I grew up in the rural and suburban South during the 1960's and 70's. When I was a young child we were poor and as I grew our economic circumstances slowly improved. By the time I graduated from high school my family was blue collar and middle class. In Louisiana, at that time, was just starting to have a bit of a two party system, but if you were blue collar, poor or middle class there was only one party to join and that was the Democratic Party.
In 1976, though still too you to vote, I was a Jimmy Carter supporter. By 1980 I was 20 and in the U.S. Navy. I did not vote in the presidential election that year. I spent election day on the USS Francis Hammond (FF 1067) somewhere in the Gulf of Oman near the coast of Iran. Though I was a solid Democrat I was disgusted with Carter and hoped that Ronald Reagan would win the election, which of course he did.
I left the Navy in 1982, came back to Louisiana and dutifully voted Democratic, except for Presidential elections. In the mid-eighties I was working as a helper at one of the local refineries and one of the men I worked with was very active politically and had been a delegate to the last Democratic National Convention. He had a copy of the party platform, he loaned it to me so that I could read it.
I took the document home determined to learn more about my political party and it's official stand on the issues. I was shocked by what I read. I was not politically savvy but I knew I had strong disagreements with what I read in the Democratic Presidential Platform.
The very next time that I had a day off from work, I went and changed my party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. I still voted democrat in most local races, but I was paying more attention to politics. My voting pattern slowly became more consistently Republican than Democrat, but I have never reached the point where I voted strictly the party line.
When the Republicans took over Congress I was hoping that they would live up to the better aspects of their rhetoric. I was sorely disappointed. The disappointment increased all the more after George W. Bush became President. It became clear that though the cut of meat might be different the Republicans were just as good at dishing out the pork as the Democrats had been.
Four years ago my family moved to a new home, our voting district changed so I had to register in the new district. Disgusted by the Republican performance, I once again changed party affiliation. I left the Republican party and today I'm registered independent and I have a low view of the political hacks in both parties.
In the up coming election I will not vote for Senator Obama. The social liberal views that he and his party (on the national level) still support are still the ones I left the party for over twenty years ago.
The question is: Can I vote for McCain?
I am struggling with that. There are somethings I like about McCain, but there are other things that I have VERY big problems with as well. I've voted for third party candidates before, so what about this year? I don't know yet.
I consider myself to be a paleoconservative or Christian libertarian. So I am against both Democratic and Republican versions of centralised big government. Democrates are atleast more honest. They admit that they like big government. The Republicans have shown that they speak against big government, but when in power they work to make it bigger and centralise more power in Washington.
I hope for divided government. If one party controls the executive and the other party controls congress they tend to do less, which means they do less harm.
The parts of New Orleans that flooded during Katrina, was built on drained swamps that required a levee to keep the waters of Lake Pontchartrain from filling back in. The Old part of the city was built on the natural levee that was built up over the centuries by the Mississippi River.
The flooding like that of Katrina had happened before, for example, the Crescent City had similar flooding after Hurricane Betsy in 1965. The big difference then was the city then still had a viable middle class, which was mostly independent self reliant. That middle class mostly disappeared long ago and has been replaced by people who have been dependent on the welfare state.
New Orleans was a great tragedy and the loss of human life was horrible and terrible and this kind of tragedy should never happen again in that city. For New Orleans to survive as a major American city this sort of catastrophy must be made a near impossibility. She will need to have levees and locks that are state of the art and on par with what is found in a place like Holland. If that is not done than the city should shrink to the higher ground in the older parts of the city which are nearer the River.
For much of my childhood and early teens I lived 20 miles up river of the city and we too lived between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain on high ground near the River. After about a mile from the river the high ground disappeared and the back swamp began and the swamp continued all the way to the lake, jast as was once found in Orleans Parish.
New Orleans needs two things to once again be a great city. It needs good levees and locks and just as importantly it needs a population that is more middle class and self reliant.
My wife and I have four children. We're Cajuns and Live in SW Louisiana. We're conservative Christians and hold to the Reformed Faith. -- I'm a first generation Protestant, and my wife is second generation protestant.