No, this isn’t a comment on some misrepresented, long-forgotten vice-presidential running mate quip. Instead, it’s a brief introduction to why I feel the need to add to the pollution within the blogosphere.
Briefly, it goes like this:
I’m not from around these parts. Not originally, anyway. Born in the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago to be exact, I moved to the U.S. when I was eleven. I lived in New York for eighteen or so years, before moving to San Francisco, where I’ve been for the last seven.
I’m not a citizen.
For most of my time here, I didn’t care much for politics. I didn’t identify with a political party for a long time, but I was always a social liberal, and a somewhat financial conservative — how most people in this country would likely describe themselves.
I would say I started to come of age, politically, during the Clinton years. It was during this time that I started to self-identify as a Democrat, in part because the things they were saying resonated with me, but also to a significant extent because of how the Republicans chose to spend much of those eight years. I couldn’t understand how things like oral sex and weird travel documents were important when education sucked and equal rights for all was a bad joke.
Those were baby steps, however. I entered my political adolescence right around the end of the 2000 Presidential campaign. Like many others, I instinctively disliked George W. Bush, but wasn’t sure Al Gore should be President (except, of course, for the fact that I found Gore intelligent, well-spoken, and, well, Democratic).
I remember being riveted to my television at 3, 4 in the morning when Florida “happened”. I couldn’t believe Bush had won, yet I figured “what the hell. He’s not that smart, he barely won, how much harm could he do in four years? He’ll be one-termer, just like his dad.”
As they say, famous last words.
Being a long-time New Yorker, the terrorist attacks devastated me, more so that I wasn’t — and couldn’t — be there to comfort and assist. When George W. Bush used those attacks to launch a war against Iraq a year later, I was dumbstruck. Somehow, after one of the most devastating attacks on U.S. soil, and following one of the most genuine outpourings of grief and solidarity from the rest of the world, George W. Bush managed to squander a tremendous opportunity to bring the U.S. and the world closer, to unite us.
His divisiveness shook me to the core, as I watched his arrogance grow, never admitting to any errors in judgement, or attempting to bring opposing viewpoints together.
When the 2004 Presidential campaign started, I became more involved than ever. Once John Kerry was nominated, I threw as much support as I could behind him, making my first ever political donations to Kerry, the Democratic National Committee, MoveOnPac and American Coming Together.
Despite the polls, I truly believed John Kerry would be our next president, and this nightmare four years would be over.
And so I’m pissed off. I want to make a difference. I don’t much enjoy the thought of George W. Bush selecting two, three or more members of the Supreme Court, all of whom are expected to lean right and ride roughshod over civil rights, privacy, and church-state separation, among other things.
I want explanations about why vote counts seem to be so far off in so many places. I want to help document the problems, comment on them so my friends and family can read this and think “hm. that’s not right.”
So there you have it: why I’m here — to learn just how much of a difference one person can make.
Join me in my political discovery.