How can something so right (voting) feel so wrong?
It’s easy when it’s your first time to cast a vote in the Republican Party primary when all your life you’ve been a staunch Democrat (or at least a loyal one).
I felt so dirty, so naked and disloyal asking for my ballot and marking the “Republican” check box in front of a Black men and women old enough to be my grandparents. He said nothing to me, though I’m fairly sure that he and they were all Democrats… which is not a difficult guess given the demographics in the room: older, Black. They’ve probably voted for Democrats longer than I’ve been alive and I’m sure that the election of Barack Obama as president was something none of them imagined possible in their lifetimes.
I felt a bit dirty as I shuffled from one foot to the other; impatiently waiting while the ancient Black woman in front of me was helped to use the voting machine first by a poll worker who was himself in not much better physical condition than she and then (probably illegally) by another voter, also Black but younger. I stepped up and handed the voting machine operator my card, hoping she would just program the machine and say nothing.
“You’re a Republican?”
I mumbled something resembling yes in a tone that betrayed my embarrassed desire to not really have to answer that question.
“I have to ask,” she said.
Well she didn’t really have to ask I suppose since it was plainly marked on my voting card, or maybe she did. I don’t remember ever being asked before if I was a Democrat. I just think she was surprised or maybe wanted to make sure I hadn’t made a mistake by marking the wrong box on the card. I could see why she would be concerned about that; I’m sure mine was one of the few Republican ballots they’d seen that day and certainly one of the very few cast by a Black man.
I stood shakily in front of the touch screen, feeling conspicuous and vulnerable as I struggled to pretend not to overhear the conversation between the ancient woman on my left and the younger woman who was helping her understand the voting machine.
“Is this what I push?”
“Well these are the choices. Yes… you push the button next to the one you want.”
“The Democratic ones?”
“Yes, these are Democrats. Now this next screen is where you vote for the judges.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that…”
And so it went as I went page by page through the ballot searching for the names of candidates I’d heard of and realizing how many uncontested offices there are with only “Democrat” and “Write-In” listed as options. Resisting the temptation to write my own name in one of the ballot lines, I skipped over those, voted for an independent candidate instead of the Democrat in one race, hoping that they are independent on the right rather than the left but also figuring that a loony moon-bat but independent leftist is probably better than a Democrat. I voted to recall two judges, neither of whom I knew anything about, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to throw someone out of office for a change, just like it’s sometimes just a good idea to buy new carpet even if the old one isn’t quite worn out yet.
And then it was done.
I hurriedly left the polling place knowing I’d done my civic duty, but feeling dirty none the less.
How can something so right feel so wrong?
Depends, I guess, whether you are acting in conjunction with your personal principles or whether your self-image is heavily dependent upon what you perceive other people think about you.
I am not enrolled in any political party at this point in my life, since I am not convinced that any of them are representative of my personal political views – and far too few of our elected “Representatives” bother to concern themselves with the welfare of the general public or such minor things as moral or ethical behavior. This particular stance is somewhat problematical, since in Maine I cannot vote for party candidates in primary elections. But for me it is an acceptable tradeoff.
It is a little disconcerting to hear about the confusion some voters experience at the polls, I have to admit. Though not as fearful as the confusion some drivers experience while behind the wheel.
Yeah, it was a bit hmm… how can I say it… unsettling that some random person was helping the old woman to vote, and yet at the same time it seemed to be the height of civics. I don’t consider myself a Republican, but in my state one can declare oneself on the day of the primary election and vote, so it was an opportunity to do so
Good point about “civic duty”. It would not be unlikely that the elderly lady had no close relatives or associates to whom she could turn to for information before she went to vote. The important thing is that she got to exercise the right.
In Maine also you can declare on the day that you vote – I just could not bring myself to make that commitment at the time. I will be voting for the Republican Gubernatorial candidate come November as we are lucky enough to have a very clear choice clear choice between an accomplished conservative self-made individual and a dedicated, long-term liberal political hack who has contributed much to the dire economic situation that is presently crushing Maine.
I just wanted you to know that your conservative brothers and sisters in arms are with you, and proud of your resolve. You stood and looked into the face of liberalism and held your ground…even if it made you uneasy. Of that you should be proud. The next time you step behind that curtain, please take comfort in knowing we are all there with you.
As an aside…at one point while reading your post…I actually heard the Bee Gees singing.
My sister-in-law in Tennessee – where you get to pick your party each election, I guess – voted “Evil REPUBLICAN” for the first time she tells us. She couldn’t BELIEVE she was doing such a thing.
