LIBERAL ENERGY and the CONSERVATIVE CON
by Jim Cleveland
(from ON TOP OF IT: Rising Above the Human Mind. Visit Jim at www.jimclevelandauthor.com for free e-books and MP-3 tracks.)
OK. I’m now finally fed up with those so-called Conservatives — those who claim to be hard-working, church-going, family- oriented rural people who are the backbone and conscience of our country. They are arrogant enough to tell you that and hold judgment against their image of a lazy liberal like me, out of touch with reality, and sipping lattes while the working white people suffer.
They call me a bleeding heart; I’d rather bleed than coagulate into a selfish clot.
A recent New York Times op-ed piece featured such a person who lamented that rural America has been left out of the prosperity, with dying towns, closed-up businesses, jobs gone overseas. Urban America may be doing fine but we’ve been forgotten and left out. The politicians take care of the urbanites and leave us in the cold.
He totally forgot that most all of these problems were caused not by President Obama but by our GOP-laced business giants who have destroyed their mom and pop competition and flocked to third world sweat shops for many of the products in our market. The Fortune 500 supports the GOP and lines up against labor interests. Wal-Mart decimates rural America and pays less than a living wage so that employees even qualify for food assistance. The Waltons vote Republican.
The presidential election of Donald Trump was supposed to be their answer to rural discontent — a billionaire playboy with a string of bankruptcies and court suits who surrounds himself with ostentatious glitter and trophy women. He shows a nasty, defensive personality with sentences that could come from a third grader. I doubt that he has ever set foot in rural America or has any understanding of a struggling debt- ridden family trying to survive, with one job loss or major illness away from bankruptcy.
But here he is — an example of anti-intellectualism running rampant in the nation, and finally dragging us all down into a Trump presidency. The intentionally dumb have really done it to us now. But how about liberals?
First of all, liberal people have far outpaced others in the growth of our country. It takes hard work to earn advanced degrees, to develop a lifetime regimen of learning and exploration. Liberal minds dominate the universities, the media, journalism, philosophy, the sciences, computer technology positions in Silicon Valley. This all takes dedication, perseverance, hard work, and an intellectual mind. Liberals can get out there and do it.
These people have had the guts and drive to leave rural homesteads and go to urban areas where there are jobs and opportunities. They have gone to strange places, met and interacted with other races and ethnic groups, learned that people are basically the same and moved on to problems and challenges of real import. Liberals are courageous, open- minded and anxious to find friends.
Rural people, unworldly, tend to look at things that are different with antagonism, as potential competition, as dangerous enemies. They tend to avoid reading any books at all in high school, or college if they make it there. They tend to revel in down-home common sense and disdain book- learning, especially with people who have ‘their heads buried in a book’ and who ‘ain’t got no common sense.’
Translation: they can’t change spark plugs, shoot and dress a deer, or hold down a tobacco chaw, and ‘all that book learning ain’t gonna get you nowhere.’ They teach their kids to be defensive and ‘don’t take no shit’ from nobody. They forever bitch about the faults and the doings of ‘they’ without ever explaining who the hell ‘they’ are. They are forever irritated because the public schools are integrated. They would like to afford the Christian academy instead.
These people are lazy in developing an intellectual mind that can sufficiently understand the workings of government, political parties, corporations, the stock market, government agencies, the tax codes, banking, the health care system, wealth inequality, environmental challenges, religious doctrine issues, medicine prices, education debt-load, or sustainable, renewable energy sources, just to name a few. I’m tired of these people dragging the country down. We are fortunate in many cases if they don’t vote. And more than half of Americans don’t vote — they don’t want to take any responsibility at all, only bitch about the system that they purposely don’t fit into.
Liberals spend a lifetime learning; Conservatives fight to conserve what they have — which is often little or nothing of real moral substance. Liberals want to lift everyone up and will share to get that done; Conservatives want to conserve all they have, accumulate more, and make up excuses about not sharing that most often reflects on the worthiness of the persons in need. If they sufficiently denigrate the poor and downtrodden, they won’t be obligated to help them at all.
These people form Chambers of Commerce to put business profits over everything else. They segregate themselves as possible from black, brown, yellow and red people, believing that they are a superior race overall. As capitalists, they strategically develop an enemy to focus on while they concentrate on their profits. That has to be the federal government, which imposes taxes which are always too high and unfair, and which hampers business development by imposing regulations concerning safe working conditions, air quality, and dumping of pollutants into the air, water or earth. Over-regulation bogs down the economy, they say, but if we cut taxes and regulations on the richest corporations, they will grow the economy and provide jobs.
