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This is a little essay I have been working on in my spare time to try and flesh out how and why I started off as a Republican, and the journey toward becoming a Progressive. It's a break from the economic, data-driven essays I have been writing, but I'd like to put it out there and see if anyone can relate.

Plenty of ex-Republicans or, staunch critics of the GOP, have written eloquent pieces slamming the Republican Party for being anti-science, anti-common sense, and anti-reality. Bruce Bartlett in particular has made good points to that effect.  Another is David Frum.

Instead of a stinging critique specifically of the GOP, this essay serves more as a personal account of my ideological journey, from my entrance into the political world after 9/11, until now in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Please comment & criticize at will!:

People often ask me how I could have supported a guy like George W. Bush.

The vote I cast in my first federal election, in 2004, was in support of Bush and his proactive policies against terrorists and their safe havens.  I continued to support him throughout most of his two terms, and today I wouldn't change my vote or my support, even with hindsight. His tough talk and actions post-9/11 were what I wanted, and it's what I got.

As a new high school graduate that year, I was going off to study Economics on a scholarship (state-funded, but I didn't care, since I saw it as restitution, not benign support from the state) and was with all certainty going to be a wealthy businessman of some sort. The issues guiding me at the time could be easily wrapped up into two parts:

1) Free markets – Low taxes, low regulation, letting entrepreneurs ride
2) Strong national defense – Revenge, bloody vengeance against the Islamic fundamentalists who had anything at all to do with 9/11

And it was these two issues which made me gravitate toward the Republican Party from the beginning. It wasn't until later that I would realize that I wasn't a true GOP supporter, merely a “9/11 Republican.”

Click below, and I will take you on a journey through my adult life, and my personal growth from Randian conservative to modern Progressive.

Reaction to World Trade Center Attacks

I'll spare you the emotional manipulation of talking through the details of what happened for me personally on 9/11, when I was merely 14 years old. Just know that I didn't directly know anyone who perished that day, but my father happened to be flying that day, which certainly didn't help the stress levels.

But like many people, I was glued to the television from that day onward, weeks or months, just waiting for information, to learn what was going on. Before then, I never really cared about the news or politics or had any real ideological compass. Since I wanted 24/7 information, network news wasn't going to cut it, and I wasn't much of a print-media reader at the time.

It just so happened that the channel I used for continuous coverage to understand Al Qaeda, bin Laden, and other foreign policy issues that were gripping me was Fox News Channel. At the time I had no clue how slanted it was, because I didn't have any context, nor did I really care. I was mad as hell about 9/11 and wanted blood, and Fox News helped assuage my rage, by riding the war horse without any nagging pacifistic inertia that other networks broadcast.

However, as the coverage of 9/11-related stories wound down on Fox News and I was just becoming a major-league news junkie who couldn't stop taking in information, I was slowly being indoctrinated into the conservative world view on a whole host of other issues.

The Evangelical Political Effect

I had been a regular attendee to the Evangelical Covenant Church since around the age of 12, but I saw it merely as a tradition, and couldn't actually convince myself of the story of Jesus Christ, nor any of the related faith-based stuff. I really did, however, appreciate the role of religion in society as a stabilizing institution that had a net positive effect on people.

After 9/11, my involvement with the church became a bit stronger, as I began to better understand the political issues being discussed from the pulpit. And make no mistake about it, Evangelical churches always preach political issues. I recall even “praying” (uncomfortably sitting in a pew with my hands folded counting the seconds until we would stop as a group) with the congregation over Supreme Court appointees being favorable under George W. Bush. But personally, I never really did believe in the real-life consequences of pro-life policies. But the politics of it fascinated me. I even excused violence against abortion clinics as valid resistance, without any regard for the societal ill that such violence was perepetuating.

However, church was always that annoying thing we had to do for tradition's sake, a three-hour period on Sunday where I couldn't swear and had to play along with the whole charade. Occasionally I would be moved by a sermon given by the pastor and found lots of insight from some of the points made from behind the lectern. Like any worldview or philosophy, even Evangelical Christianity had its valid points.

Sure enough, sex, cannabis, and alcohol turned off all the illogical social conservatism that I was already resisting at the time. By the age of 16, all of that stuff was an act in the name of supporting tradition, pure and simple, until I rejected the church entirely after leaving to go to college. That isn't to say that I wasn't swept away for a short period by the arch-conservative religious ideology, as an angsty Rand-loving teen who wanted to be part of a persecuted minority fighting the system (like Paul Ryan, I conveniently rejected Rand's points about atheism, but took what I liked out of Objectivism.). But in the end, fighting abortion, protecting the “sanctity of marriage” and taking up other socially conservative issues was no longer something of which I could be a part. I was then essentially a social liberal.

However, I still supported very much the institution of religion, and historically it was hard to find any powerful American leader who wasn't openly religious, a Christian. Something inside of me persisted, beyond the age of 18, that made me really believe in Protestant work ethic and American exceptionalism.

To Become a Rich Asshole, You Gotta THINK Like a Rich Asshole

Aside from 9/11 and associated foreign policy concerns, economic issues were topping my short list of priorities. I had been deeply influenced by movies like Wall Street and Boiler Room, books like Atlas Shrugged and Capitalism and Freedom. I was also morphing into an avid student of American history, which seems to have a distinct Libertarian slant, with philosophers like Adam Smith and John Locke having a major influence on my favorite founding fathers such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, who wrote in decidedly anti-authority, small-government tones in defiance of the British.

By the time I was 17 and began my first internship with a bank, I had been thoroughly brainwashed by Fox News coverage of the 9/11 attacks and a flury of anti-government, pro-market philosophers, economists, and businessmen. It was then par for the course that I would meet numerous bank managers and traders at work who only confirmed what I had suspected: that successful financial players simply had a certain worldview that governments were disruptive and markets were perfect. In my mind, I had to think like them in order to reach the same levels of success.

I didn't care much about the records of past Republicans. My family wasn't very political, so I didn't grow up with much of a push toward either party from family. One exception may have been my grandfather, who worked as a lineman for the power company, often talked about how Reagan defeated the Soviets, and seemed to speak of him in a positive light. Yet he also mocked Bush for not busting up obvious monopolies. Either way, there was no pressure to go to either party, and my family was basically an "independent", as my mother would say. So the major influence on my political philosophy came from the wealthy idols in society that I would run across.

I was hardly one to cite the records of Nixon (who Republicans barely mentioned due to the shame of his departure from office) or Reagan. Although I thought institutions like the EPA and SSI programs were positive, and created (or at least accepted) by Republicans. The way Fox News seemed to present Reagan as a modern hero never really stuck with me or impressed me. But one Republican event was fresh in my mind: George H.W. Bush's "read my lips, no new taxes" pledge, which was broken.

I didn't care much about the effects of inequality or the natural imbalances in the economy that the regulatory and tax framework was enabling. I cared only about minimizing my own taxes and maximizing my own freedom. Believe it or not, this classified me as a "fiscal conservative": if you were for low regulation, limited gov spending, and tax breaks especially for the rich, this put you in that group! But the meme of "oh yea I'm a social liberal, but a fiscal conservative" was just a cop-out that guys like me used to justify voting Republican. There's nothing fiscally conservative about the GOP, and there never was.

Thus, I had no party loyalty, but the Republican party as I had viewed it at the time was in line with what I was shooting to become in lilfe.

Socially Liberal, "Fiscally Conservative" (Economically Neoliberal) -- Libertarian in Name Only

I recall very vividly that around 2005, my mother had been dating someone from work, a very intelligent guy, a liberal who worked in the publishing industry, and we debated a few issues at the dinner table one night. I remember him responding to my views with shock, asking me “what sort of right-wing media are you exposing yourself to? I truly am concerned for you.”

I was amused, because I knew that most of the successful greedy rich guys had to deal with such do-gooders pushing back against the wisdom of markets and entrepreneurs. I was thoroughly for states rights and limited federal government interference in basically anything, mostly because of historical American figures parroting the same line. If only I had understood better at the time what he was getting at, that is, the context he was giving my views. But, it was nothing that I wanted to acknowledge at the time.

From age 18 (year 2005) onwards I began to self-identify as a Libertarian (and registered as such), even after voting for Republicans in 2004. But I couldn't justify the socially conservative views against abortion and personal drug use and other issues where the GOP openly advocated state interference in the private lives of citizens. It seemed unAmerican(TM) to me, based on my reading of history and philosophy adopted by the likes of Rand and Friedman.

As an underclassman in college I did a lot of odd jobs including food delivery, where I would spend the days listening to Conservative talk radio in my car, including Rush, Boortz, and even Michael Savage. I agreed with a lot of it, but viewed it mostly as entertainment. The more radical and extreme they seemed, the more I wanted to listen, to compare my own views, and adopt some of theirs. I went to school in a liberal university town, but surrounded by country folk, and the locals were definitely on the conservative redneck side.

I began to go to the local gun range to practice shooting an array of military weapons, which I had only previously encountered playing rounds of Counter Strike in my home town's internet café. I even bought a Glock 9mm and a Remington 870. I embraced southern culture in that respect, but always maintained a generally liberal attitude socially. Dropping N-bombs with my fellow white privileged suburbanites while discussing social issues was not unheard of, though. But my main focus still was maintaining my economics studies and personal financial independence while maximizing my partying, including sex, drugs, the whole 9-yards.

I was still supporting Bush's aggressive foreign policy actions, but the hangover of 9/11 was indeed beginning to wear off, and I struggled to win debates with liberals over the wisdom of the Iraq War (god damnit, find the WMD's!). However, I was a pretty staunch social liberal at the time, and would merely tell people that I voted Republican because I prioritized economic issues and strong foreign policy, and didn't have a problem ignoring the dopier social conservatives that I was forced to support in order to push my main agenda.

After all, they weren't really that loud, and there wasn't a lot of talk about any true damage to the progressive social beliefs that I held. The religious social conservatives were merely useful idiots to me, which would push the same views I liked regarding low taxes/regulation, as well as strong foreign policy.

Despite the registration as a Libertarian, I would vote Republican, and debate like a Democrat. And this is how I lived with myself in those early years since voting for Bush.

The Failure of So-called Fiscal Conservatism (Actually Neo-liberal Economics)

Fast forward now to my 20's. I'm a sophomore in 2006 in Florida, sometimes called ground zero of the housing bubble, and I'm working for a contractor for Countrywide convincing clients to take out HELOCs (home equity lines of credit).  Essentially, I was cold-calling clients that had significant home equity thanks to a surge in market prices of real estate, and convincing them that prices would not drop and they essentially could tap into this equity as if it was a credit card.  

Case-Shiller Housing Price Action

We were openly encouraged to break various rules against disclosure of risks, and to just focus on production, since we would always get a “rip” from any HELOCs we could close (with residual bonuses for when the credit lines were being used up). Like any sales-driven work environment, everyone was competing heavily for volume and everyone who did well had a Type A personality that didn't care much for human impact of actions. In my mind, 'fiscal conservatism' meant low taxes, low regulation, which was universally positive in all circumstances. Then came 2007, with lots of signs of the real estate boom being a bubble popping up, with professors of mine divided over whether this was sustainable or due to collapse at any time. People at work were suddenly being laid off due to low production, and the top producers were showing lower numbers than ever.

As 2008 loomed, it became clear what was going on in America.

After being laid off as a HELOC-pusher in my senior year in 2008, with the world markets crumbling before my eyes, I had a sort of mid-life crisis at the ripe old age of 21. Could it be that people with my world view were fueling this horribly irresponsible market activity? Could it be that greed wasn't good? Could it be that regulation was socially beneficial and helped to prevent larger costs that accumulate in the absence of supervision?

My worst fears were confirmed just before the 2008 election, when Alan Greenspan issued a sort of mea culpa to the world about the downsides of inadequate market regulation and the failures of his Randian world view.

This realization was only compounded by the outspoken billionaires like George Soros claiming that financial market equilibrium theories were downright wrong and Warren Buffett talking about the downsides of unregulated derivatives markets, which I had at that point constantly referred to as “tools of financial innovation” (I shit you not).

The so-called fiscal conservatives in power at the GOP supported TARP, the pseudo-nationalization of the finance industry, which meant that they were willing to use the tax payer funds and the government to buttress a failed Wall Street. That much I could understand, as it was a systemic issue, but it could have obviously been handled differently so as to support the system without rewarding the bad behavior of bankers. However, the GOP were still unwilling to really use the government to support the underwater mortgage holders of every day Americans, or to help support them as they were marginalized by the financial crisis. This was a disconnect that I could not rationalize, and the Republicans finally lost me and showed their true colors in this time period.

What did "fiscal conservatism" even mean? Some people wanted to balance the budget, something I knew wasn't smart, as Reagan and Cheney had said "deficits don't matter," and they help fuel private surpluses. Certain people were pushing the issue of the national debt and the need to balance budgets, but it wasn't consistent with the ideas of fiscal conservatism that were pushed by supply-siders in the 1980's. All I knew is, the Republicans were okay with lowering taxes on everyone, and seemed comfortable enough with deficit spending, so what in the heck was "fiscal conservatism" but just neo-liberal economics?

The concept became rather abstract and asymmetrical to other views, and I finally realized that they were full of it over at the GOP the whole time. Either you're for limited government spending and balanced budgets, or you're for tax cuts and deficit spending, but you can't support both and then just label yourself a fiscal conservative, it didn't seem to make any sense. I was in a crisis of personality.

A Stubborn Failed Conservative's Last Stand

By November 2008, around election day, I felt dejected, angry, and alone. I was graduating with a Bachelor's degree into what looked like the second coming of the Great Depression. Religion wasn't there to console me, and a world view that was years of studying and deep thought in the making had apparently failed miserably in application.

I'm not sure exactly what guided my vote in 2008, maybe I was in denial, maybe I was just frustrated and angry. Either way, I was convinced that America was not ready for a black president and I wasn't about to throw my vote away on a Harry Brown (even if I was a registered Libertarian). It was perhaps the height of my personal intellectual dishonesty that I couldn't vote for the right man for president.

Voting for McCain/Palin was the last ditch effort of a desperate and broken man, as I was unable to accept the failures of a personal philosophy that had clearly caused the destruction of so many lives. I had open disdain for Palin and her ilk, but thought McCain would still be somehow a good leader, and would be a better choice than Obama, and thus voted in the minority for the Republicans, perhaps for the last time in my life.