I can’t believe we have reached a point where people define themselves as D or R. instead of simply ‘registered to vote.’
I’m registered Republican, but I have never voted party line, until this year. This time it is a matter of principle, and I feel pushed into this corner, knowing we have to hold some kind of line if we want to save this nation.
We are with you, and we are legion.
I always vote for Richard Nixon or Jamie Farr when I don’t like any of the candidates.
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The Racist History of the Democratic Party – The Truth For Black Americans!
Wayne Perryman, an inner city minister in Seattle and the author of Unfounded Loyalty, in an editorial circulating on the Internet (Feb. 2004):
Most people are either a Democrat by design, or a Democrat by deception. That is either they were well aware the racist history of the Democrat Party and still chose to be Democrat, or they were deceived into thinking that the Democratic Party is a party that sincerely cared about Black people.
History reveals that every piece of racist legislation that was ever passed and every racist terrorist attack that was ever inflicted on African Americans, was initiated by the members of the Democratic Party. From the formation of the Democratic Party in 1792 to the Civil Rights movement of 1960’s, Congressional records show the Democrat Party passed no specific laws to help Blacks, every law that they introduced into Congress was designed to hurt blacks in 1894 Repeal Act. The chronicles of history shows that during the past 160 years the Democratic Party legislated Jim Crows laws, Black Codes and a multitude of other laws at the state and federal level to deny African Americans their rights as citizens.
History reveals that the Republican Party was formed in 1854 to abolish slavery and challenge other racist legislative acts initiated by the Democratic Party.
Some called it the Civil War, others called it the War Between the States, but to the African Americans at that time, it was the War Between the Democrats and the Republicans over slavery. The Democrats gave their lives to expand it, Republican gave their lives to ban it.
During the Senate debates on the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, it was revealed that members of the Democratic Party formed many terrorist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan to murder and intimidate African Americans voters. The Ku Klux Klan Act was a bill introduced by a Republican Congress to stop Klan Activities. Senate debates revealed that the Klan was the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party.
History reveals that Democrats lynched, burned, mutilated and murdered thousands of blacks and completely destroyed entire towns and communities occupied by middle class Blacks, including Rosewood, Florida, the Greenwood District in Tulsa Oklahoma, and Wilmington, North Carolina to name a few.
After the Civil War, Democrats murdered several hundred black elected officials (in the South) to regain control of the southern government. All of the elected officials up to 1935 were Republicans. As of 2004, the Democrat Party (the oldest political party in America) has never elected a black man to the United States Senate, the Republicans have elected three.
History reveals that it was Thaddeus Stevens, a Radical Republican that introduced legislation to give African Americans the so-called 40 acres and a mule and Democrats overwhelmingly voted against the bill. Today many white Democrats are opposed to paying African Americans trillions of dollars in Reparation Pay, money that should be paid by the Democratic Party.
History reveals that it was Abolitionists and Radical Republicans such as Henry L. Morehouse and General Oliver Howard that started many of the traditional Black colleges, while Democrats fought to keep them closed. Many of our traditional Black colleges are named after white Republicans.
Congressional records show it was Democrats that strongly opposed the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. These three Amendments were introduced by Republicans to abolish slavery, give citizenship to all African Americans born in the United States and, give Blacks the right to vote.
Congressional records show that Democrats were opposed to passing the following laws that were introduced by Republicans to achieve civil rights for African Americans:
Civil Rights Act 1866
Reconstruction Act of 1867
Freedman Bureau Extension Act of 1866
Enforcement Act of 1870
Force Act of 1871
Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871
Civil Rights Act of 1875
Civil Rights Act of 1957
Civil Rights Act of 1960
And during the 60’s many Democrats fought hard to defeat the
1964 Civil Rights Act
1965 Voting Rights Acts
1972 Equal Employment Opportunity Act
Court records shows that it was the Democrats that supported the Dred Scott Decision. The decision classified Blacks and property rather than people. It was also the racist Jim Crow practices initiated by Democrats that brought about the two landmark cases of Plessy v Ferguson and Brown v. The Board of Education.
