(and it’s not the way you think)
I breathe politics. Those of you connected with me through social media know this. The vast majority of my contacts, both pro and con, have come through my politics. I’ve had spirited debates on a variety of topics over the years. I’ve commiserated on the losses and gloated on the wins. I’ve lamented bad decisions from the Left and the Right. I’ve offered my advice to everyone from the President of the United States to the Denver City Council. After twenty-plus years of being active in politics as a layman and as a professional I have come to one startling conclusion. Liberals have ruined America.
I’m a Progressive. You know this. It’s likely the first thing we talked about when I met you (unless we were fighting on the playground or sharing the nozzle at a keg party in high school). I wear it on my sleeve. I’m a Progressive when I go to bed and I’m a Progressive when I wake up. With that being said, I have never self-identified as a Liberal. I am a Progressive. Liberalism has always been a four-letter word to me. I’ve gone so far as to say the words “I Hate Liberals.” They annoy me to no end. That’s why I shout it to the rafters. Liberals have ruined America.
Over the course of the last four years I have traveled America talking to folks about politics. If you live in a vast portion of Central Ohio there’s a good chance that I’ve knocked on your door. If you live in sections of Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts or North Carolina you have probably talked to one (or more) of my people. I’ve talked to thousands of people about what matters most to them. I’ve been able to draw a conclusion. No matter which way they lean, most people want the same things out of life. A job that with a company that we can be proud of; A good job with a future, benefits and retirement at the end of our career; A safe place to live for the family; A solid education; Access to quality health care; A fair chance to get ahead. These things don’t seem like a lot to ask for. We work hard. We get rewarded. Everybody wins. The disconnect comes when we start mixing ideology into the equation.
America has become a binary, dare I say bi-polar, society. Everything is this or that. Right or Left, Black or White, Gay or Straight, Male or Female, Liberal or Conservative. I could keep going, but you get the point. We have lost out ability to see the shades of gray that exist between every absolute. There is common ground in every single relationship and conversation. Our politicians deal in absolutes. They would rather draw a line in the sand between their core issue than find the common ground that we as their constituents share and live on a daily basis. The issues that we all care about. The basic needs required to pursue the American Dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Instead we get bogged down on issues like God, Guns and Gays. They are wedge issues that divide rather than unite us. Which explains why a voter would cast a ballot for politicians who proudly stand for profits over people. They would rather have Congressman X beat Congresswoman Y because Congressman X will protect their right to bear assault rifles. Or stop gay marriage. Or prevent abortions. Or allow prayers in schools…
“But Terry, I think I read you wrong. You said that Liberals have ruined America. Didn’t you mean that the three G’s crowd was responsible for our downfall?”
Patience, Grasshopper. I am getting to that.
I have no problem with folks who go and vote their conscience on election day. If you choose to believe that the President is going to take away your guns, or that abortion is murder, or that gays are sending America (literally) to hell like some modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, by all means get out and cast your vote. That is your prerogative, your duty to your country. When Americans participate in the political process the country is stronger and more resilient. And that, in a nutshell is why I say That Liberals have ruined America.
If the ideologies of the Right and the Left are polar opposites, so too is the application of said ideologies. It is not unusual in a primary election to say eight Republicans on stage ripping each other limb from limb over the minutest of ideological differences or voting record. That Candidate A once voted to expand Medicaid in their state, or that Candidate B voted against Keystone XL becomes a black mark and makes them unelectable. They fight to see who is the most conservative of a bunch of conservatives. We watch and we laugh at the idiocy of it all. Once the Battle Royale is over and the bloody swords are put back in theirs sheaths, everything turns hunky dory and they all get behind the victor. In November they take their resolve to the voting booth to elect their candidate. The Republicans become the “Walmart” of campaigns and they turn all of their bloody swords on their “communist” opponent. Everybody is welcome in the tent.
In the meantime, in between all of our laughter and jeering, the Democratic Party is also debating on their nomination. The process is much the same. Knives are sharpened to cut away at each candidate’s liberal armor. They debate on who is the most liberal and force each other to take stands on reproductive rights, gay marriage, environmental protections, minimum wage, labor rights, health care and a variety of other issues. Their voting records are laid bare for all to see. They parade these platforms through all of the primary states and harp constantly on their differences. They nominate and winner and move on to the general election, chattering about their “extremist” opponent.
Pretty similar process, right?