That election, I also shamefully voted against legalizing gay marriage in the state. It was a really close vote too. It seems odd to me now, four years later, that I actually voted against the freedom of my fellow American to marry the person they love.  I was even a social liberal at the time, but maybe I was just angry at the world and voted against the right things just out of sheer frustration and ignorance. I didn't want to believe I had been essentially living a lie, and made a last stand in protest of everyone who had contributed to moulding me into whom I had become.

Suddenly, I'm a Liberal?

Over the next couple of years after the election of our nation's first black president, as I was working in economic consulting (seeing hardship up close and personal) and going to graduate school in Europe, I came to grips with the realization that the federal government isn't evil when it reflects the will of a democratic society, markets aren't perfect, and that regulation was useful and necessary to prevent overly exuberant, socially destructive market activity.

I saw colleagues lose their jobs, friends go to jail pointlessly for posessions of substances, friends unable to graduate due to student loan debt, and people's homes get foreclosed on.  Living overseas in northern Europe has shown me that there are alternatives and they do work, and we've implemented them before in the United States as well. Back home, however, the damage was already done.

I found it hard to re-label myself from being a rogue conservative to then being a mainstream center-left progressive. I would even debate people at parties and still not admit to being a liberal, but people would listen to what I had to say and rightfully associate me with liberal philosophies.

I still very much believed and do believe in the power and beneficial effects of markets on resource allocation, but believed equally in the need for a democratic society to tame the markets and steer them toward an end which would benefit the people, rather than the greed of a select few.

As an avowed atheist, I also have firmly put behind me all of the remnants of social conservatism that I had grown up with. I wouldn't dream of voting against giving equal rights to gay brothers and sisters, fellow Americans. I wouldn't dream of restricting the rights of women to choose over their own body. And I wouldn't dream of restricting funding for marginalized minorities and lower-income individuals.

Fiscal conservatism has turned into a failed ideology. Restricting spending in an age where deflation is a bigger threat than inflation is just devoid of any real purposeful beneficial end. Balancing budgets with a persistent trade deficit is irresponsible and sends the private sector on their knees to banks to finance the trade deficit. And deregulation has no place in a post-Lesser-Depression economy. In fact, this was really more appropriately referred to as a neo-liberal ideology of freedom of markets, which seemed to make identifying such views as conservative even more difficult.

Republicans no longer have anything to offer someone like me. I don't want their blind calls for lower taxes with no regard for the aggregate picture, I don't want their deregulation which would lead to high social costs later on. I don't want their anti-gay, anti-woman agenda to hinder social progress. And as for foreign policy, how could they possibly be more of a hawk than Obama, the bin Laden killing, drone-mass-murdering terrorist hunter?

The GOP instead seems like a broken party that is stuck pandering to the “useful idiots” that I referred to earlier, while marginalizing the moderates like myself who used to be able to put up with such things, as long as they pushed the right overall message.

But now they're just wrong, wrong on almost everything. The Democrats have taken the GOP's foreign policy hawk advantage, and have embraced sensible social policies. In an era where the private sector still isn't providing the optimal social circumstances economically, the government is a positive actor in the economy that can produce and distribute money for the good of the people.

Gone were the days where I dreamed of being the evil greedy capitalist who believed the raw pursuit of self-interest produced utilitarian outcomes. These were the characters who claimed to be all about free markets and taking risk, but the whole time, they relied on a model that had the government bailing them out anyway. What an utter failure of an ideology, I thought. Sure, they were clever enough to have an insurance policy by extorting the American people, but was that a group of people with whom I wanted to associate myself? And yet they still push deregulation and failed free market ideologies that got us into this problem. How could I just ignore all the evidence of the past few years?

Penance of a Former Conservative, Now Moderate Progressive

These days, I'm a big believer in government programs that address social ills that the markets won't, because of inadequate profit motive or what have you. The "free markets" simply failed, and it would be illogical to be against government spending in a time when private sector won't fill the gap that they themselves created.

The GOP and Fox News, since the days when I stopped watching regularly back in 2004-5, has become even more conservative.  Back when I watched, they had Hannity and Colmes and an O'Reilly that seemed sort of moderate. But I didn't realize just how bad it had gotten until recently I viewed a stream of FNC for the first time in many years and saw just how illogical, conspiracy-laden, and downright stupid the party and these people has become.

Their stubborn insistence on being the party of anti-abortion, anti-gay big government policies has pushed me away too far. Their hypocrisy on government role in markets, inability to adapt to the new evidence we had from the housing bubble, has made it impossible for me to support the Republican Party. The message of “personal responsibility” that they tout is essentially meaningless in a time when millions upon millions of Americans are still marginalized by a nearly unfettered market that collapsed, and all the personal responsibility in the world won't fix a broken regulatory system.

Until the GOP changes their tone on social issues to be consistent with the idea of personal responsibility and limited government (the hypocrisy on guns/drugs is mind-numbing), until they accept that hefty regulation is a necessity in modern markets to help prevent financial crises such as in 2007-2008, and until they embrace government spending and reject balanced budgets as a necessity rather than an evil, then this Moderate won't be voting R any time soon.

Last Christmas I ran into the former boyfriend of my mother. Now a family friend, it was nice to run into him after so many years of being out of contact. As we caught up, politics naturally came up, and he noticed my world view had changed, in his words, “quite radically.” What else could I say, other than my opinions had changed in light of the evidence and facts. To which he responded, “I knew you would come around eventually.” Well, I did. And the way the Republican Party is headed, I don't think that I'll ever go back.

Originally posted to AusteritySucks on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:01 AM PST.

Also republished by Youth Kos 2.0 and Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (218+ / 0-)
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  •  Hmmmm..... (8+ / 0-)

    Voted FOR George Bush twice, believed the hype about WMDs, went along w/ torture, against gay marriage, registered Libertarian.

    Now a moderate?  Interesting switch.  

  •  Nice read (28+ / 0-)

    Thanks for posting it.

    I find it curious, did you engage in the vitriolic hate-slinging that so often accompanies liberal vs. conservative debates? You seem to have at least attempted to formulate a coherent world view, so I was wondering if that made you more resistant to the conservative propaganda.

    I've seen a few people pull out of the libertarian nose dive, but encountered many more that wallow in it as some sort of security blanket in an insecure world. I'd be interested to discover some of the common themes among those that have successfully altered their world view based on evidence; hence, my curiosity at your conversion.

    Wanted: New sig line. Must be insightful with a good sense of humor. Non-smoking, no pets.

    by Herodotus Prime on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:37:33 AM PST

    •  Yes I did (45+ / 0-)

      I was as partisan as one could get. But in college I was reading a lot more, different philosophies, different newspapers, different sources. I was out of the "Fox (News) Hole" between Bush's election in 2004 and Obama's in 2008. I no longer used cable news as a source of news, just a source of entertainment.

      As a student of economics I was exposed to a lot of evidence and history that exposed "conservative propaganda" as just that, mere propaganda.

      In needing to understand the system and the world as a student, I was understanding the context a lot better.

      Don't underestimate the power of events like 9/11, it really took me years to get out of that hole.

      And i viewed parties as coalitions. As mentioned in the essay, I acknowledged the social conservatives as the dopes that they were, but because i found myself in the same party as them, I sort of ignored them, or even embraced them, as long as they stuck to the tax policies that I liked which benefited who I wanted to be.

      I've just been able to think a lot more about the system and society as a whole, to grow out of a selfish greedy view to being more communitarian.

      Reading, and exposing one's self to differing opinions and explanations of policies, helps to keep one grounded and out of the wing-nuts' reach.

      •  Since you were just 14 on 9-11, were your parents (8+ / 0-)

        others in your life feeling much the same way as you were  ( as you described in your diary).  Were some of your conservative views at such young being influenced not just by Fox News and your church but also any family members, close friends, an adult you respected.

        I ask because many young teens who feel strongly about poliitcs are influenced not just by media but by peers, parents, relatives, or another adult they look up to.

        Who in your personal ciricle of friends and family had the most influence on you during your teen years? Who in particular was a big influence in your life besides media figures or those you read about?  

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:00:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was accepted into a private high school... (18+ / 0-)

          ...based on a scholarship too.

          I was surrounded essentially by conservative rich kids, so it was the default ideology for most people I knew in high school.

          My father wasn't around much and had little to no effect on my development in that area.

          I guess a lot of teachers, and my mother, and others I knew at the time were responding to an event like 9/11 with supporting a hawk, a Republican approach -- kill, and ask questions later.

          being liberal or encouraging hesitation at the time was considered unamerican, unpatriotic.

          I'll never forget watching the bombs fall on Afghanistan and Iraq on television, feeling extremely satisfied that we were getting revenge.

          Other than that generality though, I can't point out any single teacher or individual who made me into more of a conservative.

          I remember watching Bowling for Columbine though and really relating to the rage and such of the kids, and actually thinking guns were cool after that movie.

          I've had influence really from both sides -- but the low tax low regulation economic stuff really hit me from going to a rich private school, and the foreign policy stuff had to have come from 9/11 making me fear islamic fundamentalists and wanting to hunt them all down.

          I hope that adequately answers your question. I was essentially raised by my mother, so school, media, and jobs had an unusually large effect on my ideological development. But every time I  think of a particular teacher who may have influenced me more conservatively, I can easily think of a liberal who offset that. But I had to learn things on my own, i didn't have a hands-on father or family that really politicized me. 9/11 was the event that made me care about political issues and the news.

      •  GOP Propaganda (18+ / 0-)

         I used to vote R as well until I watched what the R's did to Clinton for an entire year. When he warned them about Bin Laden they claimed he was trying to change the subject. I started looking into the media infrastructure and realized that Clinton was the first Democratic President to feel the power of talk radio post the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1986. The year Rush went national was 1987.
           After 13 yrs of being a political/media junkie I realized that Rush, Beck, Hannity, Savage etc ALWAYS protect one of the big 5 industries on EVERY issue. They are all highly paid lobbyists. The real power is at the local AM level with their repetition and saturation of the national rightwing message.
          Looking into Goebbels strategy in Germany, I realized the corporatocracy basically followed his 3 step technique.
        He said, in essence, You can control a people anyhwere at any time by doing 3 things
        1. Always have an enemy (Obama, Govt, gays, immigrants etc etc)
        2. Always be the UBER Patriot
        3. Always have the means to repeat and repeat and repeat your message until it becomes the "truth"
           It explained how we have gotten in this mess and how the people of Germany followed a mad man.

        •  Yes, killing the fairness doctrine was maybe (6+ / 0-)

          the most destructive and far reaching thing Reagan did to Democracy out of all of his legacy... and he has a lot to answer for besides that... it is so huge and pervasive for the cumulative effect as to be invisible in plain sight... subtle in once sense because talk radio is just the wallpaper of the broadcast sound... pervasive. Only the internet arrived to counterbalance it... and enough years of more intelligent people tuning out what does square with what they can pick up from reality directly and from alternative sources. The tilt  back, the counter-swing of the pendulum is underway but the poison and harm done by the unleashing of biased one-sided monopoly radio will linger for years.

          Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

          by IreGyre on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:59:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  unemployment.. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aguadito, wishingwell, cotasm

      ..seems to create liberals fairly efficiently..

      •  Not for a conservative I know (4+ / 0-)

        He will accept every "liberal" benefit the government has to offer - even working as a government bureaucrat - and still worship conservatives.

        Without UI benefits, food stamps, government health insurance, etc. he would be on the streets, but that evil government must be stopped at any cost.

        Some people are stupid...but us liberals still advocate for their existence as well.

        Republican tax policies have led to financial conditions which have caused Republicans to demand cuts to programs they have always opposed.

        by AppleP on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:19:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  education (26+ / 0-)

    Interesting read, very astute for a young mind. I think back in the day we called your experiences 'enlightenment'.

  •  Being a Republican requires willful obliviousness (51+ / 0-) the facts.

    Consider Bob Dole.  Back when he became a Republican this was what President Eisehower wrote to his brother...

    Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.
    And the Republican platform supported Social Security, etc.

    But now the party has gone insane.

    And last year Dole sat in his wheelchair in the Senate and watched Republicans vote down an international treaty on rights for the handicapped.

    And he is still is still a Republican.


  •  Interesting journey (21+ / 0-)

    I would also describe myself as socially liberal and fiscally conservative - it's just that I would be fiscally conservative in different ways than those who have been in the Republican party for the last few decades.  Like, spend less on defense and more on infrastructure and education.  

    Alas, Fox and other media outlets were lying before you made the switch.  How did you feel when you realized this?  What about your peers?  I don't understand why there hasn't been more backlash.

    by chloris creator on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:10:28 AM PST

    •  Well Palin was the last straw for most. (34+ / 0-)

      I wouldn't say i was a major Fox drone or anything. And back when I was watching Fox you have to remember there was Hannity AND COLMES and a seemingly more balanced presence there. It really got a lot worse around Bush's re-election onward, and by then I wasn't really watching Fox anymore (i was a college student without cable).

      But once Palin hit the scene, it seemed obvious that the dopes in the Party were starting to actually take over and had no direction from the smarter ones in the party.

      As for being "fiscally conservative" -- i don't even know what that means anymore.

      Is it fiscally conservative to cut taxes forever?

      Is it fiscally conservative to advocate for austerity?

      If so, call me a fiscal liberal, because I hate Austerity, and think spending should be constrained by inflation risk, not by anything else. And i too believe in spending on infrastructure and less on defense (until it's necessary).

      So what does it really mean? I find that it's actually kind of a ridiculous term "fiscal conservative".

      There's no reason to restrain spending in raw economic terms when there's near deflation. So I suppose even fiscally I am now a liberal, if fighting for less inequality, more progressive taxation, higher spendin on social programs makes me that.

      "fiscal conservatism" back in the bush years to me meant lower taxes for rich people, like I was planning to be. and freeer markets. so it's really a misnomer if anything.

      •  So Palin was a big factor, if so, that happened (11+ / 0-)

        to a friend of mine with a similar conversion type story who said everything changed for him when McCain picked Palin, the financial collapse, and the ugly racism of the Republican party in 2008.  

        If Palin was a huge factor, that still did not stop you for voting for McCain/Palin? Was some of that because you saw the polls and knew McCain was likely to lose and you were not ready to vote for a Democrat?

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:03:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I actually have a cool conservative (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus, aguadito

        friend---meaning he's smart as a whip and eminently easy to have a political conversation with despite our differences--- and his deal isn't about less spending, it's about smarter spending. You ask him about the Defense budget and he'll tell you there's many ways we need to spend on Defense, most of which we're not doing.  

        For instance, he brings up the role in the invention and employment of the internet that the defense department had. There's much to be done yet, and it is probably one of our biggest security pluses or risks. (Which oddly, came up on Thom Hartmann today, and I thought of my friend.) He points out that a national internet infrastructure much stronger than the one we have is paramount to our security in about a hundred ways.

