I was the first registered Republican in my family. I cast my first vote in a presidential election for Ronald Reagan, the second for George H.W. Bush. I listened to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, thought I was a Dittohead, and was one of the few who watched and liked his television show. I actually cried when George Sr. and Barbara left the White House to Bill and Hilary in January 1993.
And then the Republicans lurched to the fringe, became immoderate, aggressive, in-your-face, and triumphal, became harnessed to extremist religious philosophy. They attacked anytime President Clinton breathed. Limbaugh yelled (in 1992) that he was happy to be in the opposition; it’s more fun, you can snipe and bitch and moan and not have to actually do anything. The Republicans launched their Contract on America (er, I mean for).
And then, in 1994, came Harry and Louise. Corporate money flooded in, and the Republicans steamrollered and destroyed health care reform, dooming hundreds of thousands, if not millions, to premature death over the next 16 years. The militias and ti-foilists, precursors to the Tea-baggers, came out. And all that culminated in terrorist Timothy McVeigh’s murder of 168 people in my own backyard in the service of a right-wing political philosophy.
I mourned the loss of health care, as well as the Murrah Building, and ranted and railed against my party. In 1996, I registered as a Democrat, voted for Bill Clinton and then watched the Republicans continue to make war, year after year, against the middle class, and especially against gay and lesbian Americans like me.
I’ve been trying to remember exactly what the turning point for me was. And I’m almost 100% certain it was health care reform. When the Republicans attacked and destroyed the possibility of a saner, more humane health care payment system, they also attacked and destroyed me. I returned to the Democratic fold where my family had originally been for the better part of a century.
I didn’t turn on the Republicans, as the saying goes; they turned on me.
Their behavior right now, as we wait for the final House vote, is beyond disgusting. No lie too big or too outrageous to read into the Congressional record or give to the cameras at CNN.
But to me, it doesn’t matter what happens in November; I realize the Democrats will probably pay a price. And I don’t care. It takes courage to do the right thing, they’ve finally grown a bit of a pair, it’s the right start. And if they lose control, fine. The resulting nastiness will, once again, prove to Americans who too easily forget history, that the right does not have our best interests at heart, only those of corporate boards and religious charlatans.
Will watch the final vote and the president’s statement following. And be finally relieved that 100 years of obstruction of a basic fundamental human right has finally ended.