Saturday, October 25, 2008

What made you a liberal or conservative?

Education did it for me.

I grew up in a politically mixed family. My father was a Republican, and my mother voted Democratic in every election since 1942. She was in the Navy. Her CO authorized time off for them to vote, and the next day, anyone who didn't vote found themselves restricted to post. At 88 years old, she just cast her mail-in ballot for Obama.

My first presidential election was 1972, I voted for Nixon. I voted Ford in '76, because he pardoned Nixon, effectively ending the Watergate mess; allowing the country to move on. And also because of the Mayaguez incident.

1980 was my year for youthful idealism, when I voted the Anderson Coalition. Remember John Anderson? One of his platform planks was to place a fifty-cents a gallon tax on gasoline. The tax would artificially inflate the cost of gas, and stimulate a demand for alternatives. Revenues from the tax were to be plowed into basic research on alternative fuels, public transportation improvements, etc. Where would we be if these programs were instituted in 1980?

But it was morning in America, and no politician has successfully run on a platform to raise taxes, no matter how noble the purpose. Anderson turned out to be the Ralph Nader of 1980. He received about 7% of the popular vote, Carter received 41%, and Ronald Reagan took office with 51%. My youthful enthusiasm helped pave the way for the Reagan era.

Because of some other bad decisions, I ended up in a nowhere, dollar above minimum wage job after getting out of the service. My income was low enough I qualified for government tuition assistance. If I skimped and saved, I could live on part time work and my GI Bill while I attended school.

Reagan went on a binge of cutting government spending, and PELL grants were among the first to go. I had to drop out of school. Luckily, I had finished my AA which got me a slightly better job, and kept going to school part time. It took me 10 years to get through college.

To me, it was extremely shortsighted to cut education funds. Because of my education, I have a better job. I am less likely to be out of work, and when I am, I am able to find work sooner. The government will not have to take care of me as much as it does an unskilled man. In my lifetime, I will pay several times the amount in taxes that it would have cost the government in tuition aid. Taxes they wouldn't have gotten from my bottom of the food chain job which was outsourced to the Third World.

I began to realize these same principles applied to a lot of social problems. Help people get on their feet, spend a little on education, health care, etc. Enable people to improve their lot, and it pays off in the long run. I have been a Democrat ever since.


Jack said...

I suppose my answer would have to be two-sided. I am not a conservative or a liberal, I am somewhere in the middle of the road, MY road.
I was in highschool while Reagan cut the necessary programs, increased the spending on the ones that weren't, sold guns to the enemy then couldn't recall it, thankfully he had Ollie North to take the fall. This put a bad taste in my mouth for all Republicans..but..
My mom hated politics so I had to read to find out what was going on, it wasnt allowed on the t.v.
I knew I didn't like the government deciding what to do with my money (I had been working & paying taxes since I was 13!). I knew I hated the entire welfare system (we lived in a housing project) & I wanted a government that didnt give hand-outs so often felt I actually had more in common with the conservative side...but then was the realization of EQUAL Rights! and no I am not talking about the women's movement.
I am talking about equal rights for the handi-capped, legal immigrants, gays, races, etc. I remember hearing pple call it 'special rights', but wondering how could it be special when they want the same rights as me?
then of course there is the right to bear arms...I stand behind the constitution (except in cases where it contradicts itself ie: supported slavery~ all men are created equal thing)
so what did that all make me?
Thankfully it makes me an Independent. Someone who has the right to just believe in what I believe in regardless of a party platform!
I do think the government should be conservative in the programs they funnel money into but I also believe the government has NO right to discriminate against any group of people that merely seeks the same rights.
I have never voted for a Republican president (havent heard one I liked), but I have voted repeatedly for Republican senators in my state, they support the issues that matter to me.
When I don't like either Presidential candidate I either write in my own name or vote an Independent on the ticket.(ie the Kerry ~ Bush election) I don't believe in the 'lesser of two evils' that to me is a cop out and I take my vote very seriously.

Darryl said...

It's ironic that education made you a liberal. In my view, the Democratic party relies on fear and ignorance to create and maintain its base. Feed the starving minions just enough to keep them alive long enough to get the next handout.