Unfortunately, that’s where the similarity ends. When the Democratic Party goes into general election mode they become the “Small Business Saturday” of election campaigns. Everybody is still shopping, just not at the same store. With their Liberal credentials laid out for all to see, you’d think the faithful would fall in line and vote the party ticket. After all, the candidate likely represents the better option on the vast majority of issues that are important to you. You’d think wrong. Liberals tend to fixate on these credentials to the point of distraction. If the candidate is not strong enough on my one core issue, say Income Equality, then my feelings get hurt. I may decide to sit this election out. This is the trap that we fall into over and over again.
Case in point: I have a friend in Pennsylvania whose one big issue is fracking. Over the years he has become increasingly disenchanted with Barack Obama’s open support, dare I say cheerleading, of fracking. It became unthinkable for my friend to vote for the President. I can’t speak to my friend’s voting record. I’m hoping that he voted Green instead of Romney, because there is no way that Romney would be better for the anti-fracking crowd than Obama. This gets right to us to my first point.
The last seven years should have been a boom market for Democrats. The President won by a landslide in 2008 and by a slightly lesser margin in 2012. The Republicans when on the attack before he ever swore the oath of office. They started talking about impeachment before he had a chance to make an impeachable offense. They boasted that they would block everything that he tried to accomplish. Even though they were the minority in both houses. This should have been a rallying cry for the Left. Instead, our liberal politicians started abandoning ship almost as quickly. They became the Small Business Saturday of Government. So much more Progress could have been made if they’d worked together instead of arguing about what to work on first. We could have had Single Payer Healthcare, a higher minimum wage and signed off on all of the projects that the stimulus was designed to pay for. Instead we got bunk. But that’s the Liberal Way.
Most recently I’ve been campaigning down in North Carolina to save the Senate from the Republican takeover. If you follow the news you know that I failed miserably. This despite the fact that all of the people that I talked to seem to hate Thom Tillis with impunity. Despite the fact that registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by 700,000, Ms. Hagan still lost to Tillis by 47,000 votes. Not only have Liberals ruined America, they have surely ruined the great state of North Carolina. Their crime? I’m glad you asked. If the candidate doesn’t fit their profile perfectly and exactly, they refuse to vote for them.
The case against Kay Hagan is a familiar one. In her campaign ads she called herself “The most moderate member of the Senate.” Liberals do not want to hear that. Liberals want a firebrand, someone who will dash as far to the left as possible and then tear down the walls and go even farther. They want someone who will go to battle to defend the environment, to protect reproductive rights, to expand Medicaid, to raise the minimum wage as high as possible, to give amnesty to the Dreamers and their families. Not only that, but they want their core issue to be Kay Hagan’s core issue and first priority. Kay Hagan did none of that in her six years in office. In fact she did the opposite in most of those instances, went for business time and time again instead of representing the base that got her there in the first place. She did nothing to inspire the Liberals of North Carolina to get out and vote for her. Not even the constant Tillis ads tying her to President Obama could help her win the Liberal vote. The majority of the Senators that lost on this election day did so because they distanced themselves from the President. And he’s the one that got them there in the first place when he blew out the walls of the tent and brought everyone inside.
Even though Kay Hagan was bad on “insert issue here,” she was still better than Tillis on every one of the Liberal core issues. Every time a Liberal says, “She didn’t vote against fracking, so I’m not voting for him,” they are disregarding them plethora of other issues which differentiate the Right from the Left. Just because your congresswoman didn’t stand in from of the House and speechify on Gay Marriage, it doesn’t mean that he is not better than his challenger on every other issue. This is what I mean when I talk about the Boutique Liberal. If a Democrat is not displaying at the “Worker’s Rights Boutique,” then Organized Labor rank and file will turn their backs on him. They do this even though they know he is better on every other issue, every other boutique, in Liberal issues mall.
Don’t give me the lesser of two evils defense.
The lesser of two evils assumes that neither candidate represents you on either of the issues. If a Democrat doesn’t represent you on any of the issues then you should be voting Republican any way. If you choose to abstain from voting in any election you invite the worst possible outcome. You can’t complain about one party dominating a government if you didn’t participate. Sure you can bitch, but I’m not listening. You are dead to me. Or at least your opinions are.
Conservatives don’t give a rat’s ass about the lesser of two evils. They hold their nose and march to the polls to vote for weak candidates like Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin and George Bush. Mitt Romney told the American People that he didn’t care about the bottom 47 percent of the people at all, yet 61,000,000 people, or 47 percent, voted for him. That’s how the Republicans swept to victory in 2010 and 2014. The Conservatives hopped on the Walmart bus and drove to the polls while the Liberals were still window shopping at the Boutique Mall. We need to be Progressives and become the Costco of political parties.
And that’s how Liberals have ruined America.
Stay tuned for the sequel 😉