        He believes that government unchecked becomes a bureaucratic money wasting machine, which there is some truth in. So for him, being a conservative is about measured and expert use of government resources.  He admits his party is not there, or anywhere close, but he can't bring himself to be an independent or a Democrat because he believes government will never achieve his dream of optimal efficiency without the republican party to counter Democratic excess,  

        I bring this all up because I think perhaps it's a reasonable definition of a true "fiscal conservative" that's reasonable.  Which is not to say I agree with him all around, or would choose his path. There are many flaws in his logic, imo.  But he's the only conservative I've ever heard talk about something other than reducing taxes.

        And BTW, socially, he's as liberal as it gets.  But then again, for him the definition of conservative is a government that stays out of personal decisions.  

        "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

        by StellaRay on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:50:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped and recced (22+ / 0-)

    You put a lot of effort into this diary so I'll tip and rec it on that basis alone. More encouragingly, perhaps, I find your willingness to re-examine your beliefs and possibly - perhaps - be persuaded to modify them.

    I'll be honest: I haven't read the whole thing yet but will do so tomorrow. Nevertheless, welcome! And don't get discouraged if people start throwing pies in your direction. There is a broad spectrum of people here and we never see eye to eye on many issues.

    •  I agree. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, MRA NY, wishingwell

      Much effort put in here, and some bare bones honesty.  It's a very useful diary if you're interested in the MANY forces that can form a political identity, before a person is even old enough to know which way is which.

      "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

      by StellaRay on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:54:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fascinating. n/t (7+ / 0-)

    Speaker Boehner, where are the jobs?

    by Carlo on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:33:20 AM PST

  •  What a wonderful, thoughtful transformation. (24+ / 0-)

    You can also see why Repugs disdain getting an education. It turns us into smart SNOBS! :-P

    I ♥ President Obama and have his back.
    Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO subsidies to rich Corps.
    Rich pay more, bloated DoD steal less. End war on Afghanistan 01/01/14.

    by OleHippieChick on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:02:28 AM PST

  •  If Bush was proactive, we wouldn't have had 9-11. (19+ / 0-)
    The vote I cast in my first federal election, in 2004, was in support of Bush and his proactive policies against terrorists and their safe havens.
    I rallied behind him after 9-11 and left him once he started ramping up for Iraq (one war at a time, please), but I was never under any illusion that he wasn't a total idiot.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:06:37 AM PST

  •  Nice diary. (14+ / 0-)

    I cringed a bit at this though:

    I continued to support him throughout most of his two terms, and today I wouldn't change my vote or my support, even with hindsight.
    Well over 100,000 people died in the Iraq war. longer in SF.... -9.00, -7.38

    by TFinSF on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:38:51 AM PST

    •  I understand (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But the world knows what we are capable of. They world knows what side of us comes out when we're messed with. I can't say I'd vote for a cowboy again if a similar attack to 9/11 occurred, given that Obama and the Dems are as hawkish as the GOP.

      Somehow i feel at peace with the consequences of Bush's actions, given the message it sent the world about doing Americans harm.

      But it's more important than ever that we show our good side in peace time and focus on domestic development and stable international relations.

      •  OK, but... (11+ / 0-)
        But the world knows what we are capable of.
        .... what exactly does that get us.  So now the world knows that if attacked by terrorists we will (1) attack the country that harbored the terrorists and (2) attack one other country completely unrelated to those attacks.  So how does #2 help us? longer in SF.... -9.00, -7.38

        by TFinSF on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:02:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I guess it's a game theory thing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The element of unpredictability that we've maintained historically (dropping the nuke, carpet bombing vietnam et al, hunting down and torturing islamic fundamentalists) is something that has advantages that go unappreciated in other encounters with foreign entities.

          Yea, things got a little crazy and still are a little crazy, but that's what I think is right for America. To show the world you never mess with us, and to respect us, because we run the show.

          There's something about that which is a lot more respectable than the way Spain, for example, responded to the Madrid bombing by cowering to the demands of the islamists.

          •  I see no advantages or any good from torture (15+ / 0-)

            ever. I am from a military family and we are very anti torture.  I am glad my parents are not alive to have seen that this country would approve of torture.  Many in the military are against torture for obvious reasons, we do not want to see our loved ones torture or they were tortured themselves in previous wars.

            Nothing will ever change my mind about Torture. Americans are supposed to be better than that. I consider it one of the most shameful things our country ever did.

            Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

            by wishingwell on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:50:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  So you are somewhat still a bit of war hawk ? (8+ / 0-)
            Yea, things got a little crazy and still are a little crazy, but that's what I think is right for America. To show the world you never mess with us, and to respect us, because we run the show.

            There's something about that which is a lot more respectable than the way Spain, for example, responded to the Madrid bombing by cowering to the demands of the islamists.

            Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

            by wishingwell on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:51:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What made you think otherwise? (7+ / 0-)

              Obama's doing just fine with his drone attacks, I have little to complain about in that area.

              But I think the main focus now should be divesting the military and investing in domestic programs and infrastructure.

              I think the response and the tension that we bring should be relative to the facts of the risks we face. Right now we're in peacetime and we should fund the military with that fact in mind.

              For example, I don't think we should be messing with Iran. I am a supporter of Hagel's views in that area. I think also that we should be viewing Israel with extreme suspicion and demanding that they disarm their nuclear weapons.

              So, in some areas, like the response to 9/11, i'm a hawk still. But going forward I don't think I would be labeled as such.

              Again, this is all about labels though right? It doesn't mean much, except to put people in a box and say "oh, you're a hawk in this area, so let me put up a straw man that assumes you believe X in some other policy area". So if anything I've learned just how destructive labels can be sometimes, while I recognize their importance as well in classifying areas of opinion.

              •  You are t hen no longer a hawk, Bravo,cool! (0+ / 0-)

                Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

                by wishingwell on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:20:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  The disagreement over response to 911 (6+ / 0-)

                wasn't hawk vs. dove.  That misses the entire argument.  It was and is about smart and strong vs. stupid and weak.

                Had Bush gone into Afghanistan with overwhelming force, swiftly destroyed Al Qaeda, and then gotten the fuck out in less than a year, that would have been smart and strong.  Terrorists would have learned there was a price for attacking the US.  Instead Bush gave the terrorists the chance to bleed our nation's wealth in two lengthy Asian land wars.  He didn't even nail Al Qaeda's leader!  That's stupid and weak.  

                There were a few doves after 911, but they were not a significant voice.  I personally knew of no liberals who advocated letting Al Qaeda get away with 911.  The only major political player who didn't care about nailing Bin Laden was your boy Bush, who said he didn't think much about him when asked how the hunt for him was going.  

                You really need to come to terms with the damage  Bush's wars caused the US.  20 years from now we will still be paying the price for Bush's follies.

                "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

                by Subterranean on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 10:57:04 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well said Sub, I agree, I was just using hawk in (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  reference to 2004 well after Bush invaded Iraq and we knew about his pre emptive war strategy and also voting for McCain who is a well known war hawk. But you totally hit the nail on the head about the reaction to 9-11.

                  Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

                  by wishingwell on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:51:06 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I disagree (15+ / 0-)

            The Iraq war showed our weakness.  Right when OBL was trapped in Tora Bora, someone pointed at a new shiny object, and super-genius George W. Bush went chasing after it like a cat who just saw a dot from a laser pointer.  We showed the world that we have no attention span, no patience, and no critical thinking skills.  Obama is only beginning to remedy that (but is also making some mistakes of his own by stepping over the line on covert attacks).

   longer in SF.... -9.00, -7.38

            by TFinSF on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:01:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  what we are capable of (4+ / 0-)

            this seems a good place to ask you about your views on climate change and how they may have evolved over this period. It was not mentioned in your diary.
            That 'element of unpredictability' is actually called 'brinksmanship' and has been one of the most destructive policies of the US since becoming a superpower in WWII.
            It is now the default position we are taking regarding any action on climate change; insisting we will do nothing until all other nations do something.
            It sounds as if you still embrace the American Exceptionalism idea, not to mention more than a little of the "with us or against us" vomit spewed by W. How can that possibly coexist with the New You?

            Last full month in which the average daily temperature did not exceed twentieth-century norms: 2/1985 - Harper's Index, 2/2013

            by kamarvt on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:10:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Never cared much for climate skeptics (4+ / 0-)

              The science always seemed generally accepted, and I've always thought newer, cleaner energy and technology was good.

              I wouldn't say climate change is an issue that I really prioritize though. But I like the EPA and reducing pollution as much as possible.

              In college I even took a couple pro-enviro classes as electives. I guess it just never really hit me to be passionate one way or another about climate change.

              I'm certainly not hysterical over its impacts, but I wouldn't dare associate myself with the major skeptics who are trying to deny any man-made impact on the trend of a warmer planet.

              I also don't point to any hurricane or tumultuous weather and say "LOOK, GLOBAL WARMING!" Because the evidence there is quite thin as well. Let's just develop better, renewable energy, and stop being so wasteful in general.

              That's something that I grew up with and never really had any impact regarding political views because it's not really a political issue.

              Regarding being a hawk, I disagree with your assessment that brinksmanship has been the most destructive of policies. It's hard to imagine now, but the threat of communism spreading was very real, and containment wasn't a bad policy in and of itself.

              I'm not a neo-conservative level hawk, but I supported the actions, and still support that we performed the actions, but we still went too far, and that's easy to say in hindsight, but you can't with any certainty say that it hasn't dissuaded others, when faced with what we're capable of.

              I'm not a typical Kossian left-wing Progressive. I think this is what the country needs now in general, but I'm very much a hawk historically on some issues, but want us to behave more rationally in peace time and wind down the MIC and focus on domestic issues.

              I'm a moderate, meaning i think Bush went a bit too far, but I think the general actions were what the whole country wanted, and it's what we got.

          •  It's not too late (10+ / 0-)

            By my math you're roughly 28 years old.

            I'm sure the Army could use someone who's as, ahem, motivated as yourself to show the world "you never mess with us".

            If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

            by Major Kong on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:12:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  You've progressed (16+ / 0-)

            but I think you've got quite a ways to go on foreign policy.

            To show the world you never mess with us, and to respect us, because we run the show.
            Fear is not respect, and "running the show" just indicates  disrespect for others.  People who want to be the world's bully also need to step up and start paying for it, not drain the rest of us.   You start a war of choice that has added trillions to the national debt, and now the people that even in hindsight you would vote for again, want to cut that debt by breaking the social contract we have for social and medical security.  The US spends more on the military than the next 15 countries combined.   When politicians and talking heads compare our tax rate with other countries, I never hear them say that we need a tax surcharge to cover being the world's police force.

            You know how the people who don't have trillions of dollars for weapons to show that "you never mess with us"?  They do what they can afford to do.  They use IEDs and terrorism.  

            Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it true, is it necessary. Does it improve the silence. (Courtesy Kos)

            by Scioto on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:27:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Here's a fun little exercise (15+ / 0-)

            Let's take some of your foreign policy positions and substitute "China" for "United States" and see if they still sound as good.

            If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

            by Major Kong on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:52:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Poor example and lazying thinking (10+ / 0-)

            A better example of how to handle a terrorist bombing is the Brit reaction to the London underground bombing.

            And what is unpredictable about our behavior, anyway? All the examples you gave, and our continued actions, are of the same and are predictable.

            And there is nothing, n-o-t-h-i-n-g, respectable about torture of anyone and about intentional killing of innocents. And this is not just on a compassion level - I include here aspects of realpolitik, too.

            But hey, I'm glad you're not a 100% asshole any more. Welcome to the club. I usually run about 70% asshole.  ;)

          •  Do you subscribe to the "mad man" theory? (0+ / 0-)
            •  To an extent (0+ / 0-)

              Yes. I think it brings an element of fear to potential rivals.

              I believe America is great precisely because of the variety of personalities and values we bring.

              We need the crazy warmongers as much as we need the pacifists.

              Together we are Americans.

              •  I'm shocked that you lived in Europe (7+ / 0-)

                and still have such a hawkish, "American exceptionalism" focused view.  Did you leave Northern Europe at all?  Have you traveled to other places, or did you just stay on campus and the local pub?  The world is full of countries with just as may personalities and values.  

                With all due respect, you have every right to your opinions and to express them, but you are FAR from progressive.  The value of human life seems pretty low to you.  I'd suggest some real traveling, on your own dime this time, to some places that aren't in the Lonely Planet guide books.

                "Kindly go render the fat in your head in a large kettle of boiling water. Thank you." - Bumblebums -7.38, -6.46

                by balancedscales on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:24:14 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  On my own dime? (0+ / 0-)

                  How exactly did i get here to begin with? lol.

                  Do you even know how European campuses work? Rarely is there student housing on campus.

                  Maybe you should do a little traveling yourself, eh?

                  I'm not saying a diversity of ideas is unique to America, i'm saying that the competition of ideas is a historical tradition in our country.

                  Your comments are all loaded with strange implications, but I respect your opposition.

                  How I viewed things in the past and what I've done in the past doesn't define who I am today and how I look at things now.

          •  Wow, had to remove rec and tip (7+ / 0-)

            after seeing this.  Sorry.  The rest of the world will respect us when we earn it.  And we do not run the show.

          •  Bin Laden's goal with 911 (4+ / 0-)

            was to draw the US into an Asian land war so he could bleed our treasury dry.

            Your boy Bush served up Bin Laden's wishes on a silver platter.  Unpredictable?  Iraq certainly was, but  predictably that war made us a less wealthy nation and lowered respect for the US in the world.  

            "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

            by Subterranean on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 10:50:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  al-Qaeda's chief strategist wanted an Iraq war (4+ / 0-)

              He predicted ahead of time that it would be the best thing that could happen for al-Qaeda.

              After the occupation began, Zawahiri publicly thanked God for it.

              Generals, spies, and other experts warned against the Iraq fiasco at the top of their lungs.

              The units that had been hunting bin Laden in Afghanistan were pulled out to move to Iraq.

              Our military's readiness was reduced.

              A strategic bulwark against Iran was destroyed.

              By 2004, there was one, and only one, reason to vote for Bush. In your self-examination, please work out how you came to have such bitter, twisted, soul-blackening hatred for America so that you can overcome it.

        •  Believe it or not (0+ / 0-)

          our perseverance in Iraq lent other's in the middle east empowerment to democratic reform.
          Tunisia, Egypt Libya Syria... The Arab spring is not occurring in a vacuum.
          Previously the U.S. and western powers were known for abandoning democratic insurgency in the middle east. Iran (undermining it) in Afghanistan after the Soviet occupation, The Kurds Bush I. And, our support for authoritarian regimes across the region.

