I didn’t leave the left, the left left me
Though I’m conservative in some ways, I never fit in with the right. I have compassion for the poor, I care about the environment, I loathe militarism abroad and have no problem calling the US a “global bully” when it’s acting like one. Aside from that, I have a genuine concern for the well being of working people and disdain for corporatists who exploit them. You won’t typically hear me refer to the rich as “the job creators”. Doesn’t that make me some kind of socialist?
(I hope I haven’t lost my Trumpian readers yet. Stick with me, my dear deplorables. It’ll be worth it, bigly!)
In the early Bush era, I was an undergrad in Florida, still learning about the world and forming my political views. One day I saw an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show that really opened my eyes. She discussed the horrible working conditions of children in sweatshops in India. They would work 12 hours a day in the textile mills, making inexpensive clothing and other cloth for export. Being crouched over in the same position all day, every day for so many years caused many of them to grow up deformed, even going blind. Someone in the audience dared to ask the question that needed to be asked – do we bear some blame for that, as we buy those goods in our stores? Yes, she dared to “blame America”.
From that moment on, I became very outspoken against child labor in particular, but also the exploitation of cheap labor anywhere in the third world (ahem, I mean “developing world”).
Throughout the Bush era, I became ever more disgusted with the American right, and the Republican Party. It was the party of endless wars overseas. It was the party that considered itself the “savior of the world”, even having the audacity to suggest that the countries invaded should be grateful for American intervention! And on top of that, while mainstream Democrats like John Kerry had at least some compassion for working people (even if apathetic on his ability to do anything about it), Republicans called those in need “lazy” while sending more jobs overseas. As Bush continued his foreign military adventurism, our military weapons were more and more imported from China, all while our government borrowed money – from China! This was the Republican Party that became the source of all evil in the world to me. It was the Republican Party that had to be defeated at any cost.
(Still with me, my dear deplorables?)
In 2008, hope came. Hope, that this evil legacy would change. Yes, you know who I’m talking about. We were going to bring our troops home from Iraq. We were going to put the money we were blowing in Iraq towards infrastructure at home. No longer would America “police the world”. Now America would clean up its own backyard.
Obama is a great speaker. As the economy plunged into the Great Recession, he filled so many of us with hope. In my hometown of Jacksonville Florida, there was a growing progressive voice on the radio. Led by a local former State Representative, Andy Johnson, progressive talk finally had a place on the airwaves! In addition to his local program, he played nationally syndicated talk radio programs also. My favorite was usually Ed Schultz (May his memory be everlasting)
Schultz had the kind of passion, and in-your-face style of early Rush Limbaugh. He wasn’t politically correct, and didn’t have a smug bone in his body. He was an advocate for working Americans. While the sweatshop issue had been in the back of my mind, as I was more concerned with the state of our country, Ed Schultz brought it back to the forefront. More like Ross Perot than Oprah Winfrey, Schultz spoke of how outsourcing affected US. He spoke of the bad trade deals made over the decades, and the erosion of America’s manufacturing sector. When it came to PC issues like gay marriage, abortion, he was on the left. Sure, why not? Not my business. That was pretty much his attitude. But this wasn’t his focus. He brought my attention to efforts to revive American manufacturing, including a website called madeinusaforever.com.
So, if Ed Schultz, a nationally syndicated progressive radio host, and later MSNBC host, is all about American jobs, then FOX must be all about sending our jobs to China, right? After all, in 2009, Obama passed a tire tariff on China (still grateful to Obama for that one by the way). “CPAC” was very critical of Obama for this. I started calling them CCPAC, as in “Chinese Communist Party Action Committee”.
(My dear deplorables, thank you for your patience. You’ll like this next part!)
But wait! It wasn’t long after that I heard the owner of madeinusaforever.com being interviewed on Fox and Friends! Say what?! Yes indeed! Maybe the right isn’t all evil after all. And not long after that, I was exposed to political Trump for the first time. It was on Ed Schultz’s radio show!
What do Ed Schultz and Donald Trump have in common?
Ed Schultz was pleasantly surprised to hear long shot 2012 Republican candidate Donald Trump talking about – tariffs! Tariffs?! From a post-Reagan Republican?! Yes! Tariffs!
On his radio show, Schultz actually said he might support Trump. Sure, he’s a Republican, and probably wants to cut taxes on the wealthy, but tariffs! Tariffs! Glorious, glorious, tariffs!
Then I heard Trump was a birther. Uggg!
