NEW YORK, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Comedian, radio host and Saturday Night Live alum Joe Piscopo is leaving the Democratic party to become an Independent, citing increasing disenfranchisement and frustration with lack of progress in America's inner cities.
In an op-ed penned for the Washington Times, Piscopo recounts his life as a Democrat, and says the party is leaving him, not the other way around.
"I was a Democrat because I believed in civil rights, like Lyndon Johnson," writes Piscopo.
"I was a Democrat because while it was clear to me that the Republican politicians were out of touch and cared for only the upper class, Democrats like Franklin Roosevelt cared for the masses and helping the working man ... By and large, none of these values are represented in the Democratic Party today."
Piscopo feels the civil rights movement has been co-opted by lobbyists, while special interests distract national attention from the plight of America's inner cities.
"From where I'm standing, the party has largely abandoned its commitment to civil rights and instead allows race-baiters to be national power brokers. As spokesman for the Boys and Girls Clubs of New Jersey, I am hurt that there is not one Democrat in Washington who cares enough about the great inner cities of this country to help those in dire distress from poverty and crime. These cities are in worse shape than those countries from which all those illegal 'children' crossing our borders daily are coming."
It is unclear why when alluding to undocumented children, Piscopo wrote the word "children" in scare-quotes.
Although he is leaving the Democrats, Piscopo emphasized that he's becoming an Independent, not a Republican.
"I don't think I'm ready to become a Republican yet ... In good conscience, however, I can't continue to call myself a Democrat. In becoming an independent, I think I'm maintaining the independent (dare I say, libertarian?) mindedness and patriotism that my parents endowed me with. For the country's sake and for their own, I hope the Democrats wake up."