Dixiecrats debunked

By By Craig Ziemba / guest columnist
March 24, 2002
n Craig Ziemba is a pilot who lives in Meridian.
Twenty years ago, my parents and all of my neighbors' parents were hard-working, God-fearing, conservative Southern Democrats, "Dixiecrats." Times have changed.
Read the official platform of today's National Democratic Party and you will conclude that this is certainly not your father's Democratic Party.
The former party of my parents now stands for abortion on demand, homosexual rights and increased governmental control of health care, education, commerce and trade. This costs money  lots of it, which is why Democrats routinely want to raise taxes.
Mississippi is a conservative state whose culture is founded on faith and family. In national elections, our voters usually reflect those values by electing pro-life candidates who respect our beliefs. Curiously, though, Mississippi voters exhibit political schizophrenia when it comes to state elections.
The Legislature is overwhelmingly controlled by the Democratic Party, whose platform clearly does not represent most of the people of our state. Why is this? Part of the reason is that many sincere, patriotic Mississippians who have always voted Democratic just don't know what their national party stands for today.
Other "Yellow Dog" Democrats are going to vote Democratic no matter what, just because that's the way they've always voted regardless of how illogical that may be. Minorities traditionally vote Democratic because the other parties have done a pitiful job addressing civil rights issues and demonstrating how less government will actually benefit them financially and socially far more than the socialism pushed by the Democrats.
When I bring up these issues with our local Democratic legislators, they wink and say, "Don't worry. I'm really a Republican at heart, just like you." Well, I could understand their decision to stay in the Democratic Party if they were publicly and vocally trying to reform it. But they aren't.
When push comes to shove, many routinely vote with their party on important issues like redistricting, judicial confirmations, and tort reform.
Playing both sides is playing the fool. Here's a suggestion: lead, follow or get out of the way.
To run as a Democrat when you do not agree with the platform is dishonest. To run as a Democrat just to avoid a primary race or because you think you stand a better chance to get elected is cowardly.
We Mississippians need to educate ourselves and begin voting our consciences rather than our traditions. The Democratic Party is so confident in the support of Yellow Dog Democrats and minorities that they have the luxury of taking them for granted. Those votes are "in the bag," leaving candidates free to ignore their constituents' real concerns.
The right to vote carries with it a responsibility to know what the candidates and their parties believe. If you don't agree with the Republican Party platform either, then consider voting for a Libertarian or Constitutional Party candidate. Our current Democratic House, Senate and governor can't even pass a budget without dipping into the tobacco trust fund.
We can't do much worse.

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