Peter Lemiska: Democrats of the 1960s wouldn’t recognize today’s radical party
Four years ago, Jeanne Shaheen and her Democratic colleagues faced a moral dilemma. They knew the health care bill before them was based on patent lies, but they were under intense pressure from Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. They had to choose between personal integrity and party loyalty. While their decision has benefited some, their blind loyalty has devastated millions of Americans, previously happy with their health insurance.
For the countless New Hampshire residents who lost their trusted health care providers, Shaheen has some words of consolation: they can get their old doctors back if they are “willing to pay more.” But the real impact of Obamacare is still unknown. Much of the law has been unlawfully delayed — but not eliminated — to protect Congressional Democrats from outraged voters in November. Yet even with that help, Shaheen and incumbent Democrats are nervous.
But the party should also be concerned about its dwindling membership. For when Democrats cast their ballots in November, they will also face a dilemma. Many will have to decide whether their party loyalty is strong enough to overcome growing misgivings about its radical new agenda. Today’s Democratic Party is not the party their grandfathers proudly supported so many years ago.
In 1964, Lyndon Johnson launched the so-called War on Poverty. It was a noble concept, but it was rife with abuses, it expanded government dependency, and it did little to reduce poverty. The poverty rate had begun a precipitous drop prior to Johnson’s initiative and stood at about 19 percent when the program began. Despite enormous resources expended over the years, today that figure is still about 16 percent. But today’s Democrats have another solution. They call it redistribution of wealth. Their War on Poverty has become a war on wealth.
The national Democratic Party platform of 1964 mentioned the word “wealth” only once, referring to the wealth of our nation. Its 2012 platform negatively referred to that word 19 times. Never before has a major political party sought to divide our country along socio-economic lines. The class envy that Democrats now cultivate is dangerous to the country and contrary to the principles upon which it was founded. In fact, it mirrors socialist and Communist doctrine: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”
In their 1964 platform, Democrats had harsh words for those principles: “We believe your Communist ideology to be sterile, unsound, and doomed to failure...” They trumpeted capitalism: “The American free enterprise system is one of the great achievements of the human mind and spirit.”
Today, this newly-discovered wealth would be distributed through massive entitlement programs, crushing the competitive spirit and creating more government dependency. Government spending is euphemistically called “investment.” In that context, the 2012 Democratic platform contained more than 50 references to the term “invest.” Today’s Democrats have forgotten John F. Kennedy’s admonishment: “Ask not what your country can do for you....”
They’ve also forgotten these words from their 1964 platform: “Our goal is a balanced budget in a balanced economy.” Then, the national debt stood at a paltry $300 billion. Today, it is more than 56 times that amount, yet Democrats continue to demand higher debt limits to help pay for more entitlements.
One other notable change in the party surfaced during its 2012 convention. Debating the party platform, chaos erupted when members of faith insisted on including some reference to “God.” Ultimately, they prevailed over the furious objections by more radical Democrats. Considering that their positions on social issues contradict the teachings of most organized religions, their objections were inevitable. Going back to 1960, no one balked at this simple invocation written into the Democratic platform: “In this spirit, we hereby rededicate ourselves to the continuing service of the Rights of Man ... in America and everywhere else on God’s earth.”
We’ll soon see if this new party recognizes the long-held faith of its members, or if it embraces the words of Karl Marx: “The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.”
Life-long Democrats have seen a fundamental change in their party. It is no longer what it once was. It has been heavily influenced by radical, socialist, and communist principles, and is working to create a godless, hedonistic, egalitarian society, dependent on the state for food, shelter, education and health care. That may be why a recent Gallup Poll shows that only 31 percent of Americans now identify themselves as Democrats, down from nearly 60 percent 50 years ago.
Peter Lemiska is a retired Secret Service agent in Contoocook.