When I turned eighteen, although I was required to sign up for the draft, I was not eligible to vote.  That changed on July 1, 1971 when the 26th Amendment was adopted  The Viet Nam War had caused the re-emergence of resentment of the voting age laws by 18 to 20 year olds.  The question again arose, why can it be right to fight for our country but not be able to vote in our elections?  There were then, and remain today, those that feel service in our armed forces should be the lone requirement to vote.  I personally was not in the service, but I can see the merit in such a law.  Will it ever happen?  In my opinion, Not Bloody Likely.

I turned 21 before the voting law was changed and do not remember in which election I first participated.  I worked part time in the family business and was attending college when I registered to vote for the first time.  I remember that experience as though it were yesterday.  I went with my parents and we stood in line like everyone else.  When they asked my dad how he was registered, he said Democrat.  Next in line was my mom and she said Democrat.  I was next and when asked, I meekly said, democrat?  In that moment, I had just become a registered voter, a Democrat.  That was what my Grandpa Thomas had been, and I think all of my Uncles are, or were for those who have passed.  They were not just Democrats.  Unless they knew a Republican personally and supported, they voted Democrat.  I am sure on the state and National level, they nearly always voted Democrat.  I liked being a Democrat because of my admiration of John F. Kennedy and frankly, it helped prevent political arguments from coming up at family gatherings.  Today, those arguments do happen occasionally.  I also think that is a good thing on a limited basis.  I have always considered myself a JFK Democrat and I remained a registered Democrat for 33 years.  Even though I am now a registered Republican, I still consider myself a JFK Democrat.  

At the time John F. Kennedy was elected, I was 14 years old and lived in California.  JFKs opponent was a California native, Richard M. Nixon.  In my 8th grade year in California, it was mandatory to study the constitution.  I really enjoyed studying the constitution and proudly passed the test we were all given, and with flying colors.  Part of that class was spent following the primary process that both parties were engaged in that year.  As part of those studies, my class was divided into two groups, those for Nixon and me for Kennedy.  The unbalance was understandable, but we still had lots of fun with it as we learned about the primary process.  That is also when I started to learn about and to admire JFK.  Like everyone, his assassination two years later hit me very hard.

As the years went on, I did change the way I voted.  Instead of voting for the name with the D after it, I started voting with a little more thought.  First; did I know what the candidate was for and against?  If not, I would vote for the closest candidate to western Kansas, believing he would do what was the best for our area.  If I could not tell where their town was, or if they were for sure from Eastern KS, I voted for the Democrat.  As years passed, that changed to casting my vote for the Republican as the last step.

With the election of Bill Clinton in 1992 came the constant comparisons of Clinton to JFK.  I resented that comparison and felt it was insulting to JFKs legacy.  I think that is when I figured out that my morals were changing.  Just as my mom had always promised, I was finally growing up.  I had been married for twenty years and had four children.  I was beginning to be more in line with conservative values and less in line with liberal values.  To me, being aligned with a political party was meaning less and less.  Although seemingly always short of cash, my morals were starting to become more important than the quest for the almighty dollar.

What was the reason I felt the need to become more conservative?  The number one factor was Pro-Choice verses Pro-Life.  I will not state my belief other than to state that I have an absolute deal breaker when it comes to abortion.  Under no circumstances do I believe late term abortion is acceptable.  I do not feel any ill towards anyone that has had a late term abortion, nor do I feel any ill towards anyone that thinks late term abortions are OK.  It is just that I will not vote for anyone that believes late term abortions are acceptable.  I mention this only as an example of the direction my moral and political beliefs were heading.

Now that I have tip toed around the abortion controversy, it is time to talk about why I became a registered Republican.  If party affiliation was not that important to me, why did I change? I changed parties in October, 2008 and the reason was really very simple.  It was also a very big deal to me Sarah Palin You are probably thinking it was because she is a babe.  Although she is a very attractive lady, that was not my reason.  When Sarah Palin became John McCains running mate in his bid for the Presidency, I discovered that I really admired her.  I really liked her vision for America.  I admired the fact that she had been the Governor of Alaska and had done, although not perfect, a great job in the process.  I really liked that she had chosen to bear and raise a child knowing he would have Downs syndrome.  I admired the fact that her un-wed pregnant daughter was not given the option of an abortion.  I felt those were admirable traits, but no, those traits were not of the reason for my change.

