Archive for the ‘Democrats’ Category

For a long time I could not understand why so many Christians in America favoured the Republicans over the Democrats. The Republicans, after all, were for the rich and the military while the Democrats were for the poor and the common man. It was hard for me to imagine Jesus siding with the generals and the moneymen against the man in the street.

But in those days I did not believe in God. I did not call myself a Marxist, but that is what I was. What Marx said just seemed like common sense to me. But later I read the Bible all the way through and, after a few years of failing to explain it away, I became a Christian myself.

Then suddenly it made sense to me why so many Christians voted Republican: it pretty much came down to abortion and moral issues like that. Republicans represent the old Christian morals, more or less, while the Democrats were for things like abortion, gays and keeping prayer out of schools.

The ends do not justify the means. So no amount good deeds by the government can make up for its support for abortion. Just like no amount of good deeds by the government could make up for its support for slavery.

And so millions of ordinary Americans wind up supporting the party of the rich. They find themselves siding with the generals and the moneymen against the man in the street – against themselves!

In the 1980s and 1990s the Democratic party lost the support of most white Southerners and serious Catholics. The Democrats – well some Democrats – said it was because of racism. But given the timing of the white flight it seemed abortion not racism was more to blame. Besides, racism could not explain why serious Catholics left but the not-so-serious ones remained. But abortion could explain it. (“Serious” in this case means those who go to church every week – just because it is easier to measure it that way.)

The feeling I get about the people at the top of the Democratic party is that they do not take the Bible and religion seriously. They think that stuff is for those who do not know any better. They know better.

So, just like 14-year-olds who think they know better than their parents, they throw out what God or the Bible or thousands of years of human wisdom say and make up their own morals.

Their approach to the Constitution is the same as their approach to the Bible: they think they know better than the wisdom of their forefathers and so they read it the way that suits them. They call that progress.

But in doing this they are losing touch with ordinary people, people who still believe in the Bible, God and hell. They have already lost most of the white Christian vote. In 2004 it seems they were starting to lose even the black Christian vote.

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John Edwards (1953- ), a Democrat, was a one-term senator from the state of North Carolina in the American South. He ran for president in 2004 and became John Kerry’s running mate. He ran again in the 2008 election but dropped out at the end of January.

By the middle of January 2008 he was running third among Democrats, far behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He is well to the left of both. He does not have Hillary’s money nor Obama’s star power.

Of the three, his positions and policies were far more thought out. That alone has already forced Obama and Clinton to take stands close to his own. So even if Edwards does not make it to the White House, some of his ideas might:

  • End the war in Iraq and pull out most of the American troops.
  • Cut poverty by a third in ten years.
  • Provide universal healthcare.
  • Take back the Bush tax cut.
  • Raise the minimum wage.

Edwards is for abortion, stem cell research, capital punishment and the Patriot Act. He is against same-sex marriage.

He was for going to war in Iraq in 2003 but changed his mind in 2005.

Edwards has good looks, charm and a silver tongue. He even seems to mean what he says. But he has little experience, even less than Obama.

Edwards has modelled himself after Robert Kennedy, who ran for president in 1968. Like Kennedy, Edwards is for ending the war and ending poverty. He is a rich man standing up for the other America where people are not rich at all, the America he came from.

Edwards was born in South Carolina but grew up in North Carolina. His family was not well-to-do: he was the first to go to university. He got a law degree and practised personal injury law. He took doctors and big companies to court and won millions for the harm they have done. Since he got a cut of the money from every court case he won, he became rich.

Then in 1996 his 16-year-old son died in a car accident. It shook him. He left law and stood for public office. In 1998 he became a senator.

In 1999 he defended President Bill Clinton at his impeachment trial in the Senate. He was so good Al Gore put him on his short list of possible running mates in 2000.

That got Edwards to thinking about running for president himself, which he did in 2004. John Kerry beat him but made him his running mate.

In 2004 doctors found cancer growing in his wife’s breast. They cured it, but then in 2007 they found it growing in her bones. There is no cure for that.

Edwards started running for president early in 2007 when he stood next to a house in New Orleans that Katrina destroyed. He courted labour unions. He spoke about the “two Americas” and how he will fight against the big companies and special interests.

Last updated: Thu Jan 31 08:31:10 UTC 2008 

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Robert Kennedy

Robert Kennedy (1925-1968), also known as RFK or Bobby Kennedy, was a younger brother of the American president John Kennedy. He was a Democratic senator from New York who ran for president in 1968. On the night he won the Democratic race in California Sirhan Sirhan killed him.