      •  Because you believed strongly in the War (7+ / 0-)

        On Terror, did you consider joining the mlitary any point or entering the ROTC program in college? As you appeared to be very pro war still by the time you turned 18?  

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:38:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SilentBrook, artmartin

          I did consider joining actually.

          But I was very much more like Romney and Cruz and others -- would rather other people do the dirty work and I support it, rather than get my hands dirty myself.

          I don't think I would have been in favor of Vietnam though, and I wanted to pull out of Iraq a lot sooner than most. But I supported and wanted us to at least bomb the hell out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and hunt down terrorists everywhere.

          So it depends on the details really, but I never got past the physical exam when sniffing around a possibliity of joining the military, maybe because I was getting a free-ride in college, maybe because I thought i was better than that, i really don't know. But these days I'm not hawkish on military issues at all, and i hate the mercenaries we use and the general MIC.

          •  I was just raised differently to never think I am (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kharma, balancedscales

             any job,especially the military. Of course, I would have received a lecture from my Marine dad and called an arrogant brat had I even hinted that. But then again, I am no doubt older than your mom so raised by parents the age of your grandparents so different generational perspectives we have.

            Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

            by wishingwell on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:28:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  We made a lot more enemies around the world (15+ / 0-)

        and it caused a lot of our allies to not trust us. Bush was very, very unpopular around the world and with some of of our strongest allies, the people there hated him with a passion.  

        The world trusts and likes President Obama for the most part, our allies seem to embrace him and he was a very good reputation with many countries all over the globe.

        The wars also cost billions of dollars and families lost loved ones,  our troops came home with PTSD, loss of limbs and traumatic brain injury and more.

        Bush was nothing more than a bully and we became known for torture and that is very very Unamerican...totally wrong on all levels.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:42:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's not a narrative that I find convincing (0+ / 0-)

          There's a lot of pain from the wars, of course.

          But to say that allies don't trust us and this and that is not accurate. I would say that the benefits of our reputation have outweighed the short-term costs. I don't quite see that allies haven't trusted us as much, but international relations is a lot more complicated than that.

          You have to engage in deception, you have to engage in brinksmanship, you have to bluff, you have to do all kinds of things, but the US never lost any friends from the actions. I don't believe that for one second. And there's something to be said of the future where risks and balance might be different, and we have to show that we're a force to be reckoned with no matter how things shake out. Nice guys sometimes very much do finish last.

          Relations with Russia were already sour over our American consultants and bankers basically looting their new private economy.

          And i'm a lot more cynical about what makes the world go round, internationally we don't need to be JUST suckups. We need the Obamas just as much as we need the Bushes. It shows the different sides and parts of our society.

          There are other naitons and people who would slit our throats in a second if they had the power we have internationally. We have to be just as capable of those evils as tehy are.

      •  The world was pretty well aware of the things (9+ / 0-)

        we're were capable of, long before 9/11.

        Waging a war against a specter of an enemy in the graveyard of empire absolutely drained this country of money that could have gone elsewhere in the national infrastructure, to say nothing of the incalculable damage to veterans, families, etc.

      •  You're at peace with the world knowing (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell, srkp23, Lost and Found

        that will kill tens of thousands of unarmed civilians...the elderly, women, and children??

        Your transformation is far from complete.  

        "Kindly go render the fat in your head in a large kettle of boiling water. Thank you." - Bumblebums -7.38, -6.46

        by balancedscales on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:18:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's worth noting that (0+ / 0-)

          I never once used the term "convert" or "transform" in my essay.

          I have no plans to become indoctrinated by yet another religion of political ideology.

          •  Everyday that you grow and learn you (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wishingwell, devis1, Zaq

            are transforming.  I was speaking about transforming in to a true progressive...someone that values human life, even foreign, brown people.  The funny thing about your comment is that you show your contempt for the left as much as the right by speaking of "indoctrination" and "political ideology".  If you think that a belief system founded upon the principles of equality, tolerance, peace, understanding, expansion of knowledge, etc. is the same as indoctrination in to the mindset of conservatism, again, your growth (is that a better word?) is far, far from being worthy of applause.  

            There were no WMD's in Iraq.  Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11.  If you would vote for GWB again, knowing the death and destruction that we inflicted upon the Iraqi people, you may not have the depth of character that you seem to be trying to convince us of in your diary.

            "Kindly go render the fat in your head in a large kettle of boiling water. Thank you." - Bumblebums -7.38, -6.46

            by balancedscales on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:40:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  The world knew what the United States (5+ / 0-)

        was capable of after we dropped two nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima to end WWII.

        You're rationalizing your support, you might consider just admitting you made a mistake voting for GW Bush (at least the second time) instead.

        "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

        by Angie in WA State on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:39:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  nice read (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aguadito, kharma, SilentBrook, worldlotus

    welcome to dailykos.
    You have done well in educating yourself. you wrote a decent essay this morning, a bit on the long side, but I never lost interest in finishing it.

    Hope you stick around & write some more !

    Happy Hump Day

  •  Interesting journey and well written (7+ / 0-)

    I followed a very similar path to you but I'm 16 years your elder.  The great thing about your "conversion" is that you have given it a lot of thought.  There are many people here that were progressives from a very young age and have not really questioned their beliefs because their beliefs just felt right.  That's not a knock on progressives in general it's just a very human thing and many conservatives that grew up conservative have the same basic problem.

    Anyway, one area that you and I disagree on is our self-identification.  I'm fiscally conservative and socially libertarian (not liberal).  Whether it is correct or not I still label myself as "conservative" (always with the quotation marks) but I'm also ok with being called a classical liberal or a moderate libertarian.  But despite these labels, I'm not an ideologue.

    My general overview is that I want a better healthcare system, I want better schools, a better economy, etc. and there is a balance between free markets and government action.  The progressive impulse is that government action is always better.  The conservative ideologue demands that government action almost always makes it worse.  My bias is against government action (hence the "conservative" label) but increasingly I have come to view the consevative arguments as weak and the benefits of government action as more "reality based".

    The real world result is that I'm a "conservative" that likely supports single payer not because it is self-evident that government taking over healthcare insurance is better but that it seems that there is strong proof that the healthcare system for the average person in Europe is significantly better than for the average person in the US and it is far more cost effective.  In other words, the evidence (likely) is strong enough to overcome my skepticism of federal government involvement ie my conservative bias.

    Regardless, nice diary and a belated welcome to the big tent Democratic Party (even though I'm still registered as a Republican).

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

    by theotherside on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:09:16 AM PST

    •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theotherside, efrenzy, worldlotus

      For the compliments and your thoughts.

      I'm still registered Libertarian.

      I'm only voting Democrat currently because they're the sanest party that will push the policies best aligned with where I want the country to go from here.

      Maybe it's wishy-washy of me, but if conditions change, my views are liable to change. I believe a government option for healthcare (at the very least) and other government spending and programs are beneficial. In times when the private sector isn't meeting the needs of society, government has to step in.

      And there should always be a safety net and fellow citizens and programs to help anyone who is down on their luck or just plain not doing well. We shouldn't enable lazy behavior, but we shouldn't presume the worst of one another either, and help each other no matter what.

      It's a bit cliché maybe, but I think labels are so counterproductive. It's more important to discuss specific issues and specific values and principles, rather than align one self with an -ism.

      Also, if the economy was in a situation where the government was overspending and the private sector not stimulated enough, my views would be completely different on what policies the government should be enacting.

      It all depends on what's going on really.

      •  Exactly (5+ / 0-)

        While I won't defend everything that Reagan did, there were problems with government regulation and tax rates when he came into office.  But conservatives forget that Reagan said,  "In this present crisis, the government is not the solution it is the problem."  That "in this present crisis" is a pretty important qualifier.

        One of the things I can't stand about the modern GOP is that many of the base simulataneously rail against TARP and the bailouts and claim that Obama is to blame for the slow recovery.  The conservative argument against the bailouts mostly centered on moral hazards about the long run of the economy but they admitted that short term it would benefit the economy.

        Now, they want to claim that the economy would actually be better off if there was no TARP and bailouts.  It is devoid of logic and yet it is a consistent right wing meme.  It's the economic equivalent of birtherism.  The fact is that Obama is an american born slightly left of center politician.  Not a Kenyan, socialist, marxist, muslim hell bent on destroying the economy.

        There are many reasons that many (but not enough) of us reality based conservatives and Republicans have migrated to the Dems and this is but one example.

        Be well.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:02:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Uh, that's "Democratic" (3+ / 0-)

        you are only voting "Democratic" currently...

        not "Democrat"

      •  "It all depends on what's going on really." (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SilentBrook, Silvia Nightshade

        Yep, and that's pretty much antithetical to all of conservative thought all the way back to the beginning.

    •  Rec'd because your comment is good, but (8+ / 0-)

      I disagree with one sentence...

      The progressive impulse is that government action is always better.
      I think most progressives rely on history to guide them on whether government, private sector or non-profits will solve a particular problem.

      Can you give me some specific examples to bolster your statement?   I'm not looking to argue with you, but would be interested in finding out more why you wrote that particular comment.

      "Hate speech is a form of vandalism. It defaces the environment, and like a broken window, if left untended, signals to other hoodlums that the coast is clear to do more damage." -- Gregory Rodriguez

      by Naniboujou on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:18:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was a generalization and so doesn't always (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Naniboujou, artmartin, worldlotus

        fit everyone who self-identifies as a progressive.  But I would answer you rhetorically, if you don't mind.

        If you are a progressive, ask yourself what your 5 biggest issues are.  Then ask yourself what you want the government to do on those issues.  The stereotypical response that I was alluding to (and one that is born out of simply listening to the debate) is often the "government should spend more on X (education, healthcare, safety net) or there should be more regulation (guns, banks, pollution, etc.) and this should almost always be done at the federal level in addition to whatever is done at the state level."

        Is that fair and pretty accurate?  I'm sure that there are perhaps areas that you think government involvement has gone too far and perhaps you could list them.  But I would also think that you would get push back from your fellow progressives saying why they think your ideas are wrong in those instances.  Which is pretty much my point.

        Another way to phrase it would perhaps be that progressives are, I would argue, better at seeing the problems in society.  They see a problem and think of ways that the federal government could take actions to fix that problem.  Conservatives too often don't care to look at problems because they are philosophically opposed to a government solution so what good does it do to identify problems?  But where they are (sometimes) better at progressives is in examining the actual results of the government action that was put into action.

        Sound reasonable or am I still off a bit in your estimation?

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:43:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Even as a yellow dog Democrat, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tobendaro, worldlotus

      I have to question the damage done by our partisan identities. A friend who moved to Germany lauds their parliamentary system which makes knee-jerkiness harder; people vote more according to issues than labels. Germans have also learned a certain, general wariness for the charismatic leader.

      Contrasting this to the Colombian period of "The Violence," where the Liberals and Conservatives, though very similar politically, killed each other wholesale for decades, I worry that we are  falling closer to that end of the spectrum.

  •  Tipped & rec'ed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  for college students, the whole world is (22+ / 0-)

    just theoretical and something to be understood by reading books about it.

    After one graduates, though, the world ceases to be theoretical. And reality is a hard teacher.

  •  This statement (4+ / 0-)
    I still very much believed and do believe in the power and beneficial effects of markets on resource allocation, but believed equally in the need for a democratic society to tame the markets and steer them toward an end which would benefit the people, rather than the greed of a select few.
    is a bit of contradiction.  You might want to go deeper.  The school of Economics today is very skewed towards ' A free market is God' and needs a fresh look.  Here is a totally different view.


    Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

    by whoknu on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:23:35 AM PST

    •  It's not a contradiction... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      efrenzy, pontechango, worldlotus say that markets are the best mechanism for resource allocation, but that regulatory policy determines how the outcome of markets benefit whom.

      "free market" is a heuristic, by the way.

      there's no such thing as a free market.  but markets are a power that are very real.

      I've read Mosler's book by the way, doesn't quite have anything to do with what i've written though.

      There's a distinct difference between a planned economy and a market economy with regulatory and tax frameworks that reduce negative externalities and yield utilitarian outcomes.

      The underlying force in the latter is still the market.

      I said nothing of "free markets" in what I support currently.

      •  Externalities (0+ / 0-)

        That's a key point right there, that's sadly excluded from mainstream economics. Externalities are the disconcertingly dark side of market economics.

      •  The contradiction is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        if a market needs intervention then it doesn't allocate resources effectively.  The words 'planned economy' have a specific connotation that is often used to describe the dirty word socialism.  Our economy is planned to a point (though not effectively, imo) and isn't even close to the socialism that some would have us run screaming from.  In effect, the planning is in how monetary policy affects interest rates, our trade policies, and government spending decisions.

        Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against markets and they do have power.  But our 'planned' economy rewards some more handsomely than others by design.  Then there are those that are effectively priced out of the market, by design... You get the picture.

        As for Mosler, the link discusses how government spending and monetary policy affects inflation, interest rates and the 'borrowing' that was designed to profit the financial industry.   It also talks about how government spending is the first step in creating the market.  Go to page 34 under the heading; Federal Government Taxing and Spending Does Influence Distribution.

        I'm not trying to start a fight, just a discussion.

        Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

        by whoknu on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:38:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The government is merely an integral (0+ / 0-)

          player within the market.

          A market doesn't exclude government, it necessitates government even.

          And the way policies have been since Reagan have actually been redistributive UPWARDS! Because the government, the very nature of its regulatory power, enables the stability and trust in the market with its laws.

          There's a major distinction between "planned economy" and "market economy with associated regulations and taxation to offset inequalities".

          Of course the nature of a central bank is to steer and plan the economy in a way, but the underlying mechanism generally tends to be the free enterprise market system.

    •  the invisible hand (2+ / 0-)

      frequently turns out to be a set of emperor's new clothes... not there, or the markets are never as free as people want to make out

      by chloris creator on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:11:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow, a guy who decides what his political (11+ / 0-)

    philosophy is based on his understanding of facts, history, and economics. How refreshingly rational :)

    Whether or not your conclusions are always the same as mine, clearly we need more people to be making decisions the way you do and fewer to rely on their "gut", Stephen Colbert-style.

    Visit Lacking All Conviction, your patch of grey on those too-sunny days.

    by eataTREE on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:43:53 AM PST

  •  What are college economics like these days? (5+ / 0-)

    I was an Econ major back in the 70s and it greatly helped expand both my worldview and my understanding of economic and U.S. history.   It seemed to me that all major economists of that era could agree on most foundation-level principles and would conduct intellectually honest debates about monetary and economic policies.

