Miscellaneous musings from the perspective of a lefty (both senses) atheist with a warped sense of humor.

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Location: Madison, WI, United States

I am a geek, but I do have some redeeming social skills. I love other people's dogs, cats, and kids. Snow sucks, but I'm willing to put up with it just to live in Madison.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Pro-Military Party: Democrats!

Are we about to see another historically significant seismic shift in political allegiances?

After the Civil War, black people voted solidly Republican (the party of Lincoln) for nearly a century. Meanwhile, the states of the old Confederacy, still dominated by whites, were known as the Solid South, because they always went Democratic.

But the Republicans did squat for black people. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and other activists succeeded in arousing the conscience not of Republicans but of DEMOCRATS, like George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey, and Bobby Kennedy.

So, starting around 1960, we had the Civil Rights Era, with Democrats putting their political careers on the line to do the right thing simply because it WAS the right thing. 20 years later, with the election of Ronald Reagan, the Solid South had become solidly Republican, but black people had turned into the Democrats' most loyal and reliable constituency.

Which brings us to the present.

The military, veterans, and their dependents and families have traditionally voted Republican -- just as black people used to do. They've done so out of a sense of patriotism, the belief that Republicans are pro-military, and a psychological comfort with top-down decision-making.

But the Elephants are screwing these people up one side and down the other. Walter Reed is just the latest example, but we can also cite lack of armor, endless rotations, cutting back on dependents' housing, reducing veterans' benefits, and on and on and on.

The only party that REALLY supports the troops -- in a tangible, material fashion -- is the Democratic Party.

So, whaddya think? Are we about to see the kind of massive shift of allegiances that happened with black people during the 1960s and 1970s? Will the future bring the attitude that it's the DEMOCRATS who are the friends of the troops? Will our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen become reliable Democratic voters? (After all, most of them come from working-class backgrounds, and the Republicans sure as hell haven't gone out of their way to make life easier on the folx back home.)

One thing for sure: It ain't gonna happen unless the Dems step up and point out the facts to their potential new best friends.


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