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Mike Thomson's Political Evolution

Or, how I left Grandpa and found Lou Dobbs...

by Michael H. Thomson
January 31, 2007

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Mike Thomson's Political Evolution
Where do we get our political views? Sometimes we inherit the views of our parents. To be liked we may attach ourselves to the views of our friends, or even our church. How many of you are saying, "been there, done that!"
In my case, my political views have gone through a long convoluted evolution.
As a child, I revered my grandfather, who was a "Roosevelt" Democrat. "Pa" had chased Mexican bandito Pancho Villa, fought in France during WWI, was captured by Germans – escaped, and lived on the lam, hiding out in rural France with sympathetic farmers before being repatriated. His experiences in that war shaped the rest of his life and the lives of his family.
Growing up in such a family it was considered traitorous to say a kind word towards the other side. Republicans were evil, rich, and trampled on the common man. Given the experience my grandfather and my parents had during the Great Depression, it was not too difficult to adopt this viewpoint.
Because of the long military history in my family, ancestors, grandfather, dad, uncles, and cousins – all serving honorably, a military career was viewed as a good way to spend one's life. In the Sixties because of the institution known as the draft, most of my generation of young men faced at least a partial career in the armed service.
Being inclined towards the military was not a popular thing to do during this period. People looked at you funny if you wore a uniform. Some of your brothers in arms were being spat upon and taunted by longhaired freaky people who wore a chicken foot symbol on their t-shirts.
Increasingly the people doing the taunting and the draft dodging were associated with the Democratic Party. Little did I know, then, that some of the worst draft dodgers would be Republican leaders in the future. Nevertheless, my view of the longhaired "chicken foot" people swung me towards the Republicans and away from the views of my grandfather and the rest of the family.
After Vietnam, the now respectable "chicken foot" people did their part to ruin the military. It wasn't until Ronald Reagan came along that restoration began. Again, unsophisticated as I was, I didn't realize that Reagan wasn't really a traditional Republican. As a good actor, he played the part magnificently. Then Rush Limbaugh appeared…
When I first heard Limbaugh in late 1988, like many others, I lapped his words up and incorporated them into my own political philosophy. There were incongruities between my views and Limbaugh's views in some areas, but I chose to ignore them. I eschewed the Clinton's and embraced the Bush family. Then it got weird….
This little guy with big ears and a penchant for charts and pointers arrived on the scene. He made more sense than the Clinton's or the Bush's, or Limbaugh. Later he was branded as "crazy" and I never mentioned to anyone that I voted for him.
It was after Perot that I began the transition to what I am today - an Independent Populist. I had my brushes with cynical business types who were adherents of the "global economy" and whose loyalty to America is a secondary devotion instead of primary. Both political parties are rife with these people.
When I started thinking this way, I glumly accepted the fact that I was odd and was out of step with most of my Democrat and Republican peers. Then I encountered Lou Dobbs.
From the time of the first Gulf War and through the influence of Limbaugh, I had stopped viewing CNN. About two months ago, I visited 202 on Direct TV and found Dobbs.
At first I thought something was screwy because this was the person that used to do the business report, now he was talking politics with an attitude. Then I heard his theme, "War on the Middle Class."
This was why I had been feeling glum. I, like many millions of Americans are at war, not with some foreign potentate, but with traitors to the American Dream.
Traitors who move our jobs overseas, traitors who create conditions that nearly bankrupt companies like GM and Ford, traitors who wink and nod as millions cross our borders and live in our country illegally working for less money than our citizens, and last but not least, traitors who find it offensive and politically incorrect to put America first.
Dobbs is going to be one of the voices I listen to until someone shuts him up.
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Comments (11)

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Brooks Gardner from Mebane, NC writes:
January 31, 2007
Mike, may I ask? Do you have an opinion of your own or do you attach to anyone who make you feel good? You have call me a liberal because I do not agree with you. I really don't know what to call you. Just remember, not all Democrats are heathens or irresponsible. There are those of us who accept our own view of the world from experiences and attitudes. The real fight that I have is my battle with the Christian Right who aren't.

By the by, you have a right to your opinion and I will not put a label on you.

George S. from Somewhere near the Mason Dixon Line writes:
January 31, 2007
I keeping reading about the so-called Christian Right. Would someone please explain to me what this organization is and how many members they have? Are these bad people? Should we ban them or even possibly expell them from our society? Do they have poor personal hygiene?

Janet from Virginia writes:
February 1, 2007
Hi Brooks - can you explain what you meant when you said "the Christian Right who aren't"? Aren't what? Thanks!

Brooks from The Tar Heel State writes:
February 3, 2007
For Janet, simply, I feel that the Christian Right is not right is not right in their approach to the establishment clause of the Bill of Rights (freedom of religion). They are trying to take over the GOP and the preacher from Thomas Road in Lynchburg in my opinion is one of the wrongest of the Right.