    These days, national discussions of economic policies are greatly polluted by political ideology, accompanied by a general rejection by conservatives of accurate economic history and formerly accepted facts. In effect, they have a political goal and they have a cadre of paid economists wiling to shill for them.  As Obama said on the campaign path, their solution for any problem is, "Take a tax cut."

    I found an excellent articulation that mirrored of my unease in this great read by Bill Keller of the NY Times: The Politics of Economics in the Age of Shouting.  

    About the same time, it came to public light that the Koch Brothers were trying to use their money to influence the Florida State's Economics Department.  

    And not long after that news, a fake Paul Krugman post appeared that willfully mangled Krugman's views.   The link doesn't show his arrogant justification for his dishonesty and his simple wrongheadedness about economic theory and history. The punchline: He was a recent FSU graduate in economics.

    I realize that these latter two cases are simply  anecdotal dots on the landscape, but it made me wonder, "What IS going on in college level economic education these days?"  Has money and right-wing interests purposefully polluted those waters over the past couple of decades?

    This is a great diary showing an uncommon level of critical introspection, and I bet you had an objectivity about your college-level courses.  Did you have a sense that there was a political ideology embedded in the courses, and did you find that your classmates rigid or open in their viewpoints?

    •  Regarding the political ideology (4+ / 0-)

      Embedded in courses....i would say decidedly right-wing.

      It was an old joke that the whole campus was full of Obamadrones save for the Economics and Engineering departments.

      But that didn't mean that we didn't get the proper curriculum taught that included long discussions of the imperfections of markets and the value of government and regulation.

      But when push came to shove, the professors were mostly right-slanted.

      I'm sure the financial crisis has changed that, as evidenced by an e-mail exchange I had with my old Econometrics professor.

  •  You said... (5+ / 0-)
    Dropping N-bombs with my fellow white privileged suburbanites while discussing social issues was not unheard of, though.
    Did racism influence your decision to vote McCain/Palin?

    If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. Albert Einstein

    by kharma on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:03:20 AM PST

  •  I question this: (9+ / 0-)
    I continued to support him throughout most of his two terms, and today I wouldn't change my vote or my support, even with hindsight.
    Exactly how do you consider yourself a progressive if you still support this war criminal? One of the great measures of intelligence is the ability to recognize that past actions and beliefs were incorrect, and to distance oneself from past perspectives.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:09:41 AM PST

    •  A lot of what Bush did was bad (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leftcandid, worldlotus

      But we've got a long history of war criminals running our country.

      He was still our president, and i'm not going to pretend like I didn't want to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that he didn't give us what the majority of us wanted of our commander in chief.

      He got caught up in the stress and fear just like most of us did. I don't regret it. I do regret him going too far and not leaving Iraq sooner. But why am i going to call him a war criminal? Who knows how his decisions will be treated by history. I don't make snap judgements based on short-term analysis.

      Hell, look at Clinton, he's turning out to be one of the worst presidents in modern time, after we have more than a decade of reflection on his misguided policies to balance budgets wtih a growing trade deficit, and his support of DOMA, and financial liberalization, all kinds of stupid crap that he did.

      •  The War Criminal charge stems from the (5+ / 0-)

        pre-911 plan of the Bush Administration to invade Iraq, the selective editing of the intel reports by the White House post-9/11, & the promotion of torture, all criminal/treasonous acts.  

        I'd agree with you that, absent those things, a decision to attack Iraq could be viewed as simply a bad move based on emotions running high & intelligence failures.  But those things are present.  I'd urge you to check into them.  

        I think it's OK for you to feel how you feel/believe what you believe until you change; you don't deserve an inquisition to make you fall in line (although you had to know you were gonna get one).  Just keep reading & learning, & pick up books that might still piss you off; say, The Prosecution of George W. Bush For Murder, by prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi.  Watch Taxi To The Dark Side.  You've come a long way, but there are miles of trail ahead.

        Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

        by Leftcandid on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 10:43:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Read Bugliosi's Book (0+ / 0-)

          Also the one on Kennedy.

          Found Hitchens' book on Kissinger a lot more convincing.

          It wasn't selective editing as much as it was just really aggressive interpretations of intelligence.

          I'm just not bothered much by those downsides of Bush's presidency.

          It's more the deregulation and other trends he continued in that area. That's what really hurts, not a couple of overseas conflicts.

        •  yes, that comment tells me there are miles ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to go....I cannot see how anyone can defend (in foresight, which I was using at the time, and CERTAINLY in hindsight) attacking (and toppling) Iraq.  A random casual student of the middle east would know the trouble we would have with Iran the moment we defeated the true enemy of our enemies.  Oh yes, Sun Tzu loves (SNARK...i cannot use italics on this browser) Bush's neocon "warriors".  Assholes all.  

          We're finding it's pretty hard to control Iran, right?  No wonder sadaam boasted about nasty weapons and was a total murderous asshole.  He lived next door to all that.  And they to him.

          Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. ALL ROYALTIES BETWEEN NOW AND MARCH 1, DONATED TO THIS SITE, DAILYKOS!! @floydbluealdus1

          by Floyd Blue on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 05:05:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've yet to read Imperial Hubris, but (0+ / 0-)

            I think we can recognize it in the Bush Administration (& to a lesser extent it remains in the Obama Administration).

            When those February 2001 Cheney task force maps dividing Iraq's oil fields among Western oil corps. were discovered via FOIA, the truth became crystal clear to anyone who didn't refuse to believe because of how 9/11 affected them emotionally.  But millions still don't know the basic facts of Bush Administration war plans for Iraq that predated 9/11.  

            Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

            by Leftcandid on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 07:03:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Historians have weighed in (9+ / 0-)

        and W fares very poorly at 36, Clinton a respectable 15.

        I'm not aware of any other president who lied the country into an illegal war that has cost the country as much in dollars and blood as W.  I don't think he got caught up in fear as much as he saw a rationalization to wage a war for oil that the neocons had been dreaming of for years.

        Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it true, is it necessary. Does it improve the silence. (Courtesy Kos)

        by Scioto on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 10:53:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Iraq & Afghanistan (0+ / 0-)

        As nations had nothing to do with 9/11, Iraq in particular. Going to war with these two countries was a desire he and the neocon's created in the American public by continually and falsely linking them to al Qaeda. A C-in-C who leads us into a war because the majority of the people wanted said war, and not out of necessity of defending America, is a fool, and arguably a terrorist.

        What I am questioning here is your lack of regret in hindsight, your unwillingness or inability to look at the situation from a new perspective and recognize that your emotions and opinions were manipulated towards specific ends. Justifying Bush's actions by saying "he was still our President" is the type of thoughtless, automaton behavior that the GOP and their minions seek to cultivate in American citizens.

        I am not attempting to subject you to an "inquisition" as others have suggested, but I am urging you to question yourself more deeply and be willing to look back at prior believes and reject them as necessary as new perspectives and information inform your worldview.

        FYI- I would not argue that Clinton was a great President, if you want a useful measuring stick go back to FDR, his social accomplishments, and his unfulfilled vision for the economic future of this country. Google FDR's economic bill of rights. And having said that, like every other President, FDR had his share of dark shadows.

        "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

        by US Blues on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:09:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Welcome to the light... (3+ / 0-)

    One hopes your journey toward liberalism continues. For it is liberal ideas that both formed this nation as well as helped it prosper whenever applied (FDR, JFK, Clinton, Obama). Conservative ideas have always failed and brought us to the brink of disaster.
    And Libertarians? They're just plain selfish - I got mine, to heck with you! You don't find many poor libertarians.
    Further, it's good you admitted to being brainwashed by right wing media. That's all it is, after all, brainwashing. They do not deal with facts, only propaganda. It's a sad statement of our times that they are allowed (by Supreme Court decision) to outright lie - it has done our nation no good.
    One hopes others will come to see what you have seen. And I guess I forgive you for voting for Bush. You were young and brainwashed. But know that the harm he did to our nation was perpetrated by those who voted for him. Those votes made it close enough for BushCo to steal (yes, I said steal) two elections. His presidency will go down as one of the worst, if not the worst, presidencies in our nation's history. For me, no one comes close.
    So welcome to the light. Keep pushing yourself to be informed - fact check everything (yes, even progressives). The truth is out there.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:16:02 AM PST

  •  I really have to think about this post. (9+ / 0-)

    It is well written, but somehow it does not ring true to me.  The essay is so tidy that somehow Aguadito's transformation seems too tidy.  

    Such change in a person usually comes with a greater level of angst and complication than what I am reading here.

    "Since when did obeying corporate power become patriotic." Going the Distance

    by Going the Distance on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:19:05 AM PST

    •  I agree it's tidy... (7+ / 0-)

      but not everyone has to have profound and deep experiences to change their minds, particularly given that he lacked either religious or family attachment to conservatism in his formative years.  Those are generally the source of deepest angst in having to abandon conservatism.  So the lack of deep soul-searching is more belivable.

      Also, the writer is still on a journey of maturity, and ten years from now he'd write more about the difficulties in how his feelings changed - more of the bumps in the road.

      It could still be a put-on, of course - for that matter, so could any conversion story - but I don't think it is. It's much the way I wrote in my early 20s.

    •  Actually, my change was very similar to (5+ / 0-)

      the authors, if many years earlier and without the racism.

      I am cerebral and, like the author, I came to many of my beliefs through a similar method of developing a belief system and then measuring it against current reality.

      I have been told that it freaks some people (mostly the more emotionally driven) out, but it is how I operate.

      I always say that I am a slave to logic in that if you have a better argument, I can be swayed, which is how you start off as a Republican with a very conservative father and end up as a progressive liberal with a stretch in the middle where you call yourself a libertarian.

      "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

      by Sychotic1 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 08:20:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yeah, where you start from matters (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener, Sychotic1, worldlotus
        I always say that I am a slave to logic in that if you have a better argument, I can be swayed, which is how you start off as a Republican with a very conservative father and end up as a progressive liberal with a stretch in the middle where you call yourself a libertarian.
        Sure, some people with conservative parents break free of that in college, but most of the liberal/progressive people I knew at that age had parents who were also liberal/progressive.

        I also had very conservative parents, and I too started off as a Republican and am now likely on the left side of liberal, with a stretch where I was a libertarian. And also a stretch where I was so disgusted by politics that I completely checked out, most of the previous decade.

    •  If I went into more detail... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leftcandid, worldlotus

      ...this thing would be a novel :P

      I had to have some boundaries, and I didn't want to get too caught up in specifics.

      You can check it for originality at any plagiarism site you want, I really just wrote this out bit by bit and put it together this morning because I have been running into a lot of old conservative friends and it has been on my mind to record my general thoughts.

      I also wouldn't call this "conversion". As you can see throughout the comments, I'm not on "team Democrat" per se, and find myself disagreeing a lot with liberals. But on key issue of domestic investment and social freedom, I'm very much a progressive.

      The term "conversion" is rather strange I find too. Almost like I have to believe everything that others here are believing, and people calling me a fake "progressive" just because i have a different perspective on certain historical events. So I'm going to maintain my free, independent thought and not automatically agree with everyone on DailyKos just because I've rejected some past beliefs that led me to vote Republican in the past.

    •  The comments reveal (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lost and Found, tobendaro

      that the poster is really just an American exceptionalist.

      There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

      by srkp23 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:25:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  read it more closely (4+ / 0-)

      he's still showing quite a few blind spots.  it doesn't look all that tidy to me

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:26:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for sharing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    logged in just to rec.

    Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote.

    by Renie57 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:20:16 AM PST

  •  There Is Hope For A Stronger Consensus (4+ / 0-)

    Think progressives have a narrow tenuous consensus. Hoping there are more like you out there. I traveled form my Republicanism in my 20s (during the Reagan era) to being a progressive now. The change part of the Hope and Change. It happens.

  •  The R's court the bottom half of the bell curve (4+ / 0-)

    I suspect that you are not in that group.

    "I was just angry at the world and voted against the right things just out of sheer frustration and ignorance."

    I think that sums up a lot of what's up with so many butt headed people these days.  They really will cut off their noses to spite their faces.  And take us with them, unfortunately.

    The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. -

    by No one gets out alive on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:44:41 AM PST

  •  Be sure to watch "The Heist - What Happened (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, wishingwell, worldlotus

    to the American Dream?"  It will take you back to what happened in the thirties and the New Deal, and the effort since then by Republicans and their think tanks to undo those progressive advances.  Very enlightening. Link

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 08:13:17 AM PST

  •  Similarly trending more progressive (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aguadito, worldlotus, David PA

    I never bought the free-markets-are-always-best rhetoric, but I did willingly (embarrassingly, it turns out)  participate in the deficit hawk movement.

    I thought the deficit scolds had a some very good points -- in the mid-1990s.  The economy was booming, probably near or above potential, unemployment was low, and there wasn't much progress on health costs besides the typical, usually unsustainable and fairly random cuts in payments to health care providers.  Medicare structural changes seemed like a good idea; there weren't another other ideas for health cost control on the table besides unsustainable cuts in reimbursements to health care providers.  Likewise, distributing the short-term budget surpluses (remember those?) by funding personal Social Security private accounts coupled with some future benefit reductions seemed like a plausible, even potentially progressive, approach to keeping future federal costs down.

    But times change.  The economy is now operating far below potential.  We don't know yet if some recent changes in health care economy will be lasting, but there does seem to be some unsteady progress toward lower cost growth.  Some of the elements of Medicare reform discussed in the 1990s are being implemented via the ACA and prior laws and regs (Medicare purchasing more carefully and rewarding good/penalizing bad health care providers; new drug benefits; more options for private alternative plans).  Finally, we can't distribute long-gone federal surpluses to cushion future cuts in Social Security.

    Last decade's growth, mediocre as it was, was based on some investments (exotic financial machinations; suburban sprawl and greenfields paving, homeland security complex) that will not likely aid productivity much going forward.  The nation's main superficially efficiency-improving investment of the last decade (fossil fuel extraction by fracking) may turn out be devastating environmentally (productivity gains from lower energy costs likely offset by costs of localized water pollution and on a broad scale from droughts, floods etc. resulting from higher carbon emissions).  So on a broader scale, not efficient at all.

