My political past is somewhat checkered. When I was 7 years old my parents had me out with them collecting signatures for Wallace. That’s right, George Wallace. I wasn’t old enough to understand what I was doing, but I did develop a love of political involvement. I take my politics seriously.
Being from the South, my heritage was that of working class Democrats. My parents were staunch independents and were somewhat taken aback when I went “backwards” and registered as a Democrat, though they eventually followed my lead and my Mother in particular was a darling of the Democratic fundraisers during the Clinton years. In the last election, all three of us were delegates to our state Democratic convention. It was the most disappointing experience of my life. It was obvious that many of the items we were there to vote on had already been decided in back rooms. There was an air of collusion in the way votes were counted, and it was obvious that some of the decisions announced were not according to the actual vote. The higher in the organization, the less it mattered. It wasn’t a great leap to make the connection that the Powers That Be have things pretty well sewn up long before the national conventions. It’s all theatre.
Long before the vote in the 2000 election, the Big Boys were losing me. I was appalled that Nader and the other Presidential candidates were not allowed to participate in the debates. If your name is on the ballot, you should be allowed to challenge the other candidates. That’s the most basic behavior in a Democracy, and I was stunned when it was limited to the usual players. Imagine what Nader’s percentage of the vote might have been if he had been allowed to challenge George and Al up front!
The election that followed was a nightmare. The Democratic candidate I had worked so hard to promote suddenly started sounding suspiciously like a – dare I say it – Republican! Gore started attacking Hollywood for violence and sex in movies. When did Democrats start championing censorship? Weren’t we supposed to be the party that defends all civil rights, including free speech? He never brought Clinton into the campaign at all, even though we were experiencing the greatest economic boom in history. He seemed embarrassed of Clinton’s sex scandal, which never concerned me in the least. Weren’t we supposed to be enlightened liberals? Weren’t we more concerned with jobs and equality and helping the poor than what consenting adults do behind closed doors?
Then the election itself was a debacle, and Gore didn’t have the killer instinct to stand up to a dynasty of crooks. He never challenged the voting irregularities in Florida. Don’t we get upset anymore when blacks and immigrants are systematically disenfranchised? Not only did Al miss it, but the media didn’t seem to care either. finally the Supreme Court, in the greatest act of cynicism – and possibly treason – since the Warren Commission, stops the re-count! Isn’t the whole idea of democracy to vote and be counted?
So I started looking for answers. I contacted the Libertarians, the Democrats and the Green Parties to see what they had to offer. I still have that feeling that if you don’t vote for one of the big 2, you’re wasting your vote, but I also know that that kind of thinking won’t support change in our society. I still believe in government of the people, by the people and for the people. anyway, my first act was a heartfelt letter to Tom Daschle, pleading for some reassurance that the Democrats still represent progressive idals. No response. Fine.
The Libertarians have some interesting ideas. They believe in personal responsibility. I agree with that. I don’t need government to parent me. They believe in legalizing drugs and using the money wasted in that “war” to improve health care. That works. They believe in decentralization of government. I can’t get behind that for one reason – technology. The world has changed. Communication and transportation make it possible for us to do things simply, fairly and in a consistent way throughout the nation. I don’t believe we should act as if we are 50 separate little countries. That causes too much duplication and too many layers of bureaucracy, both of which means nothing gets done and graft gets missed. On the plus side, they are the most communicative of the parties, sending email several times a week.
Then I went to the Green Party. First, let me say that I am still unimpressed with Green organization. I haven’t received any communication from them, even though I requested it, and their web site is lacking. They do, however, have the most detailed platform, and they are nothing if not progressive. My only hesitation with the Greens is that they are so detailed that there are some points I can’t get totally behind. The thing I love about the Greens is their aggressive stance on civil rights, women’s rights and the environment. There seems to be a true desire for social reform, for best use of our resources and for justice. Where the Libertarians just want to be left alone, the Greens seem to want to make things better and I’m all about that. Being Pagan, I find that the Green Party is completely in step with my religious beliefs. so now when I say I’m a Green Witch, it has a whole new meaning.