Some of you who don't know me and haven't had this discussion with me might be surprised to learn that, up until last week, I was a registered Republican. In fact, I have been a registered Republican since my 18th birthday when I registered to vote while waiting in line at a Slayer concert - wrap your head around that one. Yes, in sharp contrast to my current liberal-leaning viewpoint, I used to be a staunch conservative who sipped hungrily at the Rush Limbaugh, am talk radio teet of white, middle class fearmongering. My first election was in 1996 and I voted for Bob Dole because I was drinking the kool-aid and believed Bill Clinton was the antichrist. In 2000 I voted for Bush Jr., and, even though I was starting to become disillusioned with the increasing corporatism, greed and self-righteous hypocrisy of the GOP, I voted for Bush Jr. a second time in 2004. It wasn't because I thought G.W. was a great president by any stretch, however, it was because I thought Al Gore and John Kerry were so much worse by comparison. Gore bugged me because I was still sort of waking from my Ambien haze of conservative slumber, and I hadn't realized yet that Clinton was good for anything besides playing the sax and getting head from fat girls, and I knew Gore would just continue the Clinton agenda, with his own humorless, self-important stamp on it, and I still believed that Clinton's policies were worse for the middle class than the Republican's. When Dubya ran against Kerry in 2004, I was already nursing the seeds of discontent with the Republicans in my belly into little sprouts of growing contempt, but for as out of touch and corporatist and I was starting to see the Republicans being, I couldn't get past Kerry's smug attitude and the "better than" way he carried himself. It's hard for me to get behind a guy who claims to be for the working man, yet speaks with a thick bourgeois-elite speech effection, is married to the heiress to the Heinz fortune and couldn't tell you the price of a gallon of gas or milk if you asked him. I was increasingly becoming disgusted with the plundering of the middle class by the wealthy elite. I was frustrated with the growing disparity between the haves and the have-nots, and the casuality with which anyone who wasn't rich and successful was dismissed as "lazy," "entitled" or less-than. It especially bothered me how the middle class was turning more and more on itself, blaming each other for their decreasing quality of life instead of the people who were making policies and the lobbyists and special interests they served. To me, Kerry represented the two-faced out of touch politician to the T, he looked, spoke and acted like he thought his shit didn't stink and the more he tried to talk to the "common man," the more awkward, insincere and out of touch he came across.
The election of 2004 was only my 3rd since reaching voting age and already I felt like it was a "best of the worst" competition. There was a great South Park episode that ran during the election where a turd sandwich was running against a giant douche to be the new school mascot at South Park elemetary. It was a commentary on the choices in the '04 election that perfectly reflected my mood, and apparently that of a lot of other people as well. Personally, I was frustrated with the post-9/11 Republican party. One of the many empty Republican catchphrases is "9/11 changed everything," and it did. I was still waiting, 3 years later, for our government to take action against the people who actually attacked us, like Dubya promised on that pile of rubble with his arm around that NYFD fire chief. I was asking why are we in Iraq? I know they don't like us and we don't like them, but shouldn't our armies be hunting down and destroying the people who attacked us, instead of the people who tried to kill our president's dad 9 years earlier? I know that if anyone but Kerry had run against Bush that election, I probably would have voted for them, but Kerry just seemed like he wasn't going to be any different than Bush, except he was promising to pull us out of the region altogether, and as much as I didn't approve of going to war in Iraq, not doing anything at all seemed even less appealing to me. It was like we had been suckerpunched in the back of the head and on one hand you had a guy who was going to start kicking everyone's ass - starting with the dude he never liked anyway - until he got to the guy who hit us, and on the other hand you had a guy who was saying "Well, we kind of had that coming" and wanted to just walk away. That's when I realized the one, overwhelming strength the Republicans had over the Democrats then and still do to this day - conviction and clarity of purpose, no matter how twisted and evil that purpose is. Whether you like the Republicans or not, you know exactly where they stand on the issues. The inconsistency of the Democratic platform was glaring and the inability of the leadership to unify their base and get them to come together on an agreeable set of core principles is why they spend most of every election defending themselves from the well-aimed shots from the right instead of going on the offensive themselves. It's why they come across as weak, wishy-washy and pandering. It's why they back down to the unified Republican front like bitches and why, when it came down to it and I was in that booth, as much as I knew I'd probably come to regret it, I filled in the bubble for Dubya.
