Is the apparent strength of the Democratic party right now a sign that Americans are becoming more enthusiastic about regulation, redistribution of wealth and other traditional ideas of the left, or is it just a symptom of Bush fatigue?
I am reminded of actor Hugo Weaving’s line from the 2005 political thriller “V for Vendetta”: “And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.”
I recently took a good, long look into that mirror.
As someone who has been flirting with the Democratic Party and its principles since the late ‘90s (I am 30), it wasn’t until more recent years that I decided that I was ready for my commitment ceremony. So in February I got engaged, and I am looking forward to walking down the aisle in November, hand-in-hand with my man or woman.
Bush fatigue had nothing to do with my decision to up the ante in my relationship with the Democratic Party. Bush had overstayed his welcome the first time he stole office.
No, my decision to become actively engaged with the Democratic Party had to do with your point of the conservative era being over if we want.
While the strength that the Democratic Party is experiencing right now may have to do with our need for regulation and the redistribution of wealth, in my opinion, it just comes down to the fact that everyday Americans are finally waking up. We’re waking up to the realization that if we don’t get actively engaged this year, it will be four more years of the same.
And while being able to look to statistics to prove a point is a good thing, for most Americans, it’s not needed. When our government is more concerned with financing the war on terrorism overseas and less willing to finance the war that’s going on domestically in our backyards and on our streets, there’s a problem. When it’s more affordable to buy a bucket of fried chicken than it is to go to the store and buy the ingredients to make that same bucket of chicken, that’s a problem. When you go to sleep, only to wake up to find that overnight the gas fairy raised the price of gas—again—it’s fair to say it’s time for a change.
All we ever needed to do was look at the impact the last eight years on our checking and savings accounts to see that we need a change. One look around our neighborhoods, at the state of our schools and at our rising healthcare costs tells the story of why the Democratic Party is on the rise.
The numbers speak for themselves, and Democrats have been in a position to take back America for the people. It wasn’t until this current administration’s abysmal failure affected all of us and not just some of us that we were moved to take action in record numbers—that, and the prospect of electing an African American or female as the next president, what I think is chiefly responsible for inspiring a generation of young Democrats to get involved.
Now that sleeping giants have arisen, the real test of the party is going be how it handles the increasing masses of its constituency who want to be intricately involved and no longer content to watch from the sidelines. How the party embraces those voices—Black, brown, under 40, non-Christian or gay—is going to tell the story of how long America’s newfound love affair with Democrats will last. After all, the party is only as strong as its people.
I’ll close with another line from “V for Vendetta”: “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” That line for me epitomizes what America is experiencing right now, which is what has conservatives petrified.
Jasmyne Cannick n is a social commentator and activist who is known for addressing the issues others can’t or simply won’t. Chosen as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World, at 29, Jasmyne is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and writes a popular daily blog at jasmynecannick.com and myspace.com/jasmynecannick. She resides in Los Angeles and can be reached at