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View Diary: Why this lifelong Republican left the GOP (229 comments)

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  •  I don't begrudge any republican becoming (18+ / 0-)

    a democrat. But voting for Reagan is one thing and supporting a president who ordered people tortured is another. Many of those people, helpless prisoners, were tortured to death by the CIA and our military, as well as foreign proxies - all under orders from Bush/Cheney. I realize it may be ungracious for me to point this out, and like I said originally, I mean no personal offense, but I still want to know how Palin was a bridge too far. Did he not think those charges were true? Was he not aware of them? I assume he had his reasons, I just wondered what they were.

    Wear Your Love Like Heaven ~ Donovan

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 08:01:09 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Pardon me, but how many people win Nicarauga and (33+ / 0-)

      El Salvador abd Guatamala were raped, torured and killed by Reagan's US supported right wing death squads and the "Contras" aided and abetted by Bill Casey, Elliot Abrams, and Ollie North, war criminals all.  Yes, a vote for Reagan was a vote for as much of a war criminal as was a vote for the Bush/Cheney rgime.  Saint Ronnie was not any better than the gang who came in with Bush II.

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 08:24:43 PM PDT

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      •  Well, considering that WAY BACK THEN, (13+ / 0-)

        I filed papers to start a 501c to raise money for the displaced peoples of Nicaragua (go ahead and hate me, but that was 30 years ago), I can explain why I would associate myself with that.  And there's no point in arguing with me about why my reasons were wrong because that Dumbo doesn't exist anymore.  But here's the argument he (me) would have made.

        "1. There's a Cold War going on.  It's big and nasty and it might lead to the end of the fucking world before it's over. [And that literally was true.]

        2, Other countries are going to be in the middle of it whether they like it or not.  Maybe we shouldn't be messing with Nicaragua, but the Soviets and Cubans shouldn't either.  Since they have their dirty thumbs in there, we've gotta have ours in there too.

        3.  Innocent people are being killed and tortured in Nicaragua?  Well, I'm against that.  I don't know if I can believe all that, either, because it depends on where you get your information.  I suppose the Contras are up to some dirty shit, but that's to be expected, since they are a resistant movement fighting within their own country.  If we were on the side of the Sandinistas, we'd probably have the same problem with them, as well."

        Before you start criticizing it as being wrong, remember: That Dumbo is gone, and so are the Contras, so you're only impressing yourself by rehashing it.  I only bother with this because IT IS interesting how and why people believe things that we disagree with, above and beyond the simple correctness of those beliefs.

        •  I would have to reply to the points that you make (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Haplogroup V, JesseCW, wonmug

          about the argument at the time.

          1.  The Cold War.  True there was a Cold War, but what did that have to do with propping up dictators in Central America?  Yes, the opposition even called themselves Marxist and Communist, but if you are fighting for land reform and societal equity, who were you going to turn to for help?  The American corporations that were making money off the propped up dictators?  I think not.  By the logic used in this point, the Viet Nam War was a good thing since it was fighting "Communism" in the form of what was actually an anti-colonial war of national liberation from the French.  

          2.  The people in Nicaragua supported the Sandanistas and while there was a war for control of the country, they won with the backing of the majority of the people over the right wing dictatorship.  The Contras were a Reagan CIA financed, CIA astroturfed, "liberation" movement that did little other than operate as terrorists against the Sandanista government supported by the majority of the Nicaraguan people.  The outside support from the "Soviets and Cubans" would not have been necessary without the attacks from the CIA trying to overthrow a government that the majority of the people of Nicaragua supported.

          3.  The Contras would not have existed without the backing and funding from the Reagan CIA.  They were not a "resistance" movement in the sense that they ever had any popular support from within the country.  They were hangers on from the old Samosa regime and would not have existed without Reagan and his crew of war criminals.  

          I know that Dumbo is gone, but when people start saying that Reagan was OK and I can see how people could vote for him, but Bush II and Cheney were over the top, I feel that I have to remind people that Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II are all involved in the same nightmare of the dreams of military conquest and seeing evil Communists behind every effort to gain social justice in the world.  The Gipper was as bad as any of them.

          And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

          by MrJersey on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 11:20:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Slaughtering people in Central America (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nada Lemming, wonmug

          had fuck-all to do with the cold war.  It was the continuation of 80 years of "Banana Wars".

          "Other people are supporting populist movements which are taking on the transnationals and providing health care and education, so we should support terror and torture" is a morally bankrupt and flatly evil argument.

          Accepting the rape and murder of nuns because "war is a dirty business" requires a complete lack of fundamental humanity.

          If you want to pen some confession about how you've come to accept that what you believed was fucking evil, I'd love to read it.

          As long as you seek to defend it, or present it as a mere difference of opinion, I have to assume you're still seeking to keep those views with a frame of "acceptability".

