A Liberal Without a Party

by on December 21, 2011 · 26 comments

in Election, Politics, Popular, The Widder Curry

For many years I have thought of myself as a Democrat. The principles of the Democratic Party were more closely aligned to my own political beliefs. That is not to say that I have not crossed over to vote for Republican candidates that I thought were better qualified than their rival Democrat. Shortly after I was given the privilege of voting, I voted for William Knowland; and in the not so distant past, while living in Maine, I voted for both Olivia Snow and Susan Collins, both Republicans. (And..by the way, both elected to office.)

Now, in the election year coming up in 2012, I have to admit that I am embarrassed to be a Democrat. Very few of the principles that the party stood for are apparent today. The “wishy-washiness ” of the Democratic party makes me ill. They no longer stand up for the beliefs that made them a thriving political party. They back down at every opportunity, and no longer represent the people that elected them.

The Republicans are worse. They have stated at the onset that they will not compromise – on anything – and, so far they have not had to do so because the Democrats have recapitulated on every main issue. When one looks at the slate of “would-be” Republican contenders, it rings like “reverse peristalsis”. Candidates that are opposed to women rights; candidates that have crossed the line on morality; candidates that state that “God asked them to run for office”, etc. The only thing they have going for them is that they are millionaires and will not vote for an increased tax for the top 1%. And that, my friend, is unconscionable.

I supported Obama in the last election. I knew that he had a hard row ahead. Somehow the electorate has forgotten just what he did inherit. They blame him for the situation we are in today. He is among the first to admit that he did some things wrong; that given another chance he might do things differently. I honestly believe that if he were not a minority, the naysayers would not be as vocal as they are today. It is my belief that we “hatched” the bigots of the United States when he was elected. No one actually talks about the “race card”; at least not openly, but get together with a few of your “friends” and it always comes out.

So where does that leave me in this next election. I do not feel that I can call myself a Democrat anymore. Quoting a dear friend that I have a great deal of respect for, I would have to say that “ . . . . I am a liberal without a party.” I hope that the majority of the Congress lose their reelection bid next year. They are not listening to the people; the only way that we – the people – can win is to not elect those currently holding office. The non-compromising, the non-flexible, the name callers, do not deserve to be elected as our leaders. They are not leading us anywhere, except down the path of ruin. A path that will be very hard to correct. People say that in the early 1900’s things were easier than they were now. That is probably correct but given the choice, I would rather live in the 21st century than the 20th century. But be very careful about where you put the “X” on your ballot; I fail to see any potential candidate moving us along the updated century; rather, it seems to me that we are headed for “the good old days”, which were not very “good” anyway.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Tom December 21, 2011 at 12:47 pm

“No one actually talks about the “race card”; at least not openly, but get together with a few of your “friends” and it always comes out.”

In my experience, it is consistently the Democrats who keeping reaching for the race card, typically to attempt to use accusations of racism as a shield to try to deflect attention from the possibility that someone has genuinely done a poor job. A recent example is AG Eric Holder. I do not see why it should be difficult to believe that people genuinely object to intentionally letting U.S. guns flow to Mexican criminals (who use them to kill people), or that Holder’s recent “know nothing” denials are in conflict with the memos he has received or his own past statements about Fast and Furious. Yet, despite this and other serious failings, now the calls for his removal are supposedly an attack because of his race.

If Hillary had become president and had followed the same ruinous policy path that Obama has followed, would the criticisms then be attributed to the fact she is a woman? Couldn’t it possibly be because this administration has chosen to take us in the wrong direction? (Polls indicate most Americans believe we are headed in the wrong direction.)

If we are indeed following in the steps of Greece and Portugal, why would you suppose that the concern would be any less or the criticisms less vocal if the President were white?

I’m not asking you to agree with that other perspective. In the interest of meaningful and worthwhile discourse, I would only request that you give the alternative view about what is best for the whole country the acknowledgement of being a sincere view about what is the best policy path to follow, rather than discount it or try to explain it away.

While not implying an endorsement of Romney, I noticed that Mitt Romney recently wrote an article for USA Today about two different kinds of paths we could take. One seeks to increase dependency on government and one seeks to increase opportunity and solutions that decrease the need for dependency on government. If you want your position to be considered seriously, please also grant that there are those who sincerely find a strong case that the other path is the better one for the well being of our country. Who wants to follow in the footsteps of Greece and Portugal?

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avatar doug porter December 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm

i am sick of being told that there are “only” two paths. This thinking rests on the faulty assumptions that government by its very nature in bad and that the path of “increased opportunity” will actually benefit people.

