Once upon a time, many years ago, I was a registered Democrat. I was born liberal, from parents who were. I am a coal miners granddaughter, and in the house where my father was born were three portraits. One of the pope. One of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And one of John L Lewis.
John L Lewis organized the miners into a union. Not in time for my grandfather, who died of brown lung in his 40s, but he saved a generation from that fate.
Above the bed in that house where my father was born was also a bullet hole. More than one in the house, actually, put there by the freedom loving Ku Klux Klan, who didn’t like immigrants, papists, or eyetalians much. My father has told me stories of when the Klan would come by and beat the shit out of anyone they could grab, and shoot at houses. Lest you think I’m from the south, let me assure you that this happened in Illinois.
The lean to the left is in my DNA, I believe. And when I’d hear these stories (and my mother had some vivid ones about how poor white trash was treated, even during the depression), I’d burn with desire to change things, to make the world better.
I majored in poli sci but never had any desire to run for office. I kinda wanted to be the behind the scenes kingmaker for a minute or two.
But I was the kind of Democrat that knew all of the planks in the platform, wrote letters to the editor and to my “representatives”, worked on campaigns as the envelope licking volunteer, and so forth. I walked picket lines for the United Farm Workers and against nuclear power plants.
I have voted, once, for a Republican. He was a good man but he died and that was the first and last time I went right.
I voted for Obama in 2008, despite concerns about his lack of experience. I read The Audacity of Hope and thought he seemed like a caring man. I liked Michelle Obama quite a bit. When he was elected, I think I smiled for three days. History had been made and it seemed like America might be growing up a little on race issues.
I actually watched the inauguration……unprecedented behavior on my part.
When the single payer option was taken off the table in health care reform, I swallowed really hard. When the Heritage Foundation’s creature was selected as the model, I sort of gagged. And when he signed the NDAA, co-written by a Democrat (the Traitor Levin) and a Republican (the Traitor McCain), I puked out the party entirely. That was the day we lost our Constitution. That was the day when I knew that both parties no longer worked for “us” the people.
I voted third party, pretty much down the line, in 2012. I voted out of respect to the women who fought so hard to get us the right to vote in 1920. But if Emma Goldman wasn’t right when she said, “If voting made a difference it would be illegal”, she is certainly right today.
The deck is stacked, the game is rigged, and there are fewer avenues for change than ever before.
The more I observe the world, and know how we’ve screwed up the planet, the more I desire to unplug and let it all go.
The real world beckons.