I notice in some of my past and recent posts—especially, but not only, the political ones—I can come across as though I think I know the definitive answer to what reality is in any given situation, or what excellence is.
I just have my opinions (based on a lifetime of experience and observation etc., but so is everyone else’s).
The fun of a blog, for me, is being able to share a small portion of the thoughts that race through my head all day about everything I am experiencing, remembering, observing, hearing, realizing, etc. and how I feel and think about all that.
I’ve always gotten into trouble, from my first words really (which two of my brothers let me know in recent years were curse words!), for what I’ve had to say.
I’ve worked on the cursing over the years, usually to little success, and on trying to be more humble (i.e. realistic) about how my perspective is simply that. When I start ranting about things I find offensive or raving about things I find awe-inspiring, I’m just excited to share the passion of my opinions and beliefs, no matter how fleeting they sometimes may be, or how lasting.
In the arena of politics, I have been an engaged activist for most of my life, less now than ever before, but still active here and there. I think I learned some things, some of which I’ve been trying to share in the past few posts.
Not about who you should vote for, or who is the “best” candidate, but about my belief that it will be better for the country, more healing and help to get us back on track, if a Democrat is elected to the presidency in November.
And my equally strong belief that the two most damaging election results—those of 1968 and 2000—which led to a horrific amount of death and destruction, more senseless than any other in my lifetime (WWI has them all beat, but I wasn’t alive then) could have been easily avoided had people with shared values and goals not become so passionately partisan about their candidates to the point of refusing to vote for any other nominee or voting for a symbolic candidate who had no chance of winning but would take votes away from the candidate who would not have caused so much death and destruction.
I’m talking, obviously, about Hubert Humphrey and Al Gore, both Democratic presidential candidates who failed to win (in Gore’s case he won but not enough to insure his victory) because fellow Democrats and “independents” either didn’t vote or voted for someone who didn’t have a chance of winning but better represented their ideals.
There is no question that had Humphrey won, the war in Vietnam would have ended much sooner, and the wars in Cambodia and Laos would not have occurred, and an inordinate amount of senseless death and destruction would not have occurred as a result. The course of history would have been different in many more ways as well, would have been better, much better.
The same if Gore had definitively won in 2000. No question about it, the world would be better off, let alone our country, and there would be a lot of people still alive, families still intact, etc. etc.
That’s my belief. Based on strong evidence, but a belief nonetheless since no one can know what “might” have happened. But there’s no doubt that a Gore administration would not have invaded Iraq in pursuit of enemies who attacked us who were hiding in Afghanistan. He may well have attacked Afghanistan and gotten Bin Laden and that country may have become, with our full support as we originally promised and then reneged on under Bush, the model of democracy and peace in the Middle East.
Or the 9/11 attacks may never have occurred in the first place, the plot may have been foiled, since Gore was taking the intelligence about Bin Laden a lot more seriously than Bush did. But, no matter, it is still just a belief, mine.
And it is my belief, that if the race for the nomination for the Democratic candidate for president continues the way it has recently (hopefully it can still right itself, I’ll certainly be watching closely the Nevada debate), focusing on accusations of “racism” and “sexism” backed up with stories of vote rigging and “swift-boating” and misrepresenting each other’s records and so on, all things that will certainly be used against the Democratic candidate in November by the Republicans, but if that continues among Democrats and the “Independents” that are leaning toward the Democrats, than a Republican can, and probably will, win.
And it is my belief that under another Republican administration, there will be more death and destruction caused by our government’s actions and lack of action, than under a Democratic one, no matter who the nominee is.
This is all personal. And I’m sorry if sometimes I forget that it is for you too. I felt responsible in the 1960s when protests turned violent and people got killed, because I had written articles in various “underground” and leftist newspapers justifying some violence, and I had given speeches defending violent measures because of the frustration of me and many others with the slow progress of our attempt to end racism and the war in Vietnam.
But by contributing to getting Nixon elected by promoting the candidacy of Eldridge Cleaver for president on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket (which I was on too, on the local level) instead of seeing, as many of my working-class friends and relatives certainly saw, that if Humphrey lost to Nixon, not only would the war go on even longer (another six years in fact, and spread to other countries leaving problems that still are unresolved) but the regular people I came from and others like them would pay the price, not only with their service and possible injury or death, but with job losses and pay decreases and in general a lessening of their rights and economic welfare in favor of the rights and economic welfare of corporations.
It is hard for me to believe that John Edwards believes his father and grandmother who worked so hard in the mill to give him a better life, that people like them, wouldn’t be better off under a Hilary Clinton administration than under a Rudy Guilliani one, or any other Republican.
It is hard for me to believe that Barak Obama believes that under a Hilary Clinton administration African-Americans would be worse off than under a Republican administration.
Just as it’s hard for me to believe that Hilary Clinton believes that a Barak Obama administration would somehow be full of less experience people who believe in “fairy tales” and can’t handle the hard realities of this country’s problems and international relations, or that a John Edwards’ administration wouldn’t be able to get anything done because it would be too confrontational, etc.
I truly believe that they are all wise enough and experienced enough to know that any Democratic administration will be better for the causes they champion than any Republican administration. But I’m not sure their supporters all realize that, and I fear the consequences of the divisiveness their recent tactics are causing.
I learned my lesson back in 1968. I guess I just want everyone else to too. But I may not be so great at teaching it.