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avatar Tom January 2, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Our national debt is now greater than our GDP, and rapidly growing. Greece reached that point in 2005. If we continue to add between 1 and 2 trillion of new debt every year, as we have under Obama with the ineffectual attempts to deficit spend our way into prosperity, then we will indeed follow in the path of Greece. As the baby boomers retire, leaving the workforce to draw Social Security and increasing Medicare payments, the downward spiral must accelerate.

There is no assumption that “government by its very nature is bad”. Rather, it is the reckless spend-your-way-to-recovery policies and no-serious-reform-of -entitlements policies of the Obama administration that are disastrous. Obama (and Pelosi) would rather use Mediscare tactics to try to grab for votes, even though leaving the entitlement programs as they are will end in ruin for those programs and for our country. They use it for short term political gain while the clock keeps ticking and the time to avoid crisis is running out.

Meanwhile, other countries that have replaced our Ponzi scheme type of Social Security program with Personal Account alternative programs have documented superior performance in the results that “actually benefit people”. Ditto for those in Galveston Texas who converted out of Social Security when it was legal to do so. Our Social Security program gives terrible results by comparison. Since poorer people tend to die younger, they also more often loose out on benefits, sometimes not even getting out what they put in. On average it has been found that Social Security literally does more to shift wealth from the poor to the rich, since poorer workers pay in but lose benefits when they die earlier. It is a terrible system for poorer workers and their descendants. Personal accounts would give them better returns and also protect any balance for their heirs if they die.

Please check out Mona Charen’s article:

“What Democrats Must Ignore or Deny”.

http://wwwl.creators.com/opinion/mona-charen/what-democrats-must-ignore-or-deny.html

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avatar barbaramartin January 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm

No offense but the minute I see the made up think tank Frank Luntz word, ENTITLEMENT, I know the rest of your screed already. I also note that you chose social programs for the axe rather than the grossly bloated military budget. And Mona Charon? Oh gawd!

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avatar Tom January 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Thanks, barbaramartin, for demonstrating that Mona Charen’s article title was aptly chosen, i.e. “What Democrats Must Ignore or Deny”.

Did you engage the issues with substance? Nope. You’ve provided a prime example of how at least some Democrats ignore or deny these issues, e.g. through ad hominem, scorn, scoffing, or diverting attention elsewhere. Anything except deal with the graphic examples of welfare states struggling under crushing debt (the path before us) and the documented and proven superior alternative for providing retirement security for citizens.

It also doesn’t help your position that the “grossly bloated military budget” is only the second largest item in our federal budget. Number one? Social security — biggest budget busting category and growing. And that doesn’t include the other non-discretionary budget items, such as Medicare, Medicaid, along with interest on the grossly bloated debt.

As every responsible and clear thinking voter — including those among Democrats — realizes, we must deal these programs or they will bury us. Starting this year, Social Security pays out more than it takes in. Medicare alone has unfunded liabilities of 30 trillion dollars, or twice the size of our economies GDP.

But if you (and Obama and Pelosi) want to continue to ignore and deny while the clock continues ticking, well that is one strategy. It’s just not one that seems responsible or wise.

For those who don’t think denial is a wise option, there is an alternative:

Video: The Case for Social Security Personal Accounts

“There are two crises facing Social Security. First the program has a gigantic unfunded liability, largely caused by demographics. Second, the program is a very bad deal for younger workers, making them pay record amounts of tax in exchange for comparatively meager benefits. This video explains how personal accounts can solve both problems, and also notes that nations as varied as Australia, Chile, Sweden, and Hong Kong have implemented this pro-growth reform.”

Please see video here:
http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/the-case-for-social-security-personal-accounts/

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avatar barbaramartin January 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm

That’s so funny. I am no fan of Obama and was arrested in Nancy Pelosi’s office so your one size fits all critique does not work. Mona Charon is a neo con has zero cred with me. Have a great day.

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avatar barbaramartin December 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Judi Curry, I’m with you 100%. It IS embarrassing. This president has shown nothing but snark and disrespect for those who worked so hard to elect him. I could go on and on but won’t. suggest a great up to date web site http://www.stpeteforpeace.org They have been keeping score. I posit that it does not matter who is elected. We already know whoever it is will have been chosen not by us but by powers that have no boundary.

As far as voting for any republican in the clown car of nominees, never. I will go so afr as to say any self declared republican today is my enemy. These guys are nothing more than criminals, street thugs.

Thanks, Judi for articulating my thoughts.

