Keep in mind that this was in the 1960s, and I was a small child, just starting school, when Kennedy was elected. Before I knew the real difference between Democrats and Republicans, from a child’s perspective, I had always thought that Democrats were the good guys and Republicans were the bad ones. Democrats had John Kennedy, who was handsome, Lyndon Johnson, who looked like a nice man, and Hubert Humphrey, who was always smiling. They also had Harry Truman, who looked a lot like my favourite uncle, and FDR, whose picture still hung over the piano in my parents’ living room.
Republicans, on the other hand, looked mean. Some of them looked like they’d been born sucking sour lemons. Barry Goldwater always looked angry, and people whispered it about that if he won the 1964 election, we’d all be in jackboots (not that I knew what a jackboot was at the time). As for Richard Nixon, he was the only person I ever saw whose very appearance on a television screen, made my father’s face turn puce and caused him to shout and scream out any manner of four words and accusations at the television set, the nicest of which was “crook.”
But finally, when I was about ten or so and asked my parents the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, I was told that the Republicans were for rich people and businessmen; the Democrats were for the working people. The working classes.
Then, sometime in the early 1970s, when I was old enough to cast my first vote for George McGovern, the working classes got sort of tossed aside. All of a sudden, people talked about the middle classes and have done ever since.
This morning, when the President pushed back at the Republicans’ assertion that his demand for the restructuring of tax codes and the elimination of tax loopholes, the so-called Buffet Amendment, was straight-out class warfare, he did so in defence of the middle classes, who’ve spent decades suffering.
True. Very true.
But where are the words for the working classes? I know the President has spoken about them before. His compromise which he effected at the end of last year – the one about the two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts that all of the EmoProgs, the Professional Left and a fair few spineless Democratic cravens in the Congress (Yes, YOU, Peter Fuck-the-President DeFazio!) whined and stomped about – was effected and achieved with more than a few benefits designed to help the poor and the workingpoor.
The Democrats have always been the party of working people. As my Democratic daddy used to say, if you have to work to live, you’re working class. I’ll bet a lot of so-called middle class people today are in that same situation; and whether or not they came from working class roots, if they support the Democratic Partym they ought to embrace the fact that they work to live and that the Democrats work for them.
Well, they should. I’m not so certain about this lot on Capitol Hill. The only working people about whom they seem concerned are themselves and their families; but we put them there, and we need to reclaim the notion that they work for us. And if they don’t, they get primaried and replaced with people who really do want to work for the working man.
Forget about the corporate Blue Dogs, unless they can be scared into realising what the Democratic Party stands for; forget about the insular, lily-white, affluent, elitist and ueber Left Progressives. Most of them are a hop, skip and a jump away from neocon mode. (Another thing, my dear old dad was fond of saying was that if one moved too far to the Left, one found oneself on the Right. We have Rick Perry, David Horowitz, Huey Newton and William Kristol as proof enough of that).
We need to remind our elected Democratic officials exactly what the Democratic Party represents.
Here’s a hint, and a good piece of musical inspiration:-