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Not Your Daddy’s Democrats

Government corruptionWhen I was a kid learning about government/politics my friends and I identified strongly with democrats, since we were mostly from lower middle class, blue collar households.

Seems idiotically simplistic now, but back then everyone knew democrats were for the little guy, republicans for maintaining status quo for rich people and big corporations. At least, so my mom told me. I remember she would mimic-spit when any republican names got mentioned. She had struggled most of her life, especially during the depression, and worshipped FDR.

Don’t know why, but around the age of 12-13, I began feeling uncomfortable with how I fit in. I didn’t like my humble abode nor my prospects. I wanted to get motivated and energized towards finding a better life.

Many friends felt the same, while others were content, proud even, of their heritage and circumstance. We were lucky going to a good high school. Everybody planned to graduate and go to college. Those in my camp hoped to be engineers, lawyers, doctors, architects, accountants & business owners. The others were set on being teachers, social workers, police and firefighters or working in some area of civil service.

So lines were drawn. I remember vividly one particular night soon after graduation. Some of us were hanging out at the local coffee shop talking about the future, schools we liked & careers.  I was pretty outspoken, stating defiantly I didn’t care what I did so long as it paid good money and got me out of here! This was not well met. I got altruistic criticisms on having purpose in life, serving my fellow man, being a member of the working class and all that salt of the earth stuff.

I argued the richer I was the better able I’d be to help those around me, and if more of us sought to become better educated and professional, we’d improve society as a whole. My homeys didn’t buy it. They said I was too uppity, too big for my britches. Why couldn’t I accept being one of them?

As I left a particularly good friend of many years who happened to be a very bright, talented Mexican kid (bilingual, pianist and thespian) yelled out as we got in our cars capitalist money grabber! Republican elitist!

That hurt. I felt betrayed he didn’t respect my views. I didn’t understand why he was upset, so stuck in his ideology. In those days, by the way, about 80% of us were white or white-blends, the rest Hispanic, Asian and Black. Thinking back now I see he was probably dealing with prejudice/bigotry, though he never said. I bet he saw me as a privileged whitey-gringo who looked forward to opportunities he’d never have, or so he thought. He must have resented how an accident of birth played so strongly on a person’s future.

Bill-clintonDemocrats weren’t doing anything to change that, any more than republicans. That’s why people like me came along challenging my friends’ thinking, asking if they cared about us little guys why were most of us still little guys, after several generations? Wasn’t it odd how really successful people, business owners and such, who worked their way up from humble beginnings using a strong work ethic and values imbued with personal responsibility did well and became republicans?

I asked George (Jorge) what specifically democrats did for Hispanics to level the playing field, to make lives easier or to get them more opportunities? He couldn’t answer, other than he just felt they cared more, the other guys didn’t. Of course, from my perspective he was the type that would do well no matter what, maybe better than me, he being so bright & talented. His ethnicity wouldn’t/shouldn’t make a difference, so I thought. I guess I should mention I lived in California, if that explains anything.


Dad passed when I was 20 & mom never remarried, never changed her views or loyalty to democrats. She died when I was 50. During those 30 yrs we talked a lot about politics, free-market capitalism, the success of our American experiment and American Dream. I tried explaining how it was our unique character born of struggle & hard work, which could then thrive in a governmental system allowing maximum freedom to the individual, that made us great, far greater than any other country.

It was no good. She was a little guy & could only see/appreciate that perspective. To her, America was a land of opportunity but only for the lucky, the smart, the talented, highly ambitious and privileged. She believed the rich kept getting richer, not enough little guys got to climb the ladder.

If only I had proved the numbers, shown her how compared with other countries, more of them did well here than anyplace else, improving their lot, achieving better lives. This was fact, deriving from our constitutional system of government, societal structure even with flaws & our basic morals, ethics & values. All of these encouraged self reliance and rugged individualism.

I didn’t vote back then. I considered myself a conservative but didn’t overtly identify as republican. Nor did I connect the dots to see how the various positions/tenets of each party worked to enhance or impede the individual freedoms and successes we already enjoyed.

My gut feeling was democrats wanted more help getting on with life. They looked for reasons/excuses why the poor weren’t doing better, identified some real and some imaginary. Unfortunately, the solutions they offered gave equal weight/cost to both.

Republicans seemed to say, what’s your problem? You’ve got good schools, safe neighborhoods, lots of opportunities, stop crying already! Get off your butt! Finish high school. Go to college or join the army. Learn a trade; get a job! Be a good citizen, respect lives/property of others and it will all take care of itself.