Kennedy wanted to end the Vietnam war. It was immoral: America, with its great strength and wealth, was killing unarmed Vietnamese women and children to support a corrupt and unjust government. America was destroying its own good name. He wanted to pull out of the war.

When his brother was president in the early 1960s Bobby was part of his inner circle and became Attorney General, the top law man in the country. At the time Bobby had a black and white, right and wrong, law and order way of looking at the world. His duty above all was to his brother.

Then one November afternoon in Dallas in 1963 all that changed. His brother was killed. His world was gone. Instead of turning to his Catholic faith to find comfort and to make sense of what was happening, he turned to the ancient Greek tragedies. Life, he learned, is bitter, a thing of chance. You cannot count on tomorrow.

There is a line from Aeschylus that he often quoted:

In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.

He was no longer the son of a rich family who had everything. He became one with those who suffered, whether because they were poor, came from another country looking for work or did not have white skin.

Because of this Bobby Kennedy was one of the few political figures who could cut across the divisions of an increasingly divided country: young and old, rich and poor, black and white. He was one of the few public figures who seemed to understand both blacks and whites.

His view of America was neither that of Adam Smith nor Karl Marx. He said the wealth of the country:

measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile; and it can tell us everything about America except whether we are proud to be Americans.

He saw himself morally. Better to die doing what is right than to live a long and comfortable life by making peace with evil.

In late 1967 and early 1968 he was torn inside: He was against the war and yet the only way for him to end it was to oppose the president, who was from his own party. In the end he chose to put principle above party. It was his moral duty. Like Marcus Brutus.

McLuhan said, “He strove to do good by stealth and blushed to find it fame.”

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hillaryclinton.jpgHillary Rodham Clinton (1947- ) is a Democrat, the wife of former American President Bill Clinton and, since 2001, a senator from New York state. She hopes to win in 2008 to become the first female president in American history.

Her strengths: She is well-known, will have little trouble raising money and has the experience and political genius of her husband to guide her.

Her weaknesses: she is bad at public speaking and many will not trust a Democrat or a woman to be commander-in-chief of the military in time of war.

Although she is loved on the coasts, she is something of a hate figure in the middle of the country.

What people most remember: how she stood by her unfaithful husband during the Monica Lewinsky affair. It made her seem human and honourable. Quite unlike the cold, self-serving, play-it-safe Hillary Clinton that we are used to seeing.

Her most famous expressions:

  • “a vast right-wing conspiracy” which she said wanted to take down her husband.
  • “It takes a village” to bring up a child, the name of her first book.
  • “stayed home and baked cookies” is what she could have done instead of working for left-wing causes.

In the 1990s when her husband was president she was well to the left politically. She pushed for universal healthcare, which her enemies called “Hillary Care”. It was a disaster. It never made it into law and only united the Republicans, who swept to power in Congress in 1994.

Since becoming senator in 2001 she has moved to the middle, especially on military and foreign affairs. She does not, for example, oppose the war in Iraq outright like most Democrats. While New York City is very left-wing, the rest of the state is not.

She was once a Republican, like her father. She even worked for Barry Goldwater, a hard-right Republican who ran for president in 1964. But by 1968 she had become a Democrat, working for Eugene McCarthy, who opposed the Vietnam war.

After college she went to Yale Law School where she met Bill Clinton. After law school he went back to Arkansas while she worked for the Children’s Defense Fund and the Watergate hearings. Only later did she move to Arkansas. They married in 1978, but she did not start using her married name till four years later. He became governor while she worked at the Rose Law Firm with Vince Foster.

It was then that the Clintons got involved in the questionable Whitewater land deal.

She is not from New York, by the way. She grew up in Park Ridge near Chicago, in the same time and place as actor Harrison Ford. The Clintons did not move to New York till 2001 when she wanted to become senator.

If Hillary Clinton loses and does not become president, she will be remembered largely as a first lady, what Americans call the wife of the president. It is a position of honour but some make it into one of political power, as Hillary Clinton and her hero Eleanor Roosevelt did.

But if Hillary Clinton wins, then Americans will have to think of a name for the husband of the president.

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Democratic-Party-ButtonThe Democratic Party (1792- ) is the largest left-wing political party in America. It was founded by Thomas Jefferson. The Republican Party is its counterpart on the right. The Democratic Party is represented by a donkey in pictures.

