The slow death of a life-long democrat- part I

These have been challenging times for most of us; if you haven’t lost your job or in some way had your income reduced, you know someone that has; if you have not had trouble meeting your mortgage payments or other major financial obligation, you know someone that has.  The pressure of financial problems creates emotional stress in all of us and in this off-year election campaign time, politicians are each trying to convince voters they are better qualified to solve the economic problems than their proponents – and most of us expect our elected leaders to have solutions.  If there are other issues, they are secondary to the economy; even the legal-illegal immigrant debate is rooted in the economy because of immigration’s impact on social services and jobs. The following is from a blog on the Reno Gazette-Journal:

What are your ideas for changing Reno’s future?
Start giving jobs to U.S.-born citizens. They are the people who would be spending all of their wages right here at home. U.S.-born citizens don’t work 2 jobs like many immigrants do, and then send money to their relatives, who are still living overseas, every month.

The problem is not unique to 2010, every recession or depression in the country’s history has produced similar debates; and at every point in our history when one segment of the population felt threatened by the latest group of immigrants we have heard (or read about it) the same rhetoric.  Over the years we have demonized German, Russian, Polish, Irish,  African, Mexican, Jewish, Catholic and Muslim immigrants. There is generally one solution suggested to the “immigrant problem” send them home, close the doors and save the jobs for “real Americans.”  The blogger could have been writing in 1885, 1920, 1954 or 2010 only the target ethnic, religious or language group would be different.

The economic issue as a primary issue is larger, it includes employment, housing, retail spending, credit, insurance, banking, health-care and every other aspect of the economy, most have no relationship to immigration except in the minds of most radicalized. And while the debate is like other eras, it differs in detail, the details are specific to our times.  And that is one of the problems, the two major parties have ready-made, off-the-shelf proposals that are rooted in the politics of other eras.

The bitterness and acrimony of the debate may not be different from other times, but it feels different to me; I cannot remember a time, nor have I read of one, short of the Civil War, when there was such polarization of the two major political parties.  Every problem only has only two potential solutions, one supported by the democrats and one supported by the republicans.  There can be no open debate, no honest attempt to find workable ways to improve the economy – all of the lawmakers in Washington simply line up behind the “off-the-shelf” party solution and call the supporters of the other party solution unflattering names.

It is causing me to rethink my political loyalties and the two-party system. I want to take a few days to work my way through this subject it is too important to me to toss off a few words and then move to another subject, so I am calling this slow death part I.



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