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I Just Stood Still

People ask how a once open-minded, tolerant, caring liberal Democrat such as I could possibly become a rigid, ignorant hate-filled conservative. 

Tell Us O Tell Us how it came to pass that the same man who went to anti-war protests in Chicago, grooved out at Woodstock, voted for McGovern, helped elect Dan Hamburg, smoked marijuana, wore a pukka shell necklace and emitted the rich aroma of patchouli oil as he waited in line for food stamps could possibly turn into a stupid, brain-dead conservative. How? How?!? 

Answer: I just stood still.

In 50 years I’ve not much changed my basic views. I still believe most traditional Democrat party principles, but during that time span Democrats turned into Progressives and can hardly wait to be Socialists.

I watched the party I grew up with drift off in waves of noise and anger. I’m the old fuddy-duddy who believes in hard work, good schools, racial integration and respect for our country’s history. Democrats believe none of the four and think Whose Life Matters is based purely on skin color. 

Other new causes, new thinking, new principles:

1) Democrat ideology today embraces the fundamental right of six year old girls to share public bathrooms with grown men, an absurdity that would have been laughed at in 1968 or 2008. 

2) Demos sneer at our nation’s greatest writers and philosophers as “dead white males” and strip their names from college buildings, their works from campus libraries. Many hate our ancestors, believe human frailties are sins and crimes, and remain silent when statues (Abe Lincoln, Jesus Christ, Thomas Jefferson, Mother Mary) are vandalized and toppled.

(NOTE: The same standards do not apply to Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Meade, Joe Hill, Eleanor Roosevelt or Oprah.)

3) Democrats hate Big Oil, Big Tobacco and Big Pharma, but love Big Government and can’t wait for Big (Free) Medical, with all the usual joys and efficiencies for which state-controlled services are famous. It’ll be like going to DMV but with waiting rooms full of dying people, not just defeated ones.

4) Democrats think college professors are smarter than car mechanics and social workers are more highly evolved than plumbers. They think a yard sign boasting a fashionable viewpoint makes you the nicest person on the block.

5) They once believed in astrology, tarot and the healing power of crystals, and now think cow flatulence is destroying the planet, gender is a fluid concept, and Joe Biden is smart, sharp and capable.

5) Los Demos think tolerance is a bludgeon to be wielded only by liberals, but are themselves intolerant of cigarette smokers or guys wearing red MAGA caps.

6) You know you live in a city run by Democrats if they give out free syringes but ban plastic straws.

7) It isn’t ignorant right-wingers encouraging children who are too young to get a tattoo, buy beer or know when it’s bed time to decide to permanently maim their sex organs via surgery and drugs. Are you OK with 12-year olds deciding to change gender? Were you also in favor 40 years ago?

8) Democrats censor opinions different from their own, whether on college campuses where conservative professors and guest speakers are forbidden, or in major media outlets like the New York Times, CNN, etc.

9) Many Democrats don’t think Big Media is biased because they never see stories on CNN or in the New York Times about bias in the media.

10) Our Democrat friends think Americans are hopelessly and forever doomed to be racist, sexist, homophobic and stupid. To combat a toxic society they invented micro-aggressions, safe spaces, wokeism, trigger warnings and soy milk. 

11) Democrats want us to think that with lots more tax money they’ll “heal the planet” but can’t balance the budget, fix their homeless mess, halt robo-calls or get the Cleveland Browns to the Super Bowl.

All these new ideologies would be alien to Democrats from long ago, like way, way back in the 1990s. Who thinks JFK, RFK, LBJ, Jimmy Carter, George McGovern or Bill Clinton would be welcome in today’s Democratic Party?

So I stood and watched as my party abandoned its principles. It left me a lonely, housebroken liberal, but I soon staggered into the warm embrace of familiar ideology among conservatives.

It’s a comfortable fit except among Ukiah friends who are Democrats, which is all Ukiah friends. They accuse me of apostasy and once assembled an email mob to cancel the TWK column from the Daily Journal. (There’s never pressure from rightwing crazies to push EJ Dionne, Crispin Hollinshead or John Arteaga from the opinion pages. Nor should there be.) 

I’m back among people I’m happy with: Gracious, smart, polite, well-educated, well-humored, and proud of America’s history despite the warts and missteps. Our ancestors were merely human, working and striving to build a more perfect union. Sometimes they made mistakes. Just like you and me.

America is the great Melting Pot (Dems once agreed) and the most diverse, tolerant nation on earth. We’ve consistently lifted our poorest immigrants to share the wealth our society has created. There are no immigrant caravans lining up to get into Venezuela.

And this: Fifty years ago dull, dumb Republicans wanted a strong military, lower taxes and smaller government. In 2023 they want to cut spending, reduce the size of government, and a strong military. 

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