To think that anything I could write here or anywhere else might change anyone’s mind on politics would be the height of arrogance. It hasn’t taken me all of my 65 years, two months and one day on this ride through space and time to realize that there are those whose opinions are diametrically opposed to mine, and that often the thought and consideration they’ve put into reaching their conclusions is equal, if not deeper, than mine.
Differences, whenever possible, should be celebrated. What a dull life we would lead without them.
So why is this old boy, after 45 years of being politically muzzled by the nature of my job working for a daily newspaper, stepping into the rough-and-tumble arena of political discourse? Why am I pulling out the soapbox to have my say on the hot-button issues of the day? Why do I even bother?
The first is that I feel the need to stand up for what I believe. And what I believe is that our politics of America in the 21st century are terribly out of whack. The rich are too rich and the poor too poor. The disparity of income in American is growing every day and the middle class — the true engine that drives a thriving ecomomy — continues to crater into the ever-widening abyss.
Actually, to backtrack just a bit, my problem is not that the rich are too rich. I have no problem with how much money a person is able to make in America. Incentive is the gear that greases a vibrant economy. So I’m not a socialist and certainly not a communist. Che Guevara might have been a pretty cool guy. He at least seemed to be — if the movie The Motorcyle Diaries had any relationship whatsoever with reality. And you have to admire his commitment, regardless of the cause.
But Che died in the jungles of Bolivia and everything coming from that team since has been just another form of control by the rich and powerful.
What I do have problems with is the richest and most powerful among us using their riches and power to rig the political system in such a way that ensures they will always get what they want whenever they want it. There’s a Club in this country to which only the richest and most powerful belong, and, sad to say — coming from a lifelong Democrat whose mother cut her political teeth on FDR’s New Deal — it enlists members from both parties.
Sure Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and Charles and David Koch are card-carrying members of The Club, but so are Chuck Schumer and, yes, Hillary Clinton. The Democratic party, in my mind, turned its back on the working class of this country and the price we all paid is waking up one day to find Donald Trump — the worst among us, the ugliest of all Ugly Americans — in the White House.
So that’s the first reason I rage against the machine. The second is the scant hope that somehow, someway I might help marshal the energies of the like-minded. Times are scary. We need all the good energy we can get.
Along the way I hope to get comments from anyone who stumbles across this blog. I recognize I’m playing with fire and that some folks’ political passions blow so hot that they feel the need to attack and hopefully diminish those opinions with which they disagree. But let’s just at least try to keep it civil. My take is that your political opinion is your own and you’re entitled to it. There’s no need for me to be threatened by those with whom I disagree. I will endeavor to show everyone all the respect they deserve.
All I ask in return is the same.