Steve Rankin from Jackson, Mississippi writes:
February 8, 2007
The establishment clause of the First Amendment simply says that we will have no government-sponsored State Church, and that every citizen has freedom of religion.

The "Christian Right" have allegedly been "trying to take over" the Republican Party since 1980. Since Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson are both now in their 70s, they had better get a move on!

A lot of people forget that Falwell and Robertson both supported Jimmy Carter for president in 1976. Carter went around the country talking about how he was a "born again" Christian. Of course, you didn't hear anything then about the "separation of church and state," since Carter was a Democrat.

underdog from in the south writes:
February 8, 2007
Re: Steve Rankin's post and Brooks Gardner's post

Brooks, you need to work on your grammar and syntax a bit. Steve, I believe we would probably share the same degree of skepticism when contemplating a used car purchase from one of those car lots all gussied up with fish icons.

Melody from Cleves, OH writes:
February 8, 2007
Hi Mike! You must love this one. It certainly has people talking.

Not having television (as in zero) I am spared much of the garbled nonsense that is thrust at Americans daily. This has been very freeing. I am a news junkie though. The internet (and radio to some extent) supply my needs. The internet also allows me to gather every viewpoint in one sitting (some nights my bum gets quite sore). I can also skip all the "news" about Angela, Brad, Anna Nicole, etc.

I've discovered that I agree completely with absolutely no one. And that's just fine. This includes the people in my own church on one issue or another. It sounds like Mr. Gardner may now be prejudiced against Christians calling us all the "Christian Right." i.e. Those people who lean hard to the right and support anyone else who does regardless of their blunders (refering to the current big eared fellow). I also lean hard to the right on some issues while completely understanding the constitution and what can or can not be done (ex: abortion). There are other issues I can't lean one way or the other on because I'm still waiting for someone to actually make sense on the issue in realistic terms (ex: immigration).

I am now disenchanted with literally everyone inside the DC beltway. I trust none of them even when I like the way they talk (ex: Hagel). It really frightens me when some of the people I trust little to none start making the most sense (ex: H. Clinton). I never did think Bush made sense.

While DC has earned my distrust some of my favorite people (and puppies) live just outside it. I'll not hold that against them. ;)

Tom from Huntsville, AL writes:
February 10, 2007
mike, i am interested in how you think that someone in this country has shipped those jobs overseas. the problem with ford and gm at this stage is the union contracts that they are presently suffering from. look around, every major foreign car maker is producing cars in this country without union contracts and doing well. the devaluation of the dollar has made american made goods more competitive but yet ford and gm are still struggling. there are some things that they can do to improve the product and marketing but the real issue is their costs are too high to compete with non union made cars.

man, lou dobbs and anyone else who preaches protectionism ain't right. if we want ford and gm to survive they need to dump the union contracts.

democracy's own biggest enemy is itself and protectionist thinking. subsidies go along with that btw.

Steve Rankin from Jackson, Mississippi writes:
February 13, 2007
Underdog: Not sure what you mean, unless you're comparing Falwell and Robertson to used-car salesmen.

Back in the early-to-mid '80s, U. S. automakers got sloppy about their quality, and Americans began buying more Japanese-made cars. The U. S. carmakers then asked the Reagan administration to lower the number of Japanese cars that could be imported, in order to drive up their prices. The administration refused and told the U. S. carmakers to become more competitive by improving their quality. They did, and their sales went up. The car companies benefitted, and so did American consumers.

Inherent in those union contracts are lifetime healthcare coverage and fat pensions. Anytime a third party pays for a good or service-- like healthcare-- costs go up. That's true whether the third party is government or a private company.

James Atticus Bowden from Poquoson, Virginia writes:
February 13, 2007
Interesting political odyessy. I think I understand much of what you are saying.

One of my Grandmothers was the state Chairlady for the Democratic Women of Arizona.

One of my Grandfathers was one of a handful of Republicans in W. Tennessee.

Yet, both had the same value system for their time (1890s-1970s).

I raised my right hand and swore to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic when I was 17.

I'm a Populist Conservative Christian. Except, I've studied history, foreign affairs, and economics and lived overseas with the Army, so I'm not such an isolationist or protectionist.

The Republican Party is my home, elected to city, district and state party office, until somone other than a Conservative is nominated in 2008 - if that happens.

Steve Rankin from Jackson, Mississippi writes:
February 13, 2007
As to this business of "shipping jobs overseas": You make it sound as though there is a finite number of jobs! Our economy is dynamic-- not static-- and government should leave businesses as free as possible to keep creating new jobs.

Trade protectionism usually leads to 1) retaliation, 2) a smaller selection of goods and services, 3) reduced quality, and 4) higher prices.

This is an age-old debate. I strongly recommend the writings of Henry George and others at the Mises Institute, which are available online.

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