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.
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