So Whose Fault Is It?


The Democratic Party of 1948 – Roosevelt’s legacy – was split between the three, and my Dad’s family, then living on the Maryland side of DC, was both very politically and strategically placed to influence the outcome.  My grandma was not only an officer in the Daughters of the American Revolution she was also president of the Maryland chapter of the League of Women’s Voters (my Dad also claims she once decked Pat Nixon while fighting over a dress in a department store during the Eisenhower Administration – but generally speaking my dad is full of shit so I wouldn’t quote me on it.)  Caught up in the hysteria of the atom bomb, and having a natural tendency to lean to the Left, his family chose to support Wallace’s “give Stalin a chance” platform.  In retrospect it was very naïve of them, but it goes a long way in explaining how we all got to this place today.

Dad graduated from Berkeley in 1965, somehow without smoking anything, and volunteered to join the navy and serve his country in Vietnam (or at least, in the waters surrounding Vietnam).  It didn’t take him long to realize what a mistake it all was and to this day the emotions of the war clearly weigh on him, even though – to my knowledge – his life was never personally placed in danger.  He doesn’t talk much about it, but despite spending the next 17 years in naval intelligence, he became a raging Leftist and with the end of the Cold War entered the halls of academia where ideas like recycling cat-hair to spin into yarn for socks are interpreted as “genius.”  Dad supported Bill Richardson for president.


Many factors contributed to the formation of my identity as a voter.  Among these were: the experience of attending a radical Christian high school, earning a BA in history from a secular private university,  running for president of my university student-body as a write-in-candidate, organizing fundraisers for victims of sexual assault in Pierce County, serving two sessions as an aide in the Washington State Legislature, working as a membership director for a lobbyist, being elected an officer in a local chapter of the Democratic Party, serving as a delegate for Senator Obama to a Congressional convention (and as an alternate to a State Convention), working as a field organizer for a local candidate for State Senate, being appointed and serving on a county commission, and working as an independent journalist on the side – trying my best to cut through some of the smoke screens I helped create without violating the tenants of my profession.

At 24 years old, I already fit the description of a political “insider.”  Not because I have any particular influence on what happens, but because I generally know what’s going to happen 3 or so months prior to the shit hitting the fan (and I’m not allowed to report it!)  I know all the scandals, public and private, and the issues that sometimes are addressed.

This is what I’ve learned:

1)  Our government is filled with wonderful people trapped in a terrible system.

2)  Those who believe that the least of one party are superior to the creme of the opponent’s are delusional.

3)  Politics and public transparency are inherently contradictory.

4)  There is no substitute for a politician who will tell you the truth, ask you to make sacrifices, and except responsibilities for his/her mistakes.  Such individuals are not myths.  They do exist, though they rarely make it into leadership.

5)  Separation between church and state is probably less important than separation between state and Fox News.

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7 Responses to “So Whose Fault Is It?”

  1. Glynnis Kirchmeier Glynnis Kirchmeier Says:

    Chris, don’t be dumb. Pregnancy is not the only or even the primary risk of sex. A sponge won’t stop HIV or herpes; only the plastic will do that.

    Seriously, what the hell? The “safer sex” options in the link are ONLY valid as safe sex IF both partners share their test results before having sex AND they get retested and share those every six months. That is the ONLY time that one can say the only risk of sex is pregnancy, and that mitigating pregnancy risk alone is “safer sex.”

    When you say something as flippant as that, how do you not expect me to give you a smackdown?

    By the way, you’re coming to the Babeland workshop tonight. Jen and I will make you.



    Chris Van Vechten

    Chris Van Vechten Reply:

    @Glynnis Kirchmeier, There are 22 alernatives to condoms on that list (including abstinence). I am perhaps wrong to say that they are all “safe” (certainly the pull-out is not) but they all have value.

    I admit you’re the expert on this, so I will defer.


    Glynnis Kirchmeier

    Glynnis Kirchmeier Reply:

    @Chris Van Vechten,
    You missed my point. My point was that sexually transmitted infections are a risk of sexual activity. None of the methods listed protect against sexually transmitted infections; they only protect against pregnancy. Ergo, they are not, in and of themselves, “safe” sex methods, because without complimentary condom use, they do NOTHING to protect against disease. These are, I repeat, only alternatives to condoms insofar as pregnancy risk, not disease, so they are not safer sex by themselves.


    Jen Drake

    Jen Drake Reply:

    @Glynnis Kirchmeier:

    GLYNNIS, YOU ARE SO RAD! haha! Givin’ Chris the smackdown! Booyah!

    yes, chris, 7 pm. I’m even opting to skip a portion of class time to go to this.


  2. Glynnis Kirchmeier Glynnis Kirchmeier Says:

    Now that I’ve read the rest of it: interesting. I feel like your love of history and grasp of where we have come from, though, is one of the more obvious influences on your attitudes toward voting and so forth, given what you’ve said in conversation.


  3. Jen Drake Jen Drake Says:

    Favorite quote: “voting is just one of those things responsible people do; like saving 10% of every paycheck or never having sex without a condom.”


  4. Jen Drake Jen Drake Says:

    I read the homework assignment, do I now get my 50 points extra credit? Dude, that was a long history lecture! :)


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