Monday, March 5, 2007

Political Orphan, part 2

I confess. I was once an unconditional Republican. I thought that, when the Messiah returned, He would be a Republican, too. In 1994, I was in the midst of an 11-year sojourn in South America, but was in the States on a temporary furlough. I was there in November when the Republican sweep happened. It was better than any dream I had ever had. The Millennium had arrived. Now everything would be all right. The Democratic-controlled congress had held the American people in a death grip for too long. We were tired of the taxation, the senseless spending, the pork, the corruption, and the media, which seemed to look the other way. We were the group that was tired of special interest groups who got their own way, regardless of how everyone else felt.

Then came the "Contract with America." Term limits. Accountability to the voters. Tax relief. A stop to an overblown big government that was hemorrhaging money. That was all going to come to a stop in January of 1995.

I now look back over these past 12 years, and realize how little happened. The government is bigger than ever. Not only are we paying inflated, obscene prices for health care, but now we're going to pay for prescriptions for everyone as well. Education was a monster that grew three more heads and a dozen new tentacles. Abortion has increased. Homosexuality made inroads.

Republicans were a majority for twelve years, and for half of that time, they owned the executive mansion as well. Yet, looking at what they have done, for all practical purposes they looked like the minority party. They catered to the left side of the aisle, and compromised the Contract with America. Where are the term limits? Where is the line-item veto? What about the balanced budget, the end of partial-birth abortions, and the restriction of the militant gay and lesbian left that wants to invade our churches, our work places, and every aspect of public life? The Republican "majority" did nothing. Every time a judge got shot down, the Republicans blamed the Democrats. The same goes for their inability to pass any significant legislation for the Contract with America. Sure, they cut some taxes, but we, the American Electorate, expected the accompanying spending cuts with that. They never came. It must have been the Democrats' fault. The Republicans lived 12 years in the majority, but they never lost their "minority" mindset.

--And they adopted the same things they had campaigned against. Special interest groups, lobbyists, and corrupt officials just migrated to the right. I once tried to send an e-mail to my Republican congressman. There was a place on his website that allowed that. After sending the message, I was told that I needed to enter my nine-digit zip code because he didn't represent everyone in that zip code, and only answered people in his own district. When I finally got the letter through, I was answered two months later with a snail-mail, mass-produced response that made it obvious he had never seen any part of my letter.

The Republicans lost because they were in violation of the Contract. There was no difference in results. Sure, they still talked the talk, but... It was a pathetic showing. Are there some good Republicans left? Sure! There used to be some good Democrats left, like the one we had in our district. He represented all the values I represent, and it was a courageous stand on his part, given the popular opinion of his party. He lost his seat because some Texas Republicans re-districted and cut his district in pieces (hence my patchwork zip code). Gerrymandering is ugly no matter which party does it. If Texas Republicans had just waited, they could have won more seats due to elections -- in 2006, in fact. But they were in a hurry, and they lost more respect, even in Republican Texas. I'm looking at Libertarians, Constitutional, and Independent Candidates, as well as Democrats who stand for their own district, in spite of the party line. And I will vote for a Republican with guts as well. If I ever find one again.

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