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Retrospection: My Political Views and Journey Explained.

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posted on Nov, 7 2012 @ 04:26 AM

Hello again ATS. I've come at this late hour with the hope of clearing my mind, and maybe the air, in a way, about the events of the past year - especially the past 24 hours.

To those of you who have read my words on ATS, either in agreement or otherwise, I feel that this much is at least owed. It's also something I think I owe myself - a chance to stitch the random pieces together into a single tapestry so that I might put things in perspective and begin to practice what I so ardently preach and try so earnestly to adhere to - a breaking of my own "isms"... the destruction of any dogmatic paradigms that might still be lurking within myself.

Please bear with me... The hour is late, I am currently somewhat sedated from the flu medication that is necessary due to the upper respiratory infection I am suffering through, and it has been a very long night...

Attempted catharsis

Time is a funny thing from the perspective of a middle aged mind - at least it is to my mind. Sitting here I can still recall being a bit too young to vote - but being absolutely mesmerized by the Republican candidate - Ronald Reagan. At the time I utterly hated the sitting POTUS, Jimmy Carter. In school, I had sat and watched news coverage of the Iran hostage debacles, one after another, and had developed a very negative opinion of the man and his policies. The fact that all of the adults on both sides of my family were ( and still are ) staunch Republicans only served to strengthen my beliefs. This Reagan guy was a real life cowboy! He was talking tough, promising the sky, and I latched onto the entire premise like a teenage girl at a Beiber appearance. I went full on fanboy for Reagan. So much so that I rejoiced at his election - and, four years later, cast my very first vote for him.

It was a proud day for me. One that I'll always remember and cherish... even if I now have mixed feelings about it all, in hindsight.

Four years later I cast my vote for Reagan's VP, George Herbert Walker Bush. Again, filled with pride and nearly blind dedication to the party I had aligned myself with. I was a young man... strong and aggressive. Anyone who disagreed with my principles was automatically the enemy, as I saw it, and I attacked them viciously. My mind was much more sharp back then and I could crush people with my words. I did so, on behalf of my party, with zeal. I had no mercy at all. I was right and I damn well knew it. Or so it seemed to me.

My son was born just a few weeks prior to the outbreak of the first Gulf War. My ex wife and I were sharing a two bedroom apartment with my ex's sister and brother-in-law, so it was all three of us ( the ex, my son, and myself ) in a small apartment bedroom. I had a terrible job, working in a restaurant at that point - and worked way too many hours. I would wander into the apartment well after dark, shower, get some food, and then sit - watching CNN as they played footage of "smart bombs" hitting Iraqi targets. My ex-wife sleeping next to me and my newborn son in a crib, literally inches away from me. I barely slept during that period. Filled with a young mans sense of patriotism... wishing that I had been able to serve in the military... wanting desperately to be one of the soldiers in Iraq. But I'd been born with a congenital heart defect - so my shame was that I could not serve. This made me feel inadequate and isolated.

This is the scene that comes to my mind when I close my eyes and try to recall my sons infancy or my first marriage. Night vision smart bomb strikes on CNN - watched in a tiny apartment bedroom.

A couple of years later I suffered my first Presidential Election trauma. My man, GHWB lost. I was enraged and inconsolable. Who was this upstart Clinton? As far as I could tell he was a cheap Kennedy knock-off and the reports of his infidelity chafed at my idealistic view of the world. The fact that I, at that age, was not the height of moral responsibility in my own right did not even occur to me. I was a regular guy - it was expected that I might drink too much or flirt with women other than the one I was with. But a Presidential candidate? Well they HAD to be more than that! This began my four years of absolute meh. I have no idea what the world, at large, was doing during that first Clinton term. I only know that I was none too happy about much of anything during those years and, freshly divorced, I did what many young people do. I went on a prolonged drunk.

When '96 came along I found myself stymied. Bob Dole became the Republican candidate and he was a guy I couldn't relate to at all. To me he seemed like Mumra the Ever Living from the Thundercats! He was so freaking old! To make matters worse, whatever pundit had my attention at that time ( I can't recall to be honest ) was not keen on Dole either. I could not vote for Clinton, on principles... so I sought out another option. I found it in the person of H Ross Perot.

