Slow Death- Part II

What is death?
by Philippe de Champaigne


The “Slow Death of a Democrat” idea did not start yesterday, but it did start with this election and the current Congress; the debates in Congress over heath-care, extended unemployment benefits and taxes, combined with the race for Nevada’s senatorial seat started me thinking about my vote and the two-party system as in currently exists in ways I have not thought since Lyndon Baines Johnson ran against Barry Goldwater in 1964. In 1964 I chose to go to Europe and begin my “grand tour” instead of staying at home and voting for a whiskey drinking Texan or a pilot from Arizona with an atom bomb attached to his plane; I could not see a solution or peace in Vietnam from either – and just a few months back from Vietnam myself I though peace would be a good idea, but I certainly did not know how to achieve it.  So I wander off to explore the world and leave someone else to solve the big problems.  However, in 2010 and for the duration, I am going to vote.

I have been planning to write about my changing believes for awhile, but had no clear time-line in mind. This week I was pushed into beginning the process of articulating the reasons for my change by an essentially non-news event; National Public Radio fired Juan Williams for saying fellow passengers that looked obviously Muslim made him nervous when he flies.  The statement may not be politically correct, but it is emotionally correct and not just for Williams, but for many, many Americans in the aftermath of September 11th; it is not racism, it is not a religious prejudice it is a simple behavioral reaction to a frightening event.  My ex-wife had been stabbed when she was a young woman, 25 years later during the O. J. Simpson trial she began to experience extreme anxiety attacks – and it was not racism, simply a behavioral reaction based in her own personal history – the 9-11 bombings are part of all of our personal histories.  But, the firing did represent prejudice – it was a prejudice against open discussion of an important issue – and that is the connection to my own personal political dilemma.

Our current, highly polarized, two party system is stifling to open debate in the same way that NPR’s action was – only ideas within a party’s accepted – politically correct, if you will – philosophy can be supported or indeed spoken aloud.  Those that act outside of those limits are demonized like opposition party members.  Good government and good solutions will only come from open, honest and expansive discussions and debates of the issues, not from closed and restricted monologues.  Part II


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October 2010
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