Blogging has been good for my philosophical and moral clarity understanding. Writing regularly not only allows but also forces me to clearly state my thoughts and beliefs. Organizing my ideas into some coherent prose requires that I look at fundamental principles, to understand how my beliefs and hopes guide me in the only world I inhabit. Last year I wrote a series about my fundamental beliefs (here
). Short version: the Golden Rule.
Working in the 2006 election is a good time to examine my preference for Democrats, generally. The Democratic Party is in many ways as much a servant of Big Capital as the Republican Party. Its Congressional leadership has been distressingly spineless against BushCheney’s abuses of power. All this conceded, I still see the Democratic Party as an opportunity to establish a countervailing force against powerful economic interests. The Democratic accomplishments in the 20th century are an enduring legacy of a time when people asserted their rights of economic liberty and freedom from living as expendable cogs of an industrial machine. Democrats sponsored important legislation to protect black Americans in the exercise of their Constitutional rights.
The Democratic record is inspiring. I cannot think of anything comparable that the Republican Party has accomplished in the same time period. They've given lots of money to large corporations, concentrated economic control and power into fewer hands and run a few wars but nothing really stands as a seminal human achievement. And, no, Ronald Reagan did not defeat Communism. Communism fell under the weight of its own internal contradictions (as George Kenan predicted in 1949), growing nationalism and the slow hemmorhaging of its armed forces in Afghanistan. America's contributions to that demise is shared by Democrates and Republicans alike.
Democratic achievements have been far from flawless. Unanticipated consequences, bungled implementation, pigheadedness and prejudice–the stuff of human drama–bollixed things up considerably. Not all Democrats have been heroes. Virginia Democrats of my youth were racists who desperately fought civil rights, closing schools rather than integrate. In 2002, far too many Democrats voted to give BushCheney the go ahead for the Iraq invasion. But looking back 50 years across the nation as a whole, I see a Democratic Party that gave more voice to more people and has shown that it is institutionally capable of understanding public policy from the ordinary citizen’s perspective. That’s the broad view. The practical view is that the Democratic Party offers the only opportunity to counterbalance the very well financed and well represented Big Capital.
So I will almost invariably vote Democratic over Republican. Usually, that is a no brainer. It’s easy to vote Democratic against JD Hayworth(less) and Jon Kyl. Same too for State offices. In Arizona voting Democratic means voting for some moderation in a state where the Republican majority is controlled by a very conservative activist core.
In 2006 I believe the Democratic Party offers the opportunity for change. Change in foreign policy from war to diplomacy and cooperation. Change in economics from further concentration of wealth that endangers the well being of the many for the gain of a few. That’s why I will vote Democratic and do what I can to turn out the Democratic vote in Arizona this year.
I act with hope but no illusion. The Republicans may even pull some kind of a miracle to salvage their majority; polls are tightening as I write. If Democrats win majorities, Congressional leaders may become reluctant to assert the checks and balances of our Constitutional system. They could easily succumb to the perks and money that come to the majority and not take political risks when BushCheney come up with another threat to American democracy. I hope Democrats will rise to the occasion. I know Republicans will not.
Hope. No illusion. A good summary.
[Phone Bank Update:
Harry Mitchell's phone bank uses cell phones. He showed up with the governor to give us all a pep talk. Everyone was optimistic and enthusiastic. Food spread was good: sandwhiches, pasta, salad and lots of sugar. Saw a glorious Arizona sunset from the freeway crossing the Salt River as I returned home.]