Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Quotation Of The Day: Why I Can't Be A Republican (Continued) Edition

From this Jeremiah Goulka article at The American Conservative:
I used to be a serious Republican, moderate and business-oriented, who planned for a public-service career in Republican politics. But I am a Republican no longer.
There’s an old joke we Republicans used to tell that goes something like this: “If you’re young and not a Democrat, you’re heartless. If you grow up and you’re not a Republican, you’re stupid.” These days, my old friends and associates no doubt consider me the butt of that joke. But I look on my “stupidity” somewhat differently. After all, my real education only began when I was 30 years old. . . .
I always imagined that I was full of heart, but it turned out that I was oblivious. Like so many Republicans, I had assumed that society’s “losers” had somehow earned their desserts. As I came to recognize that poverty is not earned or chosen or deserved, and that our use of force is far less precise than I had believed, I realized with a shock that I had effectively viewed whole swaths of the country and the world as second-class people.
No longer oblivious, I couldn’t remain in today’s Republican Party, not unless I embraced an individualism that was even more heartless than the one I had previously accepted. The more I learned about reality, the more I started to care about people as people, and my values shifted. Had I always known what I know today, it would have been clear that there hasn’t been a place for me in the Republican Party since the Free Soil days of Abe Lincoln.
I've never fit the description in the first paragraph. I heard and believed the second, especially when someone told me that Winston Churchill formulated the original sentiment about conservatives.

The whole article is worth a read. Goulka's life differs from mine. I grew up as a member of the rural poor without indoor plumbing not as a resident of the rich suburbs of Chicago. The solution to being poor was always to work harder. That being said, his journey away from the modern Republican party mirrors mine. His comments about the global war on terror and the callous attitude toward poverty ring especially true.

1 comment:

David Newquist said...

I grew up in Illinois among people who were what we called Lincoln Republicans. They led the civil rights movement for the most part. When the Republican Party in Illinois departed from those principles established by Lincoln--and I departed from the Republican Party--was during the Goldwater-LBJ campaign when the Illinois Manufacturers Association and its cohorts took over the Party. At a meeting organized by them for business people, the executive VP opened the meeting by saying that if those minority people were not stopped, they would take over the country. He saw me taking the notes, asked if I was a reporter, and stopped the meeting insisting that I not publish those comments. I tried but my editor would not let it happen, largely because he didn't want the readers to get the impression that the business community was conspiring against the civil rights movement.

The drift of the GOP to the role that was once the province of Southern Democrats began in earnest at that time.