Just a girl looking for a party
First order of business - I recently changed my hair from the years of blonde that I have had it to a deep auburn color...and I got a lot of questions regarding my blog. As I have a hard time with monogamous commitments to my hair relationships I am not changing the name...because if history is any indicator then I will be blonde by choice again at some point...by choice is the operative phrase here.
Frilly stuff aside with this past weekend being the celebration of the birthdays (you know they could have let us have 2 long weekends, not combined the holiday but whatever) of 2 Presidents who are among my favorites it got me to thinking .... what party do I belong to?
I was raised in a staunch Republican household. It is understandable that my parents whose experience with socialism was the failure that the Eastern Bloc nations, you know the place where the "people" took over, took property from the "people" they deemed unworthy of the wealth they had (regardless of whether they earned it or inherited it or who cares - taking from them is no less immoral when you kick them out of their homes then a lot of the accusations hurled at them for taking from the impoverished -- and if you are not sure about that read a bit of history starting with that fun period post French revolution named The Reign of Terror), and took away hope because the great equalizer was to smother individuality, innovation and anything that was the pursuit of happiness. You did not need happiness you needed to be productive, to build the state, to have what you needed..DONE. Sounds grey and awful...was worse than it sounds. As in all things like this the "people" who took power quickly decided they did not really want to share that power and even more quickly and usually with learned brutality from their own painful experiences went on to ensure that no one was ever going to get the chance to be the "people" who overthrew them.
Considering what my family and everyone they knew suffered under the guise of socialism anything that even had a whiff of union and government as benefactor (read Democrat) was seen as the rising of the potential of dooming another nation like theirs, theirs that they had left with heavy hearts and without anything but hope, had become. As I went to college I remember the biggest fights I had with my Dad were over the idea that there are benefits to some of the socialist ideas that the whole process of democracy has to exist with opposition and not blind following of either party. I tell you no presidential debate will ever have the intensity, passion and full on loudness that those dinner time conversations had. I just could not see why he could not understand that he was not being democratic...he could not understand how I did not see the danger in it.
I am a child of the 80s..you know the 80s with their Masters of the Universe Bonfire of the Vanities, their big hair and spend, spend, spend material girl "greed for lack of a better word" quality. I am also a child of the 90s, finishing college in the late 80s as the boom turned to dust, as New York took a beating from crime, economic collapse and AIDS, as I looked for a job and was thrilled when I found one for $21,325 a year (yeah kiddies this is pre-tech bubble ...so my sign on bonus was to sign on for a job). I lived in an expensive city, enjoying a life I liked with clubs, fashion junkie fed often by places like Andy's Cheapee's, Canal Jean Co and a lot of magazines. I walked over squatters on my way to bars in Alphabet City (not trendy then -- Tompkins Square Park..best bars) and watched friends die badly, and I mean horror movie pain and makeup badly, from AIDS while the world blamed and shunned and tried to pretend that this was god's will (probably started being an atheist right about here). There was crack and it was whack!!
This is how I was formed - a contradiction - with a slight fear and aversion to the possibility that the Democrats were going to ruin my chosen home like they had my birth home but with a sense that they needed to be heard because there were so many people who needed them to speak on their behalf. A capitalist who to today is not ashamed of wanting more than I need and wishing that more people could achieve the economic rewards that allow them to have the things that they consider "luxuries" in life.
I look at both parties and have for many years and they have transformed from the parties of my youth. There are people who mourn the parties they were for different reasons. I still think Democrats rely too much on the idea of government as savior and don't see the waste and inefficiencies I pay for in their plans. I see Republicans as no longer belonging to a party of "growth" but falling rapidly to a party of fundamentalist fanatics more concerned with their version of "morality" and so bent on no government that they are willing to pass laws that benefit no one except the stubborn belief that they are "right". I am the pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, pro-strict gun laws, pro-business, pro-defense, pro-balanced budget for the government, education and infrastructure funding, anti-complicated bureaucracy- mediocrity-political correctness, pro-science advocate, union believer, union reformer, medicare/social security supporter, healthcare believer, tort reformer -- who has never and probably will never vote by party alone but will vote for members of the party that share most of that vision at least.
I look for another Republican Lincoln, for a Democrat John F Kennedy, for a mixture of the strength of Ike and the compromise of Clinton. In the 80s an early 90s I was a girl with a political party in search of a party to dance at, today I am a woman who wants to find a party that will allow her sons to have the chance to dance and shine at the parties they choose to go to. I am looking for the party that is fiscally responsible and who supports choices that allow adults to make them. The party that understands that allowing only a handful of donors to influence them is not capitalism but oligarchy which is the downfall that so many have seen as the revolutions in history. I cannot stand the puritan abstinence of the ultra left or the ultra right - because you both do not represent progress but judgmental stagnation. Is there a party that sees that the government needs to exist, needs to have safety nets and protect individual choices and freedoms while saying no thanks to a few large donors and their twisted visions? Is there a party who does not make me feel like government is the long lost parent that forgives my lack of personal responsibility? I am looking for a way that more of my really large tax money to go to my state and town and less to the Federal government. Is there a party for me - still not sure but I will vote as close as possible for the people who have at least some of these attributes because even though I have no party I follow at all cost ... I do worship at the altar of democracy because the alternative that I lived as a child is a party I left long ago.