Political Musings

It’s been quite a while since I’ve entered anything into my blog (Chronospots) and Susan called me last night and asked me about it.  I realized that I’d passed up a great opportunity to write since Patty has been in Copenhagen and Paris for the last two weeks and I’ve had time on my hands.  She’s getting home at midnight tonight and then will be winging off to Dallas for the rest of the week the next day.  So I decided to write something but I’ve no real subject or topic in mind as yet so I don’t know how this will turn out.  I’m mainly just trying to get back into it, you know? 

I was thinking about how I get so upset about politics now.  I was raised in a very liberal household, mom and dad were both members of the Worker’s Alliance which was considered to be a subversive organization.  It wasn’t, of course.  This was during the reign of Joseph McCarthy and the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities and there was general hysteria in the country about ‘The Communist Conspiracy’ and the infiltration of our government by Bolshevics.  The John Birch Society was very powerful at that time and, I understand, they’re making a comeback now.  Mom and dad just wanted a fair shake for the working man and, having just suffered through ‘The Great Depression’ with eight kids, they had suffered more than most. 

My own political leanings were as a result of my going into the military right after high school.  I was a life-long Republican and pretty much voted the Republican ticket.  In fact, I was a stalwart Republican right up to George Bush I.  I was over 50 years old by then.   I remember arguing with my sisters, Edythe and Millie, who were both very liberal, and being quite sure of my views and the rightness of the conservative philosophy.  I also remember, while attending college on the GI Bill after I retired from the military,  being the only conservative in the writing class that was taught by a professor who wore the same Sandinista shirt and Birkenstocks for the whole term and him calling me a relic for my political views.  

Then Bush I happened.  When he tried to shove Dan Quayle down our throats for another term and the way he conducted himself while we were at war totally disillusioned me.  I don’t know how many people remember Desert Storm, but I do.  I remember that it didn’t seem to affect George at all and he seemed to have no problem golfing and fishing right through it.  And, I also remember that he was the only survivor of the bomber that crashed in WWII and he was the pilot!  How does that happen?  He was raised to believe he was special and destined to be President.  I didn’t like him and that was when I started to change.

I was in government service during Clinton-Gore and I saw first-hand the good that government can do.  For a fraction of the cost of a bomber, the EZ-EC Initiative was launched and resulted in economic opportunity and hope for 8 distressed cities and over 35 rural communities across the country.  The Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community was a program that had been successful in Britain and its primary supporter was Jack Kemp, a conservative Senator from New York.  It did a lot of good and I was proud to be a part of it.  It gave people the opportunity to participate in their own economic development and the resources to make things happen.  I found government surplus computer equipment by the truckload sitting in warehouses in Portland and Washington DC and got it released to schools in Josephine County where it benefited students.  We got help from Intel to upgrade the computers, which was done by the students, and then the kids got to use the computers and, in some cases, take them home!    Patty worked with me on this project and she taught high school kids how to do taxes and they did taxes free-of-charge for community members.  We did a lot of housing, housing repair, job development, water systems and sewage disposal.  It was fun and rewarding.

Then came GWB.  Nothing that Clinton-Gore did could be any good and the support for the EZ-EC Initiative evaporated.  Instead, we seemed to be concentrating on giving tax breaks to the wealthy and to big business, mainly ‘Big Oil’. 

The EZ/EC Initiative was not all good, I thought that giving $100M to LA or Detroit was excessive and that same amount would have funded about 30 rural communities.  I saw first-hand the positive results in rural communities and, although there were disappointments, there were successes too.  The concession at the Oregon Caves National Monument is, I believe, still operated by the successor to the Illinois Valley Community Response Team and benefits local people and farmers by providing employment and a market for produce.   Formerly, it was run by a national organization that still operates concessions at national parks and monuments across the country.  Wolf Creek transformed itself from a community of rowdy, drunken, unemployed timber workers who threatened people coming off the freeway to find services to a community that worked together to develop a community center and a child care facility.  Sunny Valley got a fire station and ambulance service as well as a museum and an interpretive center.  The real success was in the change in the people.  The experience of making something happen and controlling their own economic development was transformational and worthwhile. 

Anyway, that’s what soured me on the GOP.  I don’t think it remotely resembles the party that I believed in so fervently in my youth.  Maybe that party never existed.  My mother always said the GOP was for big business and didn’t care about people.  I discounted her views but now I think she was a lot wiser than I gave her credit for.  I know that Bush/Cheney has caused a lot of suffering and has done damage that will last for a long time.  However, the American people have short memories and are always eager and willing to be manipulated and lied to.  But I’m hoping that there are enough people left who think for themselves and can see through the bullshit.

Well, that’s what happens when you don’t have a topic in mind and you just start writing.  Sorry about that.  I’ll try not to be the sour old fart that bores you to death with his political ramblings again.  Patty is coming home briefly so maybe my mood will improve. 

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One Comment on “Political Musings”

  1. […] Political Musings  July 18, […]

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