It is like Labour in Britain or the Social Democrats in Europe, but it is not as far to the left as they are. It accepts capitalism as a given. It is not socialist.

Since the 1930s it has believed in taxing the rich to help the poor.

Since the 1980s, as the Republicans have moved to the hard right, the Democratic Party has been moving towards the centre right. In the 1990s, for example, they pushed through welfare reform, free trade with Mexico and kept taxes low on the rich.

Some famous Democratic presidents:

  • Thomas Jefferson (1800s)
  • Andrew Jackson (1830s)
  • Woodrow Wilson (1910s)
  • Franklin Roosevelt (1930s, early 1940s)
  • Harry Truman (late 1940s)
  • John Kennedy (early 1960s)
  • Bill Clinton (1990s)

Democrats have been favoured by labour, the poor, Jews, blacks, women and newspaper reporters.

Democrats see the purpose of government as providing justice, especially equality. Therefore they are generally for equal rights, especially for blacks, women and homosexuals.

Democrats favour social change, which they almost always regard as progress. They paint the past (but not the present) as the bad old days when rich white men ruled and kept everyone else down to become rich and powerful.

Democrats see themselves as standing up for the common man, with whom they are often out of touch. They get their ideas from intellectuals and newspapermen, not from ordinary people. They get most of their money from the rich.

Nevertheless, they have done a lot of good for ordinary people, particularly in the 1930s and 1960s. They have made it harder for business to make people work long hours for little pay under unsafe conditions. They have made it possible for many who do well at school to go on to university – it is no longer the preserve of the rich. The old are not so desperately poor as they once were. They are now working for universal healthcare. And so on.

While the Republicans are loosely Christian in their outlook, the Democrats have no moral foundation.

Therefore they sometimes support laws that are either immoral or unfair:

  • Race: They supported keeping blacks as slaves and then keeping them down with Jim Crow laws. They supported civil rights reforms in the 1960s but only after it was forced on them through protests.
  • Abortion: In the 1980s there were still Democrats who opposed abortion. Now abortion is unquestioned doctrine among Democrats in high office.

Their stand on race and abortion has lost them the South along with most church-going whites.

Blacks are among the most faithful Democratic voters. The party takes them for granted and has done little for them since the 1960s – because most will not vote at all rather than vote for the Republicans, who are far more racist.

– Abagond, 2006.

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Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was the third American president, being in office during the time of Napoleon. He also wrote the Declaration of Independence. It declared America to be independent of Britain. Among other things it says:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Jefferson goes on to say that governments rule only by consent of the governed. That gives the governed the right to overthrow the government in serious cases. Which is just what Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers did when they overthrew British rule in America.

Jefferson was an intellectual, a child of the Enlightenment who was up on all the latest ideas. Most of his political ideas came from John Locke. He called Locke, Bacon and Newton the three greatest men who ever lived. He had a picture of each one on his wall.

When Jefferson wrote that all men are created equal, he owned 175 black slaves. By 1822 he had 92 more: 267. He only freed 8 of them.

But there is more: after his wife died, Jefferson seems to have had six children by one of his slave women, Sally Hemings, possibly the black half-sister of his dead white wife.

While most consider George Washington and Abraham Lincoln better presidents and better men, Jefferson would make almost anyone’s short list of American presidents. He is on the money and you can see his face on the side of Mount Rushmore along with Lincoln, Washington and Teddy Roosevelt.

When he was president he doubled the size of the country: Napoleon, needing quick money for his wars, sold Louisiana to America. Louisiana in those days was not just a little state next to Texas like it is now: it was all the land from the Mississippi River to the Rocky mountains (except for Texas).

Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark on a three-year journey to find out what was out there. On the way they met Sacajawea.

Jefferson had a vast curiosity. He got every book he could find on America and wrote a book about his own state of Virginia.

He loved inventions. When he saw something new, he figured out how it worked and made one of his own. He invented a new sort of plough and was serious about making and selling nails.

Jefferson designed and built his own house, the Monticello.

Sometimes his intellectual pride got the best of him: He believed in God but not in miracles. Therefore he wrote his own gospel about Jesus without miracles.

Later in life Jefferson was deep in debt. When the British burned down the Library of Congress, Jefferson sold his books to Congress to start a new library.

Both Jefferson and John Adams died on the 50th birthday of the country, July 4th 1826. They were the last two of the Founding Fathers to die. That was the summer Lincoln was 17.

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