I was talking with an old friend the other day and we were walking down memory lane; she asked me, what was one of the most fun things that we used to do? I said, talk politics. This, or course was the right answer. At the time, she was Liberal and I was Conservative, being raised that way, I didn't really see any other path that I would like to take. Since that time, I have changed my views. I was always very socially liberal, and fiscally conservative, I guess I was more Libertarian than anything. The conversation continued, and she asked me who I voted for, I indicated that I voted for Barack Obama. She got this look on her face and started spouting off on how could I possibly vote for him? He is a Muslim who wants to destroy this country and kill all of us. She even said she hoped someone took him out before the inauguration. I was shocked! Such was my incredulity, I ceased to be able to speak for a full five minutes. Since that day, I have been thinking, how could I possibly write about this on my blog.
The political division that has emerged in this country since Ronald Reagan was president is hard to believe. It's not like there was no party division before that time, but since, the political ideologies have grown further apart. Believe it or not, there were once Liberal Republicans. About the closest anyone comes to that label today is Moderate Republican. It seems to be only in the GOP the phenomena is prevalent, because as has been the case since the founding of the Democratic party, there are Democrats of all different types. When Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic-Republican party, the original name of the Democratic party, 1 it was in a sense an illegitimate child, unwanted by the founding fathers of the American Republic. They had no intention of bringing about the birth of any such institution, and in fact the first president, George Washington, warned darkly against the conception of any political parties. Having seen what has happened to the parties in the last few decades, maybe our first president was right. Anyone who followed the most recent campaign knows that it was a bitter battle throughout , but after the conventions, John McCain's campaign spent lots of money to smear Barack Obama every chance they could get. They even went so far as to announce they were going to do so. When they brought in their vice-presidential nominee, Sara Palin, she really smeared the Democratic candidate, saying things like, there are good, decent parts of the country and ones that were not, implying that rural places, which typically vote more conservative, were better than urban places that typically vote liberal.
Now that the Republican party has had their head handed to them on a stick, I am hoping the party will realize the politics of hate have gotten them nowhere but out of power. In the 2006 mid-term election, they lost both houses of Congress and in the 2008 election, they lost more seats in both houses and the presidency. As much as I hope they have learned a lesson, I don't really believe the future will show this to be true. I think they have gone so far down the path of hatred and lies, they cannot be redeemed. This could be good for the country, because it is time for more political parties to be on the stage and bring more viewpoints to our political system. The two-party system needs to die in favor of a multi-party system with smaller parties having as much chance to win as the two parties do now. Our democratic republic needs a new infusion of ideas and new voices of leadership.
"1 "Party of the People" by James Witcover. Chapter 1 pg 3. Random House, New York, N.Y.