    The country needs to reinvest in sustainable community building, smarter transport, local agriculture etc.  Austerity is not appropriate now, and we have more immediate problems to handle before worrying about the potential future cost of social insurance programs, especially with Medicare costs, at least temporarily, growing slowly.   At this point, Republicans need a completely new vision to attract intelligent support -- their anti-regulation and austerity policies have failed on the ground, and their (anti) social insurance and (regressive) tax policies have been exposed as more about (upward) income redistribution and class warfare than fiscal stewardship or economic growth.

  •  I want to thank you for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    having the courage to reconsider your ideals. That takes more strength than many people realize.

  •  TY for sharing. My own journey was less severe (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, aguadito, SilentBrook, worldlotus

    I am Canadian and so I was indoctrinated much less to the kinds of conservative views that you were.  I was always pretty socially liberal but I was very fiscally conservative, railing about budget deficits and unions.  I grew up believing that the Gordon Gecko "greed is good" ideology actually worked, and the business school I went to filled me with ideas about heroic management fighting against the evils of unions.  My first job (working for the Province of Ontario) was marred by a public sector strike, and I saw firsthand some of the ugly intimidation tactics used by unions.

    During the 90's I was much less informed about politics (amazing how the Internet has changed things) and pretty much saw the Republicans and Democrats as equally bad.  Two sides of the same corrupted coin.  I was angry at Clinton who I thought had done a decent job but then threw a lot of that away because he couldn't keep his fly zipped, resulting in a second term that was mostly wasted.  So for the 2000 election I was in support of Bush.  Things were good, he seemed like a nice guy, and Washington was so divided.  Give him a chance.

    Even when the Iraq War rolled in I thought it might be a good thing because it meant toppling Saddam once and for all and it might trigger a wave of ioverthrowing the dictators in the Middle East and opening the region to democracy, rationalaity, and peace.  Perhaps 100 years from now George W. Bush would have been seen as a visionary and a forefather of bringing peace to the world.

    It was the tragic bungling of that war that really opened my eyes up to the Republicans and their empty words and incompetence.  Not just with foreign policy, but with everything. In that light I re-examined the things I believed and realized how wrong they--and I--were about so many things.  Actually I do not feel that my views have shifted THAT much.  It's just that conservatism has shifted so far away to the right that I cannot identify with anything they do or support, and they are now exposed in their lies and intellectual emptiness.

    Sadly, my sister has taken a different journey.  She too was born and raised and educated in Canada.  But she married an American, moved to a very conservative area of rural Pennsylvania, and is now a lawyer who works with the defense industry.  She is very intelligent and her husband is very kind and intelligent as well.  But whenever I hear them talk about politics and the economy they parrot all the things that Fox News and the conservatives say.  They don't even phrase it as being an argument or trying to score points in a debate.  They simply say it so offhand as if they were talking about the weather or the changing of the seasons.  They believe all the anti-Obama stuff to their very bones, and won't even consider an alternative view because it is so self-evident to them.

    A lot of people have opened their eyes to the current toxic brand of US conservatism, but as my sister shows there's still a long way to go no matter how ridiculous Republicans reveal themselves to be.

  •  Another nail in the GOP coffin (7+ / 0-)

    How many more individuals are there like this one?

    Bene Scriptum, Bene Intellectum.

    by T C Gibian on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 08:57:20 AM PST

  •  What exactly is a "modern liberal"? (2+ / 0-)

    If you are a democrat and liberal in name only, please stick with the GOP and reform the freaking party so we can move the Democratic Party left, which is where it belongs.

    If you are truly born again and reviled by religious fanatics, neoliberals, blue dogs, and conservatives,  welcome to dailykos.    

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 09:10:31 AM PST

    •  Modern Progressive (5+ / 0-)

      As far as I'm concerned Progressive!=Liberal!=Democrat

      But alas, labels...

      •  Whatever you want to call it, what do you mean (0+ / 0-)

        by "modern" ?  

        What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

        by dkmich on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 10:04:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As in, "in present day" (0+ / 0-)

          As in, not back at 9/11.

          I thought it was somewhat of a clever play on words, since in Europe at least the word "modern" commonly refers to liberal social trends.

          I guess it fell short with some :>

          I'm not married to the Democrat party, but when i read about figures like Henry Wallace I admire them and the various populist progressive movements throughout history a lot more than some party.

          I just happened to vote Democrat this time around.

          I'm not trying to invade your club, if you don't want to consider me liberal or progressive or whatever, it doesn't concern me.

          •  Not my club - belongs to Kos. (5+ / 0-)

            He welcomes all kinds of Democrats.    Doesn't tolerate trolls, trouble makers or third party supporters.

            You have no idea how many disillusioned Republicans we have here who "think" they are liberals.   You are right.  Modern went right over my head.  

            What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

            by dkmich on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:21:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  It is not a club at all, Democrats have a large (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            worldlotus, David PA

            tent, in fact a rather huge tent. We find at our local Democratic meetings, we have a wide variety of Democrats represented, some are more conservative while others are moderate, liberal and so on.

            In fact, our GOTV for President Obama, we had a number of Republicans for Obama represented who did fabulous work for the campaign with their phone calls and canvassing. We had many volunteers who were Democrats but also a ton of Independents, particuarly college students. But none of that matter as we are all united in getting out the vote for Democrats.

            Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

            by wishingwell on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:57:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's a message I can get behind (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              David PA

              But I won't be registering or allying myself too closely with the party. I have no allegiance, it's only the way I am choosing to go now given the circumstances currently.

              But i see just how destructive the GOP has been and won't be voting in that direction any time soon.

              •  My best friend is a progressive like me but she (0+ / 0-)

                will not join a political and she is a registered independent and before that, a registered libertarian. We both volunteered for the Obama campaign. So one can be a progressive and align themselves with many of the Democratic Party's platform but not be a registered Democrat.  That is quite common these days with so many registered Independents or those registered to a third party.

                Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

                by wishingwell on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:04:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Pardon me (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wishingwell, hester, devis1, David PA

            It is not "the Democrat party".  It is the Democratic party.  

        •  I read it as modern being in the present day and (0+ / 0-)

          what is going on in the present vs a decade ago. I am getting so old that time passes quickly and I forget that 9-11 happened over a decade ago. So perhaps he also means this decade?

          Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

          by wishingwell on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:54:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Your next step should be to immerse (9+ / 0-)

    yourself in the actual writings of the American Revolution, with a goal of understanding the historical conflict between democracy-based republican self-government, and oligarchy and aristocracy.  Consider this quote from John Adams' 1765 A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law:

    The poor people, it is true, have been much less successful than the great. They have seldom found either leisure or opportunity to form a union and exert their strength; ignorant as they were of arts and letters, they have seldom been able to frame and support a regular opposition. This, however, has been known by the great to be the temper of mankind; and they have accordingly labored, in all ages, to wrest from the populace, as they are contemptuously called, the knowledge of their rights and wrongs, and the power to assert the former or redress the latter. I say RIGHTS, for such they have, undoubtedly, antecedent to all earthly government, - Rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws - Rights, derived from the great Legislator of the universe….  Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers…. The preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more importance to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country.

    Ben Franklin's Autobiography is wonderful antidote to Rand, especially if you keep in mind 1) Franklin as one of the greatest spy masters in American history; and 2) the dominant at the time Puritan / Quacker / Christian conception of man acting in the image of God (ie, the "pursuit of happiness" was to so understand nature and society through cultivation of the intellect, as to align one's life and actions with to will of God to do good - in other words, promote the general welfare - not some hedonistic accumulation of pleasurable things and experiences. )

    This second point speaks to your distaste for most Christian denominations today. They have been hopelessly corrupted by their accommodation to usury, social injustice, and mass consumerism, and have completely lost sight of what it means to be and act in the image of God. The focus of American "christians" has accordingly shriveled to a preoccupation with personal salvation, while neglecting and ignoring the institutional "structures of sin" that have come to dominate and shape society.

    The largest problem of political economy we have today is to figure out what the economic bases of the United States as a republic is supposed to be. I highly recommend Bernard Bailyn's The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution; Frank Bourgin's The Great Crisis: The Myth of Laissez-Faire in the Early Republic; and E.A. Johnson's The Foundations of American Economic Freedom: Government and Enterprise in the Age of Washington. An except from Johnson wrote:

    The general view, discernible in contemporaneous literature, was that the responsibility of government should involve enough surveillance over the enterprise system to ensure the social usefulness of all economic activity. It is quite proper, said Bordley, for individuals to “choose for themselves” how they will apply their labor and their intelligence in production. But it does not follow from this that “legislators and men of influence” are freed from all responsibility for giving direction to the course of national economic development. They must, for instance, discountenance the production of unnecessary commodities of luxury when common sense indicates the need for food and other essentials. Lawmakers can fulfill their functions properly only when they “become benefactors to the publick”; in new countries they must safeguard agriculture and commerce, encourage immigration, and promote manufactures. Admittedly, liberty “is one of the most important blessings which men possess,” but the idea that liberty is synonymous with complete freedom from restraint “is a most unwise, mistaken apprehension.” True liberty demands a system of legislation that will lead all members of society “to unite their exertions” for the public welfare. It should therefore be the policy of government to aid and foster certain activities or kinds of business that strengthen a nation, even as it should be the duty of government to repress “those fashions, habits, and practices, which tend to weaken, impoverish, and corrupt the people.”

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 09:11:07 AM PST

  •  And interesting window into the past (4+ / 0-)

    Only four years have passed since the financial crash, but I think even in that time some people, especially teenagers today, may have difficulty understanding just how much faith there was in the "greed is good" philosophy.

    Your post is a reminder of just how ingrained that idea had become in our political environment. So much so that even Democrats had to run as if maximizing free enterprise was accepted as an unqualified good. So much so that even today there are stubborn pockets of the philosophy that simply refuse to acknowledge that the markets don't always know best.

    I'm curious, what do you think made the difference for you when it came to keeping an open mind to the idea that your own ideas just might be wrong?

    •  Reality (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, worldlotus, David PA

      That's what made the difference.

      I also had good professors in grad school in Europe who I learned a lot of labor economics and developmental economics from. Helped to really put things into perspective.

      You really have to cut through the propaganda. There's no such thing as the free market, and as soon as one realizes that, the wall of lies comes tumbling down.

  •  Since you are in your 20s you can read US History (4+ / 0-)

    The Glory and the Dream

    This is one of the best books on current history of the U.S.

    Read it and enjoy why we fight the GOP.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America, 1932-1972 is a 1400-page social history by William Manchester. Sometimes sold as two volumes, it describes the history of the United States between 1932 and 1972. The Glory and the Dream was listed as a New York Times bestseller in 1975.[1] The book details both social history and political machinations in the period with a focus on how the New Deal, the Second World War and the Cold War influenced American culture.[2] Special attention is paid to Roosevelt's New Deal and the lasting effect it has had on the U.S. government. Manchester simplifies the complex political maneuvers and opaque terminology that pervaded Cold War politics to more accessible language.[3]

    The book's title is taken from William Wordsworth's poem "Ode: Intimations of Immortality": "Whither is fled the visionary gleam? / Where is it now, the glory and the dream?"[4]

    [edit] References
     1.^ "The Best Sellers of 1975". The New York Times Book Review (The New York Times): pp. 361. 1975-12-07. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
     2.^ Bernstein, Adam (2004-06-04). "Author of Military History William Manchester Dies". The Washington Post: pp. B7. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
     3.^ The 1973-1974 edition came in two maroon,navy and gray books with William Manchester's signature on the obverse. The books are labelled 1 and 2 on the sides. "America During, After FDR's Reign". The Lincoln Star. 1975-01-12. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
     4.^ Wordsworth, William. "Intimations of Immortality". Retrieved 2009-12-12.

  •  Interesting diary but I have a small problem (6+ / 0-)

    with this statment

    "I continued to support him throughout most of his two terms, and today I wouldn't change my vote or my support, even with hindsight."
    Why wouldn't you change your vote or support even after knowing how disastrous the last administration was? It's the same thing when people say that they will still support Iraq war even after knowing that Bush administration fabricated evidence to support the war


    •  I've done a lot of things in my past (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      etatauri, worldlotus, David PA

      In life. Do I regret some of them? sure. But i wouldn't change the path that has gotten me to where I am now, with the experiences I have now to be who I am today.

      •  True (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus, David PA

        But that statement is guaranteed to be an electric jolt to the nervous system of any progressive. lol

        As an aside, I was wondering: why do you think Bush never asked any question of any kind to Andrew Card when he leaned in to say simply "America is under attack."  I am not a proponent of any conspiracy theory mind you, I am still truly stumped at W.'s non-reaction.  Even as stunned as I allow anyone was that day, I can never figure out why he never turned to him and asked or said one thing until he got up and kind of slowly made his way out  so much later.

  •  Have any recommendations? (4+ / 0-)

    Looking back, is there anything anybody could have said to you in 2008 to pierce the denial and resistance?  You evolved yourself wonderfully because you had new experiences and had learned to think analytically about all this new information as we all try to do.   You had to wait until the emotional component of your identity could accept your evolution.

    What can we do and say to facilitate this happening more?  Especially with those people who are educated and have traveled, but still cling to bizarrely incoherent world views.   It is like trying to have a conversation with a drunk who is also half-asleep.  I have tried a bunch of methods and still continue to try and find that ultimate combination that would help make it OK to awaken.

    •  Don't think so... (3+ / 0-)

      ...but 2008 was the breaking point, it took a couple years of work, living abroad, studying abroad, to really have it grip me.

      But i couldn't run from the truth at that point.

      My time in Europe, however, is probably a whole different diary entry in itself!

      The only thing I would recommend is to point out the truth, the common sense, and just point out where the right-wing talking points are just completely fabricated.

      Some people you can't break, because the social pressure necessitates one to be of a certain political ilk.

      It's the ones who aren't as geographically or culturally grounded (as myself) who are more open to change world views.

      1) Point out hypocrisies of the opposing side
      2) Point out truths and lies with factual references.

      Over time things go the right way.

  •  The beginning of your diary (9+ / 0-)

    takes me back to sitting in my freshman civics class at 14 watching NYC under attack on that Tuesday morning.  So you're pretty much my age (I'm 25 for another few weeks).  

    What's interesting is thinking about my own perspective during these times.  I was horrified by the 11 Sep attacks, but I was immediately worried about how we would handle this.  I knew it was going to turn into a witch hunt of sorts, and I was afraid of what we would do.  

    About two weeks after I turned 16, we were invading Iraq and already in Afghanistan.

