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December 31, 2002

The Democrats Have Lost Their Direction

Derek Shackelford

I have abstained from writing a column since July of this year. This break has allowed for a time of reflection on what is happening in our world around us. After all of the hoopla surrounding this past election year, one can now make an assessment on the individuals selected to make our political decisions. We can also assess our local, state, and national political landscape.

The issue is who can lead best, whether it is Democrats or Republicans? Who is at fault for our economic woes? Which party is the cause of the moral decay of our society? And lastly, which party has the eyes and ears of America?

It appears that the Republican agenda has won out over the Democratic one according to the voters. In Frederick County, Republicans can boast that their agenda is the platform that has answered the folks' plea. Republicans won this election cycle easily in most cases.

Statewide, Maryland has its first Republican Governor since Spiro T. Agnew and, to boot, the first black lieutenant governor in Michael Steele. My have times changed.

On the national scene, Republicans have taken back the Senate and President George Bush will see his policies enacted probably without much opposition. Yes, it appears that this is the time for the Republican agenda to go full steam ahead.

While much credit goes to the Republican Party for a clear message, criticism abounds for the Democrats. Democrats apparently have no clear direction, no visible leadership, and no consistent agenda or platform. The Democratic Party does not know whether it wants to go to the left or to the right. On the national scene, when it came time for the Democratic Party to find a fresh voice with a fresh face in Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., it went back to its stale same old, same old in Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Every time it comes time for the Democratic Party to take a stand and to find some direction, it disguises itself in wanting to be like the Republican Party. At least a Republican sounds like a Republican and stands up for its conservative views. The Democratic Party has gotten off base and needs to find some direction -- and find it fast.

Quickly in this county and country we may become a one party system in which we are mostly Republicans. The Democrats have even -- for the most part -- abandoned its most faithful following, the African-American voter. When it comes to standing up for brass issues, the Democratic Party waits for the Republican Party to speak and then agrees readily. The Democratic Party surely needs to stand up and be counted.

Now before Republicans start leaping for joy and think that everything is all right, remember you have Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi.

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