Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Democrat,Republican, Libertarian or Independent?

This is a touchy subject but one that we should review. None of us are too far apart in our beliefs of core values and I would like to reach members from all parties or points of view. I will explain why and also why I have been active as a Republican.

About 110 years ago my Great Grandfather, John Rusby joined a grass roots movement that was important to all of us. John had a community store in Franklin Township, NJ. The name of the town has since been changed to Nutley and the Rusby store was near the school.

A grass roots movement had started in the Midwest and spread across the North to the East. John became a member and supporter. The movement had a singular purpose and that was to end slavery. It was decided to start a new party and then they elected Abraham Lincoln as their candidate. Lincoln was elected and they went to war with the states that did not want to end slavery and during that war President Lincoln used his war time powers to sign and enact the Emancipation Proclamation which freed many slaves.

Lincoln took a big gamble but the strategy worked and resistance was overcome.
These are the same war time powers we are fighting over now in the attempt to intercept communications between terrorists. A number of presidents have used the same powers and there was an incident with FDR when he planned to appoint several more judges to the Supreme Court in order to control a ruling he needed to proceed with the war. Things worked out for him anyway so he did not proceed with the plan.

My Grandfather was a conservative minister and when Sears and Roebuck decided to sell alcoholic products in their popular home catalog Grandfather placed a large sign on his lawn on a very busy road and along with others placed great pressure on the company to change.

My Father sometimes took me with him as he worked as a Republican county committeeman to try to get candidates elected. My first memory of a campaign was when we stood along a small village street handing out flyers for Tom Dewey who was running against FDR. Mr. Dewey was across the street and he watched me handing out his flyers and must have wondered why we did not cross that small street and meet him. I might have even received an autograph. But Dad would not cross that street. He was a deacon in the church and Mr. Dewey was standing in front of the hotel bar. My dad never walked on that side of the street where there was a bar.

In later years I worked on other campaigns and the time came for me to decide if I wanted to run for public office. I wondered if I should continue on as a Republican, was I doing it because I believed in the goals or just because my Father was a Republican? I went to the library and looked up the principles of the Republican and Democratic Parties. It seemed that the Republicans were better organized in their goals and I felt closer to the goals so I stayed with them. I ran for an office of township committee and lost. Two years later I ran again and won as the only Republican with the other four Democratic members. In the next election we won two more seats and I became chairman with the honorary title of mayor, the youngest in my town. We moved to another part of our county and I did not run for re-election but then the bipartisan county committee appointed me to an economic development committee and we made a difference in our county.

Now I am looking at our goals of both parties. My Dad would have been so excited to see us with control of both houses of congress and the white house. For about 40 years the Democrats had control of at least 2 of the three and the Republicans could not fulfill their goals of smaller government and more conservative spending.

When we did achieve some control we were conservative for awhile with Mr. Gingrich but then we went on a spending spree and lost all our principles. Now the pork barrel is so big that many great republicans would be disappointed and ashamed.

Right now our government is lost to the control of rich individuals, the media, corporations and big movements who finance the campaigns and buy power from those running for office. Even their staff can now accept gifts so if you want to bring an issue to a congressperson you have to get it past an aide that might be paid off to block you.

Today I heard a part of the Neal Boortz radio show. Neal is a Libertarian and has given much assistance to the Fair Tax movement. Today he quoted some figures about the numbers of illegal aliens caught and returned under the Clinton administration and the number of companies fined for hiring illegal aliens. He then gave the figures for the same groups since Mr. Bush has become President. I must say I was shocked when he quoted figures showing both sets of the numbers had gone way down since Bush has been in office. We are talking thousands being reduced to hundreds or less. And then he hit us with which states had benefited the most. No one reports this. Boortz noted the Republican business community wants the workers and the end result is that it brings the Democrats more votes so neither side has fought this issue. I have to check Boortz sources and report back to you. For now consider it unverified however, Boortz is usually reliable but he does preach not to believe anything you hear on his show or see on his website without verifying it yourself.

If we, that is you and I concentrate on issues instead of party propaganda we could start our own grass roots movement and force a change in campaign finance. We have to take back control of our politicians and put them back to work for us. We cannot have them under the influence of those who do not represent the American people. Even if we were to provide the cost of their campaigns, better decisions and less pork barrel grabs would probably more than pay the large cost involved.

1 comment:

Flagler Friend said...

Historically, change has inevitably come from the "grass roots." However, it's not always necessary to reinvent the wheel.
There are many groups active today that agree with your viewpoints.

One speech I recommend reading, if you’ve not already seen it:

http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0610-11.htm

“This is Your Story - The Progressive Story of America. Pass It On,” by Bill Moyers. Text of speech to the Take Back America conference
sponsored by the Campaign for America’s Future, June 4, 2003, Washington, DC.
QUOTE: “In one way or another, this is the oldest story in America: the struggle to determine whether "we, the people" is a spiritual idea embedded in a political reality – one nation, indivisible – or merely a charade masquerading as piety and manipulated by the powerful and privileged to sustain their own way of life at the expense of others.
Let me make it clear that I don't harbor any idealized notion of politics and democracy; I worked for Lyndon Johnson, remember? Nor do I romanticize "the people." You should read my mail – or listen to the vitriol virtually spat at my answering machine. I understand what the politician meant who said of the Texas House of Representatives, "If you think these guys are bad, you should see their constituents."
But there is nothing idealized or romantic about the difference between a society whose arrangements roughly serve all its citizens and one whose institutions have been converted into a stupendous fraud. That difference can be the difference between democracy and oligarchy. “ END QUOTE

Another riveting speech by Moyer on the media:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/111403E.shtml

'Our Democracy is in Danger of Being Paralyzed,' By Bill Moyers; Keynote Address to the National Conference on Media Reform; t r u t h o u t | Address, Saturday 08 November 2003

Here’s some of my favorite groups’ websites:

www.DemocracyNow.org (independent, uninbedded media; great archive search and transcripts and videos of daily show)
www.FreeSpeech.org (independent television network, “What Democracy Looks Like“)
www.pfaw.org (People for the American Way (building the momentum for change)
www.CommonDreams.org
www.OurFuture.org (Campaign for America’s Future; Take Back America 2006)
www.lcv.org (League of Conservation Voters)
www.nrdc.org (National Resources Defense Council)
http://www.beingcaribou.com/ (film won 17 awards; website has terrific links re: ANWR)
http://www.oldcrow.ca/caribou.htm (native Vuntut Gwitchin website: “The purpose of the following pages is to tell you a story. A true story of our people who, to this day, live off of the land and coexist with the great Porcupine Caribou Herd the way our ancestors did 20,000 years ago.”)

Another great speech to read: http://www.democracynow.org/static/Arundhati_Trans.shtml

“TIDE? OR IVORY SNOW? Public Power in the Age of Empire, ” by Arundhati Roy in San Francisco, California on August 16th, 2004. Full transcript.
Copyright 2004 Arundhati Roy. For permission to reprint contact arnove@igc.org