I recently posted this missive to my diary at My Left Wing; depending on webmistress Maryscott O’Connor’s generousity, it may show up in the main page; nevertheless, it reflects my feelings on the tribualtions of the Alito circus, the role and craven surrender (as ussual) of the Democrats and my support for a real Left alternative. You may feel free to agree or disagree, as long as you take some kind of stand.
January 26, 2006 at 13:39:13 America/Chicago
First, a bit of background into what counts for Louisiana politics, as a preface for my outrage today:
In 1986, when I was a sophomore at Southern University and still a committed Democrat, I attended a debate of the Democratic candidiates for the then 8th Congressional District. Three of the debators were typical white conservative Democrats of the Louisiana/Southern mold, but in different variants. Morgan Goudeau, at that time the District Attorney for my home parish of St. Landry, emphasized a law-and-order/anti-abortion/Christian Rightist stance; Carson Killian (who served as an aide to the then outgoing Congressman. Gillis Long) stressed his neoliberal log=rolling and his insider connections; and state legislator J. E. Jumonville focused on his Edwin Edwards-like pseudo-populism while attacking “Washington policies” while managing to say nothing of substance.
The fourth candidate, a public defender lawyer named E. Faye Williams, happened to be a Black female who professed the most progressive analysis of all of them…and in a district that was nearly 35% Black, that was good enough to get her into the runoff against Clyde Holloway, a far-right Reaganite Republican mostly known for defending segregation. (Needless to say. Holloway found a way to avoid this particular debate, although he did opine that in his opinion, Reagan had done a lot for “the blacks”.) In the debate, the other Democrats were waxing more than eloquent about how they would unify and support whomever Democrat would make the runoff. Although Louisiana uses an open nonpartisan dual runoff system for their elections; the dynamics of the district guaranteed that Holloway and a Dem would make the runoff.) Wiliams’s entry basically made it certain that with enough Black turnout, she would be the Democrat.
Well, to make a long story short, Faye Williams did make the runnoff against Holloway; and then promptly got smeared by the very same Democrats which professed to support her so well. She was labeled as a literal PLO terrorist, a baby-killer, and a out-and-out lesbian radical feminist by the head financier of the state Democratic Party committee; she was refused any form of financial aid by the usual bankrollers of Dems; and in the final days of theh campaign, some nasty rumors that she had a “Communist for a lover” were spread in the grapevine. (Turned out, the real story was that she had been assaulted by her then estranged husband, who had apparantly caught her dating another man, who was an antiwar activist. The man was attacked and killed, Williams was merely beaten.)
In any case, because of such antics, Holloway was elected to the Congressional seat by a tiny majority (in a district that was mostly 70% Democratic); he went on to serve another term before the district was ultimately dissolved in reapprochment. And because mostly of that election — and other outrages of conservative Democrats using mostly Black voters as cannon fodder — I left the Democratic Party soon after and declared myself an Independent. Basically, I decided that if the party in opposition is going to use my vote for them to oppose my basic beliefs, and constantly surrender to the Right while stating how evil they are, then maybe it was time for a change.
Since those times, I have remained an Independent Leftist both in party affiliation (though I recently changed again to the Green Party) and in political temperment; though, I did still manage a glimmer of hope that somehow the Democrats would give me something — some hope, some policies, even some rhetoric…ANYTHING — to allow me to justfy voting for them again. Even though I basically had nothing but disgust for the DLC-led, “Great Triangulator”, campaign to everyone but govern center-right administration of Bill clinton and their fundamental sellout of progressive values, I still remained hopeful that principled liberals within the Democratic Party could ultimately take back control and reroute the jackasses towards common sense. And even though I was basically underwhelmed by the campaigns of Al Gore and John Kerry as basically “centrist” posers using progressives to sell a basically “me-too” agenda, I still had at least some faith that the putrid reaction of the Bu$h-Co/PNAC/Religious Reich/Grand Old Pilfers administration would transform Democrats to support at least a smidgen of a progressive agenda..if only to say that they understand their base.
