Leaving the Left

  • #1
russ_watters
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Main Question or Discussion Point

"Leaving the Left"

HERE is an opinion piece (yes, I'll be upfront about that) about a former "card carrying Democrat" who has decided that its time to abbandon the Democratic party because the Democratic party no longer stands for the principles of liberalism for which it exists. It very well sums up my long-standing opinion of the party - an opinion that has only gotten stronger (adn accelerated) with time. The Democratic party continues to move away from its reason for being.

All of it is good, but a few excerpts:
Eight-million Iraqi voters have finished risking their lives to endorse freedom and defy fascism. Three things happen in rapid succession. The right cheers. The left demurs. I walk away from a long-term intimate relationship.
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I choose this day for my departure because I can no longer abide the simpering voices of self-styled progressives -- people who once championed solidarity with oppressed populations everywhere -- reciting all the ways Iraq's democratic experiment might yet implode.
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A turning point came at a dinner party on the day Ronald Reagan famously described the Soviet Union as the pre-eminent source of evil in the modern world. The general tenor of the evening was that Reagan's use of the word "evil" had moved the world closer to annihilation. There was a palpable sense that we might not make it to dessert.

When I casually offered that the surviving relatives of the more than 20 million people murdered on orders of Joseph Stalin might not find "evil'" too strong a word, the room took on a collective bemused smile of the sort you might expect if someone had casually mentioned taking up child molestation for sport.
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Two decades later, I watched with astonishment as leading left intellectuals launched a telethon- like body count of civilian deaths caused by American soldiers in Afghanistan. Their premise was straightforward, almost giddily so: When the number of civilian Afghani deaths surpassed the carnage of Sept. 11, the war would be unjust, irrespective of other considerations.

Stated simply: The force wielded by democracies in self-defense was declared morally equivalent to the nihilistic aggression perpetuated by Muslim fanatics.

Susan Sontag cleared her throat for the "courage" of the al Qaeda pilots. Norman Mailer pronounced the dead of Sept. 11 comparable to "automobile statistics." The events of that day were likely premeditated by the White House, Gore Vidal insinuated. Noam Chomsky insisted that al Qaeda at its most atrocious generated no terror greater than American foreign policy on a mediocre day.

All of this came back to me as I watched the left's anemic, smirking response to Iraq's election in January. Didn't many of these same people stand up in the sixties for self-rule for oppressed people and against fascism in any guise? Yes, and to their lasting credit. But many had since made clear that they had also changed their minds about the virtues of King's call for equal of opportunity.

These days the postmodern left demands that government and private institutions guarantee equality of outcomes. Any racial or gender "disparities" are to be considered evidence of culpable bias, regardless of factors such as personal motivation, training, and skill. This goal is neither liberal nor progressive; but it is what the left has chosen. In a very real sense it may be the last card held by a movement increasingly ensnared in resentful questing for group-specific rights and the subordination of citizenship to group identity. There's a word for this: pathetic.
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When actor Bill Cosby called on black parents to explain to their kids why they are not likely to get into medical school speaking English like "Why you ain't" and "Where you is," Jesse Jackson countered that the time was not yet right to "level the playing field." Why not? Because "drunk people can't do that ... illiterate people can't do that."
------------------------------
I'll admit my politics have shifted in recent years, as have America's political landscape and cultural horizon. Who would have guessed that the U.S. senator with today's best voting record on human rights would be not Ted Kennedy or Barbara Boxer but Kansas Republican Sam Brownback?

He is also by most measures one of the most conservative senators. Brownback speaks openly about how his horror at the genocide in the Sudan is shaped by his Christian faith, as King did when he insisted on justice for "all of God's children."
--------------------------------
All of which is why I have come to believe, and gladly join with others who have discovered for themselves, that the single most important thing a genuinely liberal person can do now is walk away from the house the left has built.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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A very well written piece.
 
  • #3
466
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If only we had an American equivalent of the Liberal Democrats in England...

And if only Republicans would get all uppity and leave the party when they realized that Bush's increasing govt. spending at a higher rate than clinton ever did, military expenditures excluded., along with all his other non-conservative stuff...
 
  • #4
Nice to hear a vote of confidence for Charlie. If only we could get the man in the door.
 
  • #5
Both republican and democratic parties are wrong, but when they are balanced equally, things are good.

The deomcrats are swinging more left because the republicans are swinging more right.

To affiliate yourself with either one makes you ignore valid arguments of the other side.

