Monday of this week I spent in Denver for the opening day of the Democratic convention, and it was both exhilarating and depressing. It brought to my mind all the ambivalence I’ve had about the Democratic Party my whole adult life. My parents were staunch, true-blue, Kennedy loving Democrats, and I love that about them. I loved walking among the crowd and knowing, wow, all these people, and all day long I’m not going to run into anyone who disagrees with me on the basics. Maybe it’s even deeper than that, its tribal. I could never bring myself to call myself a Democrat (I’m an Independent) because their party is so tepid in either their belief or in the follow through on so many issues that should be Democratic, I feel no one really is expressing what my platform would be if I was king. Democratic politicians don’t talk about shrinking the military budget, ending corporate welfare, ending the drug war, etc.
But as a tribe, I know when I’m with my own. Their hearts are just more in the right place according to how I was raised. And I wish the party and the country were the more decent party and country they were in my parent’s heyday, and I could fully embrace my tribes as they did. But things are different.
In one of my favorite movies, “In the Line of Fire” Clint Eastwood as the Secret Service agent who 30 years earlier had failed to protect JFK and is now slipping protecting the current president, is at one point confronted about the day in Dallas when his and Kennedy’s lives intertwined forever – and he says “I was different! He was different! The whole country was different…” and then something really cool I can’t quite remember, but somebody should look it up.