MY JOURNEY AS A VOTER
As a child and then a teenager, I grew up under two fine Presidents … Democrat Harry S. Truman, followed by a Republican, Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Ike”. To me, then, the US two-party system seemed up to the task of selecting decent leadership. As Eisenhower’s term was ending, we had a choice between Richard Nixon (for whom I later voted, I believe) and John F. Kennedy, with Kennedy winning, becoming President of the US, eventually to be assassinated. Politically, at that time, I considered myself a conservative, valuing fiscal responsibility and self-reliance, embracing, to some degree, the writings of Ayn Rand, etc. But during those years, my being a conservative did not rule out compassion for the less fortunate. So … through my more than fifty years of voting, I have always considered myself as being ‘somewhat conservative’, while rather open and liberal in social matters. Vice-President Lyndon Johnson finished Kennedy’s term and then ran against Arizona Republican Senator Barry Goldwater, a strong conservative. I liked Goldwater and may have voted for him, knowing he would be defeated by a wide margin (unfortunately or not, he openly and sometimes ineloquently told the truth as he saw it). Lyndon Johnson’s term became a shambles and the Vietnam War all but destroyed his legacy. Richard Nixon was voted into office (with my vote helping, perhaps) and then pulled his stupid and totally unnecessary Watergate stunt and was forced to resign. Voting for Nixon was my last vote for a conservative. For the next few decades, I voted for a third-party candidate, whomever it might be (it really didn’t matter)… feeling that the only thing the two parties consistently agreed upon was to keep all ‘outsiders’ out of their neat little ‘arrangement’ which gave voters an illusion of choice. Today, I still feel our country needs more than two political parties. Four or five political parties would be ideal … more than that might be chaotic. So it was third-party voting until Obama, who got my first term vote and who seemed to be bringing a sense of fresh air and dignity back into our White House, after a succession of mediocre (at best) Presidents. Today, I consider all those third-party votes as wasted. Until a huge upset occurs, for this election at least, we are pretty much shamefully stuck with the two rather disgusting and corrupt political parties. So that’s a brief history of my voting for the past half-century.
During that half-century span, there have been a few disturbing developments in our political scene. One troubling change has been the increased involvement of the religious fundamentalists in the ranks of conservatives. Senator Barry Goldwater had words of caution regarding this … “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the Republican party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t wait and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.” And … “I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in “A,” “B,” “C” and “D.” Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?”
Economically, recent changes in the US scene are terribly disturbing. Capitalism, once the engine behind rising living conditions for its workers, is now devouring its producers and excessively rewarding its manipulators. At the same time, Socialism, primarily in European countries, has continued to improve living conditions there, most notably in the Scandinavian nations. In the 1950’s and later, Americans were led to believe that Denmark, Switzerland, Holland, and other nations, contaminated with dirty Socialism, probably would not survive past the weekend. So many of us (include me here) believed that nonsense, but those sneaky so-and-so societies (with all their insane social, medical and educational benefits) have prospered and today provide healthier, saner, safer, and smarter environments for their citizens than does the almighty US. Denmark is presently at the top of the list of countries with the happiest people. (Go ahead, google “happiest countries 2016” to see which countries follow).
Those are only two of the changes in the last half-century: Rise of the Christian Right, and, Shifts in Economic Systems. I’ve barely touched on these changes which are affecting my voting considerations today.
Now, (Spring of 2016) during these presidential primaries, of two Democratic candidates and three or four Republican candidates, only one candidate seems to be ‘genuine’ and (to me at least) the others appear to be either a Court Jester (Trump), a Fundamentalist Jackass (Cruz), or a Sleazy Greedster (Clinton).
So, the Third Party almost doesn’t exist yet. Let’s talk Republicans, one being a billionaire buffoon, the others being part of, or infected by the Religious Right. I use the word ‘infected’ because I consider these mean-spirited, sanctimonious people as a plague. Often invoking Jesus, they are the opposite … selfish, dangerous, and, at the same time, rather boring and stupid (hopefully, their children will not be). My thinking is that this God of theirs is not looking to take care of the US … we’d best take care of it ourselves. But, of course, the religious nuts have that covered, too, saying “God helps those who help themselves.”
Now, let’s talk Democrats. Sorry, but how I wish I could vote for a woman this election. Where is a Golda Meir, a Margaret Thatcher or Angela Merkel, when you need one. The US would benefit from a woman’s leadership, but I just cannot stand this particular woman, Hillary Clinton. I believe her to be self-serving and greedy beyond all reason. To me, not a leader, but a plunderer, wanting the Presidency at any cost. Added to that … I just do not want another Bush or Clinton in the White House, period. We can do better (I believe the Green Party’s Jill Stein is better). Of candidates with sizable followings, it leaves Bernie Sanders. So this voter, who has always considered himself a right-leaning conservative, will be voting for the left-most, most socialist-leaning candidate (Sanders), happy that the man seems to be genuine, intelligent, human, and understanding of the nation’s needs. My second choice would be Green Party’s Jill Stein.
Aureleo Rosano April 19, 2016 edited