The period I now laughingly refer to as "The Perot Blunder" is a rather complicated story. It's the tale of a hard headed young man who chose a candidate and then spent a prolonged period of time willfully and deliberately ignoring all the signs of impending doom that kept coming across the horizon like a squadron of harbinger fighter jets. The guy went totally nuts, but I was resolute and refused to see it - even though I knew, deep down, exactly what was happening. Pride would not allow me to change my stated position no matter how strange it all got. And, my God did it get strange.

When Election day came? I cast my vote for the insane man, and did so feigning pride and confidence. Even as I did, however, part of me was already changing - and I was secretly relieved with Bill Clinton won a second term. This event was the genesis point for the person I am today. This was my first moment of internal compromise and understanding.

In 2000 I, again, found myself conflicted. Over the previous few years I had really started to like Clinton as a POTUS. But his days were over and Al Gore was now the batter on deck. I had issues with Al. Growing up I had been a fan of heavy metal music and was deeply aware of the fact that Al and his wife Tipper had tried their hardest to ban my beloved music. They'd formed the PRMC ( Parents Moral Resource Committee ) and I was very bitter about it. The labels on your CDs? The ones that say "warning - explicit lyrics"? Yeah. Al Gore did that. He did not invent the Internet - but he was big on censorship.

Given that my choice was obvious and easy. I voted Bush Jr. I was hesitant about it - but I did it.

And then September 11th happened. That totally fragmented my world, as it did everyones.

In the days following that horrible date America galvanized and became a single unit. We all fell in love with George W and with this country! Me included! The fire that I'd felt as a kid toward Reagan was back with a vengeance. The "me" who had watched those CNN night vision smart bombs was resurrected! I was gung-ho and born again, hard. Red to the bone. As folks now say, in humor - thanks to South Park - I was "Murikan" and damned proud of it!

I imagine much of the country was the same during that period. We'd been attacked and we'd risen to the slight.

This was enough for me to happily and proudly vote for George W the next time around.


posted on Nov, 7 2012 @ 04:26 AM
Then, in 2007, my life fell to pieces. The vast majority of that is not anyones fault but my own. Still, it happened. As I began to spiral and fall - I kept the faith for awhile. I fought the good fight, as it were. But things began happening that forced me to begin to question myself and my beliefs. One of the major factors was the happenings at my local community mental health clinic - where I had been going in an attempt to sort my world out and get back into the game. It became the norm for me to show up for my monthly appointment, or my weekly group session, only to discover that some program had been cut or some vital employee had been laid off. What had been a great place was turning into a joke. Budget cuts you see. My former party felt that social services were a waste of money - so the budget for his vital social service was being gutted. Since I had not only been a beneficiary of this service ( I pay, but on a sliding scale - as therapy costs HUNDREDS of dollars per hour and the medication is nearly as expensive ) it hit home. More painful for me was that I had come to care about many of the people I met in this clinic - and I was watching them lose their access to help or their jobs at the clinic... jobs that they'd been sorely underpaid at to begin with.

To me this was a travesy of unspeakable depths. Some of the people there had nobody to help them and were too sick to help themselves - and they were simply being abandoned to suffer.

In this period all of my delusions and prideful behaviors were ripped away. I realized that I'd been an ardent conservative in years prior because it was easy for me to. I had previously possessed an elitist mentality because my youth and strength had allowed me to be selfish and lacking in compassion. I had not cared about the disenfranchised because I had never been one of them and thought that I never would be one of them. My false sense of superiority and entitlement had been a comfortable perch from which to arrogantly look down upon others. And I'd done so because it felt good to... because it enhanced my sense of self and made me believe I really was something special.

By no means am I implying that all conservatives are wired this way. I know for a fact that many aren't. But I also know for a fact that at least some are.

