Speaking for Us

The following is part of a comment thread regarding an article called 'The Science of Why We Don't Believe in Science' in Mother Jones.   The comment was written by one David Borrelli.  I don't know the man, nor have I corresponded with him in any way.  But his experiences and opinions partly mirror my own, and he was so articulate when writing about them that I felt compelled to share his words.

When I was young (17 - 18 Years Old) I was a staunch conservative. My world view was very narrow, and the only things that really meant anything to my (besides girls, of course) were musclecars and guns. All I knew about liberals were that they were against those things (but I found out that they liked girls too). I also was ignorant about how the tax structure worked and I naively believed that trickle down economics was the real deal. I also thought unions were for protecting lazy employees. Worse yet as a Senior in High School I read "The way things ought to be" by none other than Rush Limbaugh. But time marches on, and my perceptions changed. I became more liberal. What happened you ask?

Life happened. I found out that free market capitalism only works at the local to regional level, and that it becomes a major problem once you add multinational corporations and international banks to the mix.

I discovered that musclecars were not ideal daily transportation, and that with few exceptions, liberals didn't really care if I wanted one or not, and that many of them were actually car guys too.

I learned that major corporations use predatory business practices to destroy small companies and eliminate competition, to lower workers standards of living, and extract more work for less pay. I also learned that they buy politicians (on both sides of the aisle) to gain favorable legislation and tax laws that the average person or small business owner can't take advantage of. I realized that corporations and the extremely wealthy (those with multiple billions) paid less tax percentage wise than I did while earning my $4.15 minimum wage.

I had a non-union job from which I was fired for being unwilling to do unethical work. I then realized that maybe unions were for more than protecting idiots.

I realized that "trickle down economics" did work... it allowed American jobs to trickle down to the coast, where they trickled down into the ocean and floated to China.

I saw bad things happen to good people, and I realized that yes, we did need a social safety net. I saw people die because the insurance company they had denied lifesaving procedures even though they were in fact covered because they were banking on the customer dying before the arbitration process would clear them for the procedure.

I saw unions crushed and disbanded, followed by the vaporization of pensions, healthcare, vacation time. sick pay, overtime pay, etc.

In summary, as I gained more wisdom and perspective in this world, I became a moderate. I am much more liberal than I used to be. I am often lumped in with "liberals" because you are not allowed to question anything in the conservative camp or you are a bleeding heart liberal. The irony is that most liberals would describe me as a reasonable conservative. Regardless, I thank God we have both sides, even when one side does something really stupid (I.E. Wisconsin's move to crush unions, or Obama's "Cash for Clunkers"). I would hate to live in a country that was hard right or hard left, because both sides have good things to offer. It's all about separating the wheat from the chaff.

Mr. Borrelli is politically a bit to the right of me, but he was earnest and, I believe, honest when writing this.  And that alone demands respect.

UPDATE:  While writing this, I got the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed.  The man had to die, and we had to be the ones to do it.  But the cheering makes me uncomfortable.  The greatest danger when fighting evil, is becoming your enemy.  This is the time when we show the world who we are.

No comments: