Tail of a Democrat

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By Dahni
©️ 2018, all rights reserved

Maybe I spelt “Tail” wrong? Maybe I meant “tale”? Then again, perhaps it’s both?

My first political debate was not as a candidate for office, but on behalf of one, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. It was not particularly eloquent. It was however, highly emotional and deeply passionate. I remember it like it was yesterday and verbatim – “Nixon is not very handsome, and Kennedy is!” I was only six years old. But we three kids were raised as Democrats. Mom and Dad were. Our grandparents on Mom’s side were Democrats. It seemed like everyone we knew were Democrats, except for our grandparents, our Father’s parents. They were Republicans.

Our Mom adored JFK! I believe for a while, she purposely had my hair cut and styled to look like his and thought I resembled him? I did have black hair. But I was, “no Jack Kennedy!”

In the 1988 VP Debate, Democrat Senator from Texas, Lloyd Bentsen, challenged his Republican opponent, Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana. Quayle was asked about his qualifications for the office he was seeking and IF, he should become president. Quayle responded in part by saying, “I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency. I will be prepared to deal with the people in the Bush administration, if that unfortunate event would ever occur.”

Bentsen quickly shot back to Quayle, “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

These remarks were shortened and became food and fodder for the media and the Democrats and the brunt of jokes by many comedians, “…you’re no Jack Kennedy.” This became like a lexicon or political dictionary, as a way to deflate politicians or other individuals perceived as thinking too highly of themselves.

But Bush and Quayle became the next president and vice president of the United States. When this occurred, maybe Quayle should have told Bentsen, “I may not be like Jack Kennedy, but Senator, you’re no vice president” (and would never be).

My first presidential election that I was of age to cast my vote was, in 1976. The election year was pretty raucous and bewildering and especially it being, the 200th anniversary of the signing of Our, Declaration of Independence in, 1776. Most of US were still reeling over Nixon’s Watergate Scandal and his subsequent resignation or the likelihood that he would have been impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted in the Senate and removed from office. I for one, did not approve of his VP, Gerald Ford, after assuming office of president, pardoning Nixon and appointing Nelson Rockefeller as the new vice president. To think of Rockefeller being a heartbeat away from the presidency, was unimaginable to me! True to my Democratic roots, i was going to vote for a Democrat anyway, but which one? I can’t remember the 16 or 17 running for the Democrat party. I thought that hot mess was just as stupid and diminishing, as the Republican Party’s group in 2016! Is there something stupid and diminishing about election years that end in the number ‘6’? Is ‘6’ unlucky, ominous or the best WE can do with what’s available?

“Who is Jimmy Carter and what is he running for?” This was a popular and often used quote in the media and by his many opponents, of ALL parties. A hick, one-time peanut farmer from Georgia? I was akin to the South, but still a Midwesterner and of the ‘Show Me State’, a Missourian to be exact. You know, the home state of the guy that Dewey supposedly beat. You know, “Give em’ Hell Harry,” Harry Truman. So, Carter, whoever he was running against (16 or so), for his party’s nominee for president and however he did it, he did it! I had nothing to do with that because, I did not vote in the primary where I was registered to vote, I couldn’t. Why not? Well, in all my years of being allowed to vote, to this day, I have never been invited to join any party! I suppose even then, I must have been undesirable or deplorable. But to this point, I just assumed I was a democrat. I totally missed that whole party sign-up and register to vote, whole primary thing.

But Jimmy Carter was a democrat and so was I. He was running against Ford, a republican and I was not about to waste my first vote on him and his party that gave us Nixon! I liked to call him just, “Jimmy”, i don’t know why, other than that’s what he said, “Hi, I’m Jimmy Carter and I’m running for president.” He had a nice smile and piercing blue eyes. I think he must have reminded me of Pinocchio’s, Jimmy Cricket. I know, it’s Jiminy, but it sounded like Jimmy” to me.

Jimmy served in the military, the Navy, just like our Dad, so that was a plus. And do you recall those jokes, put-downs to be exact, about someone not being too bright, not a “rocket scientist,” or a “nuclear physicist”? Well, “Jimmy”, was pretty close to being a “nuclear physicist.” He worked with nuclear submarines, before he had to leave and take over the family peanut business. His IQ is reported to be way above a genius. That’s all good I thought.

Now Jimmy was wooing the Christians. I don’t think they were called ‘evangelicals’ at the time, just Christians. I was raised Presbyterian and it may have some Christian remnants, but to me in 1976, it was just another religion and I was a Christian. I thought Jimmy was too. He told everyone that he had a “born again” experience through his sister, Ruth Carter Stapleton, evangelist/tent revivalist/faith healer. At first I was thinking, “born again”, OK, works for me! Then he said, “I’ll never lie to you.” OK, I was in.

