I was just a little kid when John F. Kennedy ran for President and I can remember my family talking about the election. I remember my Pawpaw saying that he was worried about voting for Kennedy because he was a Catholic and he was worried about the Pope's control of him. At the time I didn't know very much about Catholics so I didn't even understand who the Pope was. Now that I am older and can look back at the issue I understand how much this affected my family and this country. I am proud to say that my family voted for President Kennedy and they never did have to worry about the decisions the President made being influenced by his religion. When the President met an untimely death at the hands of an assassin the Presidency was handed over to Lyndon B. Johnson, another democrat.
Johnson didn't worry about alienating his political party or the members of the southern states who were forced kicking and screaming into the Civil Rights movement of the 20th century. He upheld the rights of all Americans to have equal rights and ordered the National Guard to protect black students who were bussed into white schools and had to go through angry white protesters who were afraid of integration. I didn't realize at the time how important that decision would prove to be and I didn't ever have the opportunity to go to school with black children because we lived in a rural community and integration didn't happen until years later. The city schools were integrated long before the county schools. Some people took their children out of the local city school and sent them to county schools because they were afraid to have their children exposed to black people.
Many of my fellow girlfriends voiced their support for equality for black people and integration and would have liked nothing better than to have our high school integrated. The boys who went to school with me were another story. They voiced their opposition to integration and used vulgar language describing what they would do if we were to become integrated. That is when I began to see a difference in the way many men and women viewed things. More women were open-minded and accepting than their male counterparts.
The only time I ever supported a Republican was when Richard Nixon promised to end the Viet Nam war if he was elected. After his resignation in disgrace I never supported another Republican. I learned that every candidate will promise whatever it takes to win the election. Nixon was stupid and tried to steal information from the Democratic organization to secure the election. If he had of had faith in himself he might not have been exposed as a dirty stinking politician who would do anything to win.
After President Ford served one term the country was so disillusioned that they finally elected a southern man President. I was so proud of Jimmy Carter for his leadership and felt that he was doing the best he could when everyone in Washington considered him an "outsider" and he had to struggle with the politics of both parties without absolute support from his party. He worked tirelessly to try to free the hostages up until the day he turned the office over to President Ronald Reagan. President Carter didn't cause the gas shortage. He was the first President who had to deal with crazy Iranians and gas shortages. Thirty years later the problems that were first exposed in the '70's are still plaguing us and we are still buying oil from the Middle East.
Ronald Reagan led our country into conservatism and tried to squash liberalism. People across America praised him as a hero. He was the President when the Iron Curtain came down so he took credit for saying, ". . . tear down that wall!" Other than that I never could see where his policies helped or influenced my life. We bought a house during the 80's but that was thanks to the help of family members, not the Reagan administration.
I believe that President Bill Clinton was one of the best Presidents in my lifetime and he could have accomplished so much more if he hadn't been the target of a "witchhunt" by the likes of Kenneth Star and other Republicans. I didn't care about his relationship with other women and didn't want to hear all the dirty details about Monica Lewinsky. The only problem I had with him was the same problem that Hillary had with him, that he was having more sex than she was. Other than that, it is nobody's business who the President is boinking if he isn't having sex with a Russian spy, etc. From what I have read and heard many, many Presidents have had extra-marital relations when they were President even Republicans. I think it is amazing how much Clinton was able to accomplish while he was going through such a public scandal.
After George W. Bush won the election, or stole it, depending on how you see it, we faced the worse crisis this country has faced since the Bay of Pigs during the Kennedy era. The Bush administration cranked up the fear and used it to sway and control the country. Every time something came out in the news against Bush or his administration they put up a heightened alert and effectively squashed any other issue. When they started telling people to buy duct tape and how to secure their homes in case of attact I knew that we were being played for suckers. How is plastic and duct tape going to protect us from chemical warfare or a bomb? That's just ignorant. That's about as stupid as the safety drills we endured in the 50's when we were supposed to duck, cover, and supposedly survive an atomic bomb. Give me a break!
