Monday, December 12, 2005

Are the Democrats Worth It?

I spent yesterday with a very nice group of people. A friend of mine and I went to a party for Arizona Women In Tune, a local choral society that performs wonderfully. Although they accept pretty much anybody (female, gay or straight) who shows up at rehearsals, their director -- a former classmate of mine at Grand Canyon University -- makes 'em sound like pros. On the living-room bookshelves of the women hosting this party were a whole section of books paying homage to the Democratic Party: Truman, Clinton and just about everybody in between. Like probably ninety-five percent of those in AzWIT, this particular female couple keeps the torch of faith burning.

They obviously think they know which side our bread is buttered on. Although I was enjoying the party immensely, at the sight of such big-P Party devotion, I found myself growing immensely sad. The Democratic Party is one party I no longer enjoy in the least.

During the luncheon portion of our gathering yesterday, the ladies at my table shared a bitter laugh at the notion that our current Great Democratic Hope for Arizona, Governor Janet Napolitano, might actually ACT LIKE A REAL DEMOCRAT and stand up for GLBT rights. Not a chance, we all know. Look at the roster of star players in the Party, and almost without exception you'll see that every one of them has betrayed us.

A while back, I sent an email to the Democratic Leadership Council -- you remember them: the folks who claim that candidates must be "less extreme" to get elected -- asking them exactly what their attitude toward the GLBT struggle for civil rights really is. I searched their website with a fine-toothed comb, you see, and there was almost no mention of us at all. I hoped I'd get at least some sort of a response from them, a few canned platitudes that test well in some focus-group, if nothing else, but thus far I have gotten nothing but silence. I do not intend to hold my breath until I get anything more.

Pardon me, but even a "centrist" Democrat ought to still remember what a Democrat is. Since when did being less "extreme" mean pandering to the wingnut Right? The Democrats have jettisoned the core principle of respect for all human beings that made the word Democrat (small "d" OR large) mean something. If a beleaguered and embattled minority, struggling for their very right to exist, fails to "poll well," or to pass the test in some focus-group, then to hell with us.

I can well understand the basic rationale behind centrism. I, too, believe that the Left has gotten way too extreme in many ways. They are so obsessed with abortion that they treat women like idiots incapable of making any decisions about our bodies BUT letting men treat us like disposable sex-toys and then having abortions. They want to disarm all law-abiding citizens so we can't defend ourselves, reducing us to hiding in our own homes and waiting for some criminal to come and rape or kill us. They pander to the nitwits who think "protecting animal rights" means "liberating" pets to the wild and making us all eat tofu. But for crying out loud, the DLC can't tell the difference between rational principle and any momentary shift in the direction of the political weather-vane.

The issues about which the Left has become extreme and irrational are NOT essential to the core principles for which the Democratic Party has traditionally stood: the empowerment of oppressed human beings and the freedom and equality of all. The complete inability of the DLC and most of the rest of the Democratic "centrists" to understand that shows that they have totally lost sight of what being a Democrat means.

I now cling to membership in the Democratic Party simply because they oppose the death-march to fascism upon which the Republican Right is taking this country. We are like the citizens of some little Old-Western town, terrorized by desperadoes, who let the least-odious of the yahoos pin on a badge and "defend" us -- strictly because nobody else will. The Democratic Party has betrayed everything it ever stood for, and has lost the right to expect our loyalty.

The extreme Left in Europe has gone completely insane. As the Islamofascists there grow ever bolder, publicly calling for the execution of all homosexuals and now even going so far as to threaten putting bombs in gay bars, our enlightened liberal "defenders" do -- nothing. Sexual minorities in Europe and England are terrified, begging their governments to protect them. They get nothing from the "progressives" but politically-correct, mealy-mouthed dreck. The persecution of GLBT citizens across the Pond is being tolerated in the name of tolerance itself. We are being sacrificed to the Left's misguided notions about "multiculturalism" and "diversity."

History clearly shows us that everything on the European Left eventually makes it to the American Left. Is the "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party" -- the faction I myself have supported for so long -- really going to protect us? Are we not deluding ourselves to think they'll even try?

There simply are not enough GLBT citizens to keep the loyalty of politicians who care about nothing except power. Only one political party in this country DEMANDS -- on unwavering principle -- that ALL citizens, including those who are GLBT, be treated fairly and equally by their government. And it is not the Democratic Party. It is the Libertarian.

Of course not all Libertarians like us. I've heard some of them say some pretty stupid things about gay people. But at the very least, they don't believe storm-troopers ought to kick in our front doors and carry us off to jail for being in bed with the "wrong" person. And quite unlike the Democrats -- who are deeply divided over the entire mess -- the Libertarians staunchly oppose Right Wing efforts to tamper with the Constitution (at ANY level of government) to render us second-class citizens.

Many liberals believe that all libertarians are conservatives. That has not been true for a very long time. More and more former Democrats are joining the Libertarian Party. They recognize that the most important thing is to drive fascism from our shores. Though it is a third party, it is growing fast. Could the Libertarian Party become a major party? If the Democrats don't get back to being Democrats, it not only COULD happen, but WILL. Third parties in America have become major parties before. Just look at the Republicans.

Unlike the cowardly Democrats, who still can't figure out what they believe about the war in Iraq, most Libertarians are vehemently against it -- and not at all afraid to say so. They also oppose the corporate welfare and pandering to the rich that are strangling the American middle class.

I would be a left-leaning Libertarian, to be sure. But I have been a libertarian-leaning leftist for a long time. You might even say that I'm something of a "closet" Libertarian. I must confess that I find Reason and Liberty magazines immensely more compelling than the steady dribble of vapidity coming out of publications like The Nation and Mother Jones.

As more and more disgruntled Democrats join the Libertarian Party -- not to mention more women -- its complexion will change. It will become (and indeed, already is becoming) more liberal. I support even many of the things about the Libertarian Party that will not change no matter how many liberals join it. And in the weeks and months to come, I will explain why.

I do have questions, and am skeptical about some Libertarian claims. I wonder how many of them could actually govern, for example, as they tend to be True Believers who hate all compromise -- and governing in a free society requires compromise at least some of the time. I also wonder how many of them really fit the stereotype (unmarried, angry young men who can't get laid), and how receptive they are to a large influx of liberal and female members. They need to decide which they are more afraid of: getting "girl-cooties" or achieving actual political success. It's been a good eighty years since a political party could rise to prominence without an at-least fifty-percent female membership.

When they find out that their pretty fairy-tale about women "being too dependent" to be Libertarian is nothing but bullshit, and that the real reason many women (me being one of them) are reluctant to become Libertarians is because of all the typically-male, head-in-the-clouds theorizing they do instead of coming down to earth and GETTING GOING, maybe they'll actually get somewhere. I've worked with both men and women all my life, and I can tell you that women are more practical than men. If this country is ever to move from where we now find ourselves to where the Libertarians believe we need to go, we have a helluva lot of ground to cover. Women will want to know just how we honestly, realistically expect to get there -- and we won't be content to carry the whole load on our backs.

As the Chinese proverb says, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." I don't want to wake up someday and realize I could have fought fascism in this country but did nothing. My next step may be a doozy.


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