    I would always make the case to friends, family, teachers, peers, etc., that terrorists don't have a country.  There is no "Terrorland" on a map to go attack.  Starting a war, like the wars I read about in history class, was extreme.  A few people did something bad.  And then everyone seemed to let their racism flags fly after those attacks, like it was okay because "they" attacked us.  Muslims didn't attack us as a group, brown people (other terms I won't use) didn't attack us, a handful of terrorists did.  I couldn't understand why nobody would see this.  Next thing I knew, supposedly Saddam Hussein was in on this and we're bombing Iraq while telling France they're full of shit and we don't need them anyway.

    I was always a progressive, I just didn't know it, and I didn't have the right words/tools to stand up for my views.  My mom put the GOP into perspective growing up, because she stated "The only times I have been laid off in my life are when a Republican is in office." (referring to the presidency)  And part of the economic crash in 2007/2008 got her laid off again, because at the time she was crash testing cars and her entire shift was laid off.

    "I don't want a unicorn. I want a fucking pegasus. And I want it to carry a flaming sword." -mahakali overdrive

    by Silvia Nightshade on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:24:01 AM PST

  •  am not sure if "progressive" is an accurate (9+ / 0-)

    term to describe someone who, to this very day, says that they would still vote for George Walker Bush, as they did in 2004.

    Perhaps a more informed voter who has seen the light. But, it's hard for me to agree with your description of yourself as a "progressive" anything if, as you wrote, you say that, if you had it to do all over again, and it were 2004, that you would still vote for George Walker Bush.

    However...if you are, indeed, now a true progressive...welcome to the fold. How could you possibly justify your statement that today you still wouldn't change your vote even in hindsight...when George Walker Bush was, truly, antithetical to everything progressive? Something about that does not compute with me.

    •  Try not to get hung up so much on that one comment (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wdrath, worldlotus, David PA

      Nobody can go back and change the vote.

      Delving into alternate universes and "what ifs" is counterproductive imho.

      I wouldn't vote for George W. Bush in any new election.

      But judging me as "not progressive" just becasue i won't declare that I would turn back time and change my vote if possible is a bit silly.

      I don't see much of a point in soaking in the past.

      •  actually... (8+ / 0-) doesn't seem the least bit silly to me. You went out of your way to say that you would still vote for him, for some reason, despite your political transformation. That seems very odd to me.

      •  Agree: one has to accept their past & what got the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        balancedscales, wishingwell

        m where they are.  We are our past as much as we are what we are now.

        So, your saying you would not vote for Bush in any new election is a good answer.

        However, what I can't understand is how you think you could return to being an R someday.  The R party would have to be far more left than it seems it will ever be to attract you again.

        •  Absolutely (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          David PA

          I'm just saying, if there's some hard-left revolution where the Republicans somehow become center-left (the way Democrats have become center-right) , I could see myself voting for R.

          It's a total hypothetical. I won't vote Republican in 2016, unless I fall to amnesia between now and then. Not a single candidate hasn't shown their ass big time on some key issues to me

          •  A hard-left revolution with Rs winding up center-l (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            balancedscales, wishingwell

            Now, that would be worth living to 100, health failing, to see, which gives me well over 40 years.

            The only way it could happen is if the rich keep getting richer and richer and richer and richer and the rest of us get squeezed enough to turn really left, with socialism becoming a good word. I suppose that could happen, but ...

            Not a single [R] candidate hasn't shown their ass big time - heh.  You funny ...

        •  Yes I am with David on this, one has to accept (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          David PA

          their past, the choices they have made in the past, come to terms with their past , and be willing to admit they made some errors in judgment or have a few regrets.

          But I found this is easier to do and more common as the years go by. I am much more open to admitting some of my mistakes and errors in my past along with some bad decisions I made now than when I was in my 20s to early 30s.   I became more self analytical the older I got.  I was able to look back with more clarity and be more objective in my 40s and now in my 50s than I was ever able to do when I was younger.

          Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

          by wishingwell on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:36:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's not exactly "soaking in the past", (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell, Lost and Found

        because you brought it up, in what seemed to be a point of pride.  You made it the present.  It's not silly to challenge your position that you have "turned in to a modern progressive" when your statement is in direct conflict with an open, progressive mindset and set of values.  

        By admitting that even with all of your "changes" you would still vote for a man that started illegal wars that killed over 100,000 civilians, not only are you not a progressive, you're not a very good human being.  I wonder if the family members of my friend that had their lives turned upside down, their homes destroyed, lost loved ones, simply because they lived in Iraq, would agree with you that "life is cheap" in the Middle East.

        "Kindly go render the fat in your head in a large kettle of boiling water. Thank you." - Bumblebums -7.38, -6.46

        by balancedscales on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 09:37:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  i *AM* sure "progressive" is an inaccurate term (6+ / 0-)

      for someone who has no qualms about voting for GDub twice

      there are a bunch of folks who are running away from the Republicon brand because they are embarrassed by it, but that does not make them Democrats or progressives.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:32:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure why people keep saying I voted W twice (0+ / 0-)

        Again, I was 13 years old when Bush was first elected, please read the whole thing before claiming i'm not enough of a progressive to use the word "progressive".

        historically we have two progressive parties.

        one was focused on domestic issues, development, populism.

        the other was a movement heavily infested with communism and focused on unrealistic FP goals. henry wallace himself wrote an entire piece on why the party was wrong, read through that if you want to understand how much he regreted the far-lefts who hijacked the progressive party..

        so, again, what are we calling "progressive"?

        •  I am not sure what you mean here.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lost and Found
          the other was a movement heavily infested with communism and focused on unrealistic FP goals.
          When was the Democratic Party infested with communism?  Did you approve of the McCarthy hearings which were politcally motivated witch hunts?  Or are you talking earlier in American history and if so, when? I ask because the Kennedy and Johnson administrations were strongly anti communist in the 60s or there would not have been such a commitment in southeast Asia and the embargo in Cuba and the rest.

          Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

          by wishingwell on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:41:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm talking about (0+ / 0-)

            the actual PROGRESSIVE PARTIES

            roosevelt's -- the first
            wallace's -- the second

            no reference to democrat party, quite the opposite.

            Read Henry Wallace's article "Why I was Wrong", to learn about why he was wrong and how he let his Progressive Party turn into a heavily communist-influenced party.

  •  I hope for all our sakes (4+ / 0-)

    yours and the rest of the world, the change sticks.

    Maybe with a little more time and little more perspective you will see that greed and selfishness aren't admirable qualities in the market, politics or any other sphere.   And that is what the modern GOP stands for.  I got mine.

  •  welcome home (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up! CLIMATE CHANGE: The era of procrastination, half-measures & delays is coming to an end; In its place we are entering a period of consequences!

    by Churchill on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:21:52 PM PST

  •  Thank you for your thoughtful essay (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catwho, worldlotus, balancedscales

    And thanks for following the evidence into a progressive perspective.

    One thing I would encourage you to do: learn more about why 9/11 happened. Sure Osama bin Laden was a rich, religious nutcase, but he also held some grievances against the US, shared by millions of people, that are understandable. I encourage you to read about the CIA coup d'etat in Iran in 1953 that overthrew a democratic government and brought to power a vicious dictator - the Shah. And ask yourself why the United States supports the extremely fundamentalist and dictatorial King of Saudi Arabia. You might also ask why the US wholeheartedly supports the right-wing Israeli government whose policies are not good for anyone - Jew or Palestinian - except right-wing Jewish fundamentalists (and Christian Dominionists). And why the US supported dictators in Egypt for so long.

    With more knowledge, I think you'll find that the evidence does not support most of your prejudices and being a hawk on foreign policy won't appeal quite so much to you.

    •  By the way, I grew up in East Texas (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      catwho, worldlotus, balancedscales

      in what is now Louie Gohmert's district, where Democrats were conservative and Republicans were John Birchers long before it was popular elsewhere. It took me a while to learn that the world was actually a lot different than I had been taught. Later, I realized that unless you can clearly argue at least 3 sides of an issue, you probably don't know much about it. I also learned that revenge and self-suppression were not avery good problem-solving techniques. Open questioning and bold nonviolent action worked much better.

  •  Sounds a lot like my experience... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aguadito, worldlotus

    Born into a Republican family, isolated from any information from the other side for years, economic reality and the internet finally led to looking at what was going on and what caused it.

    They say a liberal is a conservative that's figured out what's
    really going on...

  •  Your early problem; No darft (5+ / 0-)

    If you do not put your life on the line for your beliefs,  you do not  believe.  September 11, 2001 happens and anit no big thing.  You do not check your lottery number, draft status.  You have to have skin in the game to make it real.
    Go out now and support card check. Agitate for the repeal of Taft-Hartley.  Build the middle class the only way it happened here unionize.  Be another Joe Hill and I will follow.

    Until then you are just another kid who sort of regrets duping a bunch op unknown people into  going broke.

  •  Thank-you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You are not alone on your transformation.

    I'm a Recovering Republican and my husband changed after Katrina.  It hit him hard that we needed a Government that was financed and run well enough to handle such a mess.

    Can you imagine Sandy under Bush if Katrina had not happened first?

    Anyhow, once people begin to look at FACTS and not opinions they think they want to hear (you know, lower taxes - that one always was my thing), when people realize that Government is not as bad as Corporations running the roost.... and that is where we are today.  People waking up.

    Republicans use too many Frank Luntz approved wording that is only designed to be misleading propaganda.  If you don't know the truth, like "Clean Coal" which does NOT exist, and people who watch FOX have been brainwashed into not trusting other media unless pre-approved by FOX....

    -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

    by MarciaJ720 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:48:08 PM PST

  •  Want to know what my (3+ / 0-)

    Want to know what my first thought was when I learned of the 9/11 attack?  My first thought was " where the fuck is our intelligence"?  

    I still wonder.  

  •  You have completed the heroe's journey (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Though I've always participated, to this day I'm not a member of any political party. On the other hand, the last Republican I've ever voted for was Kay Bailey Hutchinson in 1992. I never paid much attention to party affiliation until I heard an interview with Newt Gingrich in about 1994 or 1995. I saw then where the Republicans were heading and I haven't voted for one since.

    As for Bush, (or the wanking chimp as I call him), I've always found him vapid and puerile and devoted entirely to his puppeteers. I am very proud of the fact that on September 12, 2001, I was one of the less than 10% of the public who still didn't trust or support him. I'm very proud of that indeed. War was a game to people like Bush, (and uninformed people like you once were) but it isn't. The 1991 Persian Gulf War taught me that and though I was only an airframe mechanic, what I experienced was more than enough to make me avoid charlatans and posers like Bush for now and forever.

    Congratulations and kudos to you. Welcome.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:28:54 PM PST

  •  "Democrat" party? and u'd vote for shrub again? (5+ / 0-)

    Color me unconvinced.

    "Say little, do much" (Pirkei Avot 1:15)

    by hester on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:42:54 PM PST

    •  That's a great point about the chimp (4+ / 0-)

      On the other hand, I'm not going to hold "Democrat" Party against aguadito just now. Having listened to hate radio so much, he probably doesn't know any better. FWIW aguadito, it's the "Democratic Party". "Democrat Party" is a pejorative, designed to demean and put people into a defensive stance. If you've truly changed, you'll need to stop using conservative terms and pejorative words and phrases.

      "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

      by MargaretPOA on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:49:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess I never really thought of that (0+ / 0-)

        It just seems ridiculous to use the term "democratic party" as if automatically it's awesome just because it's "democratic" -- seems using the term "Democrat Party" is more specific to the political party which has quite often been very undemocratic.

        maybe it's because of how we use the term "democracy" and fling it around the world as an ideal, that makes me avoid using Democratic Party to describe that party.

        I'm not a partisan guy -- and I've been careful to avoid the term "democrat" / "democratic" unless it was in reference to my vote for Obama. I prefer the term "progressive" in this sense, as it frees me from binding my views to a party that has failed in many senses in the past.

        So while I am extremely skeptical of the Democratic Party, i'm hesitant to give it such a word that it isn't really deserving of in many ways, given the history of the party.

        •  What is so wrong with the history of the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lost and Found

          Democratic Party? It is the party of FDR and Truman and the party that supported the Civil Rights movement? What is so bad about the history of the Democratic Party?  

          I know I may be highly biased as I am a lifelong Democrat who grew up in a strong Union family. My grandfather and great grandfather were there during the formation of the United Mine Workers.   I have been heavily involved in the Democratic Party for 37 years now.

          Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

          by wishingwell on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:46:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sorry (0+ / 0-)

      That i don't treat the party that filibustered the civil rights act with more deference.

      I had to go back and look when i even used the term "democrat party" -- it was once, in a comment response.

      And I haven't edited or republished the essay to change any instances.

      So I think you're overreacting a bit.

      •  You do realize that the members of that party (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell, hester, Lost and Found

        all flipped after the civil rights act and took over the party that you grew up associating with, right?  Southern Dems took over the party, opened the door for the religious right, and YOU thought that they were the people you wanted to be up until your magical transformation.

        "Kindly go render the fat in your head in a large kettle of boiling water. Thank you." - Bumblebums -7.38, -6.46

        by balancedscales on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 09:42:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Those Democrats became Republicans as did their (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lost and Found

        supporters because of the Civil Rights Act. LBJ said the Democrats lost the south for a generation.  He was right.  Those pro segregation Democrats became Republicans.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:47:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  you have an odd definition of "Modern Progressive" (5+ / 0-)

    From your comment above:

    Life is cheap (0+ / 0-)
    Especially over in the middle east.

    That's why I like the drone-style of war over the ground troop method.

    Fewer casualties on our side.

    I'm not sure why so many people are cheering your so-called political evolution when you're still channeling Dick Cheney. There seems to be some very selective reading going on here.
    •  That line about the Democrats Taking (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, balancedscales

      "the GOP's foreign policy hawk advantage, (emphasis mine), is also very telling but again, you can't really fault aquadito for calling himself a "moderate progressive" when he's been getting his definitions from FOX "News" for so long and even now is probably listening to the traditional media more than is good for him. Hell, I once saw Ed Schultz allow Lanny fucking Davis get away with calling himself a "Progressive" right on his MSNBC show. But this is an evolution. Let's not be purity trolls with him just yet. Not until it's clear he knows better anyway.

      Just my .02.

      "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

      by MargaretPOA on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:16:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not a Communist (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David PA

      The last "Progressive Party" was one Henry Wallace himself chastised as flying too far left.

      Is Obama not a progressive, just because he's a drone-killer?

      I don't understand, who is allowed to call themselves a progressive and who isn't?

      Who determines this? Is it different for everyone?

      I've traveled to south america, middle east, europe -- anyone who has traveled in unfalttering areas and still thinks life isn't cheap -- ain't really lived!

      A progressive agenda isn't centered around pacifism, not sure why this is a dealbreaker for you and a few others.

