Former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neal, once said, “All politics are local.” In his belief and declaration, he was influenced by the origin of the word politics, which is of Late Middle English . . . from Old French politique ‘political,’ via Latin from Greek polites ‘citizen,’ from pols ‘city.’ The word actually comes from the same Greek word from which the title of Aristotle’s book Politics derives, which means “the affairs of the cities.” Today it is suggested the word actually refers to “the method of governing.”
Personally, I believe that he was dead wrong, and what is going on this election cycle supports my belief. The word poly is a prefix which means “many,” as in polygon, a figure having many sides. The word “tic,” of course, is used to describe an uncontrolled muscle movement such as a facial tic. I believe the very word describes the process by which a few elite divides the rest of us into warring factions. That is certainly what is occurring at this moment in history.
I was a 7th generation Texas, Baptist, and Democrat. My family believed in the Democratic Party . . . we worked for and supported that Party.
In 1976, Jimmy Carter was elected as President of the USA. His “Committee to Elect” invited me to attend his inauguration. I borrowed money from the bank and flew, along with the Texas Democratic Party delegation, on a charter jet to Dulles airport. We all stayed at the Holiday Inn in Centerville, VA, just across the Potomac River. The next morning, I accompanied the group to Pennsylvania Ave where we met the President-Elect and marched to the White House. Along with then Governor Mark White, I stood about 50- to 60-feet away as President Carter took the oath of office. I was a 27-year-old kid (just turned 27 in December and the inauguration was in January). I came from a low-income family in the Texas Hill Country . . . in spite of having a young wife and baby back home, living from pay-check to pay-check . . . owning a small wood- framed house . . . I was in tall cotton standing on the steps of the White House. I am certain that I was the first in my family to ever experience what I then viewed as such an honor. That evening, I accompanied the group to Union Station for the Presidential Ball. Passing through the receiving line, I was actually bold enough to invite the First Lady, Rosalyn, to dance. Amazingly, she accepted my invitation. The tune was a Texas two-step, and as I recall, and she was a good dancer. She was fun to talk with and a genuine Southern Belle.
Back at home in Burnet a few weeks later, I received a request from the new President’s transition team asking that I serve on a Presidential Committee to advise the Administration on matters of affordable housing. I anxiously accepted the invite. Surprisingly, at the committee’s first meeting, I was elected as the Committee’s chair . . . wow, here I am . . . a country kid from a family of Hill Country cedar-choppers, with a simple high school education, elected to serve as the chair of a committee that will offer advice to the Administration! Over the next several months, I would witness a tragic change in my beloved Democratic Party. I watched it change before my very eyes . . . as it laid aside all of the things my Grandfather believed . . . the things which I believed . . . and adopted a platform that was all-inclusive and then invited all of the fringe groups to come sit at the table. I soon found myself shoulder-to-shoulder with abortionists, environmentalists, homosexuals, socialists, and a wide range of other “ists.” I vividly remember the moment when it struck me that I had absolutely zero in common with those folks . . . the only thing upon which I could agree with them was that Jimmy Carter was a good and decent man. Soon that was not enough to bind me to these confused and troubled zealots.
I have been amazed as I have watched and studied how the leaders of the Democratic Party have masterfully deceived so many over a very long period of time. A perfect example of this was their undying support of Bill Clinton during his impeachment process. As President, he embarrassed the Nation with a young, gullible intern, then publicly lied (even under oath) and abused his Presidential powers. Rather than having the character and dignity to denounce him and his evil acts, his fellow Democrats warmly embraced him and marched out of the People’s House in support of him, and held a press conference in his support. It struck me that that group of folks simply did not believe the most basic of truths . . . that being: that some things will always be wrong regardless of who is involved or whatever era of history one lives in. By their actions, they publicly told the world that their remaining loyal to their political Party was more important than anything else, and privately chuckled about “Old Bill being a rascal.” He was not simply a rascal . . . he was a disgrace and so were those Democratic elected officials.
One of the great mysteries of all times must certainly be how the group of mean, evil Southern Democratic leaders could have abused people of color so tragically and brutally over such a long period of time, yet today continue to hold folks of color bound to the very Party that abused them and blocked them from their rights as American citizens. Look at any Northern metropolitan region and you will find several things in common to every one of them, those being:
1. There is a large population of people of color . . . most of which are very low-income;
2. Deplorable social conditions exist in the community;
3. A very weak job market, and thus, limited opportunities;
4. The local leadership at every level is Democratic which constantly declares that they “have a plan;”
5. The people of color accept that and remain in the fold; and
6. Nothing changes year after year . . . except conditions grow worse.
Over recent years there has been growing tensions in those urban areas with ever increasing anger amongst people of color. In their frustration over their plight, they lash out at the local police . . . when in truth their real enemy is the Democratic leadership whose policies hold them hostage.
A personal experience with this truth: in the early 1980’s I was elected President of the Texas Housing Association (THA), the group of officials who operate public housing in Texas. It was during my term that the Dallas Morning News did a series of stories about segregated public housing across East Texas. Those communities actually had policies and procedures that required white applicants to be housed on one side of the railroad tracks and people of color to be housed on the other side of those tracks. This all occurred almost two decades after the Civil Right’s legislation became the law of the land. Of course, there was a series of legal actions and the Justice Department became involved. THA was asked to get involved and help educate those communities about the law. I led the THA task force and we visited many of the troubled areas. The task force’s findings was that there was, indeed, blatant discrimination at a number of levels. My primary responsibility was to meet with local leaders . . . Mayors, Council members, County Judges, Commissioners, Public Housing board members, and the like. I recall being appalled at the racial slurs and attitudes of these folks even during meetings . . . their strong and deep dislike of minorities was frightening, and they let me know they had a low opinion of me and what I was doing . . . “a white Texas boy, standing for those damn N_____s.” I heard the same thing over and over, “This system was good enough for our Daddies, it is good enough for us, and it will be good enough for our kids!” As God as my witness, these folks were Democrats . . . without exception. Here we are almost 40 years later and the folks of color across that area still line up with and support the Democratic Party.
The current presidential election pits absolute extremes against each other . . . probably as bad as at any time in history. The USA is truly a nation divided, and I wonder if it can ever recover. We are under attack around the world and in our own cities by a vicious enemy. We have serious problems in the economy, along with ever-increasing social and racial tensions, major problems with health care, and a crumbling military machine.
The real tragedy of this election cycle is that one of these idiots is going to become the President! How did we get to this place . . . where this pair could actually become the nominees?