By: Jeff Katz – Feb. 2017
As a kid growing up in Philadelphia, I was only vaguely aware of these creatures called Republicans. They were all rich country clubbing WASPS who would never have a clue how to get to my neighborhood. These Republican folks we heard tale of were completely removed from any connection with those of us who were mere mortals. Oxford Circle, where I lived, was as blue collar as it got. We had cops, firefighters, teachers and nurses on our block. We had some small business folks who worked in the trades. A painter or electrician here and there and every one of us loved our military members and our great country. And be sure that every single voter in our ward was a registered Democrat.
Over the years, as I made my way in to the real world, I watched as my political thoughts drifted a bit. For the longest time I still thought of myself as a Scoop Jackson Democrat. A relatively conservative guy with lunchbox roots instead of catered briefcase luncheons. Year after year, I felt the party of my youth drifting away from what I believed and distancing itself from what it used to espouse. I’ve been a Republican for a long time now, but I still pay close attention to my former political flame, kind of like an old girlfriend. Sure we broke up, but every once in a while you check to see how she’s doing.
Tuesday February 28, 2017 was the date that the Democrat Party truly died in my view. On that evening President Donald J. Trump spoke to a Joint Session of Congress. I did not support Donald Trump the candidate in the primary but he is most assuredly my President and as he spoke to the assembled Senators and Members of Congress he, as Van Jones said, truly became President of the United States. He spoke eloquently and passionately about all Americans. He spoke about helping poor and rich, educated and not, black, white, male, female and those of a variety of religions. It was, in my opinion, his best speech ever.
We all understand how these speeches work. When the President throws out a specific political point, the members of his party stand and cheer while the members of the opposition remain seated. So I fully expected the Democrats to sit on their hands when President Trump talked about changing the tax code but there were two moments when the actions of the Democrats were so egregious that I am still left reeling.
President Trump paid tribute to members of the law enforcement community, then he called on Americans to work with police officers and not against them. There’s nothing political about that but the Democrats did not budge. No applause and certainly no standing ovation. The party that once proudly embraced police officers was now, once again, turning their collective backs on my brothers and sisters in blue. As the Democrats have come to embrace the viciously racist, bigoted cop hating thugs of the Black Lives Matter gang, we’ve watched them kick cops to the curb.
Democrats of my youth, many who would have been cops themselves or the children of officers, would have jumped to their feet to offer their praise as well, but not the Democrats of 2017. After their performance that evening any police officer who even thinks about supporting them should probably seek out some sort of professional help.
It turned especially ugly and painful as President Trump was honoring the memory of Navy Special Operator William Ryan Owens, a member of the famed Seal Team Six, who was killed in the line of duty in Yemen. His widow was in attendance as the special guest of First Lady Melania Trump. The President related the story of Ryan Owens and then proceeded to tell his grieving young widow that the Navy SEAL’s legacy was “etched in to eternity” and with that everyone stood and applauded. Well, almost everyone. Legions of Democrats remained seated not offering even a perfunctory golf clap. No acknowledgment of this fallen American hero or any indication that they gave a rip about his young widow Carryn. There would have been a time, not long ago, when decent people on both sides of the aisle would have eagerly and honestly honored the sacrifices made by our fallen heroes and those they have left behind. But February 28th changed that.
It pains me to say it, but as I look at the Democrat Party, now under the leadership of radical extremists, I must channel the words of Kevin O’Leary and announce that it is now dead to me.