The Republicans opposed TVA, the Rural Electrification Administration and the Electric Home and Farm Authority, fought it tooth and nail, calling them communism and an unconstitutional interference in business. Profits, not people, are what counts for Republicans.
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A Few of My Favorite Things

Why I vote Democratic:
A Partial List

The old cannot get affordable medical insurance coverage and before Medicare they often got little or no medical care. And died.




1.My grandparents had a small farm in rural Tennessee. I spent a lot of time there as a child. When I was very little I remember my grandparents got water from a cistern. My grandmother would let the galvanized bucket fall into the cool darkness of the well, then she would turn the crank on the winch above it, bringing the weight of the water up into the light, the rope taunt and damp. She would take the bent tin ladle that hung on the well, dip it in the cool water, and then hold it for me to drink. The water was rainwater, collected from the roof, and, by means of wooden gutters, channeled into the cistern. As a child that water always tasted special to me. Cool, slightly metallic and totally magical. I never thought of the work it took to haul every bit of water we used up from that brick and concrete pit.

I also remember, if barely, my grandmother doing laundry. This involved heating water in a huge black pot over an outside fire. She would add soap and dirty clothes to the pot then push the clothes around with a long wooden spoon as the water boiled. Using the spoon she would lift each article of clothing from the bubbling water, transferring it, leaking scalding, soapy drips, to a tin tub. Then my grandmother would scrub the clothes on a washboard. After that there were rinses with more water, then the clothes were finally rung out and hung on a line to dry. That was how my grandmother kept her family's clothes clean. It was hard, back-breaking work that had to be done every week, no matter the freezing cold or the burning heat.

My grandparents heated their house by burning coal in a pot-bellied stove. They lit it with oil lamps, though bedtime was pretty close to sundown in those days. My grandmother cooked over a wood stove that turned her tiny kitchen into a furnace, even in winter. The toilet was an outhouse and bathing was in a tin tub. After baths were finished the water filled tub had to be laboriously pulled out of the back door and the bath water splashed into the yard.

This wasn't unusual. It was just the way things were for poor farmers. Many people had it worse than my grandparents.

Then one day when we went to my grandparent's and I found the cistern was covered over and there was a hand pump for water. I realize now that my grandfather had known some changes were coming and had had a deep well drilled.

I'm a baby boomer, born after WWII, but I still remember these things. No electric company wanted to run lines or provide power for rural people. Too expensive. Not enough profit. Consequently 90% of rural Americans had no electricity. They all lived more or less like my grandparents and pretty much as farmers had since the middle ages.

When we next came to visit my grandparents everything had changed. Now they had electricity. That meant an electric pump for the well, electric lights, an electric stove, an electric hot water heater, a refrigerator, and, best of all from my grandmother's point of view, an electric washing machine. No more hauling water up from a well. No more heating water in a black pot. No more washboard. My grandparents had finally been able to enter the 20th Century.

Everything had changed.

I didn't know why then.

I know now that the Rural Electrification Administration and TVA power had finally reached my grandparent's farm. They aren't around to ask but it's likely that they bought the appliances with TVA's Electric Home and Farm Authority assistance. EHFA was a program to help farmers buy appliances at reasonable prices financed with low interest rates.

The Republicans opposed TVA, the Rural Electrification Administration and the Electric Home and Farm Authority, fought it tooth and nail, calling them communism and an unconstitutional interference in business. Profits, not people, are what counts for Republicans. Curse you Republicans. Bless you Democrats.

If this was the only Democratic program that helped my family I would still want to vote Democratic, but this just the first.

2. I remember my parents buying a house. They bought it using a Veteran's Administration Loan. The interest rate was low and it required no down payment. Another Democratic program.

3. When both my father and uncle left the service after 20 years they both went to college. On the GI Bill. Another Democratic program. The World War II GI Bill is said to have had more impact on the American way of life than any law since the Homestead Act more than a century before it. It provided up to four years of education and vocational training for returning veterans of World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Servicemen's Readjustment Act (the "GI Bill") into law on June 22, 1944. One of its purposes was to spare veterans the economic hardships that those returning from WWI suffered. It not only succeeded in that but helped educate a nation.

4. . When I was ready to go to college there was a system of public universities, largely funded by the federal government, available to me. Even my parents, who were NOT affluent, could send me to college, thanks to Democratic programs that established public universities and kept tuition low. I came out of college without owing a penny. Thanks to Ronald Reagan and the policies of the Republican Party, kids now come out of college $10,000, $20,000, even $50,000 in debt. The Republicans are working hard to deprive the American people of education, ignorance having always been a good way to control the masses. Those they cannot discourage from getting an education are forced to get loans from private institutions, federally guaranteed, thus enriching bankers and saddling the new graduates with a lifetime of debt. Thank you Democrats. Curse you Republicans.

5. When I was between jobs I got Unemployment Benefits. Thank you FDR and the New Deal Democrats.

6. When I was between jobs I got Food Stamps. It wasn't much but it helped. Thank you LBJ and The Great Society Programs.

7. When I went to look for a job I was told on various occasions, "I'm sorry, we don't hire women." Finally the Civil Rights Act that gave women the right to Equal Employment Opportunities was enforced. Thank you again LBJ and the Democrats. Thank you President Carter.

8. My grandmother once showed me a picture of her grandmother. She was a frail, sad old lady, looking out from the bent surface of an old tintype. My grandmother told me the picture was taken when her grandmother was staying with her parents because it was their turn. Her grandmother had nothing. She and her husband had been poor sharecroppers who earned their living by the sweat of their brows. When she was old she had to survive on the charity of her children. She would stay with one for a while, then another, so the burden on any one of them would not be too great since they had little more than she.

When my grandparents were old, they didn't have to burden their children. They lived independent lives in their own home. Because they had Social Security Benefits. That most Democratic of social programs has made the lives of the old so much less bitter than they used to be. (This is how it used to be BEFORE there were any government retirement programs. If you were lucky. You starved in the street if you weren't.) Thank you Democrats. And curse you Republicans for fighting Social Security down through the years and for now using the surplus in the Social Security Trust fund to fund tax cuts for the rich.

9. When my grandfather was quite old he had a perforated bowel and peritonitis. He was able to have surgery, made a complete recovery and lived over 15 more years. Thanks to Medicare. Without Medicare I'm sure the expense would have made him delay going to the doctor even longer and perhaps even die. Without Medicare he and my grandmother might have been evicted from their home to pay the medical bills for his hospitalization. The old cannot get affordable medical insurance coverage and before Medicare they often got little or no medical care. And died. Thank you again LBJ for getting Medicare passed. Curse you George Bush for using a temporary Medicare surplus to fund tax cuts for the rich.

The list goes on and on. What I can't understand is why any working class person would vote Republican though, God knows, I realize the the Democrats aren't perfect. Except when compared to the Republicans.


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