(Sorry Trumpians, we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.)
The False Messiah
All while this was happening, I was becoming increasingly disappointed in Obama. I admit. My hopes were way too high in 2008! But still, he could have at least tried to keep some of his most important campaign promises. Well, at least we got that tire tariff, and he wasn’t starting any new illegal wars, right?
After a few years of struggling to fix our economy, and dragging our feet as we slowly withdrew from Iraq, Obama made the biggest foreign policy mistake of his entire Presidency. He was supposed to be a man of peace! What happened? Hillary Rodham Clinton! That’s what happened!
I underestimated just how damaging Obama’s air-strikes would be. But they were enough to topple the only stable government in Libya, and create a power vacuum to be filled by terrorists and slave traders.
As the Gen. Election of 2012 was between Obama and Romney, and Romney just looked like Bush-lite to me, I held my nose and voted for Obama. But not with the same enthusiasm as I did in 2008. I wasn’t excited this time; not much hope for change. But the status quo of the Obama era was preferable to the status quo that came before.
Coming around to Trump
It’s like a cheesy romance movie. Ya know the kind where the girl first finds the guy obnoxious, thinks she’d never date him in a million years. But then she gets used to all his quirks, and finds some things about him she likes? By the end, she’s in love?
Thinking back to the birther years, I remember Obama mocking Trump. He played the “live birth” video, which was actually a clip from the Lion King. I was ROFL! I even bought the coffee mug of Obama’s Birth Certificate with “Made in USA” on the other side. Buy American, right Trump?
Though many things about Trump are nothing short of sickening to me, he was the only candidate boldly talking about changing America’s unsustainable trade practices. I loved THAT about Trump, and not much else. The only other candidate who even came close on that issue was Bernie Sanders. Neither Trump nor Sanders were my first choice, but as Sanders seemed to have the best chance in the primaries, he got my vote.
But there she was, Her Royal Clintonness. Her husband had sold us out to China, sold us out to Mexico, wrecked what was left of Yugoslavia and handed Kosovo over to a bunch of Al Qaeda linked terrorists. But Hillary isn’t her husband, right? Not quite, but close enough. I already discussed Libya above, and lets not forget that Hillary also supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and of course, the invasion of Kosovo during her husband’s administration.
But she’s a woman! And we’ve never had a woman president. And she’s all for LGBT issues! And she’s pro-choice! And she’s sensitive to the struggles of ethnic minorities!
Gimme a break! First, I’ll happily vote for a woman who deserves to be President. Let our first woman president be someone we can be proud of. On LGBT issues, Her Royal Clintonness goes whichever way the wind blows. She was against gay marriage until it was cool. Trump, by contrast, was actually bold enough to promote LGBT rights in the Republican primaries! Where it’s not so cool. Pro-choice? Well I’m pro-life, so piss off with that! As for ethnic minorities, Hillary Clinton was a very outspoken supporter of her husband’s crime bill in 1994. Following that, we’re in a situation now where 1 in 3 black males will be arrested in their life times if nothing changes. Trump is far from perfect I realize, but I’ll not be lectured to on racial inequality by Hillary Clinton or any of her supporters!
Trump Got Better
Many years before, I was pleasantly surprised when the Tea Party, that would re-invent the American conservative movement, actually seemed to go a bit to the left of Obama when it came to militarism abroad. Please understand that I respect our soldiers who enlist to put their lives on the line for our country. I respect them so much that I loathe politicians who would put them in harm’s way for any other purpose. Libya was no threat to us. The government of Libya was violently suppressing a violent revolution against it. It’s what governments do. But I actually heard people in the Tea Party criticizing Obama for intervening, including talk radio personality Michael Savage. Also, as principled advocates of smaller government, they wanted to reduce wasteful military spending and get our military to focus on national defense. I figured Rand Paul was the only barer of these sentiments in the Republican Primary.
But in the debates, despite all of Trump’s history of boisterous, provocative talk, he showed himself to be cautious, and even humble, on American foreign policy. He had no problem criticizing Hillary Clinton for her reckless interventions. Shortly after winning, when the Democrats started their neo-McCarthyite witch-hunt, Trump even dared to rhetorically ask “You think our country is so innocent?” WOW! Is Trump “blaming America”? I love this guy!
