Shifting to the Left

Anybody who has known me for a while knows that I have become more committed to the DFL Party in Minnesota, and Democrats in general over the last several years. Despite that shift, I don’t feel like my personal political views have changed. What I feel has changed is the political opposition and the attacks on my values, sense of fairness, and beliefs by Republicans. I recently told a friend that I feel like I am being pushed by the right more and more to the left. I believe that, and unfortunately, I believe it is pushed, rather than being lead by any significant changes on the left.

The dueling press conferences yesterday with Donald Trump and President Obama really highlighted that shift. I feel like the true colors that have been developed over the last 20-30 years in the hard core Republican base are really being exposed right now. I’m not talking about the goal to shrink the government, reduce the involvement of the government in business or personal life, or lower taxes. I can support all those. I am talking about a slowly simmering philosophical attack on the ideals that generations of Americans before us have worked to develop that made us the freest, strongest and greatest country on earth.

  • I see it in the ridiculous Republican support of obvious racist comments coming from a man whose main goal in life is to garner attention for himself, his regularly failing businesses and his reality show.
  • I see it in what has now become the regular Republican elected official model of meeting with constituents publically, with odd unknown rules, vetted questions, stacked crowds, prepared mob shout downs, intimidation and physical removal.
  • I see it in the belief from national and local legislators who no longer believe voting is a right and instead believe it is a privilege, returning us to an era when white, landowning men could easily vote while everybody else was forced to jump through hoops to make their voice heard politically.
  • I see it in the attacks on education, defunding inner-city public education, and dismissing the usefulness of a liberal college education, seemingly working to establish a class of people who will generationally become the uneducated, low wage, subservient workers in a service based society desired by the wealthy.
  • I see it in the elimination of worker’s rights and the busting of unions in the name of fiscal or political reasoning, absent of truth or logic.
  • I see it in the blind support that taxing business is bad, while eliminating public spending that make our community safer, healthier and more prosperous is right to provide that tax reduction.
  • And I see it in the assumption that a small business owner in Northfield with ten employees, or a small business owner in Duluth with 150 employees, is equivalent to a “small business” run by the billionaire Koch brothers. Or that a large corporation pays less tax than that Duluth business because the corporation has more lawyers, better tax accountants, subsidiaries and an ability to hide revenue in fringe benefits, transfer pricing and even bonuses.

I have no illusion that Republicans will magically become Democrats, nor would I want that. I do think it is time for moderate Republicans who believe in fiscal responsibility and individual freedom to step away from a party being publically dominated by veiled racist attitudes, socially inconsistent policy, defensive instead of forward thinking plans, and oddly self-centered religious beliefs. Either step away and join the Independence Party, or take back the Party from the deceitful leaders who are more concerned about personal gain and political power than a better state, economy and country.

Headlines:
“President Obama Is “Affirmative Action All The Way”‎
“Trump questions President’s admittance into Harvard despite graduating Magna cum Laude and heading Harvard Law Review”
“Florida woman arrested and maced for demanding Congressman answer town hall question”
“Republican Minnesota state senator refuses to meet with groups that supported his election opponent”
“House Speaker Zellers: Voting is ‘a privilege, it’s not a right’”
“Photo ID seeks to rollback voting rights”
“Minnesota House GOP K-12 funding bill unfairly targeting inner-city schools”
“MN Republicans Plan $300M Cut to Higher Education”
“GOP Bill Would Freeze Teacher Pay, Restrict Strikes”
“Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill Is NOT About the Budget”
“The USA’s disappearing middle class‎”
“Study says most corporations pay no U.S. income taxes | Reuters”
“’Small Business’ – Use Quotes, Please”
“Police Fear Budget Cuts Could Roll Back Gains in Traffic Safety”
“Families struggle after cuts for disabled”

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5 thoughts on “Shifting to the Left”

  1. While I certainly backed away from the Republican Party, there’s no way I’d turn to the Democratic Party for a new home. They’re no better. I still don’t understand why it’s a sin to take money from the Koch brothers (or anyone else) but it’s cool to cozy up with the AFL-CIO (or anyone else). Whining about Target’s contributions to an organization who gives to a person who believes _____ is about as relevant as the ridiculous birther debate. I don’t see any less mud-slinging, slimy behavior from the left than I do from the right.

  2. There is a HUGE difference between Koch $ and the labor folks. When you buy a product that provides a profit to the Koch Bros, you weren’t giving them direct political $ to support the Koch Bros’ politics. When a union member decides to make a political donation to their union’s PAC (its totally separate from dues) they are making a deliberate political donation toward policies that support workers’ rights and safety/dignity in the workplace. That type of policy is good for all workers; union or not.

  3. The notion that union political donations are separate from dues is just flat wrong. I was once in a union (SEIU) and had to specifically request that my money wasn’t used for political purposes if I wanted to ensure that it wasn’t. It’s a hassle hardly anyone goes through. I maintain that there’s no difference between a politician receiving money from the Koch brothers versus the AFL-CIO or Warren Buffet or George Soros.

    And you can argue that it’s all about workers’ rights all day long, but when you start a small manufacturing business, grow to 20-30 employees, and are just barely making it by when OSHA walks into your business and slaps a $10,000 fine on you because a guard on just one out of many grinders is a half-inch short of code, it makes sense why people, especially small business owners, get upset at “big government” and contend that the “workers’ rights” mantra has gone well beyond simple workers’ rights. When you have to hire 5 people to do the job of 2 because of union rules about what specific functions each job title can take on, there’s a problem. There’s a huge difference in preventing an unsafe work environment and the point to which we’ve come.

    Unions are the biggest reason I dropped my education major after I spent time in the classrooms and talking with other teachers. Unions are also one of the biggest reasons I avoid the Democratic Party. If you can watch “Waiting for Superman” – a documentary produced by the same guy behind “An Inconvenient Truth” – and still believe teacher’s unions, for example, are working, then nothing will convince you that they’re broken.

    1. Unions are organizations made up of people, so they’re going to have human foibles. There are going to be well-run unions, and poorly-run unions, just as there are well-run corporations and poorly-run corporations. No one, though, looks at the failures of an Enron or an Arthur Andersen, or what happened on Wall Street a couple of years ago — failures which had precisely zero to do with unions — and suggests we should do away corporations.
      You need capital and labor to run a business. One shouldn’t be favored over another.

  4. I would argue, Steve, that it’s not that you’re shifting to the left, it’s that the continuum is shifting underneath your feet. The range of what has become politically acceptable has moved to the right, such that what was once “the center” is now “the left”. Ronald Reagan passed numerous tax increases and signed a treaty prohibiting torture when he was President. Today’s Republican Party labels politicans with those beliefs as a “RINO” and run primary challenges against them.

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