Part 1–Independent Thinking: PARTISAN NO MORE

Editor’s Note: Originally planned as a double post on the subject of “independent thinking” in the wake of the Democratic Party’s recent actions, we’ve decided to post each piece individually since each has it’s own distincet tone and content. Part 2 will appear on Friday…

Partisan No More

~~By kenosha Marge

When you discard something that has been a part of your identity for all of your adult life it’s frightening. It’s a lonely feeling when you abandon your tribe. It was home. It was comfort.

That was what it meant to me to leave the Democratic Party. It was not a decision I made lightly. It was a long lonely process that ended on May 31st 2008. That was the day that the Democratic Party, the DNC and the RBC decided that democracy didn’t matter anymore. That was the day I became an Independent.

Clicking around the Internet I find many people like me. Many of us now feel free to pick and choose when casting our votes. We do not feel bound by partisanship or loyalty to a party. I also see people who are just waiting for the party to come to its senses so that they can rush back home. I will not do that.

I found out a fundamental thing about myself this election cycle. For years I cringed as fellow liberals called conservatives horrid names and impugned their intellect. I cringed because I had family and friends who were good, decent people and, horror of horrors, Republicans. My maternal Grandparents, who were two of the best people I have ever known, were Republicans. Evil Ratfuckers? That I did nothing but cringe is shameful.

Taking a step back and looking around I began to wonder how many of my other preconceived notions were wrong. This election cycle has challenged the core beliefs for many of us. We look around without the bias of our partisanship and we don’t like what we see. We have had the nastiness and name-calling turned on us by fellow Democrats/Liberals and we are outraged.

Partisanship forces people to hang onto the most outrageous nonsense in an effort to avoid admitting they’re wrong. Some will refuse to see what is indisputable simply because they don’t want to see. What’s the old proverb; “None so blind as those that will not see”? I used to think that only meant Republicans.

We on the left like to pretend it’s only those stupid Conservatives who just won’t wake up and smell the coffee. They have a chance to be right, as in correct, if only they thought like us.

Partisanship allows people to do and say things they would find detestable if done by others.

Senator John W. Warner of Virginia was a man I respected even though I often disagreed with him. I thought him a good, decent man. So I ask myself how could this good, decent man go along with the Bush Administration so over and over again? Did he become evil over night? I don’t think so. I think that he simply put his party before everything else. In doing so he allowed his partisanship to compromise his integrity.

I believe most politicians put their party and their own re-election chances before their country and their integrity. Therefore they don’t actually represent the people who elected them.

I confess that I used to believe, and believe profoundly that all Democrats were better than all Republicans. I still believe that one of my Senators, Russ Feingold, is better than most Republicans. I’m also convinced he’s better than the majority of Democrats. Any time I become upset when he doesn’t vote exactly as I want him to vote, I remember the vote on the repulsive Patriot Act. The vote was 98 to 1. Clinton voted for it. McCain voted for it. Biden voted for it. The one man, with the integrity to stand alone for what he knew was right was Russ Feingold. (Landrieu (D-LA) did not vote.)

Just FYI, when reauthorization came up on March 2, 2006 the vote was 89 to 10 with Daniel Inouye not voting. Voting for? Most of the same cast of characters voted aye with the addition of the Junior Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. Clinton, McCain, Biden all voted for the reauthorization. Daniel Akaka, Jeff Bingaman, Robert Byrd, Tom Harkin, Patrick Leahy, Carl Levin, Patty Murray and Ron Wyden had the integrity to join Russ Feingold. As I am a supporter of the 30% solution it’s nice to see at least one female Senator with the integrity to vote against this atrocity.

My other Wisconsin Senator is Herb Kohl. How could he be better than a Republican when he basically is a Republican? I really dislike DINOs, RINOs, and Blue Dog Democrats more than any other political critters. No one should vote for people that lack the courage to state who and what they are when running for office.

Another example of someone unafraid to be who and what he is, is Senator Bernie Sanders. He calls himself a Democratic Socialist and is classified as an Independent. Listen to what Bernie Sanders says sometimes and you’ll discover a man of integrity and decency. Men like Sanders and Feingold are few and far between. They do offer hope that people of integrity can be elected, just not many or often.

Partisan Republicans will vote for Republican Crooks over good decent Democrats; indeed they will deny that such a creature exists. Partisan Democrats will vote for Democratic Crooks over good decent Republicans and insist from their partisan viewpoint that there are no good Republicans. Partisan voters insist there is no good to be found in the other party.

And elected officials will follow the party line, with a few exceptions, whether the party line is good for the country or not. Our country is going to hell in a partisan handbasket.

