A little over a week ago I joined the Democratic Party. I had been an independent for a year and realized not being part of a party meant I was a voice in the wilderness. I'm not content to just be an observer on the sidelines. I want to be an agent for change. From my email, it appears this snowflake is part of an avalanche out the GOP.
The stampede out of the GOP has been created by Donald Trump and the new people that have joined the GOP in the past 6 years or so. They are not conservative. They are something else and that something else is not anything I want to be a part of or have any contact with. More about that in a minute.
According to Gallup Polls, Democrats now have a whopping 7 point advantage over the GOP in party identification in the USA. The GOP is dropping and the Democratic Party is gaining points. 45% of the nation identifies as Democrats, and 38% identify as Republicans. Of course, Republicans don't like any poll that isn't done by their own organizations and will continue to have their heads stuck in the sand. [Editor's note, I changed where he said their heads are stuck] The fact they have them stuck there is good for the Democratic Party.
Why change now, why at this time? The answer rests in what the GOP was for me.
That is a question I was often asked in the mountain of email that fell into my mailbox after the publication of "44 Years a Republican, 1 year an Independent, today I'm joining The Democratic Party." By any measure that article is viral and ten days after publication still is viral. You can read it here.
For a year, I anguished over what had happened to the GOP, a party my family were part of organizing in the 1850s and has served every generation since its inception. I was raised to not even dream of becoming a Democrat. The hook was set deep into my very soul.
We were the party of growing the economy. We were the party of growing trade which grows the economy and jobs. We were the party about the American Dream. Well, one of the American Dreams. We were the champion of the dream that one could start a business, through hard work and business efficiency and vision, that business could grow into a big business and you could become wealthy.
We gave lip service to small business but we were about big business. In particular, we were about the manufacturing business. That fit within my family values. My family owned an Iron Foundry in the Midwest. We manufactured engine blocks for the auto and earth moving industry, internal stove parts for that industry. We also manufactured decorative iron, like yard gnomes and yes, the infamous yard jockey was made at our Foundry. Some of those items are collector items now.
We were the face of the white, successful GOP. The GOP had not yet been infected with the narcissism that is rampant in the party today. We still thought about "We The People," and not just self.
My Father's company employed a lot of African-Americans. He had minority management in the plant which was unheard of in those times. Banks would not loan to Americans of Color. Redlining was the norm. My Mom and Dad cosigned mortgages and loans for those who worked for him so they could own homes, cars, and furniture. No bank would dare to not approve a loan guaranteed by my family.
My Father used to tell me it was good business to make those loans. That is what Republicans were about, once upon a time.
What the Party is now.
What the party is now is why I changed now. I can't be part of the hypocrisy. I get posts from members of the GOP who tell me that I am part of a Democratic Conspiracy to say these things about the party. I'm glad they bring that up because the embracing of Alex Jones and insane conspiracies is one of the reasons for my change.
The John Birch Society, remember them? They're back and the conspiracies that are out now and in the GOP are far wilder than their original craziness that helped Johnson beat Goldwater. The whole Benghazi tall tale is an example of the conspiracy and hate that rages in the GOP.
I worked in Foreign Policy in Washington. I met the late Ambassador Chris Stevens many times. He had a reputation as a cowboy and a risk taker. I was the same way. Chris went to Libya in the midst of war and I went to Bosnia and Croatia in the midst of war. I understood his mindset.
I also understood the State Department protocol that in civil unrest, the Ambassador is to go to the Embassy which is designed to protect the Ambassador. Chris made another decision, a fatal decision. He grabbed some marines and drove 60 miles from the Capital City of Tripoli to the consulate at Benghazi to see what was going on. That was a suicide mission and against the established State Department protocol. His error in judgment brought about his death. Hillary had nothing to do with it.
Hate sells in the Republican Party. The lies put forward about Hillary Clinton became a major plank in the GOP platform. It was used to mask the departure from nearly every GOP position on issues that have been the GOP hallmarks since the days of Ike.
Hate spewing is what the GOP calls discussion and debate. I was called a "commie" for joining the Democratic Party. That's pretty funny coming from a guy whose President routinely kisses Russian Vladimir Putin full on the lips.
