I am an Ex Conservative

Posted: January 11, 2015 in Uncategorized
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I am from a small logging and cattle town in central Idaho. It was a wonderful place to grow up, no one was rich, but no one lived on the streets or was starving either. The population in the fifties and sixties was almost entirely conservative and Republican. When I graduated high school and headed off to college I was a dyed in the wool conservative also. 1044980_576397282410598_1565005557_n

No, college did not cause me to change my attitude or become a liberal. I was the guest of the town doctor, lived in his home when I graduated high school. His eldest son and I were both co-captains of an undefeated football team, best friends, and Doc was a fan. During my first year of college I started running low on funds, although the Doc later told me he had every intention of paying my way through college, I was too proud to ask and joined the Marine Corps under a guaranteed electronic aviation school agreement. This was in 1968, the draft was active, Vietnam was raging, and I knew the minute I dropped out of school I would be drafted, in which case no guarantee of anything except cannon fodder eligibility! Click here for look at my hometown webpage!

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(on your left standing)

So I went to boot camp and the Infantry Training Regiment. From there I went to the Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida and attended the Aviation Electronic School provided by the Navy. I then went to a Marine training squadron at Cherry Point in North Carolina briefly before being sent to West Pac for over two and half years. Spent 10 months in Japan, with side trips to South Korea and Taiwan to train their troops in electronic countermeasures. After ten months I got a two-hour window to report aboard a C130 Hercules for duty a tad farther South. Although we were officially labeled as a detachment in and around Cubi Point in the Philippines, we were actually running daily missions to the north out of Danang! For political reasons we were not allowed to admit that at the time. I was an E2 or Pfc a month before we left Japan, so was a rookie L/Cpl when I started my first combat tour. Three months later I was an E5 Sgt and was the NCOIC of one shift of the Avionics Electric Shop supporting the Grumman Intruder EA6EA computer warfare bird for VMCJ-1. There were two of us. I got out of the Marines after four years, worked for the same employer for 30 years. No union, so no retirement or work sponsored 401k. A little late, then went to work for another eight years for a company that had at least a co-pay 401k and insurance, profit sharing, so managed to put some cash away the last few years. Click here for a link to info on VMCJ-1, my combat squadron! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(again, on your left and 30 years)

I give you this background because I was covering a lot of ground and being introduced to many different cultures, and I wanted to demonstrate that I was never a taker, ever! It became clear to me that I needed to rethink some of my conservative ideas. Some of these countries were doing fine as far as big business was concerned, but none of that well-being was trickling down to the masses. Japan was the only country in the orient that even appeared to be trying to develop a middle class. For the most part, there were the rich, the filthy poor, and the crooks in between. Without unions child labor was rampant, and older workers still lived in poverty. The only people getting ahead beside the ruling class who owned the industry, were the whores, pimps, gambling and drinking establishments, and criminals in general!

I was a good student in high school, loved school, and knew it was my way out. I had run away from a broken home at the ripe old age of eleven, never wanted to go back that life ever again. So I started to remember my history classes. I signed up for more college classes through the Corps, and tried to see what was what. According to history, before unions, children worked and died in mines and other industry, yes right here in America. The adult workers, especially in mining, were tied to and required to buy all of their goods from a company store. They were not paid enough to live on, but were allowed to charge, so they were basically slaves, as they were not allowed to leave employment unless they were square with the company store, which they never were. There are many more examples, but I think you see where I am going. Unions changed all that; all big business ever did was assassinate union organizers! Then I started to notice our education in America was not all it was cracked up to be. I started hanging out with foreign students at coffee shops and other venues when on leave, or when I would have any time after travelling to foreign soil to fix an aircraft that had been forced to land and seek repair. As almost every square inch of our aircraft required a secret clearance, techs who could work on it had to be flown in, I was in that lucky few. Anyway, the people from Europe, Australia, the Orient, or the Mediterranean on average knew way more about American history and politics than American students did! Believe me, I checked! As our education started to get more and more expensive, countries like Germany who were becoming very successful in the technological age, and had a very savvy and educated work force, offered absolutely free college education. So my notions of how things need to be started to shift.