They still preach it, but they abdicated on that long ago with the excuse of globalism. Put Americans out of work and take those jobs to the Philippines, China, India or Bangladesh instead. Their trickle-down mirage became an outpouring to other countries — damaging our economy beyond measure.
The Conservative religionist in rural America often ignores moral living and Jesus-like behavior but goes to church every Sunday in order to be seen — good for image, good for business, good for sales if they’re a local agent. Or they don’t bother going to church if it doesn’t suit their image-making, but they nevertheless preach what they call Christian values in exile. Right wing preacher politician fund-raisers continue to influence them against dastardly liberals and their nonsensical tolerance and respect for other races, religions and creeds.
Such lazy, ill-informed and often animus driven people have finally dragged the country down to their level, electing Trump and branding liberals as unrealistic bleeding hearts with little common sense and a naive trust of people with whom white nationalists see nothing in common.
Trump built his campaign around a trip to the Mexican border and the demonizing of would-be Mexican immigrants, all wrought with lies and twisted logic. He then railed against lax vetting of immigrants from countries that we are now bombing or have recently spent billions of dollars bombing. There is no lax vetting; there has never been a crime involving this desperate band of refugees. Liberals will pity these people, and care about them. Conservatives will fear them and disdain them as Muslims.
Trump divided America as best he could, stirred white backlash nationalists, and mobilized high numbers of fearful, uninformed and instinctively divided Americans. Combine this with the perception that Democrats welcome blacks and gays, pass civil rights legislation and promote a welfare state, and you have a near perfect storm for these voters. It’s made more perfect by Trump not being a career politician at all, but a highly successful (they say) businessman. That’s exactly what they think the country needs in the White House — not an intellectual person with political and government experience, who knows that the country is not a business and his job is not to make profitable business deals.
His supporters think that it is. They think that they have common sense. But they have little intellect. And it is a fact that intellect is needed to make sense of anything and everything. Too many people never bother to develop it. They are busy trying to make money and raise a family. Their common sense can be witless. They build it on a false foundation of what they want.
We are into what will be a tumultuous four years as cultures clash all over the country. It will surely more exciting than four years of President Hillary Clinton and a Congress that refuses to do anything that might make her look good. We’ve been there and just done that.
Finally, when we examine liberalism, we should look at American history, and especially the Republican Party, which emerged in the ashes of the civil war and ruled over years of corruption fomented by the government and the rich. It battled the rebel Teddy Roosevelt and was interrupted briefly by the Woodrow Wilson administration, but then the party came on strong again to lead the country into the great economic depression. GOP President Herbert Hoover ’s solution to the impending crisis was to cut taxes on the rich so they would lead us out of our ruin. It made things worse. President Reagan would resurrect the corporate welfare mandate called ‘trickle down’ economics years later and it didn’t solve any problems at all.
After Hoover, it took four terms, 16 years, of a liberal, try almost anything presidency with Franklin D. Roosevelt to bring the country back from the economic bottom. It virtually created the federal bureaucracy — the realized ideal that the government can actually provide economic and social support to the people.
Abetting the recovery was the advent of an unavoidable world war that was also a beginning of a permanent money- driven budget behemoth defense industry. No longer would we have to mobilize to wage war. We would have a standing military with enough weaponry to attack an enemy at a moment’s notice. We would build an invincible military machine and many fortunes will be made.
In a short time, this became the country’s largest budget item by far and the GOP quickly leapt to take advantage of it. Represent the interests of these industries and get their votes, simple. Invest in them and reap the profits when you vote for war.
No less than Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, a celebrated Army general, would bemoan the huge amount of money required for this seemingly necessary defense industry, funds that could be spent feeding hungry children, he noted, or other beneficial social programs. But the Cold War with the Soviet Union was an inconvenient reality that built more than a few military arsenals across the world in a fierce arms race. Billions of dollars are tied up and wasted in thousands of nuclear warheads that we hope never to use.
In recent years, we’ve seen just a few too many Republican administrations. The economy fell apart again in 2008 as the George W. Bush administration left their sinking ship and took loads of money with them, and into overseas tax havens.
Amazingly, they were allowed to fight the Iraq war off-budget and raid social security funds to help pay for it.
President Obama had to clean up the economic mess while facing near complete obstruction which slowed everything down, so that the resulting dissatisfaction could put the Republicans back in charge of Congress, and they put up a high wall of obstruction for six more years.
When they obstruct the President at every turn, they believe that his failures, and more importantly the false perception of failure that they harp on, will put them back in power soon enough. It has worked very well. Bill Clinton overcame them for re-election, but was severely hampered by Congressional obstruction and a gold-digging female intern who was altogether too persuasive.