Well..I feel that no longer…and I have my own “senior” Senator. Mary Landrieu, to thank for shaking some sense back into me.
When Mrs. Landrieu announced yesterday that she would be voting in favor of “Stripsearch Sammy” Alito’s confirmation to the U.S, Supreme Court (joining Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Kent Conrad (SD) as Democratic quislings so far), she basically justified and proved a point that has been crawling under my skin for years: the Democratic Party is NOT, has NEVER BEEN, and WILL NOT EVER BE, given the present political setup, the most effective vehicle for progressive change. After all, if the party has no willingness to discipline Democrats who repeatedly cross the aisle to support right-wing agendas, why should we be surprised when on the most fundamental issues like protection of civil rights and civil liberties or reproductive freedom or Presidential checks and balances, they wilt like maple leaves in fall at the first sign of Republican opposition??
Thusly, I write this memo to Sen. Landrieu:
Hey, Mary…you do realize that it was mostly LIBERAL/LEFT voters (you know, Black folks and women) who put your sorry ass in the Senate seat to begin with, do you??? (The same alliance, BTW, which gave you your rise to political power in the New Orleans area via your father Moon Landrieu, in case you missed it.) You do know that those votes weren’t just because we hated your opponents (Religious Reich nutjob/David Duke sympatizer Woody Jenkins in your first campaign, willful Repub henchwoman Suzanne Haik-Terrell in your latest), but because we EXPECTED you to actually support OUR interests and basic policies, do you?? And you do know that the judge that you will be voting for to confirmation on the SCOTUS is one that will mostly repudiate everything that you as a nominal Democrat stands for….do you, Mary??? That he and his allies Thomas, Scalia, and Roberts will effectively attempt to rewrite the Constitution to their lovely protofascist agenda…which would include the total banishment of women like you from political representation??? Or, like your protege John Breaux (of the “You can’t buy me, but you can rent me” school of reform), would you have supported Scalia and Thomas, too??
And what a kick in the groin to those of us who saw you with those tears of a crocodile after the clusterf*ck that was the (mis) reaction to Hurricane Katrina’s assault on the poor, Black neighborhoods of New Orleans. Wasn’t it you, Senator,who got on Meet the Press the weekend after the storm hit and the levees were breached crying about how “one little crane” invested by the FEMA Mafia would have helped alleviate the disaster?? Or how perhaps spending even a portion of the money going to Haliburton’s wars on Arabs..errrrrr, the War on Terror…could have been spent on something like…well, actually building up the levees or organizing an evacuation of the city??? But I guess all that smack at Dubya was just that..useless smack for public comsumption to hide the fact that you basically support much of the Bush agenda in full….just with a smiley face and a “humanist patina” attached instead of a Homeland Security hammer and a Bible.
In any case, Senator Landrieu, I will hearby annouce that in the absence of a genuine progressive challenger to your faux-Republican rule. I will be voting Green or somewhere else next election. If I want to be played for a fool, at the very least I should expect the playa to actually respect my interests.
I would conclude this by calling you a corporate whore, Senator Landrieu..but as a sex radical who supports decriminalization of prostitution and other forms of consensual sex work, I consider you to be far, far worse than a whore, and far more obscene than any pornographer. At least they get some great sex out of their deals…when it comes to the Democratic Party and its treatment of progressives and their mass base, all we get is screwed and raped. Have a nice remainder of your term, Senator…hopefully you will gain as much as progressives have lost by your craven surrender.
In the meantime, unless the person’s name happens to be Cynthia McKiinney, John Conyers, or Barbara Lee; if they have a (D) next to their name, i will simply respond with my own “D”…for “DENIED”. I’m through with lesser evils..for once, I’ll save my time and money for supporting a Left/Progressive movement that does some actual good.
Farewell, Democrats…forever. I’m out..in more ways than one.