I'm a democrat right now because I feel the nation needs to be more balanced (since the administration is radical right). If Kerry were elected, I would've liked it for a while until i saw the nation becomming too left wing, and at that point i would join the righties.

Regardless of the political spectrum, I see the current administration as paranoid control freaks in a desperate attempt to make everyone behave the way they do. Thier attitude is far less forgiving than the previous administration. Just listening to the tone of Lord Bush's voice when he talks down to the people (as if he's teaching us something) is kind of scary. He doesn't accept failure, and will never humble himself. When there is no room for failure, there is no way to learn from mistakes and hence, no way to improve the situation.

Comparing Clinton's behavior with Bush's says it all, Clinton was nailed to the cross when republicans heard of his falacious activities (at least he wasn't thinking of taking over other nations) and was even empeached by those unforgiving republican control freaks who believe they know what is best for others. Clinton didn't even break the law in that scandal! Another thing that he was nailed to the cross for was Whitewater, the Repubs tried to tarnish his reputation by spending millions on investigating his completeley legal real estate dealings. Did Clinton ever use scorn and finger pointing? NO, he made light of it and cracked a few jokes. Bush on the other hand has gotten away with much more scandalous activities such as stopping the hunt for Osama when they had him cornered in Torrah Borrah, lying to the American people and the world about WMD, jumping to conclusions about Iraq's involvement in 9-11, constantly contradicting himself and denying it all, supporting the patriot act and homeland security, thus weakening our constitution, and much much more. There is plenty of evidance that he was involved in insider trading when he was on the board of directors at Harken energy, but the Dems aren't spending millions trying to make Bush accountable for it (unlike how the repubs spent millions on the whitewater investigation which turned out to find Clinton innocent). What about Bush's military record, or how he cheated his way through yale in 2.5 years to get a 4 year degree? What about the 20 years he spent on his daddy's ranch doing cocaine? what about the piles of recordings of Bush talking on the phone admitting many of these types of scandalous activities? The Dems haven't tried to empeach Bush and I don't know why, there is a very good case against him, but I guess the Dems are just too nice...

The thing with the Dems is that they believe other people know what is best for themselves, and repubs believe they know what is best for others.

Both viewpoints must be balanced in order to amiliorate our world. It's nice that you've found some reasons to be fond of bush, but consider the above things also, you can't just ignore them.

I wrote an email to bush today with a subject "f### you very much", and it read like this: Dear Lord Bush, screw you a##hole!

Should I be afraid? honestly I am a little, because maybe next time I go on an airline, I'll be pulled to the side and hassled like what happened to some of the Kerry supporters before the election... Maybe I'm on his list now.

If I sent that same email to Clinton would I be afraid? I would think not, because he wouldn't take it negatively.

We all have the freedom to say what we want, and we have the freedom to interpret what others say to and about us negatively or positively. With homeland securit and the patriot act, these freedoms are incrementally being compramised. Perhaps Bush wants people to look at him in fear rather than look at him in hope.

I think it's great to try to look for the good side of Bush, and I commend you for doing so, but in the process you may disregard his bad side and that won't hurt him as much as it would hurt you.
 
  • #6
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Jonny_trigonometry said:
Both republican and democratic parties are wrong, but when they are balanced equally, things are good.
I agree with you here. Radical Democrats don't represent the whole Democratic party any better than the Radical Republicans represent theirs. The majority of people fall closer to the center. It's just that that's a fairly boring place and so you don't see it a lot on the news. When one party gets a pretty big majority, I think it's just a matter of time until the public (particularly that 20% or so that don't always vote party lines) gets tired of them and votes the other way.

I wrote an email to bush today with a subject "f### you very much", and it read like this: Dear Lord Bush, screw you a##hole!

Should I be afraid? honestly I am a little, because maybe next time I go on an airline, I'll be pulled to the side and hassled like what happened to some of the Kerry supporters before the election... Maybe I'm on his list now.
I don't know about Bush's list, but it may well get you on the Secret Service's list. When the President plans a visit to a particular town, it's normal procedure for the Secret Service to investigate anyone in they area they see as a threat. It's also a crime to make actual threats against the President, although I doubt they'd bother with something like 'I'm gonna kick your ass!' Something like 'I'll be waiting with my sniper rifle when you arrive at the airport' is a whole different story though. In any case, I don't think a letter with that much hostility is going to be taken seriously though.
 