The next 4 years were brutal. I felt like a single woman in her 30's who went out to dinner with a guy, had a little too much wine with dinner and was just lonely and desparate enough to take him home, figuring it would be a quick one-night stand, he'd go home and worse case scenario she'd never hear from him again, only once they got back to her place, he pulled out a 15-inch cock and spent the next 4 years fucking her up the ass and spitting on her. It's funny, when I first started forming a political opinion, sometime around the start of the Gulf War when I was still in High School, I was absolutely a Regan conservative Republican. I bought hook, line and sinker into the corporatist, capitalist fiscal ideology, I ate up the nationalist, flag-mongering patriotism and I drank freely from the star-spangled pimp cup full of right-wing kool-aid. In the 8 years from my first presidential election in 1996, to my 3rd one in 2004, all that changed. It wasn't that I didn't want to believe all the things I had just accepted as gospel from the right, it was that I couldn't. I couldn't continue to believe that trickle-down economics was really the best thing for the middle class when every year the rich got richer and the poor got poorer, and the middle class shrank and shrank. I couldn't believe that giving money to the rich created jobs when I saw it become harder and harder for me to find work, when I saw fewer and fewer want ads in the paper, when I saw all that money that the rich were getting to "create jobs" going into their pockets instead. The worse I saw things becoming for myself and the people around me, the more frustrated I became with the party who was telling me "This isn't piss that's falling on your head, it's warm, golden rain!" Within 8 years, I went from being a dyed in the wool Republican to thinking they were all full of shit, and it wasn't a Democrat that changed my mind, it was the Republicans themselves. The more I tried to defend my party, the harder it became for me to do it, until I finally realized they were indefensible. I realized the only people who could seriously defend the modern Republican party were either millionaires, right-wing ideologues or the poor, ignorant proletariat bastards who were still doped up on the Ambien and hadn't woken up yet. I knew it when I voted for Dubya in 2004, but I figured what's the worst that could happen? Famous last words...
When my conservative friends ask me how I can believe the things I believe now, my response is because your party made me this way. I wanted to be a conservative, I tried to be a conservative, but I just couldn't put together the millions of dollars necessary to feel a personal connection to their fiscal policies. I couldn't embrace the neo-Christian ideological bigotry necessary to accept their intolerant and borderline sociopathic social platform. I can't lie to myself and pretend that I'm on the same level as the richest 1% in the eyes of the Republican party like my conservative friends can. I can't swallow that bullshit about the middle class and the ultra-rich being in the same boat when it comes to taxes and how progressive taxation "punishes success" when the income disparity between the wealthy elite and the middle class is the highest it's been since before the Great Depression. Rich people aren't going to become poor, middle class schlubs just because their taxes go up slightly. This notion that any taxation of the rich at all is horribly unfair, socialist and anti-American is fucking absurd. First of all, the concentration of wealth at the top in this country is so unbalanced, the only other place you ever see this huge of a wealth disparity between the elite and the working class is in 3rd world dictatorships and banana republics, and no, I don't mean the mall stores. 1% of the country receives 75% of the wealth created in the country. Seriously, fucking think about that for a second. 75 cents out of every dollar made in this country goes to 1% of the population. That's not "fair distribution of wealth based on hard work and success," that's a fucking cash grab, that's the fleecing of the middle class by the wealthiest, most powerful people in the country. Don't fucking bitch to me about welfare moms and immigrants taking all your hard-earned tax dollars when you're sucking the cocks of the motherfuckers who are stealing trillions of dollars right out of your pockets every day. Conservatives are so afraid of calling out the bullshit double standard of the rich. "You can't get mad at rich people for being rich, that's socialism!" First of all, do yourself and the rest of us a favor, spend 30 minutes Googling "socialism." Hell, I'll even help you, CLICK HERE. There, now read that, educate yourself even slightly as to what socialism actually is, then come back and have that discussion with me. Let me ask you a question, if someone broke into your house, stole everything of value you owned, took your bank card and wiped out your bank account and then drove off into the sunset in your car, would you defend them? Knowing my conservative friends, you'd say "That's why we have the right to bear arms, so I could shoot that fucker before he got past my front door!" However, put that burglar in a 3-piece suit, give him a fancy title like "Bank President" and all of a sudden you're defending him as he takes your house, rapes your 401k and liquidates all your assets. Now you're voting to give him even more of your tax dollars because you're worried that you didn't have enough to take to make him happy. Now you're saying "Don't worry sir, I'll pay more taxes so you don't have to because I know you worked hard to get where you're at and I'm no socialist!"