I hate politics as well. Like Jack, I don't consider myself a conservative but I identify with them a lot more than the liberals. To me, Democrats are a paradox: they will devote their lives to shield a convicted child murderer from execution, but will ferverently advocate abortion on demand. (I know the argument! How can conservatives be "pro-life" when they support the death penalty? Show me a fetus that has committed murder and I'll support that abortion... Otherwise, the argument is ridiculous.)

If you want to give your money away to the non-producers of the world, fine. I respect and support your right to do so. I do the same, through various charities and works. But do you really support the right of the government to make that decision for you? You think Obama has the knowledge and wisdom to decide where my money goes?

Like you, I am self educated. It took me longer than you did to make it through college, and I did it while being in the military and graduated with zero educational debt. How DARE the government punish me for that, how DARE Obama and Biden tell me that it's Patriotic of me to involuntarily give up what I've made to the government. This is not Cuba, or Russia, or North Korea.

Google Joe Biden's charitable contributions for the past three years. I've given more than he has to charities and I make far less money. Like Obama, he's got no credibility in this area. Kool-Aid indeed.

I'm excited about John McCain. And I'm proud of the country for nominating him. He's a progressive with true bi-partisan credentials. I fear that he's eight years too late, but I'm glad that he's here. I wish you were too.

Jack said...

Darryl you stated "the Democratic party relies on fear and ignorance to create and maintain its base."
and yet it is THE McCain CAMPAIGN that is using fear and ignorance to hang onto its base!
between their robo calls and mailers they are doing nothing spewing hatred and fear across the country in a lame attempt to win an election.
It really is a shame McCain can't run on his policies....I have yet to hear him say HOW he is going to do anything, even still today he only claimed MORE why he dislikes Obama.
I don't know how you can give your money and support to a man that does nothing but HATE.
Georg W was all about hate and filth when he ran both times, and look where its gotten us.
Not another country can stand us now and our economy is in the toilet. No disrepect intended Darryl but if you think a Republican is going to CLEAN-UP a Republican mess you are sadly sadly mistaken.
And let's not forget that it has been a Republican administration for 6 of Bush's 8 years, and in that time they SPENT MORE & GREW MORE GOVERNMENT than Clinton in all of his 8 years!
We all vote for the things we believe in, that we feel are importan to our families...let's not cloud that judgement with lies and fear.

Grey Fedora said...

"It's ironic that education made you a liberal. In my view, the Democratic party relies on fear and ignorance to create and maintain its base."

Talk about cognitive dissonance; Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle:

Barack Obama is a Muslim, when he isn't attending a Christian church where the pastor spews anti-American hatred. Obama will raise your taxes, Obama is the most liberal member of the Senate, Obama is a socialist. Democrats want to take your hard earned money and give it Cadillac driving welfare queens who sit at home and pump out babies, and other people who don't work and don't deserve it. Democrats will take "In God We Trust" off the currency, and tear down the institution of marriage by allowing gay people in on it. Democrats want to take away our guns, they want to distribute condoms in schools, and teach sex-ed to kindergartners. Democrats aren't "real Americans," in fact, they hate America, and "blame America first." They are part of some mysterious "liberal elite" who never did a days work in their lives, and want to meddle in your business. They support ACORN, the ACLU, and probably NAMBLA. Democrats will make us all drive smaller cars, recycle, and take public transportation to our government jobs.

Brother, take the beam out of your eye before you try to take the mote from mine.

RedWing said...

Why I am a Progressive Democrat:

I suppose my environment played a large roll on the Democrat side of my politics. The progressive side came from education and a refusal to be ignorant when voting.

My mom is a Democrat and so is my dad. I remember being taken to my first rally when Walter Mondale was running against Reagan. I Remember the laughing and cheering during the debate. I also remember going home and seeing the debate on TV and realizing nobody was laughing or smiling at the same things the people at the rally were. I had no particular viewpoint at this time nor did my parents attempt to push anything on me. However, I did know what side they were on...the losing one...twice.

I voted for Ross Perot in my first election in 1992, the year I graduated High School. I liked his no nonsense attitude, his funny quips and even the way he talked. I agreed, at the time, that our country needed to be run like a business. It made sense to me.

