Sunday, August 31, 2008

Political Thoughts and Piffle*

I really don't like politics anymore.

Oh, I did. I grew up with a picture of Richard Nixon on our piano. We picked out my aunt and uncle on TV as they danced at his inaugural ball.

My dad was a precinct committeeman for many, many years; my Grandma P. was his vice until she had her stroke. Family dinners at her house often degenerated into loud political debates, complete with cursing and fist pounding on the table. And they were all on the same side.

All kinds of Republican politicos visited our house during campaigns, my cousin was the state president of the Young Republicans and I got my summer job at the State Highway because of my dad's service to the party (they called it a "patronage" job -- the state now calls it "illegal".) I knew Republican politics would always be in my future.

My dad taught me that Republicans stood for states' rights and limited federal government intervention; therefore, Republicans were the party of individual freedom, lower taxes and economic growth. The Democrats, under the guidance of those of the same mind as Roosevelt and Kennedy (or, as my dad would say, "those bastards"), were determined to push socialistic policies on all Americans which would strip us of our freedoms, send our taxes through the roof and undermine our strength as a world power.

Then I went to college, took some liberal arts courses and began to see the Republicans for the money-grubbing thieves my professors told me they were. I cried when Ronald Regan was elected president -- I was pretty sure he was the Anti-Christ.

This condition was further inflamed when I became Catholic, and was advised to view Republicans as heartless, with no compassion toward the poor, the sick, the weak. (In grad school, my office mate Laura, the future Dominican sister, encouraged me to boycott, protest and begin the letter writing campaigns I still participate in, albeit often by e-mail now.)

And then I became a mom. And through that experience, I became what I like to think of as compassionately pro-life (Meaning, I pray that women don't choose to have abortions. And I pray for all women who do have abortions, that they may have peace. And I pray for the babies. I don't carry placards, march outside of clinics, scream at women, carry plastic representations of fetuses in my pocket or condone any type of violence.) I cried when Bill Clinton was elected president -- I was pretty sure he was the Anti-Christ.

So, was I a Republican then? But wait, I am also adamantly anti-death penalty. Most Republicans are anti-abortion, pro-death penalty (which I think is just about the most hypocritical thing in the world). I didn't know where I fit in. With the social justice-loving but pro-choice Democrats? Or with the corporate-loving, pro-death penalty but pro-life Republicans?

Thus began my long and continued spiral as a woman with no party. (Although Clay insists that deep down, I am really a Republican. That just makes me want to be a little more Democrat, you know what I mean? Is this where Independents come from?)

For the record, let me say that I could care less how many homes John McCain has, where Barack Obama grew up and whether Sarah Palin was a beauty queen or the Queen of Sheba. And Biden? He surely didn't have very nice things to say about Obama in the primaries, did he? Well.

Whoever is elected, however I end up voting, all I care about is this: Get us out of Iraq. Keep us out of Iran. Help us become a smarter, cleaner, healthier country, and let's help others get smarter, cleaner and healthier, as well.

Is that too much to ask?

Thus ends my political rant. November 4th can't come quick enough.


PS - I also wish everyone would just leave Elizabeth Edwards alone. The woman was (and is) in an impossible situation, which as my dear reader and commenter lu has noted, no one can understand unless they, too, were cheated upon by a presidential wanna-be. So Democrats, shut up about it, and Republicans, wipe that snide smile off of your faces before political karma comes to bite you firmly in the behind.

* my new favorite word

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