Over the years, I’ve honestly considered supporting candidates in both parties despite the history. But when eight years of near flawless leadership from the Obama Administration gets condemned by a do-nothing murder of crows who constantly lie and take no blame at all for the mess they left, then the die is cast.
Our country must have a traditionally loyal opposition to make any progress at all under our two-party system. When a party halts a critical judicial appointment based on partisan politics, they have put their party collective of special interests above the good of the country. When they refuse to approve a Supreme Court judge, or even hold hearings, based on his being appointed by a progressive Democrat, they drag the court down into their self-induced political morass.
The GOP plainly needed to clean up its act after these years of obstinate, juvenile jousting and posturing by the likes of John Boehmer and Mitch McConnell. The people were fed up with it.
The expected assortment of GOP partiers were like warmed- over leftovers for their primary voters when Trump took the stage to berate them. Those primary voter rolls were swelled beyond the usual Fortune 100 board room executives who provide the party’s base. The party had welcomed in recalcitrant Libertarians, unrepentant segregationists, and Tea Partiers who got their foundation by opposing the big bank bail-out, which the party embraced.
Given these renegade voters and the tired old party line of the GOP and its idiotic Congressional record, Trump was a shoo- in. It was stupid to repeal the Affordable Care Act continuously over the years, right into a wall of futility — and with nothing to replace it. It suddenly became so apparent to so many people that the Republicans were speaking wholeheartedly for the insurance companies and with a sharp stick into the eye of reason.
It should be apparent that insurance companies want to insure only the people they want to insure and consider that a basic freedom in the tenant of Supreme Capitalism. Why should they be forced to insure people who are bad risks to stay healthy? They want healthy people paying them every month; anything else is detrimental to the bottom line. HMO CEO’s are among the most lavishly paid executives in the world.
It was also infuriating to see Ted Cruz’s radicals fight the usual GOP suspects to actually shut down the federal government, a petulant, idiotic act that cost the country a lot of money once again.
So Trump, never a Republican, took over the party while Bernie Sanders, an independent who has never joined the Democrats or hustled for the corporate dollar almost took over the other party. Alas, the traditional Democrat, Clinton, managed the nomination and promptly let the populist fire go out while she reverted and stuck to homily-filled say-nothing script that backed away from even a sentence on income inequality and corporate welfare abuse.
But neither the high road or the middle road or the say- nothing boilerplate speeches could do it for Clinton. People were so sick of politics and obstruction in 2016 that they drove a big change. The frustrated rebel intellectuals voted for Bernie; the frustrated rebel anti-intellectuals outvoted them. They have great numbers and the idea of intellectualism, however they fail to accurately define the term, is a bad thing in their limited mind. Thinking intellectually, philosophically, objectively, altruistically is not something they want to do, and many feel that liberal professors are even detrimental to their values.
I’ve got news for them. Urban centers drive the country in every way. Rural America, on the other hand, is a drain on America until it can be rejuvenated with the money that’s now flowing overseas or to huge corporations headquartered elsewhere.
Red states need a lot of federal support because of their economic failures brought on by pro-business, anti-labor policies. Blue states drive the economy because they understand the unvarnished truth about economics — we all rise or fall together. The GOP obfuscates it all.
When the 1% rich have 99 percent of the wealth, you bolster the 99% with enough money to keep supporting the rich — buying goods and services, houses, automobiles, media, entertainment, household goods. You don’t cut taxes on the
1% to help the 99% by proclaiming that more corporate welfare will incentivize or require them to hire people. They don’t want to hire people; labor is the greatest expense in most every business, and the one place where they all focus on cuts and belt-tightening — and they always cut from the bottom so that the need for cutting never reaches the top.
I can almost hear it: “We will discuss our austerity program at our management retreat at Hilton Head next week.”
The remarkable thing about the Trump presidency is that he doesn’t reflect the Republican Party and they don’t reflect him. They won’t tell him what to do, and it remains to be seen if they will take orders from him.
One thing for sure. Liberals in this country may be in the minority but they are generally angry, frustrated, fearful, and ready to stand up and fight. If they have to fight the President, that’s fine. They’ll do it. Liberals are motivated as never before.
The wall Trump wants to build is likely going to be between him and huge numbers of honorable, intellectual and progressive people in the country, those who matter and make themselves matter. And even while his rural constituency, short of knowledge and intellect, short of vision and imagination, short of spiritual caring, short of common sense, short of any influential connections, do little for him except continue their incessant bitching about how bad things are and how he’s going to do something for them.
“Ask not what your country can do for you. What can you do for your country?” — John F. Kennedy