Saturday, June 18, 2011

Why I'm No Longer a Democrat

Yesterday I posted the following as my Facebook status:

“Patrick Diehl is officially no longer identifying myself as a Democrat or supporting that party. I’m now an independent who’s looking at the candidate, not the affiliation.”

I’ve already received a fair amount of flack for this and it hasn’t even been 24 hours.

The decision by the Democratic leadership to abandon Anthony Weiner, to turn on him and join with those demanding his resignation, was the last straw for me.

I can’t recall Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi or Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the new chair of the Democratic National Committee, saying anything when it was revealed that David Vitter, a married Republican senator, was paying prostitutes to change his diapers.

I can’t recall them expressing one iota of outrage when the extramarital antics of Republicans Newt Gingrich and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Senator John Ensign and Arnold Schwarzenegger – who fathered a son with his housekeeper 14 years ago – were disclosed.

But when a Democrat sends icky text messages, well, that’s an affront to everything good and holy, huh?

North Carolina’s John Edwards and Pennsylvania’s John Murtha and Colorado’s Gary Hart and Louisiana’s William Jefferson and The Big Dog from Arkansas are proof positive that Republicans don’t have a lock on unseemly behavior. It’s not the corruption and infidelity that’s driving me out of the party; it’s the irrefutable, cumulative evidence that Democrats will pander first and fight for their own second that has me walking away in disgust.

I used to tell myself over and over, every time they stumbled, that I needed to stick with them; they weren’t as bad as the Republicans.

Well, I’m tired of “not as bad.”

I’m tired of spineless leadership from Democrats who betray their campaign vows and take their supporters for granted.

I’m tired of Democratic politicians who claim to be anti-war and then escalate military activities once in office.

I’m tired of Barack Obama demanding that Weiner leave Congress but insisting that everybody leave Joe Lieberman alone - even though Lieberman actively campaigned for Obama’s opponent and throws stones at him at every opportunity.

I’m tired of Democrats refusing to fight for a public option in health care reform but forcing me to enrich the coffers of private insurance companies.

I’m tired of Democrats being as cozy with Wall Street and corporate America as the Republicans they assail for those same ties.

I’m tired of being told to stay loyal like the Republicans. I don’t want to be like the Republicans.

I’m tired of being more progressive than the supposed party of progressives.

I’ve worked for Democrats since 1982. I’ve knocked on doors and stuffed envelopes and worked phone banks and driven people to the polls and participated in caucuses at state party conventions. I was on the staff of a Democratic governor for eight years and drove all over the state to represent my boss at dinners and events. I’ve attended election night parties and candidate forums and training sessions and meetings at Hart-Kennedy House, the state party headquarters on Townsend Street in Lansing. I’m not a fickle Johnny-come-lately making a spur-of-the-moment decision here. This has been a long time coming.

You don’t have to attend the Catholic Church in order to have a relationship with the Bearded One Who Floats on Clouds and Awards Grammys. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to embrace the Democratic Party in order to vote, pay taxes and support progressive politicians.

The party left me years ago; I’m finally returning the favor.


  1. Agreed. As far as I can tell GOP/FOX has the best of both worlds. They are getting exactly what they want but since the Dems control 2 out of 3 seats of power GOP/FOX can blame any problems on the Dems. Basically, the Dems are just a front for GOP/FOX. There is no alternative party. We've got a choice of the right or the far right.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have put words to my frustration, disappointment and rage.

  3. I'm in the same place, Pat... and have been for years. The Democratic leadership are, well, wimps. They won't defend themselves - won't even stand for what they believe in. The Republicans - more the Conservatives, are bullies who spew Anti-American and bible-thumping nonsense while selling out their own people. At times, it makes me physically ill. I err on the side of common sense and find that it is lacking - in both parties.

  4. Very nicely said and in total agreement!

  5. For me it has always been about embracing the falibility of human beings and recognizing that affiliations can devide and destroy the human values that bind us all. Politics like religion is responsible for a lot of pain and devisivness. I try to look at it all with a gentle heart and an open mind. Thanks Pat for sharing your struggle with politics.

  6. Human nature being what it is, politics is always a choice of the lesser of two evils. I can't imagine choosing the greater of two evils. Surely they are often disappointing, but who, if not a Democrat, would I support