          All Cretans are sockpuppets. -- Epimenides the Cretan

          by JesseCW on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 12:54:39 PM PDT

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          •  Unfortunate though it may be, the right and the (0+ / 0-)

            left have long had their own separate flows of information.  That has increased since Fox News.  But going back to the 1980s, I can tell you that I tried to stay informed about what the Left thought about this, if only because I played poker with intelligent people every weekend, two of whom were socialists who attended meetings at the SWP building across from MacArthur Park in LA.  Which I thought at the time all very cool, and, jeez, I hang out with such interesting people.  Friends gave me books detailing the whole history of United Fruit and Chiquita and this whole EXTERNAL body (notice the caps) of left-wing thought on the exploitation of Central America.  At that time, back in the 80s, there was -- and you'll hate me for saying this, but I believe it true even today -- a hysterical quality to it very similar to what you hear from the right today.  It doesn't mean they were wrong -- it just means they had their own echo chamber of facts that were separate from everybody else's and they were easily disregarded because they were contaminated with a host of assumptions that were to be taken and swallowed whole, the whole thing as a lump.  There was also a kind of fury to their position in that disagreement led to the dropped jaw and "oh, you don't know," when, yes, I did TRY to know.

            That's a big problem with all right-left discussions even today on the Internet, the assumption that people on the other side are all stupid, delusional, dishonest.  More often, the case is that one side isn't well-informed and that opinions and beliefs are bundled like cable and internet deals so that one position can't be separately digested from the others.

            Now, take what you said above.  The rape of the nuns in Central America, which was done by, if I recall, correctly, a right-wing group associated with the right-wing president of El Salvador next door.  A number of people at the time were angry about this and took it to the next step of condemning America's foreign policy in Central America with a broader brush.  There were even accusations at the time that the nuns were raped deliberately with the approval of the CIA in order to send a message to American protest groups to stay out of the mess.  

            Now, maybe I was subjected to false flag disinformation on that, but hearing that convinced me, "Hey, these people are a little bit nuts."  

            I thought that I, on the other hand, was acting in-step with a many decades long battle between the Soviet Union and the US, in which countries like Nicaragua and Cuba were just unfortunate pawns.  I remember reading one book my poker friend gave me about how great things were in Cuba post revolution.  There are probably people here today that will defend that position.  It seemed to me, at the time, ludicrous and -- this is important -- that it discredited and contaminated the credibility of further commentary from the source, thus requiring that it be examined with an extra dose of caution.

            So here I am on the left now, and you're probably ticked off at me over a position I held back in the 80s, one that I'm not really defending, although you might think that right now, but explaining the thought process for.  

            How do I feel about it now?  Honestly, 100%, I don't have a clear opinion of it.  My opinion of the good guys and bad guys changed one year later when the Iran-Contra scandal broke out.  The impression I had had was that America had to resist Soviet expansionism at (almost) any cost.  Iran-Contra exposed that the cost wasn't even being calculated and that it was being covered up and the whole thing handled by incompetent crazy people.  They sold ANTI-AIRCRAFT WEAPONS to the fucking IRANIANS.  For what?  To aid the contras?  Who made this calculation?  Any belief I may have had about the competence and sanity of the people working to unseat Ortega was badly damaged when Elliot Abrams took the stand in the hearings.  Of all the things that can change your mind, intelligent or dumb, the one that I remember really disheartened me was Elliot Abrams face.  He looked like a crazy, irresponsible twit that should never have risen up the food chain to be in a position to do such crap.  Oliver North impressed me at first with his gosh-darn-golly willingness to take responsibility, but it soon became apparent he was a nutcase, too.  Nutcases.  Then came Mr. Belly Button with his smirk.  A simple smirk shouldn't have been so important in forming a moral opinion about matters of such gravity, but it did.

            I'm going to pat myself on the back now.  You may feel that you were on the right side all along, but because of where I started and where I went eventually, and my willingness to rethink my position, I have greater confidence in my look back at that time with objectivity than yours.  You bring up the subject of the nuns, for instance, as if that's the highest trump card, as if, if that doesn't change the game, nothing will.  To me, it suggests that you swallowed the lumps whole.  I don't endorse raping nuns.  Even assuming everything about Central America policy was the most evil enterprise in history, the intentional rape of nuns was never what any of that was about and wasn't even an obvious side effect of it.  It became a talking point.  It's easy to disregard talking points.

      •  Mostly It Was The Same Criminal Gang As Papa Bush (10+ / 0-)

        And many of those people have repulsed me since the Nixon years - Bush I and Cheney and Rumsfeld.  

      •  That this would happen (5+ / 0-)

        wasn't evident when he first was elected.  What Bush and Cheney did wasn't anticipated, either, in 2000.  Voting for them for a second term is quite a different proposition.  I don't understand how either got elected a second time.  Well, with Bush it may have been stolen a second time.

        •  Wasn't anticipated by...who? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nada Lemming, artebella

          Everyone paying attention knew the guy wanted to privatize the safety net, end the assault weapons ban, destroy our air and water, de-fund education, and attack Iraq.

          We stopped him on some of those, but we knew the agenda.

          Torture wasn't that much of a surprise - all that was shocking was that they stopped out-sourcing it.