For a first time voter, at age twenty-three, 2 years short of having a fully developed and mature brain, I thought I made a pretty darn good decision [written while patting myself on the back]! As it turned out, my first-grade debate as a 6 year old kid, worked out better!

After my first-time vote, I found out some other stuff. Yep, Uh-Oh!

For one thing, I heard someplace that Ruth Carter Stapleton was considered the most powerful witch in the United States, in her time. True or not, it sure made me wonder, what kind of “born again” experience Jimmy had??? And Jimmy lied, often! Through Jimmy, I learned a new word “malaise” and our country seemed like it was in one. And for or a long time, one-term Jimmy had the un-distinction of being the worst president EVER (at least to that point).

Now a person doesn’t make a party, but does a party make a person? There’s lots’ of parties, but to be honest or practical, as it stands presently, there are only two that really matter. One person, either from one party or the other will be the next president. I almost voted for a third-party candidate one time, Ross Perot. My point is, I could relate to what Ronald Reagan once said, “I didn’t leave the Democrat Party, they left me.” I have voted several times since Jimmy and I always try to vote for the best, but I have never voted for another Democrat, at least not for president!

Oh, I was a liberal, loved everyone mostly. I was a pacifist, I wanted to “make love not war.” Yes, I was a hippie or a “freak”, or a “flower child”, for a while. I didn’t care what someone’s skin color was, their sex, economic background, level of education or intellect, or their religion, only their character!

My favorite TV shows were ‘Sesame Street’ and ‘Leave it to Beaver’. My favorite political movie was, ‘Mr Smith goes to Washington’, starring another Jimmy, James Stewart. My other favorite (still is), ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, also with Jimmy (James). All these were the salt of the earth, the common folk, and simple things for simple people and idyllic like the little kid in me. Like the character George Bailey said in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, the common folk are the ones that do most of the paying, the living and the dying in this country!

Our first president, George Washington despised all political parties!! He saw them all as divisive, for their lust to get and keep power over our differences, instead of unifying by what we have in common. I don’t know who coined the following, but it fits here and I’m using it, “There’s not a dime’s difference”, among all the political parties!

Our Mother’s parents were of salt of the earth, among the common folk, from large farming families and neither went to college. They were Democrats. Our family of five were Democrats.

Our Father’s parents were both college grads. My grandmother came from wealth. My grandfather was involved with education most of his life, once as a superintendent of schools and he ended his career as a highly respected counselor at the college level. Both he and my grandmother were lifelong Republicans.

Now I can’t speak for our Mom and Dad or any of our grandparents, as they have all passed on. And I won’t speak, for my only brother or our only little sister, my wife or my/our friends. But I wonder if our grandparents with our last name, if alive today, would be voting Democrat? Would they be part of the elite class, the “for the people”, class, the con-job class that brought us everybody is a victim, social divide, and everyone that disagrees with them is a racist? Would they be among the party of political correctness and intolerance and only free if you think like me class? And just in case you think me biased, “Tricky Dick” (Richard), Nixon was a highly intelligent man like “Jimmy”! Is a high IQ a sign that one is corrupt and actually, a dumbass?

And as far as the rest of us, I wonder if we would all be voting Republican?

Everything sure seems different now? ‘The parties’, appear to have switched sides? Has everyone and everything changed?

For myself, this has been my TALE as a Democrat. I got tired of being involved with the TAIL, wagging the dog! Oh, and don’t think that the Republicans don’t want to “wag the dog” too! They just back down when accused of trying to! And this is the parties’ big con. They think “they”, the few, the elite, “the smart ones in charge”, are the tail that wags the dog.

I’m independent now (not the Independent Party or any other party)! Now, I can wag my own tail and Thimk’ for myself!

If you stop yelling at me, calling me names and quit trying to put me down, you will discover WE have a lot in common and WE could be best friends! I still have the heart of a liberal! But one has to have both an open mind and stand for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for everybody, to be a liberal! Does not the word “liberal” come from Liberty?!

So what? So what if anything is the solution? Why not educate Our-selves and Our children on what WE all are, a Republic, not a democracy of the smartest, richest, elitist, most votes and loudest voices that seek to end any debate?

An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people!”

Unknown spurious quote, falsely attributed to Thomas Jefferson, but it IS in line with his views on education

Here’s a quote I sort of made up—

Give me, the history of Our Republic and Liberty not the parties or wag the dog and it will die!

What’s your tale or tail?

Dahni
1 of WE

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