I am surprized that I didn't have a stroke during the Bush years. When he declared war on Saddam Hussein because of the terrorists who hijacked planes on September 11, 2001 I was incredulous. They didn't attack us! The Saudi's attacked us. Bush grounded all planes except for the planes that carried Ben Laden's family members who lived in America out of the country. He used the excuse of the hijackings to declare war on the wrong country. Actually no country attacked us. It was a bunch of crazy radicals who did. We have crazy radicals who live in this country. Some of they would like to kill other people. If they killed thousands of people we wouldn't condemn all Christians because of the nuts who commit violence in the name of God. We would condemn the radical organizations who support them.
After the attacks by the terrorists the whole world was in support of us. Every country in the United Nations was in support of America. Instead of using that support to curtail terrorism GW Bush declared war on Iraq because Saddam refused to have inspectors examine their nuclear faculties. I believe, and believed all along, that Saddam Hussein didn't want inspectors to examine the nuclear faculties because he was afraid of his enemies around him, like Iran. If Iran had realized that they really didn't have nuclear weapons they would have invaded Iraq and killed them all. They hated each other. Iran is still led by an extremist regime which suppresses all people's human rights. Saddam Hussein had come into power during the Reagan administaration which funneled weapons into Iraq to fight the Russians and Iran.
America would never have elected President Obama if the country hadn't gone through the insanity of the Bush years. By the time of the elections we were saddled with two choices and neither one seemed like the right choice. McCain ran for President twice. You would think that since he had been a Senator for years he would have known many excellent qualified candidates for his Vice Presidential candidate. Instead he met and chose an unknown woman who was the governor of Alaska. He hadn't even known her for very long. How could that have been better than an established candidate like Lieberman, etc? He definitely didn't have her vetted or he would have known that she was known to stab the people in the back who helped her get her start in politics in Alaska like Ted Stevens, etc.
I imagine that Hillary Clinton was glad she didn't win the Democratic nomination after the collapse of Wall Street and the mess Bush left this country in. I had to weigh my decision of my vote on whether I believed that McCain would be a better President or whether Obama would be a better President. I shudder to think what this country would be like with McCain and Palin in the White House. He abandoned his principles to win an election and Palin would have tried to take control of the office. The only reason he chose Palin is because he thought Clinton would be his opponent. That was a stupid and cowardly move which backfired.
I promised to tell you Why I Am A Democrat so this is the reason. I asked my Pawpaw one time why we were Democrat. He said that he believed in the Democrats because of what he went through in the depression. He said that Truman didn't believe in helping the poor people and people were starving to death. He and his brothers hopped on railcars and rode the rails from city to city trying to find work so that they could send money home to their families. He said the Republicans didn't care about the suffering of the people who were crushed by the economy. He said that Roosevelt helped the poor people. FDR started the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) and employed young men to work creating our state parks. If Roosevelt hadn't helped this country during the greatest depression the world had ever known we wouldn't have been the great country that we are today. He said that the Republicans only care about themselves and making money but the Democrats support the poor and the weak and the needy.
I always admired Ted Kennedy because he came from a wealthy family but he never tired of fighting for the rights of the poor and middle class. He was a great advocate for those who couldn't speak for themselves. People condemned Kennedy for Chappaquiddick when he wrecked and a young woman, Mary Jo Kopechne, died. Because he didn't report the wreck right away he was condemned and was never able to win the Presidental bid. His service to the country and the people of the United States which spanned over 40 years was his greatest legacy and, in my humble opinion, was a far more profound and lasting gift than the short but tragic political carreers of his brothers, John and Bobby Kennedy.
This country is great because every person has a voice in the government and we have people fighting for the rights of us all. I am not rich and I will never be rich. I don't even want to be rich if it means that I want to suppress the rights of the poor and the minorites and the less fortunate.