I was appalled by the way she was treated by the liberal media because of those things that I admired so much about her.  I was appalled by the way she was treated by the Democrat party.  I decided that I could no longer be associated with any Party that would demonize any woman, or man for that matter, like they did Sarah Palin.  If the Republican Party were to start that same practice, (not individuals, but the Party) I would become an Independent immediately. 

Most confusing to me however, is that so many women seem to dislike, and even hate Sarah Palin.  I feel I have figured out the reason that so many women do not like Sarah Palin.  Not all women are guilty of this dislike, but way too many are.  If you were to put a 1 to 10 number for her looks, there is no doubt it would be much closer to a 10 than a 5.  Women are a group in our society that has been, and still in too many ways are, treated very poorly.  Even the fact that I have used the 1 to 10 scale for her looks is demeaning.  How could so many women hate a woman that has done as much to prove women are more than just housewives or second rate citizens?  Her looks, along with media bias, is the reason.  There, I have said it.

I have given a short review of my political journey for a reason.  Although I am not a Tea Party member, I am an advocate of the Conservative Tea Party.  How could I have changed from being a JFK Democrat to a current day Republican?  The answer is simple; I havent.  JFK Democrats and the Tea Party are morally and, for the most part, politically the same.  For this to be true, a large shift has to have happened in the Democrat Party.  I thought I had been changing a little bit at a time.  What was really happening was that as I was becoming more like JFK, while the Democrat Party was turning away from his values.  It is almost as if something has taken over the Democrat Party.  Is it Evil?  Is it Philosophy?  Or, is it both?

What is it that makes me feel JFK should be compared to the Tea Party.  JFK was best known for his death by assassination.  But the Kennedy Doctrine was politically his most important accomplishment.  The doctrine refers to JFK's policy of protecting the US by keeping communism out of Latin America.   The Bay of Pigs invasion in April, 1961 ended as a non event, but it did let the world know where the US stood regarding Latin America and communism.  This doctrine was put to the ultimate test during the Cuban Missile Crisis, October, 1962. 

Although not a large political factor in the early 60's, like today's Tea Party, JFK was considered Pro-Life as he nominated pro-life judge, Byron White for the U.S. Supreme Court.  Kennedy was a proponent of welfare entitlement.  However, just as the Tea Party, he believed that it should be used legitimately to help those in need and to encourage those that could, to move on to being legitimate contributors to the economy.  Many feel the Tea Party wants to dismantle Social Security and Welfare.  Of course that is not true.  Just as JFK was a proponent to Social Security to help those that need it, so does the Tea Party, but by fixing it, not keeping it in a form that will in time destroy itself.

Although Kennedy was not a believer in low taxes, he did see the connection of high taxes dragging down the economy.  He reduced the 91% marginal tax rate to 65%.  He was a strong proponent of a balanced budget as well.  He strongly believed that spending must be controlled to help achieve a balanced budget.  This is probably the biggest difference to the Tea Party as the Tea Party wants taxes reduced and spending reduced.  For the Tea Party, this is an admirable concept, but it will be hard to achieve without extreme unintended consequences.  

Probably the biggest difference between the two was the foundation of public unions by Kennedy.  In 1962, Kennedy signed executive order 10988 allowing the unionization of the federal work force.  This in turn led to the growth of the public employee unions; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Service Employees international Union, (SEIU, and the teachers' National Education Association, (NEA).  Although few would argue that there is a need for public worker protection, through excessive wages and benefits, it has become a major factor in breaking the public bank.

