Bye, Bye, Democrats: Yadda-yadda, Not a Joiner

By Alan Vitello

Whelp…I recently switched my party affiliation from Democrat back to Unaffiliated.

That’s not because I no longer believe in most of the basic, and theoretical, tenets of the Democratic Party. It’s because I have become profoundly disappointed with the party and the way it is run.

Alan Vitello is a writer and an award-winning cartoonist who lives in Colorado. Learn more about Alan…

That, and because of a recent experience I just had. Let me explain:

Several weeks ago, I received an email from OFA, also known as Organizing for Action, formerly known as Organizing for America, which formerly was Obama for America. The email advised that—should I choose to apply—they were looking for “OFA Fellows” (read: “community organizers/activists”).

I applied. Passed. Had the phone interview. Passed. Spent four hours on a recent Saturday at an OFA orientation. I left a bit perplexed at the lack of specificity given to what, exactly, I and 40 other selected people would be doing.

Then, I sat through a two-hour webinar on March 8, followed on March 13 by an hour-and-a-half conference call with my “local group.”

It reminded me an awful lot of the disastrous and distasteful semester I spent on the student council during my senior year in high school: “Hey! Let’s pick the colors for homecoming, then we’ll put on a musical in Old Man Murphy’s barn to save the steel mill!”

What the…?

Don’t believe me? Well, read on: An OFA group in Boulder wanted to have a “Teach In.” What the…is a teach in? This is 2017, not 1969! Our local OFA manager LOVED the idea.

An observation about myself surfaced in my thoughts, something I’ve pondered other times in my life: I am not a rah-rah, praise Jesus, Can-I-Have-an-Amen! kind of person. In fact, I kind of hate when I have been in situations where I am expected to behave like a rah-rah, praise Jesus, Can-I-Have-an-Amen! kind of person.

The times I have been in such situations (and you’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now), all (ALL!) ended up with a bad taste in my mouth: teaching religious ed (and being a “proclaimer”) at our (former) Catholic church; being a Cub Scout leader; and my time as a union steward…all of these episodes asked me to open my skull, remove my brain and simply parrot the party line.

Nope. No can do.

It also became clear to me during the March 13 conference call that I was probably the only participant (of a dozen or so) who did not think Barack Obama was the single best president these ol’ United States of America has ever had. I don’t think that, at all.

It also became clear that—under the guise of the usual, liberal, let’s all respect-each-others’ opinions, yadda-yadda-yadda pablum—that the fix was in.

We were supposed to conference to offer our suggestions on what our first OFA-group community outreach capstone project was to be. Each of us was to offer an idea; then we would vote. But it didn’t go that way. Our appointed OFA manager first asked a person she knew from before what HIS idea was. Then she decided his was A GREAT idea. And that was that. Everybody else was just along for the ride.

Harrrummpphhh!

I’m not a guy who will allow his opinion to be subsumed into group think just because I am told to. Nope. It’s the editorialist/journalist and Mary and Joseph Vitello (my sensible parents) in me.

One of the many reasons I loved coaching soccer (and stuck with it fall, winter, spring,  and summer for eight years)—besides great kids and their great families—is that Arvada Edge (the soccer league in Arvada, Colo.) left me alone to run the team as I saw fit. They offered advice when I asked. They offered a few coaching seminars. More than anything, they let me coach. They let me figure it out. I never had to stand up for a praise Jesus (or Pele) even once.

Let’s face it, there’s a lesson for Democrats to learn here.

And a good lesson for me: I am just NOT a joiner. Nor a lover of yadda-yadda-yadda pablum. I still have a brain in my skull, so I’ve still got that goin’ for me.

4 thoughts on “Bye, Bye, Democrats: Yadda-yadda, Not a Joiner

  1. I’m still amazed at the attitude of the establishment Dems. “Everything is fine. We don’t need to change anything at all.” It seems the coronation idea is still around. SMH

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  2. Alan:

    So nice to see a drawing of yours again. I still use the CPA tote bag with your clever editorial cartoon emblazoned on the front and think of you each time. Glad to hear your career went well.

    Kate Caldwell Forgach

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  3. I too unaffiliated, after 45 years of being part of “Team Blue”. Of course, I’d held my nose often enough, to vote for people who really didn’t seem to share much of my values, just because – well – they were on MY team, not the other one. But, following the big let-down that came from the realization that so much of Obama’s campaign rhetoric was that and no more, the final straw for me was the coronation of the much-disliked, anti-democratic Hillary Clinton; achieved as it was largely through the moneyed elites’ heavy thumb on the nomination process, their suppression of Sanders and reliance on the obviously flawed scheme of promoting Trump so that they could run AGAINST HIM, rather than for any platform or principle that might just move the needle towards rather than away from democracy.

    The Trump fiasco they brought about is now the sole raison d’être for so many “liberal” groups and their brand of “resistance”. There seems to be little honest discussion, much less thought, about what might come next…should they somehow succeed in bringing down Trump. No recognition that Democrats have routinely, programmatically sold out their constituents and democracy itself, for the benefit of private interests. Sure, the D’s billionaires are a bit less hostile to women or gays; some may even acknowledge climate change. But they eschew democracy…as evidenced by their blocking of Sanders from the nomination….that would be going too far.

    And now countless “liberal” groups seem merely content on restoration of the neoliberal order, even thought it was exactly what led us to this surreal moment in time.

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