The GOP is now the party of trade protectionism. Trying to stop Globalization is like those in the buggy industry trying to stop the automobile 120 years ago. Like it or not, markets are now global. American firms, if they are to be successful, must compete on the world stage.
There has been job loss to many workers and according to a study by the Brookings institution, white working class people are in dire straights. Trump lied to them. He told them he would bring their jobs back. It gave them hope in a hopeless situation. The problem is they are placing their hopes in a lie.
The Democratic Party traditionally has been at the forefront of protecting workers. It is a tradition of decency that is attractive about the Party. In Business School, I was taught that "labor" is an entry on the expense side of an Income Statement. To run an efficient business that maximizes the wealth of the common stockholder, which is the purpose of a corporation, expenses are to be minimized.
The Democratic Party reminds me that "labor" is an expense on the Income Statement and are my neighbors, my relatives, and people in my community. We have to lift them up too. If their jobs go away, we have a moral obligation to help them find a new job through retraining and fostering new enterprises.
That is the Democratic Party position on "labor" and it is one I embrace and so did my Republican Father and Mother. Labor and Industry need to realize that for us to advance as a nation, we need to be on the same side.
My Grandfather was a Union Electrician in the coal mines of Southern Illinois most of his life. He was in the mine wars of the 1920s when blood was spilled over the right to organize and collective bargaining. A cause that is worth spilling one's blood to advance is worthy of preservation in my book.
My Father's plant was union. He said the Union guys were tough negotiators but that was their job. They also provided a service to management. Instead of having to negotiate 500 individual salaries with workers, the union contract gave him a single point of contact and a deal was structured that was automatic, and not arbitrary. It let him get back to the business of his business and that gave him more time to create new products.
The tipping point for me.
The final straw that caused me to join right now, and at this time was the Illinois Budget fight. The GOP Governor who I supported deceived me. He told me with his own lips and direct to my face he was not an extremist like the Tea Party. I believed him and I worked hard to help him get elected.
Governor Bruce Rauner lied to me. He is as dogmatic and doctrinaire as any Tea Partier and has now surrounded himself with extremists.
But it was the racial hate that came to light in that battle. State Senator Toi Hutchinson, an African American State senator was threatened with a noose. The Illinois Policy Institute ran a racist cartoon of her. The defense of the cartoon by their supporters was to state "she is one." A GOP legislator was threatened with lynching for voting for the compromise. I was called a kike. Not once but on many occasions by those defending the Governor and the Illinois Policy Institute.
When I called them on their racism and asked them to rein in the racists, IP's response was that they don't see it that way. The Governor's response was a stony silence and an appointment to his staff of the very people who would not stand against the racist GOP in Illinois.
That was the tipping point. I knew then I had to belong to a party I can be proud of and not ashamed of. That party is the Democratic Party.
I'm not alone in joining the Democratic Party, not by a long shot.
The reception from Democrats has been warm. There have only been a couple of unfriendly emails or posts. The extremist in the GOP reaction has been predictable and vile. Name calling is all they have to offer. Here is the part that really took me by surprise.
I've received more than 400 letters from members of the GOP thanking me and that the words I said needed to be said. They also said my words gave them the courage to leave the GOP and join me in the Democratic Party.
To those in the GOP who are embarrassed by the behavior of the rank and file on social media, to those who are embarrassed by the buffoon that didn't win the majority of votes in the election but is in office because of the Electoral College, join me in the Democratic Party. You will be happy you did because you will belong to something that has a sense of decency. That is missing in the GOP, common decency.
Tomorrow, I think I will publish the hate mail and posts I have received from the GOP. It proves every word I have said about the GOP. I don't have to add a thing. Their own words will condemn them. I will include names.
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Filed under: America, Civil Rights, Democratic Party, Foreign Affairs, Hate, Illinois Budget, Illinois politics, Illinois State Legislature, Political hate, Politics, Racism, Republican Party, Resistance, Russia, Trump
Tags: conspiracies, Democratic Party, Donald Trump, globalization, GOP Hate, Governor Bruce Rauner, Hate, Illinois Policy Institute, Labor, Leaving the GOP, Racism, Republican Party, Senator Toi Hutchinson, Trade Protectionism