Getting back to the earlier question, Is it Evil, Philosophy, or both that has brought on the emergence of the Tea Party?  I have made my decision, right or wrong.  Politicians in particular, and not limited to Democrats, have been taken over by Progressives.  I believe even to the extent that it has been by Marxist Progressives.  This has been done by using the almighty dollar, blackmail and a near total control of our media outlets.  The philosophy of these evil Progressives is trying to ruin the greatest Country the world has ever known.  It started many years ago and has been a slow process, but it is happening right before our eyes.  The founding fathers knew a democracy could never endure such pressures.  That is why they conceived a Republic and wrapped it in the protection of the U.S. Constitution.  The Constitution and conservative ideology give us the best chance of surviving all attacks to our way of life. 

Every time Progressives have been thwarted in their quest, they just slink back into the shadows and wait, knowing their time will come again.  They now have put our country in the situation they have been working towards for generations.  We are going through the toughest times since the Great Depression.  We are as conservatively weak now as we have ever been.  We are ripe for a Marxist Progressive take over.  Our only saving grace may be just not The Tea Party, but individuals with Conservative Tea Party values.  I think most of the people I know, whether they believe it or not, have those Conservative Tea Party values.

Think about what is happening to our Country.  Dont listen to the liberal media and their lies on how to fix things.  Use your head and know the facts.  Do you hate Rush Limbaugh?  If so, have you ever listened to him?  And if you have, have you done so with an open mind?  Do you hate Fox News?  If so, have you ever watched it without having preconceived ideas?   I can go on and on.  I try to watch every cable news channel and I do so with an open mind.  I must tell you however, that I have never gotten a tingle up my leg when I watch Chris Mathews on MSNBC.  I watch the major network news opinion programs, trying my best to not be critical of their liberal bias.  I know that all networks and cable channels, Fox included, have their own agendas.  I also know that Fox will give you both sides if you will just listen to them.  Others will as well, but rarely.  Fox News must survive if we are to survive Progressive attacks.

Please, if you are not interested in being involved in politics, at least become knowledgeable in the political process.  Begin to find out what your beliefs and values really are.  Do not let your party affiliation dictate your morals or your vote.  The 2012 election will probably be the most important vote we will ever make in our lifetimes.  I believe it will be the most important vote ever for the good of our children and grandchildren. 

Please, consider making sure you are part of the cure, not part of the problem.  Right is right, wrong is wrong; its just that simple.  Please vote with your own thoughts; vote your conscience, not your pocketbook. 

October, 2011

Pete Thomas.

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If you cannot reach me by clicking on the "COMMENTS" link, please email me at pjthomas@ucom.net with "JFK Democrat" in the subject line.

Pete, I enjoyed your article. Fortunately, I was never in the Democrat party to leave it. Today, I see them as the party of death. They simply do not value human life, whether it be children yet to be born, the elderly, or the disabled. They make me sick. I have a very low tolerance of movements within society that place the value of human beings on "what they can do for me". I hate hearing people say things like they never want to be a burden to their friends and family ... why not? We're humans for crying out loud, not animals. God made us to take care of each other in times of need and there is no shame in that. By times of need, I mean when someone has a true physical or mental disability, not someone who is simply lazy and expects everyone else to work to pay their way. I love my family and friends, if they need my help, I help. It is not a burden, but a pleasure.

I, too, love Sarah Palin. It baffles me that anyone can find anything to hate about that lady other than she is not an elitist. Loved her first book and really need to get her current one. Well, I have lots to get done tonight before rising early for another day of work. I work hard because so many on welfare depend on me ;)

Have a great evening,
Tammi (Scott) Cramer 10/26/2011

Wow Tammi.  I may have to start a guest column and make you my star writer, along with Jeffro Borland of course.  Well put and I agree 100%.  As I have gotten older and have been bombarded endlessly by the liberal media, I have found myself, at times, thinking it would be easier to just roll over and get out of the way.  I try not to let their crap get to me but I find it difficult at times.  Whenever I start to feel that from now on, I will come back and re-read your note.  Thanks, for the kind words and thank you for your thoughts. Pete.