          Oh - he wasn't elected the first time.  So, there's kinda no second.

          All Cretans are sockpuppets. -- Epimenides the Cretan

          by JesseCW on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 12:57:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  with Bush it may have been stolen a second time. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          artebella

          You mean, it may have been stolen BOTH times.

          And yes, Gore was a loser.

      •  how about the millions who are now dying from AIDs (0+ / 0-)

        because Reagan ignored it when he could have made a difference?

        You don't get to keep democracy unless you fight for it.

        by artebella on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 07:45:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think... (16+ / 0-)

      By no means am I any sort of expert in the mind of republicans, but I have noticed that a lot of the people I talk to don't believe our government does anything bad intentionally. If there's an error, then it was an honest mistake, because America is light and honey. If someone is "wrongly tortured" (in quotes because I believe it's always wrong), well it's tragic, but the goal is an honest and good one: to keep us safe. A lot of people believe that the powerful actually make policies like that with OUR best interests in mind. So if some politicians say torturing people will protect babies and offer ticking time bomb scenarios that square with the crap on tv, then they believe it. This mindset is drilled in via childhood schooling and entertainment. More liberal areas have more balance, but even then...

      My boyfriend, minority, harassed by cops on many occasions, knowledgeable about economic oppression of minorities and the poor, doesn't believe certain things when we discuss stuff. Even after I offer proof, like when I said America has knowingly killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, first with sanctions and then with our invasion, he struggles with believing, going as far as shutting down the conversation. He, and many others like him, have a sick American idealism that's been almost programmed into them, viewing everything American through the rosiest of glasses. Consequently, ideas like people need food stamps and people like democrats, threaten this illusion and must be wrong, even BAD, and very untrustworthy.  

      So, I think, this is how people become republicans and stay republicans. Until some of their direct experiences conflict with the massive data pile (mostly false) in their head, they won't be rethinking their republicanness.

    •  OPOL, I wish I had a nickel for every diary (25+ / 0-)

      and comment of yours I've recommended.  Having said that...

      A good teacher would here instruct the student not by answering the question but by turning the question back to the student.  Like: "That's a good question you ask Mr. OPOL.  Tell me, why do YOU think people like that voted for Reagan or Bush or whomever?"  It forces them to put their thinking caps on and try, correctly or incorrectly, to work it out for themselves.

      That's what there's not enough of.  Before reading ahead, try answering it for yourself just to see if you can muster an answer on your own.

      Done with that?  Okay, here's my guess about what goes on in some people's minds who may be ready at some point to switch camps.

      "I didn't think anybody was being tortured.  I thought it was all exaggeration.  Lots of bad things happen in wartime, don't they?  Besides, I'll bet they were torturing Americans.  And look, there were all those Democrats who said and did nothing about it, so it couldn't have been that big a deal.  Besides all that, I was worried that Democrats, because they worry so much about being fair to terrorist prisoners, might have their priorities in the wrong place.  I was so mad about 9/11, I didn't want to take any chances."

      That's just a stab.  There must be a lot of people like that.  Before you say those are all stupid people, recognize there are plenty of stupid people on both sides who don't work all the details out and use the shorthand of their peer group for decisions that require too many facts to absorb.  There are stupid arguments made every day on DailyKos (sorry, but it's true) alongside very intelligent and well-informed ones.  If I were a real masochist, I would post links to some of the diaries I've read here that left me face-palming, even though they rocketed to the top of the rec list.  (Some of you probably know which ones I mean, too).

      Your peer group makes a big difference in what you prioritize and what you believe factually.  The world shouldn't be that way, maybe, but that's the way it is.  It takes a big, big disconnect, often of a personal nature, before that disconnect finally causes a breach of political identity.  Some people are totally incapable of such a breach and can live their whole lives rationalizing shit away.  I know such people exist on the left ( --cough-- pragmatists --cough--), so it shouldn't surprise us that many on the right are that way too.  

      That's why it's refreshing to meet somebody who has been able to negotiate that breach and come out the other side.  Throwing several years of accumulated talking points at such a person as if to say, "Why didn't you know about this and that..." seems kind of silly from that POV.  There are interesting discussions to be had there, but they need to be done intelligently, not with gaping jaw and "I can't understand how you ever believed bla bla bla..."  

    •  Well, than you have to admit that on some matters (0+ / 0-)

      Obama is a Republican...

      And someday, after the tea partiers have burned all the bridges they walked in on, we might look back in horror at some of what we put up with now.

      Change occurs at the margins, until the margin becomes the center.

    •  OK, admit it - did you fall in love with John (0+ / 0-)

      Edwards?  There were many, don't you recall.

      In what became the Clinton/Obama primary race, I wondered how John Edward could possibly run for office, with his wife having recurrence of stage 4 breast cancer.

      If she died during the race or once he was in office, who would be there for his children.

      And we have to admit...  a lot of people didn't see his narcissism, and still can't really believe he's a charlatan as big or bigger than Palin and Romney.

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