The other night I was talking to my dad. He asked if anyone ever thinks I’m a Republican from reading my blog posts. I criticize Democrats an awful lot, he said, so he was curious. I honestly don’t know the answer to his question. Unlike the big technology companies, I don’t know anything about the people who visit this site. From time to time, someone will leave a comment, but those don’t tend to be very detailed. They certainly don’t include political affiliations, and no one has ever speculated in a comment about my political affiliations. Of course, this got me thinking.
I don’t want to keep you in suspense any longer, so, I am a registered Democrat. There’s a lot of reasons for being a Democrat. Most importantly, the broad strokes of my beliefs align pretty well with what the Democrats, in theory, believe. I’m for a strong government and a robust social safety net. I think we should be striving to get more people to vote, not fewer. I’m for gun control, love is love, BLM, and all that. Secondly, the Republicans are beyond the pale. We have a two-party system. I know that “unaffiliated” and “independent” are technically options. But for the independent unaffiliated to do anything they have to align with one of the two parties. I might as well be open about which one. I just don’t want to wear the facade of independence. And finally, where I live, Independents cannot vote in primaries. I want to vote in primaries, so there’s that.
As for my criticisms of the Democrats, again, there are several reasons. It all starts with the feeling that we have an obligation to speak up. While I don’t completely agree with the phrase, “silence is complicity,” that’s the direction I’m coming from. Then, there’s the fact that, as a Democrat, I want to make the Democrats better. I don’t know of any way to do that except critiques and suggestions. Add to those the frequency with which I feel betrayed by the Democrats and I don’t know how I could not criticize them.
The funny thing is, I feel like I refrain from criticizing the Democrats most of the time. And when I do criticize them, I mostly feel like I’m pulling my punches. One of the trickiest things about politics is finding a way to balance ideals with practicality. As I mentioned before, the Republicans are, in a lot of ways, just straight up evil now. Shortly after the civil rights victories of the 60s, to use the immortal words of Waylan Smithers, they, “crossed that line between everyday villainy and cartoonish supervillainy.” Every time I think to criticize the Democrats, I worry that it might help the Republicans. That’s why I let most of my criticisms go. And the ones I do express, I try to keep them restricted to pointing out the ways the Democrats are actively hurting themselves. I’m not always successful. Frustration can be hard to contain, but it’s what I’ve been trying for.
Now I’m wondering if that’s the right thing to do. I know I have very little, if any, power. What am I actually afraid of? It’s a lot less likely that I might help the Republicans than it is that I might upset a fellow Democrat. That’s probably what I’m really afraid of, upsetting my “allies.” The only real, practical effect of my complaints is they are a way of letting me vent my frustrations. The question then becomes if upsetting my friends is worth it. What do you think?