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Party Loyalty and Role Reversal
A hard lesson I’ve learned over the years is that, if you support EVERY platform talking point of a political party–Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, whatever–you’re either 1) Not getting all sides of the issues, and/or 2) Not thinking things through. All parties are going to occasionally be dead wrong on certain issues, but blind loyalty takes us down directions we never thought we’d go, getting us to support positions that in retrospect, are totally inconsistent with our values and beliefs. I’ve actively followed politics the past few decades, and during that time, it’s almost like we’ve entered a parallel universe, where the Left and Right have largely switched roles. Consider the following:
- Corporate Support/Sponsorship. For most of my life, the Republicans were the party of Big Business, but now, virtually every large American company is unapologetically in bed with the Left, and it’s not even close. The largest ones by far–Big Tech–are even farther left than most of the Democratic Party.
- War. Since the Vietnam War, the Right has been pushing wars and involvement in foreign conflicts, while the Left resisted most of the way. That is, until the past year, it which virtually every member of the Democratic Party is suddenly pushing all-out resistance to Russia, while many on the Right are trying to minimize involvement. It blows my mind to hear people like Pelosi, Durbin, and Schumer sound like George W. Bush shortly after 9/11, especially when so many of these same Democrats passionately fought against Iraq involvement, even back in the 90s when Saddam Hussein carried out probably the most unprovoked invasion of another country the past 35 years.
- Russia. Related to that, when Russia was part of the larger Soviet Union, back when they were one of the most brutal, repressive regimes in history, the Right was leading the charge against them. Ronald Reagan most notably resisted them in every corner of the world, famously calling them an Evil Empire. At the same time, the Left consistently took the side of the communists. Ted Kennedy, Jane Fonda, John Kerry, and countless others actively worked to undermine the U.S. in their resistance to communist expansion. It was so blatant that leaders in Russia developed a term for them — Useful Idiots. After the Soviet Union collapsed and a form of democracy started to spread, the Left largely abandoned their love of the Russians. This blew up into all-out hatred when it was perceived that Russia helped elect Trump in 2016. Most on the Right still resisted a Putin-led Russia, but the Trump attacks became so absurd that many have leaped to its defense, apologizing for and rationalizing Russian actions.
- Protests and Strikes. Anti-war protests, led by the Left, became normalized during the Vietnam Era and have been widespread during EVERY American war since then when a Republican president was in office (which is the majority of them). Worker strikes have been overwhelmingly supported by the union-dominated Democratic Party. Remember the “Community-Organizer”-in-Chief, Barack Obama? However, protests the last few years against Covid tyranny, most notably in the Canadian trucker protest, have been harshly condemned by the Left. Many have called for brutal crackdowns, cheering Trudeau’s use of Soviet-style repression. In fact, have you heard a single member of the Democratic Party speak out in favor of the right to protest when the issue was anti-mandate? As for the Ukraine-Russia War, where are all the Leftist anti-war protests? Where are the celebrities singing for peace? Where are the ‘No Blood for Oil’ signs?
- Censorship and Civil Rights. Growing up, the Religion Right had a reputation for censorship, famously calling for symbolic “book burning” of works in evolution, sex, and other topics they deemed inappropriate. The Left was on the side of freedom of speech at all costs, passionately defending such cases as The People vs. Larry Flynt, a censorship case against Hustler magazine. The Left also largely argued against Bush’s Patriot Act, which created unprecedented government surveillance powers and other infringements of civil liberties. Fast forward to today. The Left is wholeheartedly behind Big Tech censorship. They also regularly lead the Cancel Culture charge that destroys peoples lives and intimidates most of the population into silence. On Covid, whenever the debate is mandate vs. civil liberties, you can be sure the Left is on side of forced compliance. The Right has now become the passionate defender of free speech & civil liberties.
- My Body, My Choice. Probably the issue that has fired up the Democratic base more than any other the past few decades has been abortion. Any infringement whatsoever has been sold as a slippery slope to government having full control over a person’s body. The Right has of course taken the pro-life side. However, the era of Covid has launched the debate of government forcing masks and vaccines on those who don’t want it, completely reversing the roles on the “My Body, My Choice” issue.
- Character Assassination. A rallying cry of the Left back in the Cold War era was “McCarthyism,” a practice of many on the Right to destroy the reputations and livelihoods of suspected communists, or even those who associated with suspected communists. It was an early form of character assassination based not on actions, but words and political positions. We’ve come full circle on this also, as Cancel Culture and Character Assassination are now the preferred weapons of choice against anyone who dare take a position right of center.
I learned my lesson on blind party loyalty during the George W. Bush administration. Back when I was younger and naive, fired up about 9/11, I got fully behind the War on Terror, Iraq, and the Patriot Act. I defended virtually every Bush policy. Over time too many things knocked some sense into me–no WMDs in Iraq, never-ending war, no expiration on Patriot Act powers, insane government spending, new agencies targeting American citizens, illegal immigrant amnesty, imprisoning people indefinitely without due process, and the last straw for me–the TARP big corporate bailout during the housing crisis. I think most people on the Right have learned the same lessons, which is why they have mostly abandoned Establishment Republicans, voting for Donald Trump and pushing outsider candidates.
What about the Left, have they learned anything, or are they still insanely blind to party loyalty? I’d love to go back 20 years and ask every Democrat voter, “Your political party is pushing a Russian war, is in bed with all the biggest corporations, is anti-free speech, is in favor of government forcing a medical procedure on you, believes in invoking Martial Law to crush protests, supports imprisoning people & freezing bank accounts without court order, destroys the lives of anyone with whom they disagree with politically, and believes Executive Orders without checks’n’balances should be allowed to create laws for the country. Would you still support your party?” My guess is they’d scream, “HELL NO!!!!!” But here we are in 2022, living in the Twilight Zone, where the Left has become everything they used to despise.