Let me be clear about what it means to love your country. Love is hard. Love can even be cruel. Love is not, however, enabling. Enabling is easy. If you see someone hurting themselves, it’s easy to pat them on the back and tell them it’s OK to keep doing what they’re doing. It takes love to grab them by the shoulders and say, “Stop doing this to yourself.” That’s how I feel about America when I see us engaged in these reckless, foreign wars that topple stable governments and empower terrorists. The enablers might say that I “hate America”. But no, this is true love.
In 2000, I liked that Bush advocated for a more “humble foreign policy.” Then he betrayed us. In 2008, I like that Obama ran on getting us out of Iraq. And then, Libya. In 2016, I was proud to see a President who was ready to use our military the way it’s meant to be used – to fight those who would attack us, ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. Not to police the world. Not to cooperate with “the global community.” No. To protect America’s interests.
The Final Straw
Trump isn’t perfect. I hear he’s engaged in some military action in Syria, and I wish he weren’t. But at least he had the sense to hold off until ISIS was reduced to feebility. And it doesn’t look like he’s trying to topple the government. But on the Korean front, he’s working towards peace! President Moon of South Korea, whom I’ve come to greatly respect, even said Trump should get a Nobel Prize! The American people also largely support the North Korean summit, even though Trump remains highly controversial.
But in case you thought Rachel Maddow had even a shred of integrity left, here’s the sad truth. The same Rachel Maddow that once welcomed the Tea Party’s calls for cutting wasteful military spending; is the same Rachel Maddow that now chastises Trump for the North Korean summit, and even accuses him of doing it to help Russia! What?! Red bating and warmongering from “progressive” Rachel Maddow?
The “Democrats” Today
I once saw the Democratic Party as the party of the people. They were the ones who would fight for American jobs, resist the warmongers, regulate the big banks, protect their environment. I would put up with all the PC stuff, because it was worth it to vote “in my own best interests”, right? Now, can Democrats even pretend to be the party of working Americans anymore? In 2004, John Kerry criticized Bush for outsourcing and promised to end tax incentives to companies that send our jobs overseas. Now, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to embrace “free trade”! WTF?!!!!!
The treatment of Bernie Sanders and his supporters only furthered revealed the truth. For no other reason than Sanders’s gender, he and his supporters were accused of being “sexist” and called “berniebros” as a pejorative. The first time I heard the term “berniebro”, I liked the sound of it. But in today’s PCed Democratic Party, masculinity is “toxic”, so nobody wants to be a “bro”.*
Today’s Democratic Party is a corporate sponsored circus of political correctness, allied with neoliberal imperialism! As long as they got gay marriage, they don’t care what happens to the rest of us. They don’t care about poor Appalachian whites, they don’t care about struggling African Americans, they don’t care about Latinos unless they’re illegal immigrants, and even then only care about how much they can exploit them! But they raise lots of money from Goldman Sachs to pursue their social agendas! I really don’t care one way or the other if gays marry, or what bathroom and trans-person uses, but I’m not about to sell out America’s working class over it. But the Democrats have!
I’m so fed up with those pumpkin latte sipping elitists, that I’ll even vote for Trump. Trump may be rude, crude, and sometimes lewd, but at least he cares about the working class. And don’t tell me he doesn’t! He’s slapping tariffs on China faster than Bill Clinton can zip up his pants! Much as I love Kyle Kulinski, a principled liberal unafflicted by Trump Derangement Syndrome, I don’t think he gives Trump enough credit. I’m glad to see someone on the left criticizing Trump for being still too interventionist on foreign policy. I admit I’ve gone soft on Trump for this. But Kulinski doesn’t give Trump credit for the tariffs. The Young Turks, once harsh critics of bad trade deals, is actually echoing CNN and warning about the “trade war” that Trump is supposedly starting!
This is the American left today. A handful of principled Jimmy Dore and Kyle Kulinski types on the outskirts, and a large mainstream of TDS afflicted corporatists who only care about you if you are useful to the sexual revolution and wear a vagina hat! Respectable, two-parent households, just need to check their privilege, right?! Well, I’ll take all my light-beige skinned, happily married, church attending privilege to the polls and vote for Trump, despite that “R” next to his name, and Americans of every skin tone with similar values are welcome aboard the #trumptrain !
*For those hoping to use this article as “proof” that “berniebros” cost Clinton the election, the facts are not on your side. I’m one of the few. 94% of Sanders voters went Clinton in the Gen. Election, compared to over 30% of Kasich voters going Clinton instead of Trump, 11% of Rubio to Clinton, and 7% of Cruz to Clinton.