18 Responses

  1. It would help if we had a multiparty system where partisanship was not enforced and enhanced by only having two choices. When there are only two, many people will only see good and evil, a huge mistake. If every nobama voter were to vote Green this year, it’d have a HUGE impact on our political scene. If the Greens could get over 5% of the vote, that’d be a big step forward. And if not now, when?

  2. I so agree with this post marge. As you know i am one who wants to clean the party up after the election is over. I haven’t quite decided to leave theparty yet but i wll not support the current version of the Dems.

    Yes I am from Washington and Patty Murray is great! She and Maria Cantwell stood with Hillary to the end and I won’t forget that.

    CQ

  3. Cellocat,

    I agree totally, and disagree totally (lol)! You are 100% right that a third party is the right way to go. You are 100% right that all Nobama’s together could make a huge political impact. However…

    This is much too dangerous a year (ACORN voter fraud not withstanding) to not make our votes count towards the final tally. Obama is not an acceptable alternative, end of discussion (for me). Also, I’d like to see a PUMA party. So far Green hasn’t shown me anything. Plus Cynthia McKinney thinks the government murdered 5,000 prisoners in New Orleans – not exactly the candidate I want to cast my vote of dissent for.

    If not now, when? November 5th we need to start organizing to make the next presidential contest ours.

    Marge,

    Excellent piece – you voice what many of us are feeling, and I love it when people offer their take on their own Senators and Congressmen. I’ll be talking about one of mine (Hillary Clinton) in a couple of days. In the interim – Chuck Schumer: responsible for cramming the Community Reinvestment Act down the throats of banks and GSE’s. Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now!!!! And I’m am not much impressed with the vast majority of the NY Reps. Too many to outline in a comment, but I’m looking for Eric Massa (who supported Clinton till the end) to replace Bush’s water boy Randy Kuhl-R, 7th layer of Hell.

  4. I want a parliamentary system…I want to see smaller parties have a voice AND I want to see the “Prez” down there in the well of the parliament, ANSWERING QUESTIONS like it is done in the UK!!

  5. I didn’t know my senator, Tom Harkin, voted against extension of the Patriot Act. He’s been very quiet the past year. Evidently he was doing his job instead of spouting off like the rest of the gasbags.

    Thanks, Marge. Very good diary.

  6. Marge,
    I really appreciated this post. I have been following your senator – Feingold ever since his first vote opposing the PATRIOT Act. I was thrilled to have met him while I was working in Wisc. to get Kerry elected (while holding my nose, of course). He became a hero to me due to his vote., as I was working very hard to get my city to condemn that most unpatriotic act.
    I have challenged my senators – Durbin and Obama repeatedly on votes re: the war, the patriot act, CAVA, etc. Durbin has been less in the pockets of the corporatocracy than Obama. But they both are flawed – One more than the other.

    I have been fighting my own battles with my vote this year. I want to vote Green and have been saying that is where my vote will go – at least at the top of the ticket. But I also said I want to make a difference, not a statement. Thus, I am torn once again. I think in my state, whatever I do, if it’s not a vote for the One, it won’t mean much, so I continue to wrestle with myself.
    I have never been so conflicted about an election – ever. There are times I just want to pull up the covers and stay home.
    I can tell you that if there is a possiblity of remaking the Dem party in a positive way – I’m there. Just let me know when and where. I don’t like the way it has been remade this time.

  7. Voters will never be able to remake either party to reflect the will of the people so long as the party is able to count on them voting “party” first.

    And women in particular need to take a good look at the Democratic Party. What have they done for us? Roe V Wade? Baloney. There are 5 male catholics on the Supreme Court. If they wanted to get rid of Roe, it would be gone.

    Woman’s rights have been nibbled away in the congress and without much of an outcry from any of the Democrats. With the exception of a few stalwarts like Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray.

    I have 7 Granddaughters and I do not want them to have to be wondering when they are my age when women will be given equal rights and respect in this country.

    This election cycle has shown me that my hopes for them do not reside in the Democratic Party.

  8. Up until l this year I was a life-long partisan Democrat. I was of the opinion that even if a Democrat wasn’t to my liking at least he or she wasn’t a Republican. Therefore I am grateful for what has happened this year even though it ripped my heart out.

    And for a time, I do expect that I will support the Republicans. If only because they aren’t Democrats who don’t deserve my vote. That may change over time and I suspect it will. But now is not the time for healing. Now is the time for just deserts. And I intend to cast my ballot for the Republicans all the way down the line.

    Yes, I realize that this is following the partisan line. But that isn’t how I see it. My will, my vote was stolen from me during the primary season. And I will not reward the party that stole it from me. Plain and simple. If I can punish them for what they have done then I feel that as an American citizen I have done my patriotic duty.

    NObama!