From this perspective, the next election cycle came and I found myself lost, once again. I can remember making a shocking joke, at a party, to a few friends. I said "The funny part? Our next President is likely to be either the black guy or the woman. Who'd have seen that coming?" And I laughed - thinking it an absurd statement. Neither had happened before, and I was positive that McCain was going to win the office. It was a foregone conclusion to me. My conspiratorial mindset was already there, at this point, and I would have told anyone with ears that the DNC was deliberately TRYING to lose by fielding two candidates who could NEVER win.

Then I actually listened to Barack Obama speaking. My God, he was saying all the things I wanted to hear. I needed to hear. This was a voice unlike any I had heard before. This was the ghost of Kennedy filtering through this mans body. This was magic.

He got my vote.

...which brings us up to date...

I've been fairly steady on ATS since that period and my thoughts, since, are fairly well documented. I was a rabid Democrat for the most part. Then, a few months ago, I tempered my position. Obama hadn't lived up to his promise and I was highly disillusioned with him. He'd promised to undo the damage that George W had done - only to end up continuing those same policies. In haste I began Googling every third party candidate that I could learn about. Feeling as though I'd been left behind by the party I identified with, yet again, I scrambled to find a new home... a new safe haven.

That search proved fruitless. None struck me as having a chance in Hell of breaking through.

As Election day drew near I was forced to do some heavy soul searching. How could I empower myself again? How could I make a choice that I would be able to be proud of and morally comfortable with? Well the answer became clear to me rather quickly. I simply looked at my own values and sought the viable candidate who most closely matched them. In this case it was Barack Obama.


edit on 11/9/12 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 7 2012 @ 04:26 AM
Romney/Ryan was never a choice for me. Not even for a second. There are those who argue that Obama and Romney are the same exact candidate with different masks - and they may well be right. If so, all I can say is that Obama wore the mask that most resembles me. Romney preached the Gospel of social Darwinism - the same concepts that I'd watched kill the good the local clinic had done. The doctrine of exclusivity - of the haves mattering more than the have nots. And there is no way in Hell that I am going to face my maker, when I die, guilty of violating my oath to always stand up for the disenfranchised and sick. Long story short? I'd rather be condemned for a well intentioned and compassionate evil than a selfish and greed based one. I am not going to launch my lifeboat from the Titanic that this nation might be unless that lifeboat is absolutely full to capacity. I want America so save as many people as it can as we steer through these difficult waters. The idea of only saving the strong offends me deeply. It is morally reprehensible to me. IMO we are in this boat together and, by God, I'll fight as hard as I can to save as many as I can - regardless of who they are or what their net worth is.

My hope is that Barack Obama will wake up in a few hours and think "Dear God... America gave me a second chance to cement my place in history. I cannot allow this opportunity to be wasted." He did not make the grade in term one. But I have faith that he will do so in term two.

So... you see ATS. This is not a party based thing for me. This is a deeply personal thing for me - as it is for many of you who read this. We may differ on opinions about social programs, war, fair taxation, the role of industry and commerce in society - and many other subjects. But I think that most of us have the same long term desire. We want to create a nation where our children and our grandchildren can live better lives than we did. Where we differ, I think, is in how we define these things. We argue over the word "entitlement" so very often here. It's a dirty, dirty word to a conservative mind. It reeks of communism to some. For me, not at all. I think that every human being is entitled to some basic things... like clean water, education, enough food to stay alive, a safe place to sleep... access to medical care whether they can pay or not. I feel that these are basic human rights. These things, IMO, are the hallmarks of a civilization. I want my county and it's future to be civilized.

In my eyes, neither history nor God is going to judge us on how well we treat the rich and powerful. They are going to judge us on how we treated the most unfortunate among us. The lowest in our society are the foundation. And without a strong foundation... we'll we're never going to reach the heights that we deserve. None of us.

I realize I've spoken way too much in this entry, and I do apologize for that. It all was necessary to fully disclose to ATS why I am who I am and why I take the positions that I take. I do not hold these positions lightly or without great thought and consideration. If nothing else, even if you totally disagree with my opinions, know this... I truly do cherish and respect all other positions and will proudly give my life to defend any rational position that any of you happens to hold. I know that your own individual journeys have led you to being who you are - and I profoundly respect that fact- as I hope you can respect me and mine.