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avatar Goatskull December 21, 2011 at 7:18 pm

A little extreme don’t you think? So any one who’s a registered Republican and vote’s for Republicans is your enemy case closed? I’m no Republican or conservative but I’m not so hard nosed that I won’t get along with or even be friends withe some one just because their politics aren’t the same as mine.

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avatar barbaramartin December 22, 2011 at 7:16 am

These are extreme times. Even guys like David Frum and George Will are speaking of the off the rails behavior of the party. There is zero civility zero statesmanship and lots of racism and petty intransigent BS. I have zero in common with anyone who supports this republican party.

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avatar Zach on the side December 25, 2011 at 2:39 am

I’m with Barbara 100%! People who are bigoted enough, or selfish enough, or stupid enough to find anything of merit in the Republican camp today need either therapy or prison.

Sure I’ll be friends with people who need therapy but, you know, the kind of friends one smiles at and waits for the end of the “charming” moment of cordiality.

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avatar mr.rick December 21, 2011 at 8:59 pm

You guy’s and gal’s that are so incensed about the major parties ought to know that it doesn’t matter much what we want, Or for that matter what we think. It’s just a matter of what is the least we can do for ourselves, collectively,as in government.Against what the one percent wants for their tax bracket. So,people power or money power. It’s not that complicated. And just be sure,most 1%ers want as much as they can get. And alot of them don’t care much how they get it. Even if the dems are spineless, doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to help out. The other guy’s would just leave every one to their own devices.

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avatar judi Curry December 22, 2011 at 8:04 am

I am not concerned about the “labels” attached to the parties. What I am concerned about is the Congress’ inability to reach a viable solution so that the country is not thrown into chaos. Democrat or Republican makes no difference; the suffering that the middle and lower classes will endure for weeks until a difference solution is reached is unnecessary. I was taught as a child to compromise; that doesn’t mean to do it “my” way; it means to look at things with an open mind. My two year old great-grandson wants things done his way, because he doesn’t know any better – yet. The congress is acting like a bunch of 2 year olds. I am ashamed of them.

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avatar Thebestgrandson December 22, 2011 at 1:31 pm

   I understand your dissappointment with the democratic agenda. I am definitely frustrated myself, although I have no reason to give up.  This administration is not at a standstill, they have actually done much more to slow down this recession than any non-democratic recent president. 
    This recession has been coming for quite a while and this administration has made their approach. Their approach has slowed the rise of gas prices,  he appointed a fair judge in the federal court who later overturned prop 8, the administration also handled several military operation amazingly and much more. I just hope this Administrations’ approach will allow them to get another four years.  I am assuming their approach was to do as much as possible without ruining a re-election. It has been difficult to get anything done with the way media is now. Everything has been criticized leaving little room to do anything. So much, the most dedicated democrat I have ever met wrote this article.
               Please don’t give up,
                              Josh

   If a republican continued in office until now , imagine how much worse things would be.

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avatar judi Curry December 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Wow! Another grandchild that is a writer! I’m not giving up, Josh. I am just so deeply disappointed. I think back to the days when I was teaching school, and teaching about democracy. The last few months have made a mockery of that theory. The points you have made re: the President are right on. I still support him and will vote for him again. I just wish that he would stop “cow-towing” to the other party and would continue to stand up for the principles that got him elected in the first place. Thanks for your thoughts, Josh.

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avatar barbaramartin December 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm

It’s not the nuts and bolts of managing this or that. It is the withering attacks on our civil liberties. Over and over. From day one Obama has embraced the imperial presidency exactly like George Bush and Dick Cheney did. He hired the Bush team. He has conducted drone attacks in sovereign nations. He has protected the criminals from the Bush era. He has attacked whistle blowers with a vengeance. Same for Occupiers. The local ninja cops could never get away with these brutal attacks on peaceful unarmed protesters without at the very least, tacit approval from the WH.. Moving on to the NDAA. If he signs that legislation, the Bill of Rights will not exist for all intents and purposes. See, it’s more than maneuvering and tactics. It’s caring more for your country than your party. It’s having core values that are not filtered through polling data. But that’s just me.

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avatar Zach on the side December 25, 2011 at 2:45 am

And me, Barbara!

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avatar Jasper December 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm

It’s so rare that I see another person out there who gets it. It’s encouraging just seeing that you exist, Barbara. Where are the rest of us?

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avatar barbaramartin December 29, 2011 at 8:46 am

There are a lot more of us than you may think. And more all the time. We have raised enough money to send 15 occupiers from San Diego to Occupy Congress on Jan 17th in DC. Thanks so much for both comments Zach and Jasper.

