Hi! I’m a Democrat

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Hi! My name is Thadd and I’m a Democrat.

Welcome to a meeting of the largest group of people in the entire country who has to keep their identity a secret.

We are the people who elected Bill Clinton twice, kept him from being impeached and then sent Al Gore to the White House only to be thwarted by the United States Supreme Court.

We are the folks who extol the virtues of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., but who are overlooked because we are not in the current mainstream.

Despite the fact that our presidential candidate has had the highest number of votes in three of the last four elections, we are the people who are hated by those in power far worse than any other on earth.

We are the enemies as much so as the Taliban if you listen for five minutes to Fox News.

I’ve grown weary of being hated simply because I chose to vote for some Democrats. I voted for a few Republicans and the occasional Libertarian as well on the last ballot, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

I listened with horror in the days after 9-11 to people who said, ‘Thank God Bush is in office.’ Their not so subtle indication was that as president Al Gore would not have taken any action.

I think it’s safe to assume, as I have said many times in the days since that tragic event, that any president from Andrew Jackson to Warren Harding would have taken the same steps we did in Afghanistan.

The people of this country wanted revenge and we didn’t care where it came from. Many cried for blood. No president could have walked away from the fact that terrorists were being trained in Afghanistan.

What I would hope that another president would have done is stayed out of Iraq. I know that those of us who are against the war have been labeled as everything from traitors to less than American.

I read with interest a comment from Walter Cronkite as he was discussing the Vietnam War. It sums up a lot of my feelings about this one.

Cronkite said, &uot;I tried to keep our reports impartial, but personally I tilted largely toward the dissidents because of the stridency of some of the conservatives in branding as unpatriotic those who opposed the war. Patriotism simply cannot be defined. Many of those against the war protested with the most dedicated patriotism – in the total conviction that the war was not a just one and was besmirching the image of a nation they loved.&uot;

In a conversation recently with others who are moderate like myself, one of my friends brought up a good point. I won’t call his name other than to say he would probably have to stand in a meeting across town and say, &uot;Hi! My name is Dave and I’m a Libertarian.&uot;

In the process of our discussion, ‘Dave’ said that he was born and reared as part of a military family. He was outraged by the branding of those of us who oppose the war as being unpatriotic or being against the troops who are serving in that country.

As he pointed out, nothing could be farther from the truth.

I remember the first time we invaded Iraq. While watching CNN, I was pleased to see Representative David Price, a fellow Democrat from North Carolina, who rose to say that he opposed invading Iraq, but committed himself to doing everything he could to support the troops once the decision was made.

I love our soldiers and I believe in them and that they are doing what they have to do. They are following the orders of their Commander-in-Chief, as they should.

My issue over the past six years has not been so much our Commander, but those who blindly follow him and become enraged at those of us who refuse to do so.

I love this country. I hate the slogan, &uot;America: love it or leave it.&uot; It is an unreasonable thought to place on a free people.

We have every right to love America and we have every right to disagree with those in power. In fact, we have every obligation. But for a two-party system, we would quickly fall into totalitarianism.

I don’t like the fact that we’ve come to the point that those of us who are Democrats and who voted for Al Gore have to hide in meetings and stand up and identify ourselves like we are ashamed.

I am not.

I am a Democrat because I chose a long time ago to be. I don’t agree blindly with the party and I will vote for whomever I darn well please, but I’m a Democrat by choice.

This country has to return to a place where the two-party system is appreciated and differences of opinion can be discussed openly and honestly or we’re doomed to have to stand quietly by while those who support the current administration, or one like it, demean those of us who don’t.

My name is Thadd and I remain a Democrat.