A lot of my political convictions come from my dad. He was (and still is) a big influence in my life, especially on the intellectual side of things, and growing up the daughter of a Union electrician, as poor white trash, in a struggling single parent blue collar rural family....well, it definitely gave me populist leanings, to say the least. I always considered myself a happy Democrat - just like my dad.
As I've gotten older, and broadened the scope of my political education, learning about vast, interconnected systems of oppression that leave so many people with literally nothing....well, I still considered myself a Dem, but maybe one of those flaming liberals on the party fringe. I started playing the politics of lesser evils, but I wasn't unhappy about it. I mean, this was the party of Hillary Clinton, and I loved her (and still do). When Clinton got booted from the primary (about which, I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little bitter), I was bummed, but not necessarily horrified to be swapping my vote to my Senator. I mean, I was ecstatic to vote for Obama the first time, and I was thrilled to get a chance to do it on a presidential ballot, too.
Well, time has passed. Positions have shifted. Obama, while certainly a fuckload of a better candidate than "Maverick" McCain, has definitely lost some of his shiny for me (no Dem can soften his position on abortion, firm up his position on keeping troops in Iraq, and endorse federal funding for faith based orgs without earning my ire). Things have changed.
So, I'm talking about this with my dad. (He and I talk politics a lot.) As I've gotten older and more radical in my liberalism, though, my dad has gotten older and more centrist in his conservatism. As I was talking about my disappointment with Obama's recent shifts in position on abortion and FBOs, my dad was actually kind of dismissive about those things. In fact, he actually said to me, "I don't give a shit about that stuff. I care about the war, and the economy, and gas prices. And not only that, but I kind of agree with him. I mean, some of these little towns out there, the only place people can go for help is to a church."
I was shocked, and to be honest, it's made me want to moderate some of my conversation about politics with my dad. I wonder now if he's sometimes amazed at how much of a flaming liberal I am these days.
Anyway, this conversation got me thinking about why Obama's shifts do mean so much to me. I mean, I care about the war and the economy and gas prices....though admittedly, as someone without a car and with a (knock wood) relatively secure job that keeps me in (knock wood) relatively decent financial shape, I'm maybe a little personally isolated from those issues. But my step-brother is on his way for a tour in Afghanistan (after three tours in Iraq), and I know plenty of people getting fucked by the economy and gas prices, and don't even get me started on how my food budget has skyrocketed (I'm lucky enough to be able to afford farmer's market prices....but I'm not far from needing to consider compromises on non-produce stuff). And of course, I believe so much of these problems are inevitably entwined with green issues, which is pretty much at the top of my radar.
But, you know what? I think abortion and separation of church and state take the cake every time, and thinking about this for awhile, I think I've figured out why. During the Bush administration, the line between church and state has become less stable than at any time I can remember. Why's that? Because the man believes he's doing "God's work," and all of his choices come straight from his religious values (and see here for info on what those might be). Bush doesn't weigh the consequences of his actions, because the only consequences he seems to be considering are the ones involving pearly gates.
Now, we could debate all day and night whether Bush really is the religious radical he seems, or he's putting on some kind of front...but I think his actions and the way he operates speak for themselves. We've lived for nearly eight years (and maybe more?) under the yoke of religious ideology. When church and state aren't firmly separated, human rights suffer, standard of living suffers, and freedom suffers (or at least that's what I think).
((I'm currently reviewing Obama's "Blueprint for Change" - because I want to really understand the specifics, and not just base my thoughts on conjecture and the "liberal media" and what he says out on the stump. Analysis will be posted when I get around to it.))
Meanwhile, I'm starting to wonder if I'll be the lifelong Democrat I have always thought I would be. I'm starting to wonder whether Obama really has my vote - and instead of being really excited about the candidates (like I was when the primary started four years ago), I'm feeling disappointed and angry and unhappy. I don't want to vote for the lesser of two evils. These days, I wonder if I've *ever* voted for anything else.
Loud-mouthed liberal feminist. Anarchist knitter. Tequila-drinking artsy-smartsy fat chick. Bluesy folk-rock singer-songwriter. Rebel with too many causes. Quirky eclectic pagan poet. Paradoxical intuitive smartass. Sarcastic brainiac insomniac. You know, for starters.