  • #7
every timeyou make a credit card purchase, or check out a book at the library, or buy a movie ticket, or visit an internet site, a small note is made in a government database. The american people are all put into categories based on thier running profile. Everybody is on bush's list, and a value of potential terroristic threat to the nation is assigned to each name according to their new definition of terrorism. Since the radical and unconstitutional changes to the government's operation, we all have lost part of our liberty. We simply aren't as free as we were before the changes were made. Why do I worry about being labeled as a terrorist? I never did before, and I never had a problem with the way the nation was being run, but now it's like I have to watch what I say, and I'm very frusterated at that fact.

I haven't even mentioned many other things that the administration is doing economically, and I don't want to delve into that topic right now because it makes me sick.
 
  • #8
it's too bad you didn't know about bush's list. Do you pay attention to the details of the patriot act and homeland securitay at all?
 
  • #9
loseyourname
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Jonny, what part of the Patriot Act are you referring to that creates a national database of all business transactions? I've looked pretty closely at the act over the past year or so and don't recall coming across anything like that.
 
  • #10
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russ:

Alright, I give up, you convinced me! I'm marching off to my local Army recruiting office right now!

America uber alles!
 
  • #11
loseyourname
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I live about ten miles from this guy and can't exactly blame him. The liberal left here is about as bad as the radical right in Colorado Springs.
 
  • #12
Kerrie
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America needs 3 presidents-#1 to manage foreign/international affairs, #2 to manage social/domestic affairs, and #3 to manage the financial aspects of the other presidents. All equal in power, all able to make the same decisions with different specialties. Then we might not need a "left" and a "right". We could achieve a better balance then we do now.
 
  • #13
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Jonny_trigonometry said:
every timeyou make a credit card purchase, or check out a book at the library, or buy a movie ticket, or visit an internet site, a small note is made in a government database. The american people are all put into categories based on thier running profile. Everybody is on bush's list, and a value of potential terroristic threat to the nation is assigned to each name according to their new definition of terrorism.
Well, I bought a copy of the Qur'an from Amazon.com the other day. I guess I'm screwed. I wonder what the MIB will think when they come to my door and find a green-eyed, blonde-haired Irishman staring back at them?

so-crates said:
russ:

Alright, I give up, you convinced me! I'm marching off to my local Army recruiting office right now!

America uber alles!
LOL, I wouldn't recommend it. I'm considerably more liberal now than before I joined. Maybe it's because I never made Major. :devil:
 
  • #14
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Kerrie said:
America needs 3 presidents-#1 to manage foreign/international affairs, #2 to manage social/domestic affairs, and #3 to manage the financial aspects of the other presidents. All equal in power, all able to make the same decisions with different specialties. Then we might not need a "left" and a "right". We could achieve a better balance then we do now.
I thought that was what the cabinet was for, you know, secretaries of State, Defense, Treasury, and all those things...
 
  • #15
Jonny_trigonometry said:
every timeyou make a credit card purchase, or check out a book at the library, or buy a movie ticket, or visit an internet site, a small note is made in a government database. The american people are all put into categories based on thier running profile. Everybody is on bush's list, and a value of potential terroristic threat to the nation is assigned to each name according to their new definition of terrorism. Since the radical and unconstitutional changes to the government's operation, we all have lost part of our liberty. We simply aren't as free as we were before the changes were made. Why do I worry about being labeled as a terrorist? I never did before, and I never had a problem with the way the nation was being run, but now it's like I have to watch what I say, and I'm very frusterated at that fact.
All this sort of thing has been getting more and more ellaborate for quite some time. The Patriot Act has little to do with it. Do you know how many illegal and borderline illegal operations took place when our government was trying to ferret out Nazis before and during WWII? They were trying to get phone taps, mail censors, and the like legalized while they were being implimented because they weren't ready for needing this sort of thing and had no time to lose in getting done what needed to be done.
 
  • #16
honestly I don't know if it's the patriot act that does that or if it is, or if it's an entirely different act or law or whatever for that matter. I'm not well read enough in law to even understand the patriot act. What I'm referring to is mainly things I've seen on the news, like interviews where the reporter would ask people if they would be willing to give up some of thier freedoms in order to be more safe from terrorists. It's subtle things that catch my attention like that particular example, or when people start using the same language as the president in conversation like "resolve" or "evil doers" or something like that.

