Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Surviving Day One

So I've lived through the first day of the Republican/Tea Party take over of the House of Representatives. Nothing much feels different...yet....

They read the Constitution on the Floor of the House today. A rather shallow symbolic act since the Constitution, like the Bible, isn't in what the words say but how we interpret those words. Returning to the 'will of the Founding Fathers' would put people back in slavery and take the vote from the majority of voters--women. The Constitution (I was a Poly Sci minor in college, after all!) is a 'living document'. Look how many times we've amended it (over 20 now) and for good reason. 1776 was so long ago and the culture of that time so profoundly different that if we didn't find reason to amend what the writers said (and amendment is difficult and comes only with great effort) we'd still be wearing waist coats and bustles and wigs for men....well, there are wigs for men, I know, but they aren't white and powdered.

A long time ago, I wrote about why I'm a Democrat and promised more.

This is the more.

Not only am I a yellow dog Democrat (you know what that means, right? If the Virgin Mary was running as a Republican and a Labrador Retriever was running as a Democrat, I'd vote for the yellow dog) I can't figure out why anyone is a Republican.

The Vice Chair of the Republican National Committee said today that anyone who was 'pro choice' couldn't be a Republican. I don't mind at all that some 'anti abortion' folks are Democrats, makes for good conversation and a lot of yelling. And, though two members of Integrity (gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transgendered Episcopalians and their friends) left the chapter after I asked them how on earth they could vote Republican, I really don't get the Log Cabin Republicans (G/L/B/T Republicans). And how could anyone of color be a Republican given their record on opposing sane immigration reform and being hesitant to fully support the Civil Rights Legislation over the years. And women: my Lord, how can a woman be a Republican? Sarah Palin is as alien to me as Yoda or Yogi Bear.

But then my problem has always been that I think of myself as the 'norm'. I am genuinely surprised when anyone disagrees with me. I don't mind, since I love a good argument, but, for heaven's sake, I AM THE NORM.

I don't know why the tally in any election isn't: Democrat 'the total number of votes cast' and Republican 'zero'. 'Course, in my world, no one would run as a Republican anyway.

My father was a Republican. He was a coal-miner who was a Republican. Go figure. But he was a gentle man open to discussion. There used to be a lot of those kinds of Republicans: Nelson Rockefeller, Senator Brooke, President Eisenhower, Everit Dirkson, Chief Justice Earl Warren, even, God bless him, Gerald Ford--and Margaret Chase Smith, Senator from Maine (Olympia Snow from Maine may still be one of those--the Republicans need to find out what's in the water in Maine.) Where have all those 'Republicans' gone, long time passing....

My father might be a Democrat today if he got a look at what is becoming more and more the norm for Republican office holders--shrill, ultra-conservative, nightmarishly negative about health care, the environment, taxes, the Commerce Clause of their beloved Constitution, gun control, gay marriage, abortion, social services, medicare, social security (which I'm especially sensitive about since I get my check the third Wednesday of each month), talking to your adversaries as foreign policy, government regulation, stem cell research....oh, I could probably list another dozen or so things, but it would be over-kill.

You know that bumper sticker the NRA produced a decade or so ago? The one about, "When they take my gun they'll have to pry away my cold, dead fingers"....remember that one?

I feel that way about being a "Liberal". I honestly hope I'll be one of the last (liberals love doomsday scenarios!) I even reject the new, ready for prime time, gentler and softer label of "Progressive". Don't call me a 'Progressive'. I don't fear the 'L word'. I'm a liberal through and through.

I've survived Day One. I'll let you know how I'm faring as we go along into this dreadful night....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.