I woke up one day and it was gone!
Yeah, most everything coming from Trump’s win in the election is turning political thought upside down to be sure… and for years to come. Next month is my 66th time meandering around the sun and up until this last election day I was happy and content feeling like I was a warm and fuzzy baby boomer liberal conservative. Now I don’t even know what that means. My political identity is.. gone. I feel empty, alone, and floundering in a sea of confusion. I’m like a planet suddenly not held in the comfort of another’s gravitational pull; like Laurel without Hardy, Abbott without Costello… Penn without Teller… um, a bolt without a nut… a toilet without the paper?
I was raised in a republican household with an extended republican family. We were all middle class folks in the traditional sense. Dad didn’t work in any trades jobs, never was in manufacturing, but was more or less white collar as an electronics engineer or purchasing agent. While the family may have reflected republican tendencies we did not have discussions about politics in general or the specific policies of whomever was running the country at the time. As I got into my teen years Vietnam became a hot topic on TV and radio and at our high school but still I recall no heated home debates. Although, my sister, four years younger and tended to challenge authority more than I did, did manage to creep to the edge of some level of parental insubordination in having some vigorous debates with my father. She reflected the then common liberal anti-war mindset usually assigned to students on college campuses. I preferred to keep the peace at home.
My friends were all republican, thus reflecting the traditional republican ward smack in a city hugely democrat. We lived in the last all white section of the city and went to one of only two all white high schools in the city.
“There was a time when Rome was great…”
Back in those days republicanism reflected a common feel that government should have as little control of our lives as possible; that free market conditions should allow for open capitalistic expression rather than making laws that restrict market growth. Republicans tended to prefer a more nationalistic approach to domestic policy… shying away from social programs that kept people leaching off the government… that people should be held accountable for their lot in life and not always be bailed out by some government welfare program. Republicans stood for big business and little business… a strong military, even in peacetime.
As a popular tendency, republicans were for business, were big business, had money, always felt the democrats wanted to tinker with the Bill of Rights in some form, wanted power for the sake of power, tended to be urban folks, white collar, of privilege. If there were conspiracy theories in those days it usually involved republicans.
It wasn’t that the democrats were some opposite position as much as they approached it much differently. The “working class” were democrats. Rural folks were democrat as were the economically challenged given they tended to benefit from the social programs. Chicago, as it is still to this day, is traditionally staunchly democratic (in the pre-election “democratic” sense) and so are the unions. Union members from across the industrial spectrum were staunch democrat back in the day. Unions have since lost a lot of their influence across the country.
Where are we at now?
Good question. At best (or worst?), just reverse everything I stated above.
During the campaign I couldn’t believe what I was hearing about Hillary and the dems being accused of representing the rich, desiring of more power for the sake of power, being part of some elite in government, uncaring of the poor or economically challenged. Was I in some bizarro world? Traditionally years past republicans were generally defending themselves from kind of opposition.
Oddly, Trump does represent some level of traditional republican values in spite of the electorate turning the tables on their traditional party values. But no one here got any mandate other than the voters, “only” a “whopping” 50% of them (it’s no mandate but a damn good formidable percentage), want some level of domestic policy change away from the effects of globalization. The irony here is that I would have thought the idea of free market globalization would be favored by the republicans given it’s all about free trade without restrictions and global business expansion. But this is a nationalistic push-back… likely a good thing since all levels of globalization (social, cultural, economic, etc.), which includes immigration, needs balance.
So.. until then I’ll hang onto declaring my “new” political label for a while.