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.
SO WHOSE FAULT IS IT?
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.