The truly sad thing is, as much as that makes perfect sense to me and the people who can see a thief for a thief, it's not going to make a difference to the conservatives who are still fully vested in the ideologies of our modern plutocracy. I'm convinced that conservatives WANT to be ruled over by a wealthy upper class plutocratic system. They WANT to be subjugated by the elite, bound into wage slavery and made into modern day serfs and peasants. They admire their oppressors, worship them even. They gladly eat up the scraps that are thrown to them as if they're the most wonderful and special treats. There's a popular analogy making the Facebook status rounds and working it's way into the political dialogue:
"A teacher, a tea-bagger and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO takes 11 of the cookies and tells the tea-bagger 'Watch out for that union guy, he wants some of your cookie."
The problem with conservatives is that they would reply "Don't worry boss, I got my eye on him, he ain't getting none of my cookie!" If you try to tell that conservative, don't you think it's kind of fucked up that you're worried about someone taking part of your one little cookie when that greedy motherfucker over there has 11? They would reply "Hey, he worked hard for those cookies, if those were my cookies I wouldn't want to share them either!" Yeah, except those ARE your cookies, dumbass! YOU BAKED THEM! The "union guy" helped you do it, too! You literally spent hours in the kitchen making them and now you're being forced to fight over one fucking cookie while this asshole eats the other 11 right in front of you and you're defending HIM? "Hey, these cookies are dry, go get me a glass of milk, bitch!"
"YES SIR, RIGHT AWAY SIR! OMG YOU'RE SO AWESOME, I CAN'T WAIT TO BE LIKE YOU SOMEDAY!"
Like I said, conservatives want to be ruled over by their "betters." They don't want their neighbor to be president, they want their boss to be president. I mean, shit, if your dumbass neighbor could be president, then why couldn't you, right? No fuckin way are you gonna elect Dale down the street to run things, that sumbitch couldn't find his ass with both hands! If I ain't gonna be president, he sure as hell ain't gonna be president! Now the boss, he should be president, he's got a big house, a fancy car, he runs the plant that I've been working at ever since they shut down the old plant on the other side of town. I keep hearing rumors this one's gonna close too, but I don't believe it, this place makes too much money to close down. All I know is he's the richest and smartest guy I know and he's the one I want running things, cuz I know he'll look out for me. Me and him, we're a lot alike. I mean, ok, I can't join his country club, or park in his spot, or eat in the same lunchroom, or afford to shop at the same stores that his family does, or send my kids to the same school his kids go to, or get past the gates surrounding his neighborhood to visit him, which doesn't matter cuz he never invites me over anyway, but I relate to him a lot more than these assholes in my neighborhood. One day I'm gonna win the lottery and I'm gonna buy a house right down the street from my boss and we can play golf together and smoke cigars and I'll be damned if some socialist liberal commie is gonna stick their grubby hands into my pockets when that happens. That's right, I play the lottery every week... I can't buy as many tickets as I used to though, we all had to take a pay cut at the plant, house payment went up and food and gas prices keep rising, damn health insurance doubled last year THANKS A LOT OBAMACARE, but I still get my numbers in every week and I got a feeling my ship's gonna come in, and I just know that as soon as I get a little money in my pocket those damn liberals are gonna be reaching in with both hands to take it. Fuck that though, I got a plan. I'm gonna pay off all my credit card debt, pay off the house and truck, buy me a nice fishin' boat and just sit out on the lake all day, enjoying my life. Hang on, got a phone call... What? The plant's closing down? Shipping everything to Mexico? DAMN IMMIGRANTS! DEY TUK OUR JAHBS!!!
If you don't see the irony in the above paragraph, then you're probably still pissed about that "union guy" eyeballing your cookie.
I reluctantly accept the fact that people who are staunchly conservative are unreachable. You just can't convince a middle-class, non-millionaire conservative that they are supporting a platform that is directly responsible for the deterioration of their standard of living. A conservative would read the scenario I just posted above and view that as a vindication of their beliefs, rather than a clear example of the hypocrisy of them. You just can't convince them otherwise. Even as they sink deeper and deeper into personal debt, even as society inches closer and closer to modern-day fifedoms where the wealthy elite rule over a subclass of wage slaves, they will still blame unions, liberals, taxes and progressivism for all of our woes. It's like trying to convince a heroin addict that they need to get help. If you can't see that you have a problem, nothing is going to get through to you, and at some point you just have to let them sink until they hit rock bottom and hope they finally get it. So, that's what I did. I cut myself loose from the ideology years ago, but I finally cut myself loose from the label as well. Good luck conservatives, I promise you, when you finally hit rock bottom and realize you've been buying into a scam all along, I won't say I told you so. Unlike you, I will reach out a hand to help my fellow Americans.