After the first loss in my voting career I decided to pay a bit more attention. However, women, beer, bars, football, and many other partying techniques ultimately kept my attention away from politics for 4 years. Come time for re-election of Bill Clinton I chose him because I had been a beneficiary of the .com boom and was smack in the middle of switching jobs and making several grand more a year. This pleased me, thus Clinton got my vote in 1996. That and the Electronic Freedom of Information Act ammendments. I was pleased that Clinton actually had the vision to see the future of the PC industry. Not to mention my salary had increased 50% under his presidency in 4 years.

It was early 1998 when I really started to pay attention to politics. Monica Lewinsky got my attention as she did the rest of the country, and even the world. Who can say why I actually began defending Clinton during the scandal. I had listened to him speak, work with Republicans and keep a spirit of bipartisanship that was beginning to lose ground thanks to the "Contract with America" that Newt & Company began touting. PNAC (project for a new american century) didn't help either. I have been anti-war my entire life and I certainly didn't want a government that had a thirst for blood.

I was pretty pissed at Clinton for not allowing Gore to win a landslide into the Presidency. In 2000 he should have won handily, but the Republicans decided to claim they had the moral high ground in "family values" and since things were going well, the american people decided to give the other guy a chance. I really wonder how many of them regret that now?

September 11th, 2001 is the defining moment of my politics. When that happened I was hurt, angry and wanted to do something. I had feelings of hatred towards the Muslim world. I wanted to wipe them off the planet if I could. After realizing that Saudi Arabia seemed mostly responsible for the attacks, yet went unpunished, I realized that the Republicans really didn't care about the American people. They only cared about the Military Industrial Complex that could be setup through war. I also realized that my fault lied in my ill feelings towards the Muslim world. I will never have thoughts of eliminating an entire sect of the planet due to an attack from only 19 people. I just wish everyone would realize that violence is not the answer, and never will be.

suebeehonee said...

Well said Redwing. I vote mainly Democrat except in local elections where I vote for whomever I think will do the better job for me (ie. Mayor McCrory of Charlotte-Rep.). I will not, however, vote for him for Governor. In that spot, he does not reflect what I want from a Governor. That honor will be Bev Purdue's. As far as genocide of an entire race or religion of people--no way! I've learned that a small group of wackos does not represent all. I have had friends in college that were of the Islamic faith and Muslim and they were really great friends and never spewed any ill will towards anyone regardless of how anyone ever thought of them. They were accepting of us Christians. America is a melting pot of people and religions from all over the world and I would like to think that we have come a long way from the time of hatred, slavery, child labor, beatings, burnings, slurs, scare tactics, and other atrocities to possibly electing our very first black President. Martin Luther King was a visionary and I have always been moved by his infamous "I have a dream.." speech. Hearing Sarah Palin incite a crowd of gawkers with false information about Obama that she knows is wrong made me sick. She intentionally played on the crowds ignorances and fears to give her party a boost and that really drew the line. It is one thing to play up on the past politics of whomever you are running against, you expect it, but to take those fears about him and make them as if they were truth shows me that the Republican party is desparate and can think of nothing else but to bring out the low blows.

radiodiva said...

we'll try this again...

I grew up in a family of Republicans. I didn't like what I saw. My father's nickname was Archie Bunker, a life member of the NRA. I had to listen to a lot of intolerant stuff growing up. I was pulled off a job when I was 17 because my dad thought I was going to date a black guy I met there (for the record - I wasn't. But that's not the point). Mom isn't much better - when talking about this year's elections, even she uttered the words "I'm not a racist BUT..." whenever I hear those words, it pretty much sums it up that the person saying it IS a racist. And when taking that in context of other things she says - well, I love you Mom, but you are a bigot. My brothers are to this day part of the religious right... I didn't get to go to college because my father refused to provide any information so I could apply for financial aid - "it's none of their business how much money I make!" (after that, I couldn't afford it).. My sister is the only one who shares my aversion to all of that.

