I've been a life-long Democrat. Even while living in Texas. Even after coming to the realization that there was some considerable sense to the argument that making people dependent on hand-outs actually weakens them morally, spiritually and emotionally.
Karla was a Republican. It is probably inane of me to mention this rather sad fact in public, but she recently emailed me, after a fifteen-year gap in communication, to inform me that she had been laid off at the tender age of 62 by Citibank. Hardee-har-har, methinks. Oh, and the undertaker husband she had married after I'd moved to Texas was now dead--that had to be a factor as well. I didn't bother informing her that I'd been laid off early in the Bush Years and watched a fifteen year career of dedicated hard work get washed down the WC. Or the tragic death of stepson. Or the more tragic death of a grandchild. Or the death of a mother-in-law. Or the most recent death of the family patriarch that finally broke the emotional back of my wife and has sent our relationship back to square number one. All of this madness in the space of five years, and I haven't even bothered telling you the gory details of what it's like to go from doing a job I loved to making minimum wage going door to door for Time Warner. Studs Terkel probably had it much easier than any of us these days. So being thrown back to square one with the wife feels like barely a trifle.
Well, we're not exactly at square one"--we're living together again, thank goodness, and we've got more net worth now than we've ever had before. Manna has fallen from the sky, as it so happens, and I have every reason in the world to feel grateful that as President Obama takes the bull by the tail and faces the situation, our personal fortunes have preternaturally improved. So why not express some of the Obama-esque largesse in the direction of our vanquished foes, eh?
Too bad for Karla the Republican and former love of my life. I'm quite a bit younger than she is, so it seems entirely amoral for Citibank to be releasing any employees over the age of 50 or 55 to uncertain futures. Even Vice President's of Human Resources. Frankly, they should be ashamed of themselves.
But then I have to recall what it was like for my mother and grandmother to pack up their lives in Dustbowl, Oklahoma and make the trek out to the Central Valley of California in 1929. Part of the welcoming committee found them to be subhumans, for sure, but if anyone actually believes that John Steinbeck told the whole story of the Great Depression in the Grapes of Wrath, they are sadly mistaken. My mother was repeatedly raped by her father after their arrival in California and, at the age of nine, was hauled in front of a jury to "prove"- to the people of the San Joaquin that she hadn't asked for it. A small price to pay for justice, in their warped minds, but a price that landed my mother in one institution after another, one series of shock treatments after another, one series of thorazine after another, until her mind was completely blown apart. By the time I was born in 1961, my mother was any one of two or three different people, and I absolutely adored every one of them. To this day, I still have an empathy and an understanding of most of the mentally ill that sends shivers up the spines of many of my Texas peers.
My maternal relatives were, "white trash," to be sure, but that distinction in no way entitles the rest of the world to rob them of their dignity as human beings. As the late Harry Truman once quipped, "if you're going to throw a black man in the gutter and keep him there, it's going to take a white man to stand there with him with his foot on his neck," or words to that effect. Poor Harry must have lost all sense of proportionality after the second bomb was dropped on the little yellow people of Nagasaki since his sentiments seem to have forgotten what his administration did to the indigenous people of the United States. These people were a part of the blood of my mother's character, too, since her grandmother actually had land rights. Given half a chance, Harry Truman was about as much a Democrat as Bill Clinton, and I can't stand his happy horse manure, either.
Republican Lite, or Republican, they are all the same to me. They speak however innocently of individual initiative, but they actually mean that the most productive and prodigious should be given most of the available welfare, leaving those less able or fortunate than them to fight like vermin or criminals for the scraps they deign to judge us worthy of. Most Republicans, by volume, are innocent of the actual consequences of their beliefs, but ignorance in the face of so much evidence is no longer a suitable excuse.
And what is the evidence you ignored, my dearest Karla, to your own peril?
1932. The Bonus Marchers. Every able-bodied Republican in the nation screamed at the insubordination of these pitiful few who demanded, in the teeth of the Great Depression, that the government give them what they were promised. The government under Hoover not only refused, it sent people like Douglas MacArthur and George S. Patton after them.
1933. An attempt on the part of a consortium of rich industrialists to not only support Adolph Hitler and his fascist regime, but to overturn the sovereign authority of the People of the United States to choose what government they wanted in their hour of greatest need--namely, FDR and his New Deal.
1947. These same rich industrialists, free from the ire of a jilted Roosevelt, sought to import the "skills and talents" of their Nazi brothers and begin their more carefully thought out plan to subvert freedom and democracy everywhere on the planet.
1963. Not at all amused by a Democratic tendency (at that time) to be true to one's word, the conservatives (mostly Republicans, but some Democrats) murdered a sitting President of the United States using some of the tools and tactics established in 1947. Several other assassinations of Democratic-leaning leaders were also undertaken throughout the 1960's.
1980. George H. W. Bush, son of convicted but unpunished treasonist Prescott, arranges the attempted assassination of sitting President Ronald Reagan and nearly succeeds. Reagan responds by placing Bush in charge of most foreign policy and diplomatic matters, effectively doing to Reagan what his father had attempted to do to Roosevelt. First item on Poppy's list is the destruction of the democratic progressive movements in El Salvador and Guatemala, leveraging the drug trade acquired and controlled during the Viet Nam conflict as a revenue source.
1997. The "political assassination"- of sitting President Bill Clinton using his personal, and widely known, pecadillos and a recently acquired corporate-owned media megaplex to shout down all opposition and spur on an impeachment show-trial that ends in an acquittal, but effectively hamstrings the legislative policies of the Clinton Administration.
2000. The use of a packed Supreme Court to overturn the election results of the State of Florida and make George Walker Bush the next President of the United States. From 2000, onward, the United States begins a geometric slide into the kind of moral and economic oblivion that has not been experienced since the days of the Roman Empire.