Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Scott Leffler: Party of one

Let's start with the basics.

I'm a white liberal Democrat male.

Now take every pre-conceived notion that you have about the previous paragraph and toss it right out the window.

Don't pigeon-hole me.

Just cause some of the liberals that you met were in favor of constantly raising taxes to pay for social programs that you don't agree with, that doesn't make me "tax-and-spend Scott."

Just cause you met some white guy one time in Kansas that thought that women and blacks were inferior, that doesn't make me ignorant and prejudiced.

And just cause the majority of my political party prefers abortion at any time during a pregnancy to responsibility, that doesn't' make me "anti-life" (although my party calls it pro-choice).

Someone actually said to me last week: "You're a bad Democrat."

Um, okay. But I'd make a worse Republican.

The problem is folks, I don't fit into a nice neat little label - And most of us don't.

Just what is a radical Muslim?

Point a "social liberal but fiscal conservative" out of a crowd next time you go to the mall.

And forgive me if this offends, but to me "compassionate conservative" is an oxymoron.

We can't all be moderates, you know.

So why do we use this jargon to describe people to one another?

We break free of the chains of high school and college, losing our "statuses" while we do so.

No longer was I Scott Leffler; nerd. I was just plain Scott Leffler.

And once we're free of those shackles, we align ourselves with people who think alike - even if we don't share ALL the same thoughts.

And so I registered Democrat. To make it simple, I agree more with Democrats than with Republicans. While I like the "hands-off" nature of the GOP, I'm also in favor of the social kindness that is the basis of the Democratic Party. And my willingness to actually let other people speak without shouting over them told me for sure that I was a Democrat.

Unfortunately, so is Sheldon Silver.

So maybe I don't want to be a Democrat - after all, I sure don't want to be associated with Shelly Silver.

But as a Republican, I'd have to be associated with George Pataki, George Bush and Ronald (George) Reagan.

If I went Green, I'd be in "The Party of Nader."

Ralph Nader actually believes that the Republican and Democratic parties are the same. I sure don't want to associate with anyone that can't tell the difference between Donkeys and Elephants.

Fortunately, you can create your own party - at least for an election cycle.

Sean Smith did it a couple years ago when he ran for alderman. The "2nd Warders'" party drew in just a handful of votes, but it was enough of an edge to push him to win.

Smith said he "created" the party because he thought that there might be people that liked him, but whose conscious wouldn't let them vote Democrat - his preferred party.

If I were to create a party, it would be the "None of the Above" party and I'd only let candidates who felt that the major parties didn't speak for them run as members of that party.

Of course, then those candidates would be associated with me ... and I'm not sure they'd want to do that.

Scott Leffler - party of one.