In the fifties we had strong unions, we were building an ever-larger middle class by leaps and bounds! We built huge amounts of infrastructure, for example practically all of the interstate freeways, bridges, and overpasses that went with them all started in 1955! Our national debt was manageable, certain social acts to protect seniors were enacted and worked just fine until politicians robbed Peter to pay Paul, Paul being another word for pet project, or another would be pork belly. So there was my attitude being adjusted again. Every state that has large populations that are convinced government is to big and we just need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, well those states without exception take the biggest chunks of help from the big bad government to survive, ever single one, my home state included. I now live in California, and it takes a bad rap all the time, but it is not a major taker, like say Idaho for example, or almost any state in the geographic south, so go figure! Click here for more information on the history of unions.

Then in the eighties we were told unions were bad, just leave big business to thrive and the money will trickle back down to the middle class and others. So unions were weakened, nothing trickled anywhere, and now we make less per hour across the board adjusted for inflation than we did forty years ago. It trickled all right, but not in the direction we had hoped! So my attitude was further adjusted. Right now the bottom 80 percent of Americans own a meager 7 percent of the wealth, or, to look at it another way, the wealthiest 400 Americans have the same combined wealth of all the nation’s poorest – more than 150 million people, which is almost half the population. So, no matter how you slice it, when it comes to income and wealth, the rich get most of the pie and the rest get the crumbs.

Now you could argue that these are not true facts, however they are really not being disputed by anyone, on the right or the left. Of course the blame game is rampant and ongoing. You know those taker states that I talked about? Well if you take a poll and ask people questions about what they want, leave out party or ideology, the answers invariably align with a more liberal democratic view, yet every one of these people from these states will vote a conservative ticket, voting away the things they just said they wanted, if they bother to vote at all. So this kind of thinking made me adjust my attitude even further.

So now we are back to a basic change we need to make before we can start to make this any better. We have to get the money out of politics. We have to quit allowing money and the influence it buys tell us what is good for us, what we can have, and telling us how we should vote. We need each politician to be limited by term, money, and no cushy job offer after his or her term is over for a set period of time. I would like that to be a decade, but that is just me!

So are there problems with government handouts, you bet. Some people use a helping hand to do just that, use it as a way to get out and back into a productive life! But others, sadly, begin to depend on these handouts as a way of life and think they are entitled to them without any effort to get up and out of their particular predicament. In these instances the conservative adage is correct, get up and help yourself as soon and as often as you can!

Now I am going to tell you something you are not going to like, I am going to give you a link so you can see the pretty graphs and colorful maps, but suffice it to say the numbers, for decades now, have been quite clear: With some exceptions, what we regard as red states are sent a whole lot more of your hard-earned tax dollars than the traditional blue states. In effect, supposedly indolent, “tax and spend” liberals actually subsidize the individualistic, pure, and hard-working lifestyle of our conservative countrymen. Did you get that, my conservative friends and classmates, you are the takers, you are the ones sucking at the teat of big government, while we liberals pay for it! That is the hard truth! Click here for a link to the pretty graphs and maps. Pretty illuminating!

Comments
  1. Diane Applegate says:

    Loved this, John. Really good points about unions. They were there to assure workers were treated fairly, but you can see how that wouldn’t be good for the business owners. Not all business owners voluntarily treat their workers fairly.

    I was just thinking this morning if everyone listed the things that were really important to them as a human and a parent and a citizen most would want everyone treated fairly, our children to have the opportunity to be educated so they can reach their full potential, little children to have enough to eat that they don’t wonder, “when is the breakfast coming?” at school. (Some schools offer free breakfasts so children can start the day with their stomachs full. My grandson said a new student transferred to his school and asked the first day, “when is the breakfast coming?”) I don’t think our list would include give big business more tax cuts so they can get richer, have the wealthiest in America set policies because their lobbyists can buy the votes, allow our children to become less educated than many other countries in the world, or let children go to be hungry because their parents are in minimum wage jobs with no way to move forward.

    Choosing your political view is a philosophical issue for me. Thank you for continuing to try to get folks to really become informed on issues and to look at many different sources of information for facts.

    • John Love says:

      Thank you Diane, I am gratified to know that someone who actually hails from Idaho shares my concerns and appreciates my efforts. You don’t know just how much a positive comment helps me stay the course!

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