      •  You mention communism a great deal, the Cold (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lost and Found

        War is over. Communism is simply not that strong or prevalent worldwide as it once was.  You seem heavily focus on communism, why is that?

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:50:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Becuase (0+ / 0-)

          historically, the last party that named itself "Progressive Party" happened to be heavily communist influenced.

          So I was wondering if that's the standard of what Progressivism is being defined as, and I was simply cautioning that I don't follow that vision at all.

          I think it's fair to say i'm more of an Obama Progressive, that is also more hawkish on FP than others perhaps. or a (Teddy) Roosevelt Progressive if you want to go further back.

    •  Cheney (0+ / 0-)

      is a hawk on Iran. I'm for open diplomacy with the Persians, not war. I'm skeptical of Israel, etc.

      I'm not channeling Cheney, if anything I'm channeling Obama, is he not a progressive? at what point does one cease to retain the right to be called a progressive?

  •  I hope you are not rare case... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, David PA, wishingwell

    You read and were curious which runs counter to what I believe what most fox watchers are. It’s so easy to be a slogan toting american requiring very little examination of anything.

    The only way the republicans have a chance to become relevant again is for blue dog democrats to switch over and gain control. They then can become the old grumpy accountants in the back room who want more boats and planes
    for the military. lol

  •  Certainly yours has been an (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    interesting journey so far.
    May I ask, are you currently in school or working? If working in finance,are your age-peers on a similar journey or have they stopped with "greed is good"?

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:39:31 PM PST

    •  I'm still in Europe (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David PA

      Most people I've worked with in consulting believe in a more socially-responsible, balanced form of capitalism, but that's quite typical here in northern europe at least.

      everyone has a living wage, and there's lots of programs that help people back on their feet. real common sense stuff that the US really should adopt.

      As i've said before, the things I've learned from living in scandinavia are a separate diary or novel of their own! there's really no reason why the US shouldn't have the mental health and social safety net programs  similar to around here.

      The way we let healthcare patent monopolists hijack us, both pharmaceutical and technological products, is insane. smaller countries than ours actually bargain down the companies better than we do, it's insane we don't use our purchasing power as the people of the united states with a public option in healthcare to provide lower cost services.

      But all my friends back home in the US that I've talked to, they've either been marginalized in finance and know from experience that the "greed is good" mantra fell short, or they have just learned from the shenanigans in the financial crisis to not respect the model of investment bankers these days.

      So I think you'd be pleasantly surprised to see how 20-somethings have a different vision of America that is much more in line with the progressive agenda.

      •  My experience includes working in (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Europe for over 20 years,mostly the UK & Switzerland. Still spend alot of time abroad. Eventually we will move there. As you note,Americans are being systematically defrauded at many junctures by our FIRE sector. Maybe that can still change.
        IME, the progressivism of today's 20somethings is both demographically broader than my late-Boomer (Generation Jones) peers but,especially in the USA,also much shallower. I believe that broader demographic with opened eyes,along with social media & tech,will help the shallow part run deeper in time. A very good thing....more sustainable ;) Which is what is most needed. Are you familiar with The Capital Institute? Strikes me that their sort of holistic finance perspectives intersect with yours somewhat.
        I look forward to reading your future diaries.

        "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

        by tardis10 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 10:13:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  You were only 21 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aguadito, Batya the Toon

    Chill out dude :)

    "Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die," - Buddha.

    by sujigu on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:41:53 PM PST

  •  Interesting read (3+ / 0-)

    Pardon me if I remain skeptical.  Something about a smell test if yanno what I mean.  Nothing specific, just in general.  

    •  I call bullshit on the whole thing, honestly. (3+ / 0-)

      A privileged kid goes to Europe, smokes some dope and parties at the local pub, then considers himself to be a "modern progressive".  

      All the while, admitting that knowing what he knows, that he would still vote for a president because he wanted "revenge".  Just because you're socially liberal, kid, doesn't make you a progressive.  

      Foreign, brown people's lives matter, even if you only viewed them from your tour bus window.

      "Kindly go render the fat in your head in a large kettle of boiling water. Thank you." - Bumblebums -7.38, -6.46

      by balancedscales on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 09:46:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Honestly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lost and Found, wishingwell

        Honestly, I was being kind.   ;)

      •  His references to the Democratic party of the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lost and Found

        past being " infested with communism" gave me pause. And then another comment where he says,  " I am not a communist".  I thought I was back at the McCarthy hearings.  Those statements I found more odd than anything else. I seldom hear people under a certain age talking about communism in that way.  

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:51:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Except I never once said that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It's funny how half of these negative comments are outright lies

          1) Never referred to Democrats as communists. I was giving you a history lesson on the "Progressive Party", specifically Wallace's in reference to communist influence. Again, read the article I referenced you before..

          2) Never voted for W. twice, because I was too young to have even done that.

          3) I'm not one who changes decisions I've made past, mistakes or otherwise.

          Although after seeing a lot of these comments I'm starting to get what Dean Baker meant by the "Loser Liberals".

          •  I never said you voted for W twice but you did (0+ / 0-)

            but check your posts for your references to communism.  Or I can quote them later but I would love for you to explain your references to communism.

            Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

            by wishingwell on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:09:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  typo, I mean you did reference communism and (0+ / 0-)

              its link to the progressive part of the Democratic party in the past or far left or something to that effect, did you not? And by far left, how far left is that ?  Cite some examples if you have time.

              Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

              by wishingwell on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:10:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No i didn't (0+ / 0-)

                I referenced PROGRESSIVE PARTY.

                I even gave you specific names and time periods and a work by Wallace regarding specifically the communist infestation comments.

                I don't know what else you want from me, seriously.

                •  Try to relax, I am ending my part of this (0+ / 0-)

                  discussion as it is clearly upsetting you.  I was just asking for more clarification instead of being given sources to explore. I was hoping you could explain it more from your own perspective rather than just quotes from others.

                  But that is Ok. I am a very calm person and I do not anger easily and I have been involved in the Democratic Party politics for 37 yrs and I have been here for 8. I have seen and learned so much and I know for me, when it is best to exit a diary and a discussion. All the best to you. I will read more of your diaries in the future and then perhaps I will gain a clearer understanding.

                  Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

                  by wishingwell on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:24:19 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Loser Liberals? Really? Making that reference (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lost and Found

            is not going to help you gain trust from members here or help those who have some skepticism believe you are sincerely a modern progressive. Why insult us just because people have questions or comments or skepticism or want more detail, etc?  

            Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

            by wishingwell on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:14:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Dean Baker is himself (0+ / 0-)

              a progressive economist.

              I'm merely referencing what a progressive has said himself about liberals and their overreach.

              I'm not trying to "gain trust", especially from individuals who are making up outright lies about me to serve as a basis for criticizing me on a strawman instead of legitimate criticism of the content of my opinions.

              I never ONCE mentioned calling democrats communists.

              I've written numerous diary entries here in the few months I've been a member, one can read through them to discover who I am.

              I don't need people to make up lies about my time in Europe or other travels, or lies about my history or my beliefs. I've been more than open here, and answering people who are just saying "I call bullshit" based on a slew of lies is not really very productive is it?

              •  I was just curious at to the references to (0+ / 0-)

                communists and communism in your comments above. I was just asking for more clarification. That is all.  But I think I will just end this discussion and move on from this diary as apparently you are becoming angry at the comments in your diary. I do not wish to upset you or cause you grief so I shall exit. I wish you the very best and have a pleasant day. But I am being misundestood as well and it is best to just move on from this. As I have clearly upset you with some of my comments.

                Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

                by wishingwell on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:20:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It branched (0+ / 0-)

                  From the discussion over "what is a Progressive"

                  The Teddy Roosevelt Progressives were different in many ways from the Wallace Progressives.

                  And that's why I was saying, well I'm not a communist, if that's what people are defining Progressives as from the Wallace era (something He wrote about in the work I cited earlier).

                  It was not ever in any reference to any democrats.

                  And how can I not become angry at comments that are downright lies? You've replied to numerous comments claiming that I was saying the democratic party was infested with communists, when I didn't.

                  Do you see where I'm coming from at all?

                  I was cordial to the valid criticism over my Bush comment, but why the hell do I have to deal with people just making up things about me and then criticizing me based on that? I mean I've laid out pages worth of my opinions here, why would someone make up lies when it's all out in the open?

      •  You're been lying throughout all your (0+ / 0-)

        comments on this thread against me.

        I've been kind enough to you in the face of these bald lies, but now you have to be called out.

        You can't keep just making things up. First you claim i was "only on campus" while in Europe. Except anyone who has traveled around Europe knows they don't have a "campus city" style college infrastructure the way the US does.

        Then you claimed I never traveled outside of northern Europe, when I've lived in numerous different places in much less flattering areas in the world.

        Now you're claiming I went to Europe to smoke dope and party at the local pub? I don't even know how to respond to such strange strawmen.

        I get it, you hate Bush, and you hate me becasue I won't invent a time machine and change my vote in the past. But get over it. You're not the gatekeeper for who is a progressive and who is not.

        All i know is I've seen a truly ugly side of liberals in your comments and other people's comments on this thread. I understand what a lot of people have told me about so-called liberals now. But I know that liars like you are the exception and that liberals are on a whole much more tolerant and open-minded and pleasant than conservatives.

        •  Something that might help to explain why (0+ / 0-)

          we are bound to be a little cautious is we have seen people come here with similar stories and then we find out more information. I have been here 8 years and I have read stories similar to yours and the people were welcomed here and have been here since and all is well. But on the other hand, we have seen some fake stories and we have been burned or fooled for a while.  We just went through an incident  in the past year where the newbie claimed to be someone he was not  And it was not a pleasant experience at all. So try to understand that we are not singling you out or picking on you.  

          I happen to believe your story and welcome to Dkos... but try not to take comments so seriously and be so defensive as none of this is personal.  We often challenge each other's opinions and get into some heated debates. It happens.

          We get into vigorous debates here.   That is just how things go.  We do not just agree with everyone and their opinion, we challenge each other and the discussions get involved.  But I do not believe anyone is lying about you, they are just voicing their opinions based on what you wrote.  But you seem to be getting angry over this instead of just saying to the person, " You are wrong and explaining why.  Just a helpful hint from a long time member here.  Hope that helps.

          Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

          by wishingwell on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:35:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have no problem whatsoever (0+ / 0-)

            With rigorous debate, and I openly welcomed that in this entry.

            I got defensive when it was clear that a lot of the harsh criticism was based on outright falsehoods. Particularly from this "balancedscale" character.

            As I said in my other comment, you can read through my entries since I've joined here. I don't know what I would benefit from "tricking people" into thinking I'm no longer a Republican voter. So if you think writing lengthy diary entries about issues makes me a some long-con troll, I don't really know what the heck I would get out of it, hell, is Dkos paying me to opine on such things? No. I don't know why there is such suspicion, or what these people in the past have done to this community, but do I deserve to be libelled because of some people who have hurt this place in the past?

            It is an outright lie to say I called Democrats communist.

            It is an outright lie to say I "went to Europe to smoke dope and live on campus and travel in a tour bus" and am somehow a sheltered privileged rich kid.

            It's an outright lie to say I care less about brown people. I care more about Americans than anyone else, is that really controversial for an American to say?

            That's where I have problems. I have no problems with the very valid criticism of my comments about not changing the vote for Bush. And I own that and I do understand why that is provoking a lot of push-back.

            But to use that disagreement to start pushing lies about me to produce INVALID criticism of me, is where I draw the line.

      •  Also you've suddenly turned this into a racial (0+ / 0-)

        Thing by constantly referring to "brown people" and acting like I traveled on "other people's dimes" and "didn't actually travel around" and "smoking dope" (when did i even mention going to europe and smoking dope? that's totally absurd).

        It's very strange all of these assumptions you've made, all of them totally wrong. you really don't even know the half of how wrong you are.

        But because of one comment I made about not changing past decisions, you've extrapolated from that a whole host of fantasy lies:

        But maybe, just maybe, I'll write in more detail here at DailyKos about what has happened in my life since Obama's election and since I did a lot of traveling (no, not on anyone's dime but my own, and no, not in touristy areas, including some very unorthodox experiences, despite your wild imagination earlier)..

        And I won't hold my breath for an apology from you once you know the details, because people like you don't care much for the truth, that much is obvious.

      •  Also (0+ / 0-)

        I'm privileged only insofar as I am white, and that is an inherent advantage for a number of reasons in the western world. Beyond that, my parents were working class, and I always took care of myself.

        I explicitly stated that I went to college on a scholarship, worked my way through, and i'm not some Romneyite trust fund kid, far from it.

        I don't like the tone of white guilt and self-hate and racial implications you bring with your comments.

        I thought I was being reasonable enough admitting that i was privileged based on my skin tone, but you've taken it to a whole new level by implying all sorts of things and frankly I'm really offended and that's why I can't stop responding with outrage to your comments. Maybe if at least they were rooted in truth I would understand and accept such criticism, but you've taken the liberty of outright lying about me and using such lies to serve as a premise for personally insulting my integrity.

  •  Question about movies that influenced you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, davehouck

    I haven't fully digested your diary, but early on in it I was baffled by your statement that two movies influenced you toward free financial market ideology -- Wall Street (by Oliver Stone) and Boiler Room.

    What I don't get is that both of those movies were virulently anti "free" financial market.  Both were about how the absence of regulation on "Wall Street" led to rampant corruption and theft.

    I worked on Wall St around the time Wall Street came out and almost everyone I worked with was cynical about our work.

    Did the generations that came after me see these movies and the statements of faith of their major characters (like Gordon Gekko) in some sort of innocent, non-ironic way????

    •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

      I can tell you that plenty of other people saw movies like that and were actually motivated by the greedy self-interested aspects of it.

      Maybe partially ironic, but the message wasn't totally negative in what many people have taken from those movies.

  •  As a wise man once said ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "To slide halfway to stupid and stop is rare indeed."

    When your ideas weren't working, you reexamined them instead of entrenching.  That puts you ahead of most people.

  •  The power of the diss (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    First, thank you very much for this thoughtful essay.

    You confirm a big suspicion of mine, that one of the most powerful motivators on earth is pride.  People will do all kinds of shit, against facts and their own self-interest, if they feel they've been dissed.

    Liberals always used to decry the fearmongering of the Bush war machine, but I always knew that wasn't it.  Bush wasn't stoking fear but anger, the desire to avenge humiliation.  "We'll put a boot up your ass, it's the American Way!"

    They are expert marketers, manipulators.

    Good for you, letting reality pull the blinders from your eyes

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