I am not a Democrat. I used to be one, but not anymore. If you've been reading my blogs and political writings for a long time, you may recall that I'm officially a Green. At least, I was until about 2:30 this afternoon.
But, let me go back a ways and tell you the whole story...
When I turned 18 in 1979 I registered as a Democrat, and was fairly loyal from that time until the mid 90s. I walked my Sacramento precinct for Clinton in '92 (as I had for other Democrats before), but some of the shine had already begun to come off my love of the party.
The way the Clinton's squandered their opportunity with a failed (and poorly led) bid at national health care and then quickly turned to the right was a major disappointment, as was their later implementation of a very Republican welfare "reform." But the final straw for me came from my Democratic State Senator up in Sacramento.
I had written him a letter during the '94 elections asking for clarification on his position on the death penalty, as he had made a statement implying he wanted it applied even to drug dealers, rapists, etc. He wrote back basically telling me that I was an idiot, and asking if I thought I'd get any more of a liberal position out of his Republican challenger, and basically told me that I had no choice but to support him. Needless to say, I didn't vote for him.
Following that election (early in '95) I changed my registration to Green, and I have been a Green ever since. But I don't always vote Green. I consider myself "left-of-center independent" and my votes can be for Greens, Democrats, or whomever else I feel best represents my views in any given election.
With Barack Obama, however, there is finally a Democrat who I can not only "hold my breath and vote for," but a Democrat who I can truly believe in, and want to help win this election.
No, I won't be changing my registration back to Democrat. The party itself still has a long way to go before I can proudly wear that label again. But, in California, true independents (registered as "decline to state" not in any third party) may select a Democratic ballot in the Primary election.
And so, this afternoon I stopped off at Barack Obama's new San Jose office and filled out a new voter registration form as "decline to state" (the CA registration deadline is 15 days prior to any election, so that would be next Monday). This will allow me to support him in the primary on February 5, as well as in the general election next November.