  9. kenoshamarge — super post! I might quote you a bit in another piece of info I’m sending to families and friends.

    Russ Feingold really should be the man running for president for the Dems. He is a man of integrity: Patriot Act, Campaign Finance Reform (w/McCain), antiFISA and it’s expansion, anti financial bail out bill because it didn’t help consumers enough, etc.

    The only thing I can’t stand about him is his support of Obama, but I know it is a necessary evil. Since his separation and divorce, Feingold has no chance of presidential aspirations now. sigh!

    Growing up in a family of republicans, I never ascribed to the belief that Republicans are evil, stupid, whatever. Also, I got so sick of hearing this type of stuff when going to Madison, that I transferred during my junior year. The comments that really broke the camel’s back was when my so-called friends constantly teased both my boyfriend and me of “dressing like Republicans,” and studying all the time.

    Ok, that and it was really getting hard to resist the fact that you could find a party any day of the week, or time of the day. 😉 So many acquaintances were becoming drunks or potheads, and it was deeply depressing to be around so many people who were depressed when they were down from their highs 😦

  10. Marge
    Great points. From someone who didn’t cringe at the name calling – but was doing most of it. After the 2000 election theft I was so angry with all Republicans, for benefiting from that crime without any troubles from their conscience. I thought Democrats were better people. So my world really came crushing down.
    In 2001 I was the #1 cheerleader for the party. Now I left it.

  11. edgeoforever, many of us are not the people we were just six months ago. We saw the evil and we refuted it. For that perhaps we can be forgiven for being too partisan in the past. I hope so.

  12. Kenosha Marge,
    I really enjoyed your post. You speak for a lot of us.

    Insightanalytical,
    I’m with you on the idea of the “Prez” being down in the well answering questions. A parliamentary system might go well here. So many of us are disgusted with the two party system. Both parties have used dirty tricks at some time or other but the Democrats really crossed the line this election cycle.

  13. Grail Guardian:

    I guess that part of my reasoning is that Cynthia McKinney at least has a reasonable amount of government experience. And one of the Green Party platform items is feminism. But I am still torn. I still don’t know how I’ll vote when I’m in the booth. No choice is good. The only thing I do know is that I won’t vote for Obama.

  14. Wonderful post. I too was one who believed that the Republican Party was the party of choice for hate mongerers and rac@ists. I have had a rude awakening.

    I have always registered independant because I always believed it was wrong that the State made you declare you party affiliation. I registered independant because its nobody’s business. But I always voted for the Democrats. No longer am I an Independant in name only.

    For this election I too am voting R straight ticket. The only thing worse then this Dem Congress would be a Dem President with this Dem Congress.

  15. Taking a step back and looking around I began to wonder how many of my other preconceived notions were wrong. This election cycle has challenged the core beliefs for many of us. We look around without the bias of our partisanship and we don’t like what we see. We have had the nastiness and name-calling turned on us by fellow Democrats/Liberals and we are outraged.

    Partisanship forces people to hang onto the most outrageous nonsense in an effort to avoid admitting they’re wrong. Some will refuse to see what is indisputable simply because they don’t want to see. What’s the old proverb; “None so blind as those that will not see”? I used to think that only meant Republicans.

    Yes! Like you, I’ve know good, kind people whose only “sin” was that they were registered Republicans.

    KenoshaMarge, your post is spot on. The person that I am today is not so much a changed person, but, as I see it, the real me, with the layers of partisanship stripped away. These days I am no longer afraid to call bullshit on either side. The freedom I have to choose who I want, as opposed to a reflexive vote for the person with a D next to their name is exhilarating!

  16. paganpower, on October 16th, 2008 at 11:12 am Said:

    Up until l this year I was a life-long partisan Democrat. I was of the opinion that even if a Democrat wasn’t to my liking at least he or she wasn’t a Republican. Therefore I am grateful for what has happened this year even though it ripped my heart out.

    —————–

    This is where I am, too. It’s been a very painful awakening, but I’m grateful for it. Even if I’m one of the last rebels standing, I’m grateful. I don’t want to be asleep and if anyone’s ideology — mine included — becomes so ossified that she can’t think critically anymore, that ideology needs to be challenged, torn down. I think I felt like being a Democrat reflected my ethical beliefs, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that the party hasn’t stood for those beliefs for some time, and this primary/electoral season was a long and dirty downward spiral.

    Really, I feel … embarrassed. I’m embarrassed I bought into such partisanship and that now my own rigid ideas seem so foolish. Virtuous Democrats, sinner Republicans… yeah, right. I am no longer a member of the Democratic party, and as an independent, I intend never to join a party again. Principle before party, the best candidates in any given race, strong “media” critique, opposition to entrenched and corrupt power wherever it lives — those are the things I believe in now.

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