November 15, 2002
Well, geez, I'm confused again. There have been so many Democratic
candidates for office qualifying all their votes for the Republican
agenda that I think there's some need for a few definitions
and clarifications of what it means to be a D(d)emocrat. In
the hope of making the best of a bad situation, for the benefit
of those in office or those voting who are unclear on the
concept, I offer the following:
Real D(d)emocrats don't support Republican agendas, period.
Trading with the enemy is treason. Republican right-wing bastards
are the enemy - make no mistake about that; they are the enemies
of the poor, the truthful, the ordinary American.
They are the enemies of true democracy. No believing them
when they say they are the party of Lincoln - Lincoln would
piss on George Bush and Trent Lott and Tom DeLay from a great
height, had he the chance.
Real D(d)emocratic candidates don't take money from anyone,
corporate or otherwise, who gives money to Republicans.
Further, real D(d)emocrat office candidates fight, tirelessly,
for genuine campaign reform, instead of letting John McCain
occupy legislative time with half-assed reforms. Real D(d)emocratic
candidates use shoe leather to sway the public, not attack
ads paid for by PACs.
Real D(d)emocrats don't pay any attention to right-wing media
assholes. And you all know their names. And, you write your
local media outlets and tell them you don't favor them or
patronize their advertisers because of the obvious right-wing
bias on their stations.
Real D(d)emocrats like sex, and aren't afraid to say so.
And like sex education in the schools, so that everyone has
the information needed to avoid disease or unwanted pregnancy
in the process. Real D(d)emocrats tell the televangelists
and Dubya to practice a little more verbal abstinence and
a lot less hypocrisy and let the rest of us get on with one
of the few enjoyments in life that isn't stamped with a corporate
Real D(d)emocrats speak up for those without a voice.
Real D(d)emocrats regulate big business to avoid big business
fleecing the poor.
Real D(d)emocrats understand that perpetual war and an increasing
gap between rich and poor is a prescription for disaster.
Real D(d)emocrats know that genuine equality at home promotes
real democracy abroad.
Real D(d)emocrats know that Republican lies have to be fought
with simple truths. Real D(d)emocrats know that supply-side
economics is one of those big lies Republicans tell to make
the rich richer. Real D(d)emocrats explain that fact to ordinary
Real D(d)emocratic politicians fight every Republican attempt
to stack the courts with right-wing judges, by every means
possible. Always. Every time.
Real D(d)emocrats fight for unions, union members and union
causes. Real D(d)emocrats also warn union leaders that if
they participate in pension fraud or union election fraud,
they'll crucify them in public. Real D(d)emocrats do this
because collective bargaining has provided a better quality
of life for many more people than if unions didn't exist.
Real D(d)emocrats protect workers in the workplace.
Real D(d)emocrats scream bloody murder at every Republican
attempt to undo environmental legislation.
Real D(d)emocrats aren't afraid to call George W. Bush a
pathological liar. He is, after all. Just part of telling
Real D(d)emocrats remember history, and learn from it.
Real D(d)emocratic politicians show corporate lobbyists the
door, politely, but firmly.
Real D(d)emocratic politicians don't write tax legislation
benefitting corporations, paying them tax credits to move
offshore, and force corporations to pay their fair share of
taxes, since corporations use the infrastructure to a greater
degree than any individual and need to support schools and
communities, because they benefit. Real D(d)emocrats see that
pollution-creating, tax-evading, manipulative corporations
have their corporate charters revoked. Real D(d)emocrats never
think of corporations as having all the rights of people,
especially without requiring of them the responsibilities
of individual people.
Real D(d)emocrats invite democracy and free speech. Real
D(d)emocrats fight the Bush administration tooth and nail
on its policies against freedom of information, against its
practice of relegating dissenters to "free speech zones" far
away from view by those most in need of a dissenting message.
Real D(d)emocratic politicians would impeach and convict
Richard Cheney for gross indifference to the rulings of the
courts, under the "high crimes and misdemeanors" clause. Same
regarding John Ashcroft. A Republican anti-democratic villain
is still a villain.
Real D(d)emocratic politicians don't compromise on what is
right in a particular issue for a few percentage points in
the vote. Doing so costs many more percentage points in the
Real D(d)emocratic politicians don't expect to get votes
by appeasing Republicans. Except for those who still believe
in Santa Claus.
Real D(d)emocrats love being called the "L" word.
In a society with a Constitutional mandate for freedom of
the press, real D(d)emocratic politicians never approve of
the means for a few media conglomerates to control the airwaves
or the press and fight every government attempt, subtle and
overt, to enable one body of ideological thought to prevail
or predominate. Doris "Granny D" Haddock mentions in a recent
speech that, on her walk across the United States on behalf
of campaign reform, she met a man driving a garbage truck
who told her, apparently quite earnestly, that the greatest
problem this country needed to address was repeal of the estate
tax. She said, "I didn't need to ask if there was a radio
in his truck." Real D(d)emocrats know what that's about.
D(d)emocratic politicians would never vote for bankruptcy
legislation as Draconian as that recently proposed. They would,
instead, be creating legislation to tighten rules for corporate
bankruptcy and re-establishing laws against usury and harshening
penalties for predatory lending and irresponsible tactics
on the part of credit card issuers to create consumer debt
in those least able to manage large debt.
Real D(d)emocratic politicians can explain to the sensible
part of the populace the need for separation of church and
state. Faux D(d)emocratic politicians think they need to appeal
to the minority Christian right-wing by avoiding the issue.
Real D(d)emocratic politicians would fight for an independent
commission to investigate the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and
use the information to improve government and intelligence-gathering
entities, rather than voting for a massive reorganization
of government for no other purpose than to appease a maniacal
Real D(d)emocratic politicians would remember past and present
members of their institutions who, as their guiding principle,
ask themselves before voting on any legislation only one necessary
question, "is this best for the people?" War, taxes, corporate
tax relief, budget, social issues, it makes no difference.
That's the most important question any D(d)emocrat should
be asking. Despite hype, PR, media spin, Republican whining
and Democratic waffling, self-deception on the part of politicians
for the sake of campaign contributions, that should be the
only question in a true democracy. If every politician were
to have asked that question of himself or herself before each
and every vote in the last thirty or forty years, we might
have avoided damaging and expensive wars, damage to our economy,
the flight of millions of jobs, eliminated poverty and invited
tens of millions of disenfranchised citizens back into the
political process, and most recently, avoided the damage to
our national image created around the world by dangerous and
autonomous military action and global economic strong-arm
Real D(d)emocrats love democracy, for all its messiness and
seeming inefficiency, because its precepts are simple. People
count before corporations, tolerance is a paramount virtue,
government openness is a necessity, and the opinions of all
must be heard and evaluated. And most of all, governance is
by all the people, not just the select few with the greatest
volume. Democracy abhors plutocracy, oligarchy, monarchy,
and today, especially, should abhor the tyranny by the radical
few of the many, however the means to that end.
Gunter Grass, the famed German novelist who came of age toward
the end of Hitler's reign, has said, "the first obligation
of the citizen is to keep his mouth open." Good advice for
all democrats, politicians and voters alike. If we don't,
we'll go on being tyrannized by the few, to the detriment
of our country, democracy at large and the rest of the world's
punpirate is a New Mexico writer who thinks the Bushies
and plenty of people in Congress haven't been very careful
about who they associate with and need a good shot of democracy
to cure their case of the right-wing clap.