by Brule Eagan
“I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.”
— Will Rogers
Democrats are going to drive me nuts.
It wasn’t always thus.
When we were kids, Democrats were seen as a universal force for good.
My parents voted for FDR — not all four times, given their age, but they voted for FDR, and HST, and…well, maybe not Adlai, but definitely JFK, and then LBJ, and on and on.
I was seven when Jack Kennedy was elected. We kids were thrilled. After all, Nixon was the bum that was going to make us go to school on Saturdays. We couldn’t have that. We begged our parents to vote for Kennedy. And when JFK won, we won, too; at least, that’s how it felt.
So you get the idea, even if you weren’t a product of the time. Democrats were viewed as the party that made Americans’ lives better, won the Big One, had the vision for the future, and pursued it with JFK’s great vigah. You could always count on Democrats to do the right thing.
So, where’d they go?
I know, Barack Obama was a great president; I hear you, and I agree. But he’s the exception that proves my point.
Where’d they go?!?
I live in south Texas. I like it here. The people are nice, the winters are snowless, the Gulf and Old Mexico are at my doorstep. Plus, it’s one of the two blue areas of Texas (the other being Austin).
Just a couple doors down from me is the home of state Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., a lifelong Democrat with a long history of public service.
Eddie wouldn’t remember this, but the first time I met him was in the ‘70s when he was making his first run at state politics as a candidate for the Texas House. I was on my first radio job at a small FM station in Brownsville. I was told he’d be coming in that evening to record some commercials, and please help him any way you can.
I was happy to oblige. Back then, Eddie was in his thirties; a friendly fellow with the look of a winner and a smile that could light up Cincinnati. We had a nice chat, he recorded his lines, and then he left.
He did not make it to the House, but it didn’t stop him. He ran again, served two terms, then ran for the Texas Senate, where he’s been ever since. Eddie’s been a champion for disabled children and for veterans, and has been strong on equity in public schools.
So, I was understandably puzzled when two years ago, he voted in favor of a Senate bill that would make it tougher for minors to get abortions in Texas, even in the case of rape or incest. He was the only Democrat in the Senate to vote for this bill.
Eddie justified his vote on the basis of his Catholicism. And he didn’t stop there.
He’s also supported school vouchers and a gay marriage ban.
Now, Eddie’s the only Democrat in the Texas Senate to support Senate Bill 6 — the “bathroom bill” which would ban transgendered people from using the public restroom they’re comfortable with. He promptly got a very public attaboy from Dan Patrick, who, as lieutenant governor, is the state’s second-highest elected fool.
Eddie told the local NBC affiliate — to precisely quote him — “I don’t believe in separation of church and state.”
The plot seemed to thicken soon afterward when a newsletter on Texas politics revealed that SB-6’s author slipped five-million bucks into the Senate’s spending plan to help fund a project here in Eddie’s district.
He told that same local TV station that nah, they’re not connected: “Everything that I do, I look at it as an act of faith, a moral obligation that I have for all people.”
One of those great old Democratic lions, Harry Truman, once observed that to be a successful politician, one had to be, among other things, “an unctuous religio”.
I think Harry would have threatened to punch Eddie in the nose. He did it for others. He certainly would have called him an SOB.
Eddie doesn’t know it, but he’s going to get an earful the next time I pass him on the street.
The foolishness, stupidity, and cruelty are getting contagious.
I resolve to do everything I can to see that Eddie’s retirement is imminent.
And I see his house every day. Trust me, he’ll be fine.
These Democrats are going to drive me nuts.