It seems to me that things like homeland security and the patriot act are needed in order to execute a war on terror. So my answer would be yes, if I really am being plotted against by terrorists who hate my guts, I would sacrafice a little o my freedom and be willing to reveal more parts of my private life so that they (the terror war executers) can know that I'm not against them in their effort to keep me safe. But, I don't think the "terrorists" are a threat. They will always exist, and we've (humanity) been dealing with them from the start. This whole business is nothing new, there is no reason to be alarmed by people who simply don't like us. I think that the administration has got an overblown ego, and therefore is forgetting the virtues of patience and sensability. I think Bush is being trusted with too much, and he can't juggle all the things necessarry to make wise desicions, but yet people don't question his orders because of his antimidation (overblown ego). He means well, but he's selling us a "keep you safe from being struck by lightning" type insurance policy. He is just not well focused on risk assesment.
 
  • #17
Pengwuino
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Jonny, please provide real sources because questions like that to the public is like asking them their feelings towards nuclear power plants being put into service. The reporters are as ignorant as the people there asken most of the time too. "Theres a chance, as demonstrated in the Soviet Union, that a new reactor will blow up and whipe out the portion of a city equivalent to Hiroshima" or some crap like that. Reporter knows nothing, person being interviewed probably thinks the same thing.
 
  • #18
but why is it on their mind?
 
  • #19
Pengwuino
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Jonny_trigonometry said:
but why is it on their mind?
Irrelevant. Proof is all that matters. You coudl go out on the street and make a rumor that China secretly invaded Russia last summer and tell a lot of people and start getting public opinion on it; this doesnt make it true at all.
 
  • #20
BobG
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loseyourname said:
I live about ten miles from this guy and can't exactly blame him. The liberal left here is about as bad as the radical right in Colorado Springs.
Hey! Are you knocking Colorado Springs? :grumpy:

Eeehh, maybe you're right. :uhh: The Springs is home to James Dobson and Focus on the Family and Colorado does have Wayne Allard, Marilyn Musgrave, and Joel Hefley (I hate to lump Hefley in that group because he's done a lot for our district, but like all politicians, he's a mixed bag).

I used to think I was a conservative until I moved here. Then I found out I'd really been a left wing liberal all those years. I think the only place where I really felt in step with the general populace was when I lived in Omaha (okay, not that much more liberal than CSprings, but enough to make a difference).

The problem here is that defecting from the Republican Party is tantamount to saying "I just don't care to vote". No Democrat has a chance and, often, there isn't a Democratic candidate at all. Your only important local choices are the Republican primaries and caucuses where you can at least choose the more moderate Republican candidate.
 
  • #21
Pengwuino
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BobG said:
The problem here is that defecting from the Republican Party is tantamount to saying "I just don't care to vote". No Democrat has a chance and, often, there isn't a Democratic candidate at all. Your only important local choices are the Republican primaries and caucuses where you can at least choose the more moderate Republican candidate.
Wow, replace republican with democrat and you pretty much have california :D.
 
  • #22
The Democratic party continues to move away from its reason for being.
Ah, but the dilemma remains: In a two-party system, who is worse? As a liberal I applaud the courage of Iraqis who would risk their lives to vote but I disdain the cowardliness of men who initiate a potentially legitimate war based on what they call 'bad intelligence' and what I call lies. The democrats are bad, but the republicans are worse.

I think anyone who seriously considers the matter would be hesitant to affiliate themselves with either party as they are both ruled by big money interests (call me crazy) as much as they are by the people. The recent bankruptcy bill seems to waive this fact in the face of all Americans, yet we are un-phased.

Some republicans claim to be disappointed with Bush's stance on illegal immigration. What they don't see is that if Bush is anything, he is consistent. Lenient immigration policies benefit those who utilize cheap labor, just as the bankruptcy bill increases the profit margin of credit card companies, just as tort reform pleases the healthcare lobby, just as a maintaining low minimum wages helps, well, you get the point.

So, while we are walking away from the democratic party, can we go right on past the republicans and the two-party system in general?
 
  • #23
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Pengwuino said:
Wow, replace republican with democrat and you pretty much have california :D.
You mean no republican has a chance in Cal? What about Arnie?
 
  • #24
loseyourname
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sid_galt said:
You mean no republican has a chance in Cal? What about Arnie?
He's probably referring to the state assembly and senate. The districts are so horribly gerrymandered that no one gets unseated. There are term-limits, but each departure hand-picks his successor. Both houses are overwhelming Democrat and, thanks to both the gerrymandering and closed primaries, the person elected seems to usually be the person who best panders to the far left.
 
  • #25
Pengwuino
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sid_galt said:
You mean no republican has a chance in Cal? What about Arnie?
haha no one thought he had a chance in hell of getting elected! But i guess reality finally took hold of everyone and we were finally pissed off enough because of our energy problems and the deficits to kick Davis out.
 

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