I just had a deep need to share that tonight. Some of you, whom I have debated with, earned me opening up as best as I am able.

Thanks, and God bless you all, this great nation, and the world. ( Yeah... a tacky and potentially unpopular sentiment - but I'm tired, sick, and it's sincere! )


edit on 11/7/12 by Hefficide because: typo - probably more but I'm too sleepy to check. LOL

posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 07:23 PM
I read this the very first night you posted it. The first thing that struck me, was just how similar the roads we took to our views is so similar. As a teenager I remember the 92 race well. I didn't like Clinton he had been on the Arsenio Hall show and I thought that was so unacceptable as a Presidential Candidate. I didn't like Bush he was too accommodating to the televangelists. And just more of Reagan, unlike most I have no fondness for Reagan my family suffered for years under his policies. So when the 96 election came around and Perot announced his second bid I was all for him. I knew Slick Willy was gonna win but Perot was telling people how it was.

All my life I was told "you work hard and you will get ahead", "Don't have kids until you get married" "Don't live with someone until you get married". I didn't have a chance to go to college being the first born in a house with four kids in a family struggling to make ends meet you got a part time job and started buying your own clothes and saved to buy a car. You didn't complain about it, that wasn't how I was raised you just dealt with and did what you could. I worked two part time jobs with no insurance. I never called in sick not even when I had the chicken pox. I had to use Planned Parenthood as the source of my exams and birth control. I went there because that was where I could afford to go and while I paid for all my scripts and appointments out of pocket I didn't have to worry about paying all at once. I wasn't about to be a leech that just took things.

As time went on I got a decent job with benefits and kept working till I could go to school. I finally got the chance a short time after I got married. A year before I graduated my husband was fired from his job. It wasn't too bad after a month he was able to get another albeit at a rate far smaller than what he was making. He qualified for unemployment but by the time that was cleared he already got a new job, and we weren't taking no handouts things would get better soon enough. Then I finally graduated, only to find out all the jobs open to me paid less than I was making and no benefits or required excessive travel.

So me and my husband talked and decided for me to keep looking until I found something we could afford for me to take. A short time after that he decided he couldn't seal with it and left. So here I was stuck with bills we made together to take care of by myself and literally no way to pay them and eat. An education I can't use because I can't afford to live on what I am making let alone less. Working all the overtime I can get as the economy is slowing down. Then it happens I lose the job I have. Once again I refuse to use the unemployment absolutely positive I will get by on what little I have saved and find a new job. It took 6 months and when I did get the new job it paid far less than what I was making but at least it was in my field.

Then 2008 came well when you work at an electronics assembly plant that makes control systems for the Big 3. You can figure out what happened. In early 2009 I was laid off and given a severance package a few months later. Business will be business I was told. So now here I am after two years of doing day labor day in and day out just to be able to eat I finally got the opportunity to apprentice with a friend of the family doing HVAC hoping beyond hope it will finally turn into something good.

I didn't like Barack Obama in 2008, and I have had issue with many of the policies he has enacted since. But this year I knew better. You are correct Heff it is very easy to be conservative when you are young and other people are just using your tax money. It is very easy to be conservative when everything goes your way. And it is completely impossible to be when the system has used you for what it thinks you are worth and kicks you by the wayside goes around the block stops and kicks you some more. I will never vote for another Republican the rest of my life. Because I have suffered I know what it is to watch everything you worked for get taken away. I know what it is to need just a little help to get up and start moving forward again. And i know what it is to have someone tell you aren't worth helping. Well that is my tale.

posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 11:11 PM
I'm just now reading this (because I stalked your profile
We definitely have a lot in common.... I was never a diehard republican, but I do agree with much of what you said. My grandmother ensured I was a democrat. I'm glad she did. Now that I'm older and can make my own way, I agree with the basic Democratic beliefs even more.

Great thread Heff! It was a good read and really touched some deep emotions

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