By LARRY SPOHN
Given that I am a passionate (some say crazed) liberal, people are surprised when I tell them I’ve probably voted for almost as many Republicans as Democrats.
But it’s true, in part because I have resided in Democratic territory — Illinois, North Carolina and New Mexico. So, I voted for a lot of qualified, moderate Republicans in my own, puny effort to balance the political turf.
So, there. I’ve outed myself. I am actually an independent moderate who flip-flops.
Not this year. This election, I intend to walk into that voting booth and pull the Democratic Party lever to vote what will be my first, straight party ticket.
I hope the vast majority of American voters do likewise, because if ever this country needed a sweeping change, it’s now. The arrogant Republican roughshod rule must end. They had their chance, and they gave George W. Bush carte blanche. It’s past time for balance — a Democratic House and Senate that, at least, will force compromise, oversight and accountability.
You don’t have to be anti-Bush or anti-Republican to pull the Democratic lever. Just pro-American. Forget what you think you know about Democrats or have been told about the Democratic Party. Neither party has a lock on national security. Ignore the stereotypes mouthed by the TV talk show neocons — a druggie, a sexual harasser, a dancing bow tie and a caustic plagiarist. Use your own intellect, judgment and power to restore an even keel to our rolling ship of state. Trust that moderate Republicans will work with Democrats to restore the faith — from Iraq to the national forests to the federal ledger to Medicare.
As a people, we need to send a message that country comes before party; that we may be a capitalistic republic, but it is not for sale; that even the most powerful nation on the planet must sheath its sword unless directly threatened; that we really, truly, honestly, actually do not torture.
We need to remind the Republican Party that just because it won, this doesn’t give it license to rule without consideration for the other 49.5 percent of the people.
We need to tell the likes of Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist and Dennis Hastert that lying to the people is never a good idea — but lying to them about the urgent need to sacrifice their sons and daughters and to kill or maim tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi women and children is absolutely criminal.
We need to holler at the Republican-controlled House and Senate, telling them that we know conservatives — people who balance budgets, protect America, preserve national resources and do not squander their children’s future _ when we see them, and they are no conservatives.
We need to shout that in America, you govern, not rule.
So do yourself and your country a favor. Search your heart and soul. Vote straight Democratic on Nov. 7. Your children and their children will thank you.
Let’s get back to being the America of our parents and their parent’s parents.
(Larry Spohn is The Albuquerque Tribune’s deputy editorial page editor.)
(Contact Larry Spohn of The Tribune in Albuquerque, N.M., at www.abqtrib.com.)