Growing up I was pretty politically active. At the age of 14 I started writing political notes on toilet paper in the bathroom. Once I got my car at 16 I started putting up bumper stickers. Around the same time I started volunteering for local democratic campaigns, and joined young democrats clubs.
I was in 8th grade when 9/11 happened, and so my entire teen years growing up were under Bush. All I’ve ever knew growing up was Bush. I lived in a really republican part of Virginia Beach, and I used to get my thrills putting out liberal yard signs early in the morning, only to be enraged that they were all stolen by the time I drove to school. I even put together a “battle binder”. I hated how I could not argue as well as the talking heads on tv, and so I spent hours one night compiling statistics, facts, data, etc on all the various political issues of the time and putting them neatly into a binder. I then lugged this massive thing with me everywhere I went. If I got into a debate, I could pull out facts and sources right there and shut people down.
I became a democrat fanatic. In my naive state the democrats became all that was good in the world, the cause, justice. I remember I used to fantasize about being part of a democrat task force, acting like a guerrilla unit if we went to war with the republicans. It got really bad and looking back I’m not proud of it, but hey, I was an angry teenager, and instead of turning to pot or crime, I vented my frustration in politics.
Well 2006 was the big year when congressional elections took place. My local guy Kellam lost, but our senator, Webb, won. I was ecstatic. The democrats took control of congress! I thought “surely, now the reign of terror under Bush will end, things will start getting better”. But it didn’t. Nothing changed. Despite losing control of congress, the republicans managed to push through everything they wanted. The democrats just rolled over and surrendered.
I was crushed. I was betrayed. I worked hard for them. I volunteered, worked phone databases, went door to door! And they just turned their backs on me. The democrats we elected were only marginally liberal. The democratic party leaders believed the conservative spin that “liberal” was a bad thing, and went on a campaign to elect anyone with a “D” by their name, regardless if they were democrats in name only or not. As a consequence, many of our newly elected democrats defected to the republicans.
In 2008 I made the mistake of letting myself hope Obama would be the solution to all our problems. I was just so ecstatic that the Bush years were coming to an end, anything seemed better. Here we had a charismatic guy who wasn’t a baby boomer. He was to be our savior. He promised to end don’t ask don’t tell, to bring the troops home, to close Gitmo. When he won I thought everything would get better. But it didn’t. The democratic congress continued to stonewall his efforts. Just about everything he wanted to do, the republicans would threaten to filibuster. To them, he was the anti-christ, to be stopped at all costs. And again, the democrats just rolled over and died.
When republicans get power, they bust in, guns blazing, and ram through their agendas. When democrats get power they tip-toe in, feeling like they secretly don’t belong, and are so eager to please their republican colleagues.
It’s sickening. I’m so sick of both of them. Why should I vote for democrats who repeatably roll over and die? No one will stand up for my values. No one. And worst of all, I feel like I don’t have a choice. If I don’t vote, the republicans win. When I do vote there’s no way in hell I’m voting republican, but I hate the other side almost as much. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. But I guess that’s a major flaw in the 2 party system. If both parties suck, you don’t have a choice.
What’s sad is that the democrats are going to get creamed in the upcoming elections. Everyone knows it. People are furious. The republicans are about to reach for their guns, and massive chucks of the democratic base are just as disillusioned and heartbroken as I am. The worst part is that when the democratic leaders lose big time, they’re going to think “Oh, it was because we were not conservative enough.” And then they will proceed to try and grovel to the republicans even more.
I really wish we could just fire congress, all of them.