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November 18, 2005

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I wish I would hear something similar from my parents. They were born in 1927 (Daddy) and 1930 (Mama), and they both worked very hard all their lives. They'd do just about anything to help their children and grandchildren, and they are generous givers to charity, but they get more conservative as they get older. I think they listen to too much talk radio. My father used to be a libertarian when it came to social issues (pro-choice, pro-legalization of drugs), but I think he's changed a bit.

I'm convinced they still believe they are supporting the Republican party of the 1970's -- limited government, fiscal responsibility, and staying out of people's private lives. Otherwise, how could they possibly justify supporting a party that wants to marginalize their son, who is gay, and force their granddaughters back to the 1950's?

I have tried to tell them that the Republican Party hasn't been the party of fiscal conservatism for at least twenty years, but they can't bring themselves to believe it.

My mom (1930) says the same things except she gets to throw in her memories of living under Hitler's rise to power and dodging bombs during the war. Not too happy with the way things are going.

It is a very sad thing when we punish people for having less. It troubles me more that we have a shrinking middle class and a growing lower class. Why is it okay to teach greed, materialism and wanton consumerism?

You understand that the Republican strategy is to create huge deficits through tax cuts and military spending. For that is the only way to cut social benefits in the name of "deficit reduction". It's actually a clever (and devilish) strategy if you ask me.

From a practical point of view, the problem with a welfare state is that it is unsustainable. Look at Europe right now. Most of the EU countries are going to have major problems maintaining their pension systems as they currently exist. There will be more people on government benefits than there will be paying into the system due to the decline in the younger population.

The New Deal worked during the depression era but in our current situation it is fiscally unsustainable (you can thank the Republicans for that).

For that is the only way to cut social benefits in the name of "deficit reduction".
Correct ... the old Norquist "drown it in a bathtub" argument.

My parents were both born in 1932 too... but they are democrats! I didn't realize how lucky that makes me 'til recently. My friends bemoan their repub parents who have not awoken to the fact their party has been hijacked by radical rightwingnuts. Or can't face it... in any case, my parents are pretty progressive, although I still have to argue with my dad about gay rights (even tho one sister is gay). But then again, my dad is totally enamored of my sis' partner (ha!) on an intellectual level (both atty's) so maybe he'll come around.

In any case, here's to hoping the scales fall away for our parents' generation. Nice post, Blogen. Your nieces are darling & mom is very pretty!

My parents were born in the 40's and are both Democrats who would rather poke their eyes out with a sharp stick than vote for a Republican.

But my father-in-law was born in the early 30's, and he is a lifelong Republican. He was a Marine, went to Korea (where he was taken prisoner briefly in a story that I've heard him tell exactly once, and I got chills). In the 2000 Presidential election, for the first time in his life, he did not support the Republican candidate (actually, FIL wrote in his own name instead). In 2004, for the first time in his life, he voted for a Democrat for President.

Recently, we were out to dinner with him, and we were talking politics, and he announced that he could not forsee a point in the future where he would ever go back to voting Republican again. He is completely disgusted with the Republican party. The issues that you mention are a big part, but the thing that pushed him over the top was the combination of the war in Iraq and the concurrent deterioration in the treatment of vets.

Damn, that makes me very hopeful, Maurinsky. Thanks for sharing!! It always heartens me to hear of folks who put country before party. I keep having to point out to rightwingnuts at my site that I'm not a Democrat, really, more of an independent and onetime Green, but they keep accusing me of being some sort of Clinton-ite (even tho I am definitely very anti-Hillary). I just calls 'em as I sees 'em.

What bothers me - and it's an ageless problem, apparently - are the scads of people who just refuse to see the reality of what's happening. Yes, it's depressing and scary, but facing it means we can change it. Argh. So frustrating!

Allow me to share the advice of my mother (who is also a child of the depression who lived in New York (Richmond Hill). It was a week after Hurrican Katrina and probably the worst week of human suffering caused by the Bush Administration. She was so angry...I asked her to calm down...she responded this is NOT a time to calm down.

My lifelong Republican mother-in-law changed to voting as a Democrat not too long ago. She is from Ohio, and has plenty of examples of corruption and abuse of power by state officials which she can be disgusted over, that's for sure. She says her friends seem stupidly oblivious to what Cheney/Bush et al are doing to this country, and when she points things out to them over bridge games, they seem amazed, but don't evince much desire to change. These Bush supporters remain so for many reasons: They are benefiting financially from his regime, thus are greedy and stupid; they are religious wingnuts, who are irrational and stupid; they are illiterate morons who listen only to talk radio, who are biased and stupid; and then there are the folks who are just plain stupid. Hmmm, something in common among them? This is the group which needs to be "drowned in the bathtub."
Meanwhile, I am not a bleeding heart liberal, I have always voted a split ticket out here in Washington State, where politicians have sometimes seemed as if they were on the opposite side of the parties. I think of myself as a "mean liberal," for a number of reasons, among them that I think work-to-welfare is a better approach than just plain welfare, and that I am fiscally prudent. BUT: Remember, stupid Bush supporters, your boy has put us into more debt than all the previous 42 presidents combined. And if you don't have piles of oil company or Halliburton stocks, that isn't helping you one bit. Wake up and get these criminals out of her!

"out of here!" shoulda been, but the metaphor works for the USA!

All of this is due to generational demographics, during my childhood in the 70's whenever the economy went downhill, the older people would say things like "I hope we don't have another depression". As late as the Reagan recession of the early 80's I heard such statements from the old. The generations that learned the hard lessons of true want and depravation have mostly passed away and so it has become possible to pass pre-new deal polices again.

Once, I saw one of those documentaries on Reagan and it said that the reason Reagan had such electorial success was that he "got working people to vote symbolically rather than pragmatically" and so the culture wars began. If the generation that fought WWII wasn't dying out Bush wouldn't have dared to try to privatize Social Security. Yhe old people knew economic hardship and in order to have electirial success, the Republicans had to moderate during the Eisenhower period. Now that the depression is no longer an emotional memory for the voters the Republicans have shown their guilded age true colors again. It's taken a lot longer than I thought that it would, but the poll numbers are finally starting to show America waking up.

We need to make major gains in congress next year and, if possible take at least one house to investigate all the corruption going on now and to promotine the future passing of bills for national healthcare and rebuilding the safety net and our crumbling infastructure. If we can unify behind a true progressive like John Edwards and avoid a DLC type like Hillary in 2008, this nightmare can come to an end.

Yikes, so much to say. My parents, both illegal immigrants from Mexico, both migrant farm workers, came here to begin new lives. WW2 exploded and my father enlisted, fought in the Phillipines, and was discharged honorably. Prior to that, he also did stints in the CCC camps, and told me stories from that time that today seem completely unbelieveable. He talked of a shared commitment to each other, both as a practical matter and also in the more abstract sense of the shared American experience. He's been gone since 1980, but I remember the endless fundraisers and canvassing we did on behalf of Caesar Chavez, and, incredibly, my father eventually ran for mayor of our city and won! (No easy thing, for a Mexican immigrant in SoCal in the 1950's.) He use to caution me about banks, and the men who controlled them, and about small but powerful families that sought to enrich themselves in the name of "America's defense". He said they will always try to make you fear some other group as a smokescreen for their activities. The irony is that Mexican immigrants may well be the bogeymen in 06 or 08, and that I am considering becoming an expatriot if things don't improve...one generation removed from people that fought like hell to get here, stay here, and succeed here. Sigh.

Oh, if I may, I like Edwards, kinda, but he has only recently decided to "grow a pair" himself. Panders a little, but overall, I guess you can hang the "progressive" label on him...

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