At the turn of the century (1900), Southern Democrats continued to oppress African Americans by placing thousands in hard-core prison labor camps. According to most historians, the prison camps were far worst than slavery. The prisoners were required to work from 10-14 hours a day, six to seven days a week in temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees and in temperatures that fell well below zero. The camps provided free labor for building railroads, mining coal-mines and for draining snake and alligator invested swamps and rivers. Blacks were transported from one project to another in rolling cages similar to the ones used to transfer circus animals. One fourth of the prison populations were children ages 6 to 18. Young Cy Williams age 12, was sentenced to 20 years for stealing a horse that he was too small to ride. Eight-year old Will Evans was sentenced to 2 years of hard labor for taking some change from a store counter and six-year old Mary Gay was sentenced to 30 days for taking a hat. While authorities sent whites to jail for the same offenses, they sent blacks to the prison camps with much longer sentences. Thousands died from malaria, frost bites, heat strokes, shackle poisoning, others were buried alive in collapsing mines, or blown to pieces in tunnel explosions, and still others drowned in swamps or were beaten and shot to death. Every southern black citizen was a potential prisoner for any alleged small offense, including violating evening curfews. Through the prison camp system, southern owners of railroads, mines and farms had an unlimited source of free labor. The black prisoners played a major role the South’s economic development. Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, said, in his opinion, “the prison camps were a new form of slavery, but far more inhumane.”
History reveals that it was three white persons that opposed the Democrat’s racist practices who started the NAACP.
Dr. Martin Luther King, several Civil Rights leaders and many historians reported that during the first two years of his administration, President John F. Kennedy ignored Dr. King’s request for Civil Rights. The chronicles of history reveal that it was only after television coverage of riots and several demonstrations did President Kennedy feel a need to introduce the 1963 Civil Rights Act. At that time, experts believe the nation was headed toward a major race war.
History reveals that it was Democratic Attorney General, Robert Kennedy that approved the secret wire taps on Dr, Martin Luther King Jr., and it was Democratic President Lyndon Johnson that referred to Dr. King as ” that nigger preacher.” Senator Byrd referred to Dr. King as a “trouble maker” who causes trouble and then runs like a “coward,” when trouble breaks out.
Over the strong objections of racist Republican Senator Jessie Helms, Republican President Ronald Reagan, signed into law, a bill to make Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday. Several Republican Senators convinced President Reagan this was the right thing to do.
Congressional records show after signing the 1972 Equal Employment Opportunity Act and issuing Executive Order 11478, Richard Nixon, a Republican, that started what we know as Affirmative Action.
On December 15, 1994, federal Judge David V. Kenyon issued a court order to the Clinton Administration in the Case of Fairchild v Robert Reich Secretary of Labor (#CV92-5765 Kn). The order demanded that Secretary Reich and the Clinton Administration force 100 west coast shipping to develop an Affirmative Action plan to stop discrimination against, African Americans, Hispanics, Female and Disabled Workers. Female employees were being sexually harrassed, Hispanic were being denied promotions and training, Disable Workers were being laid off, and African Americans were being force to work in an environment where they had job classification called ” Nigger Jobs.” Clinton left office six years later and never complied with the court order. The companies still do not have an Affirmative Action Plan.
President Clinton sent 20, 000 troops to protect the white citizens of Europe’s Bosnia, but sent no troops to Africa’s Rwanda to protect the black citizens there. Consequently over 800,000 Africans were massacre
During the 2003 Democratic Primary debates, the Rev. Al Sharpton, said the Democrat take the black vote for granted and treat African American like a mistress. They [Democrats} will take us to the dance, but they don’t want to take us home to meet mama.”
On December 3, 2002, President Clinton spoke to Democratic Leadership Council in New York regarding the future of the Democratic Party and how they could retake the White House. At no time did he address Civil Rights issues for blacks or doing things to improve the conditions of African Americans. His only reference to Civil Rights was Civil Rights for Gays. His only reference to improving communities was his recommendation to revisit the Marshall Plan to re-build communities in other countries. His entire speech was aired on C-Span.
After exclusively giving the Democrats their votes for the past 25 years, the average African American cannot point to one piece of civil rights legislation sponsored solely by the Democratic Party that was specifically designed to eradicate the unique problems that African Americans face today. Congressional records show that all previous legislation (since 1964) had strong bi-partisan support, even though some Democrats debated and voted against these laws.
After reviewing all of the evidence, many believe America would have never experienced racism to the degree that it has, had not the Democrats promoted it through:
Negative Media Communications
And Flawed Adjudication.
The racism established and promoted by members of the Democratic Party affected and infected the entire nation from 1856 with the Dred Scott decision, to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case. But they never offered or issued an apology.
Today both parties must remember their past. The Democrats must remember the terrible things they did to Blacks and apologize and the Republicans must remember the terrific things they did for Blacks and re-commit to complete the work that their predecessors started and died for.