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avatar mr.rick December 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm

The paymasters (1%ers) will allow no compromise on just about any thing. Maybe some one can compromise on either side, taking turns for effect. When something is compromised on, it is of such insignificance it won’t matter to us much. And certainly won’t cost the 1% anything of value.ie,money. So, lables or not we are still sold to the lowest bidder. All I can see to do is, every two years just change congress members till we put enough fear of losing their seat that they will represent the electorate faithfully. And probably pray some, if that is in your scope spiritually’ Good Luck!

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avatar JEC December 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Judi, I concur. In the past I’ve registered with one party or another on the belief I would be showing support for some idea or by chance have some influence on the choices. I now subscribe to the idea that those earlier ideas didn’t work. If I am opposed to their actions, I’m not going to give them my name or my support by joining their party. Could a mass de-registration from all parties help make the statement? Then again, do parties really play an influential role? I doubt the DNC does.

The NDAA is an act of pure cynicism; a manifestation of their fears and distrust of all people. A clear statement declaring the end of their faith in our noble experiment. Can America survive without it’s founding Constitution? Should it?

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avatar judi Curry December 25, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Thanks, JEC. I do not want to say that my mind is in a turmoil over this, but I am very uncomfortable with the choices that we will be needing to make in 2012. I cannot support any single party anymore; and I do not see where I could support a candidate without supporting the party.

In discussing the dismal future, at least as I see it, a friend suggested that maybe the constitution and/or Bill of Rights is archaic. (My word, not his.) After all, they were written many, many years ago, when life was simpler than it is now; when there were not so many people and the problems were totally different than they are now. I think he is on to something: Yes, I think it is time that we get together a group of intelligent individuals, without any partisanship, and create a “revised” constitution – one that better meets the needs of today’s society. What do you think?

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avatar Zach on the side December 26, 2011 at 3:23 am

Judi, I’ve given a lot of thought to that scenario for many years, and theoretically I agree strongly with the idea. But I can’t imagine, in our political climate, that this “new constitutional convention” could possibly rise above the partisanship we have in our federal government today. It seems the more crucial the issue, the more the debate is fraught with inanity and special interests.

Who would choose these intelligent individuals? That process in itself would be a circus with a morass of compromises that would kill the spirit of the endeavor. And who can “see straight” in the pickle jar we’re in these days? Who can see through the haze of competing perspectives to timeless values which would guide us toward calmer, brighter shores? Then, could those special people be selected? It seems they’d be the last people who might be considered. The idea of rewriting the foundations of the nation would be a perilous affair, bound to fail horribly. It scares me even more than the mess we’re in. Imagine the legalese of a new constitution!

The Constitution and Bill of Rights, while outdated, are strong and clear documents that have suffered us well, and seem to be what have kept us from complete oblivion up until now, as much as powers that be have tried to undermine these documents. It seems our biggest troubles lay in those areas where we’ve diverged from these foundations.

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avatar JEC December 26, 2011 at 9:01 am

I come toward the issue as a Sociologist (an unfortunate educational accident?). Our culture and the associated values have become so diverse that we have no truly shared common social norms. We have some sense of community but nearly no sense of nationhood. Consider – the President sends the nation to war and tells the citizens to go shopping; those who benefit the most from this nation – the wealthy – want to give it little to no support, threatening to steal away to another nation if this one doesn’t do their bidding. What I think – historical forces are steering us toward the inevitable – we might well be talking about the future nation of the west coast. Every day we are reminded that it’s all about the money – we are consumers and taxpayers, not citizens. If it’s only about the money then California would be smart to separate – the annual dues Californians pay approaches $50 billion.

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avatar Margie Collier January 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I hear what you are saying – but I don’t see the situation the same way that you do.

All the hullabaloo around the primaries and then the actual voting for the president makes me chuckle! It is just the folks in charge trying to make us feel like we have some control over what happens in Washington….we don’t. The president is elected by the Electoral College and its representatives do not have to vote the way their constituents want them to.

We seem to have more problems fighting with each other than with people in other countries! How about everybody taking a “time out” in their respective corners and then we can try to communicate with each other from a distance, rather than screaming at each other without listening to what the other is saying.

We need a new economy, a “family” round table approach where everyone’s needs are considered. Put the available resources in the middle of the table and then decide how to use them. Maybe Billy needs more healthcare services than his sister due to his congenital disability, so more is allotted for him than his sister – these are the types of situations that need to be considered. If Dad doesn’t handle the family finances appropriately, then Mom takes on that responsibility!

This is not socialism, but social justice.

I, for one, am done with the party system! It has not worked.

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avatar barbaramartin January 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Excellent commentary.

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avatar judi Curry January 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm

I agree.

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