The other night Pat and I were enjoying a meal in our home with a couple of dear friends. Our after-dinner conversation turned to heartfelt expressions about past, present and future. In the midst of some shared recollections about previous phases of our life, I wondered aloud about how this idealistic young McGovernite college kid could now find myself, at age sixty, running with a bunch of Republicans.
Then last night, Pat asked me why I am uncomfortable being a Republican. I found myself unable to offer an answer. But today, after some mulling the question over, I collected a few thoughts.
I am in fact not a Republican at heart, although I am registered to vote that way. But that’s because I’m not a dam Democrat either, and wouldn’t want to be caught dead anywhere near their gov’ment-take-all way of doing things.
Here is why:
I believe in the power, proven in our American history, of a free people to do great works. I believe in the limitless possibilities of a free people who, with their individual liberties constitutionally assured, can do what needs to be done, and prosper while performing it, both individually and collectively.
I believe in free enterprise, free markets, free trade, the invisible hand, Main Street, and God.
I believe human life, from its earliest inception , is worthy to receive the protection of the law.
These days, although I empathize with the opportunity-challenged. underemployed Occupy wall street 99% crowd, I also have no complaint with the so-called 1% gathering as much wealth as they can accumulate. The rich cats can only squander so much of the gravy before spreading some of that prosperity around as expenditures and investments, whereby the rest of us 99% can catch a little of the action.
Philosophically, I do not favor the practice of governmental income redistribution, and I surely do not want to see government take over everything-- not health care, not business, not philanthropy, not any of that stuff that good citizens ought to be doing from the abundance of their own hard-earned resources.
Now perhaps you can see why I am not a Democrat, and here’s why I am not really a Republican either.
Beginning about 200 years ago our pioneering American spirit began to focus on settling and developing the north American continent. Figuratively speaking, yankee industry, southern agronomy, widespread entrepreneurship and nascent capitalism took on the challenges of capitalizing and developing this exceptional experiment in democratic/republican nationhood that we call the United States of America.
Led by wealth-seeking industrialists and prosperity-seeking workers, we built in short order an amazing infrastructure of railroads, electricity grids, highways, airways and communication networks. Thousands, yea I say unto thee millions, of folks got in on the action and got a slice of the copious wealth. We were in high cotton for 150 years or so, in spite of a depression or recession or two.
But now we’ve gotten lazy. And I’m not just talking about couch-potato consumers. Now, American business, unwilling to take on the risks—and the sweat and the toil and the uncertainty—of capitalizing the upgraded prerequisite infrastructure for 21st-century prosperity, dithers with profit-obsessive derivatives and credit default swap schemes, instead of venturing out into the new frontiers of what really needs to be done.
The infamous, phantasmic Wall Street, whatever that is, refuses to capitalize for us a way out of the self-destructive oil addiction rut in which we find ourselves cluelessly bogged down. I can’t blame the Dems for taking a stab at these dependencies when our famous free enterprise entities won’t, or can't, take a chance on it. So the self-appointed prophets and the planners and the socialists and the gov’ment do-gooders and the democrats and the intellectual elites want to take on the burdens of what unbridled industry used to do. Maybe they’ve overregulated the captains of industry into neutralized industrial impotence, I don’t know, but now it seems that the Dems want the government to initiate everything. Meanwhile, the Repubs are still dreaming in lala land about bonuses, unfettered capitalism and tax shelters.
If I could, I would cast out both the demonDemo bureaucrats and the corporatublican devils.
What has happened to our business leadership in this country? Have they abdicated the wealth-generating mantle of industrial innovation?
President Reagan, patron saint of the Repubs, said that government IS the problem. But now, thirty years later, that’s only half the picture. We’ve got a new problem: business.
Business is the problem—not enough of it. Why has business shrunk from the profit-possibility challenges of the 21st century? Why have the capitalists conceded the venture-risking function to government? Why? Because there’s not enough money to be made, and too much risk and expense required to do the work that needs to be done. Call uncle Sam, even if he’s broke busted and his mother can’t be trusted. He''ll take the risk; he's got a pump-priming Fed to back him up.
Where are the Rockefellers, Carnegies, Edisons, Fords, Morgans and Watsons of our era? For that matter, where is the Gates, or Jobs, of the next generation?
In Congressional hearings today... Solyndra? Hey, I don’t care about the rhetorical politicized blameshifting and fault-finding. Solyndra was attempting to do the work that needs to be done, before wily Chinese competition cut them out of the emerging solar collector market. Where’s the company that will, Henry Ford-like, put a solar collector on every roof by capitalizing mass-produced affordability in that sector? Where’s the UAW that’s willing to cut a deal so that every half-prosperous American can afford to put an electric vehicle in their garage? Where's the bold corporation that will take a chance on new-tech American bullet trains?
It almost appears that American business, labor and industry has outlived its usefulness. How can that great trail-blazing entrepreneurial thrust of ages gone by be recovered, and recycled?
Don’t get me started; I’m a Republocrat, and dam proud of it.