Lyndon JohnsonFor my mother and her generation, the key issues driving party affiliation revolved around poverty, education, healthcare, providing for old age and racial inequality. FDR & LBJ were avid crusaders as were JFK/RFK to lesser extent. I might have stayed democrat had they kept focus and respected the system. But they didn’t and during my mom’s time I watched them move toward a reduction of individual rights, regulation/restriction of free enterprise, redistribution of wealth, mandating/sanctioning various aspects of personal, private behaviors, all the while increasing the power/influence of the centralized government.

Democrats seemed to want to turn things on their head, which is to say they tended left, more anti-establishment, anti-American. They kept coming with item after item designed to undermine the status quo, to turn society and the culture upside down.

Eugene McCarthy

Does anyone think Harry Truman, JFK, RFK, Hubert Humphrey or Walter Mondale, Pat Moynihan or Tip O’Neill, even a guy like Eugene McCarthy would be OK with their party today? Did they advocate for subsidizing/promoting single moms, providing free abortions and birth control, unlimited unemployment benefits, generational welfare, open borders, full benefits for illegals, gay marriage, attacking religious doctrine by mandating conformity with abhorrent governmental directives? Would they tolerate never balancing a budget, creating a national debt higher than GDP, increasing the size/power of federal government to leviathan proportions and/or encouraging half our people to be on some kind of entitlement, assistance, subsidy or welfare?

I don’t think so, and I don’t think my mother would recognize what her beloved democrats have become. She was a moral person, didn’t hold with laziness or indolence, didn’t accept hand-outs easily though some were forced upon her.

No, my mom would be hard pressed to defend most of their platform. In fact, she’d be downright disgusted. What Tom Brokaw and others call the greatest generation didn’t get that way from easy rides & handouts. They worked hard, made sacrifices with little reward other than being independent & taking pride in self.

Today there is more intolerance, class warfare, partisanship, minority unemployment, poverty, income disparity and open racism than we’ve seen in a generation, maybe longer. The economy is barely moving, we’ve lost ground to other countries, our middle class is shrinking & we’ve created a political rivalry bordering on open hostility if not outright hatred, deriving from this government’s policies being so antagonistic to the status quo.

Obama kingThere’s no room for debate or compromise. We’re going broke, can’t balance a budget & refuse to address the safety nets: social security, Medicare & now Obamacare, all of which are totally unsustainable. Republicans have their problems, not perfect by any means, but they recognize the fundamental imperative of personal responsibility/accountability that must be borne by a citizenry if a nation is to remain viable and solvent. We cannot have 50% on the dole and/or making babies irresponsibly, or remain chronically unemployed or be unwilling/uninterested to take care of personal health. Further, we can’t have an unmanaged influx of illegals expecting to partake of the benefits/privileges of living here but without contributing to the system.

Contrary to Reid/Pelosi et al republicans do not want dirty air or water; do not want poor kids going hungry or granny/grampa languishing in squalor; do not want any situation/condition to manifest that is in any way unfair, unjust or inequitable. We simply recognize we must operate within the limits of our budget and not spend enormous sums we don’t have simply because it seems the right thing to do. There are many such things in this world, but we can’t mend them all.

This president since taking office has shown and proven himself to be, among other things, a hypocrite, deceiver, out-of-touch executive, socialist ideologue hell-bent on having his way, hopelessly inept keeper of promises, dangerous/debilitating Commander-in-Chief, unmitigated irrepressible racist, unanswerable/unaccountable manager and bald-faced liar.

He’s all these and more yet his staffers, advisors, key lieutenants and senior political aides, congresspersons and senators all stand behind and defend him 100%. What does that say about them? About the integrity of their party? About all of us who voted for him and would do so again, including 95% Blacks, 70%+ Hispanics and Asians? Even Jews & youths at 63%? Are his faults and breaches not tantamount to high crimes & misdemeanors?

There was a time when most of this would not stand; would not be tolerated by the American people. There was a sense of propriety about one’s character, one’s acts, words and deeds. There were protocols that looked to the history, traditions & grandeur of the office. There was respect for the constitutional framework in which one operated and for the other branches of government. There was an ever-present duty, an absolute obligation to the people, to defend their house, their country and their way of life.

No sir, these are not your daddy’s democrats, or my mom’s. They are a new breed of cat stalking the political aisles, basking in the branches of our governmental tree, pouncing on the heart and soul of the American way of life. They would change it, transform it to something different and I think less, morph this greatest country on earth into the annals of mediocrity.

You’ve been reading Shaneview

I’m Al Shane

Alvan I. Shane Author, The Day Liberty Wept 2270 N Euclid Ave Frequent Op-Ed Contributor Upland, Calif 91784 Political Donor to Cons Grps / Causes (909) 946-5104 Ex-Marine / California native Tax Accountant / Mar 43yrs / 1 son

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