The more I saw of the conservative mindset, the more I considered myself a liberal. Listening to both sides, I find myself much more aligned with the Democrats. I just don't share the same beliefs as the Republicans. I believe in equality and opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, color, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. I do not make judgments based on appearances. I am a fundamental feminist. Women are entitled to the same rights and privileges as men. I believe in equal pay for equal work. I do not believe that anyone should have an abortion, but if a woman feels that it is necessary for her, she has the right to a safe, legal one. I believe that there should be civil unions with all legal benefits, including joint federal income tax returns and Social Security benefits for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples -- let the churches bless 'marriages'. I do not believe in the myth of trickle-down economics - history has proven time and time again that it does not work. You give a corporate bigwig a tax break, and he will line his own pockets and pass a pittance to his shareholders. But his employees and his customers take it in the shorts. I agree with the Democrats that the deregulation of the financial sector is the primary reason for the implosion of the financial markets.

Things really accelerated for me politically this year. I realized that my son would be old enough to vote in the next presidential election. What kind of a world would he walk into then? What could I do to make it a better one that what exists now? I ended up more involved in politics this year than in any other. As it turns out, Washington state chose this year to change the rules -- while the Republicans would elect delegates from both the primary vote and the caucuses, the Democrats would be selecting delegates only from the caucuses. The primary votes meant nothing. Uh, my vote doesn't do anything? I DON'T THINK SO. For the first time, I took the time to go to the caucuses. I ended up as a delegate to the district caucus, then an alternate to the state convention. I was able to go there and cast my vote for Barack Obama on behalf of the people in my district. It was a very cool experience.

What I do not understand is the lack of civility in this election cycle. Even the word "liberal" is spat out by the right like an obscenity. What happened to rational political discourse? Why does the Obama bumper sticker on my car cause grown men to stop in traffic and yell foul things at me? Because you do not agree with my political leanings does not justify calling me stupid, or a 'sheeple', or that I hate God and America. Because you do not plan on voting for Obama does not justify calling his wife an "angry bitch" I read some of the rantings in the blogosphere and I am appalled at the nastiness and vitriol spewing forth. By both sides.

I am voting for Barack Obama because I believe he has the intelligence and the temperament to be a great leader. He has proven that great things can happen working from the ground up. He speaks to us like we are adults, and speaks the truth, even if it isn't what we want to hear. He has a plan and a vision for the future of this country that I can support. In light of what Bush and Company has done to run things into the ground over the last 8 years, it will not be easy, and most likely will take longer than 4 years. But it will be taking us back in the right direction.

I am not voting for John McCain because I do not agree with his politics. He speaks to people like they are children who cannot think for themselves, and I do not care for that kind of condescention. I also do not believe that his choice of running mate was well thought out, and was likely a knee-jerk move to garner him the support of the religious right that he did not have before, as well as a lame attempt to court Clinton supporters. Sarah Palin is no more qualified to be Vice President than I am, and I shudder to think of her as President.

This is my opinion only, your mileage may vary.


(p.s - for the record - I am grey fedora's better half)

Anonymous said...

you liberals are wastin your time with all those words. mccain has this election in the bag. who cares why you are some washed up liberal. the republican party is about to whip that ass. laughing in your faces the day after the election will be a great moment in my life.

i am a conservative because liberals are baby killers.

radiodiva said...

I rest my case

therepublican said...

At least we finally have a decent commentor in here. Darryl took many of the words out of my mouth. The hypocrisy within the democrat party runs deep. McCain has every right to attack Obama on his character. There are many questions about his character that everyone should question. From the Rev. Wright to William Ayers to even Oprah.

I am a fiscal conservative because I believe in saving money, lower taxes and less government involvement in my business. I cannot trust a possible muslim Manchurian candidate to run this country. This is why I am casting a vote for the honorable John S. McCain. A hero, a legend, an all around good man.

freedomofspeech said...

I became a democrat after Bill Clinton's 1st term. I saw a man who reached across the aisle and made things happen. Despite the Republicans taking both houses in 1994 with, as Redwing stated, their "contract with America" I smelled a fish. The PNAC that Redwing also mentioned is very signifgant. If you haven't looked it up, you should.

Neo-Conservatism changed me to a Democrat forever.

Grey Fedora said...

Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican

by John Gray, 2004

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.

He turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day) Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have”.

Jack said...