I loved being in touch with the base. In primaries I got to vote for folks like Evelle Younger for Governor, and whack job John Birchers from Orange County. Peter Neuman, the Dick Chaney of the Monterey County Republicans, was the guy who finally outed me. He actually checked the registrar of voters. Oops.
When people would drop their jaws in amazement at this seemingly liberal, long-haired crypto-Republican I would say: "Yup, I'm a Republican. And IRISH Republican.....we have our own Army."
But, really.....I always was a Republican. We had to hide this fact from my Irish grandparents. Grandpa was a union ship's carpenter. He actually transcended unionism. He started his apprenticeship around the turn of the century.....last century. All the work was done by hand, and the apprentices got the shitty jobs, just like in kitchens. Instead of peeling shrimp or garlic, Gramps got to plane boards. For 16 hours a day, 6.5 days a week. The way the apprentices held the hand planers involved tweaking their little fingers in inhuman directions. After four or five years of planing boards, their fingers were permanently bent under their palms. Even an 18 year old didn't need to show a union card or resume to get a job. The interview was all over at the handshake.
(I used this bit of history to save thirty bucks last week! I was in Williams-Sonoma buying a nice Shin knife for my friend DJ, and without ID, checks, cards.....nada. Cash only. I told the chick at the register to give me the chef's discount.
"How do I know you are a chef?"
I showed her my forearms........
Forty years of cuts, burns, slashes and gashes gets you 20% some places....)
Anyway, back in the 50's my parents were Republicans....mom was a precinct worker in Orange County for chrissakes. We had to hide this from Gramps, who was working at the VanCamps cannery on Terminal Island as a Union Carpenter. I blew the whole scene for my folks when I piped up at Sunday dinner in Redondo: "I like Ike!" I still remember the dead, dead silence that followed.
I came upon my Republicanism naturally...even genetically. My great-great grandfather....Publius Virgilius Jones (I am so bummed not to have a photo for you) was there at the founding of the Republican party in Jefferson County, Ohio in the 1850's.
In 1960 my school in Anaheim had a mock election. I was Richard Nixon, and my best friend was Jack Kennedy. His mom was named Jacque, and my mom is Pat, so it was very cute. I won in a landslide and actually got to shake the real loser, Nixon's, hand at one point.
I stayed Republican even in college at Cornell in the 60's. My Dad and I were the only two Republicans registered in our precinct. One year when I was booted out of school I got a job as a precinct watcher..... to check on those pesky Democrats denying Republicans their rights to vote. When my Dad dropped me off at 7am, and we both voted...... my work was done. I spent the rest of the day reading "Confederate General From Big Sur" and choking with stifled laughter. Snot even flew from my nose at one point....thereby confirming the Democrats' impression of the perverse nature of all Republicans.
My affiliation didn't stop me from demonstrating against the War, and John Mitchell's "No Knock". I wasn't a Nixon Republican any more....I was a Margaret Chase Smith guy...a John V. Lindsay Republican.....a Nelson Rockefeller guy. Back then Republicans were Republicans. No one bitched about affairs with interns.....Nelson didn't just grope his interns, he actually DIED fucking one.
Believe it or not, there was a time when rich, successful Republicans embraced noblesse oblige. They thought that a big tent was good.....and helping the working man succeed in life would help the whole nation succeed. Republicans fought political corruption and fought the idea of corporate control of the reins of power in America.
I still like Ike. I am still a Republican at heart.
I am no fan of government interference in business. The only reason I am working in Cachagua now is because Monterey County government is stupid and fucked beyond all reason....but hey, it is working out.
But last week, my 14 year old bus girl (we will ignore the fact that it is actually illegal for me to hire a 14 year old. Exploiting child labor is a Republican specialty.....) broke a tooth at school. She kept it quiet....since she is essentially homeless because her mom is a polar bear (Cachagua slang for a 5150 bipolar person). Mom is the rare non-drug addicted, non-alcoholic polar bear....she is nice and funny. She just has to spend half the month shut in a dark room sobbing....which is hard to express in a job application.
Anyway, Jazmyn dealt with the pain of the tooth. She didn't even have ibuprofen, since their most recent ex-landlord had claimed their jar against back rent. When the tooth abcessed, Jaz hung in there and kept going to school,.......but called in sick for Monday Night.
Of course, no health care for hardworking 14 year old, smart girls in America.....the greatest country on Earth. So.....I called Pastor Ben, who found an actual Christian dentist....I gave Jazmyn a Vicodin, a Costco jar of ibuprofen, a hundred bucks, and the night off.
Employer sponsored health care?
What kind of country do we have where a 14 year old girl has no expectation that her physical health is of any interest to the society she works so hard for?
Jazmyn is a Republican, too. She takes nothing she doesn't earn herself. She is 14, in school, and the only employed person in her family. She works her ass off with a smile, never says no to any task.....and I am afraid may hinge some of her self-worth and self esteem on how not rich her family is.
Oh, yeah.....Jazmyn popped some ibuprofen, half the Vikey.....and worked her shift at the Store. Took home eighty bucks.
Publius is pissed....but proud of the girl.
Ike, Publius V, Margaret, John V, Nelson and all those old-school dead Republicans are whirling in their tombs. The modern Republican party has finally disgraced itself beyond all recovery.
Today the leadership of the modern Republican Party held a "press event" in front of Nancy Pelosi's office to protest health care reform. This is one of their posters at their event. This is so wrong and foul I don't need to say a word about it.
Comparing the worst crime in modern history to fixing a tooth for the poster girl for the future Republican Party? These are not Republicans....they are pod-people. Not Americans....not even human.
Luckily I found a link to one of the last remaining real Republicans, Phillip Spooner. Of course, he is 87.....and will be dead soon. Of course, he lives in Maine....Margaret Chase Smith country.
If you can make it past the two minute mark without tearing up or getting pissed......I'm sorry.