that is, if I really want a candidate of my choice to win an election.  I have voted in every presidential election (and in most mid-terms) since I first became eligible to vote in 1958.  And not one of the presidential candidates I voted for - in my first three decades of going to the polls - won an election.  Not until Bill Clinton was elected in 1992 did a candidate I favored actually win.  (A colleague at the time said he hoped I’d vote for Clinton, because that would be a likely sign he’d lose.)  I must be totally out of synch with the American public, or else my criteria differ from those of most folks when it comes to choosing public servants/officials.
After George Bush was elected in 2000, I was heart-sick; I had a bout of despair like I had not felt since Kennedy was shot. In a lament over the phone to my sister, I said (with the kind of understated sarcasm that few non-Midwesterners understand):  “The American people finally got the president they so richly deserve.”  I hope Sarah Palin doesn’t pull a George Bush.  It could spell doom for our country as a significant world power.  We might become the Great Britain of the Western Hemisphere, glorying in our past while drinking beer and watching our favorite entertainment.

In the 2008 primaries, I initially favored John Edwards, and when he left the race, I put my support (and money) behind Hillary Clinton.  Of course, I voted for Barack Obama in the election, and was glad he won, but I was afraid he would get macerated by Washington politics.  In this past (2010) election, I supported several upstanding candidates; two of them were defeated in the primary, including a prospective democrat who might have had a chance against Jim DeMint.  I didn’t vote a straight ticket in that election; I don’t believe I ever have.  But it was especially painful not to be able to vote for a viable democratic candidate for senator.  Other excellent candidates for non-partisan offices were also defeated, and I wondered if that was because a great many of the voters simply pulled the straight-ticket lever.
I believe it was Winston Churchill who said something like:  Democracy is a terrible form of government, but it’s better than anything else that’s been tried.*  So I guess we’re stuck with it.  But I think I’ll just try not to show enthusiasm for future political candidates.  I don't want my support to be a curse.
*The actual quote is:  No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

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