Fluorescent Dreams Wax Cylinders - Republican Party caucus...

3rd of March, 2012

12:00 - Republican Party caucus...

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For two hours today, I took a role I didn't expect that I would ever take. For two hours today, I was a Republican.

Let's be blunt. I'm a liberal, secular person who believes in government as a counterweight to big business. What was I doing at the Republican Party caucus?

Entertaining myself. And doing what I do best: listen.

Don't get me wrong. In those two hours, I got good stories waiting in line.

I can write about the fellow who's getting his Ph. D. in fisheries through a National Science Foundation scholarship and summer work at the Fish and Wildlife Service... who is campaigning for Ron Paul.

I can write about the lady who's blaming the recession on all the dividends that corporations pay.

I learned that life insurance companies do not go bankrupt; at worst, they are liquidated.

But, bluntly, all the people at my table were ordinary people, listening to each other and trying to figure what's best for the country. I disagreed with them a lot less than I expected; they're mostly the pro-business, secular and libertarian Republicans that I once belonged to (and that I thought was dead in the Republican party.) Every one at my table (including me!) believed in gay marriage and thought that the biggest problem in the U.S. was the economy.

I'm very glad that I went. If your state has open caucuses, I highly recommend the experience... even if the Republicans aren't the party you'll vote for in the general elections.

Take care, all.

Comments:

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From:dagoski
Date:2012-Mar-3 08:41 pm (UTC)
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I only wish I could be so open minded. They may appear to be the sort of pro-business Republicans of yore, but they keep voting for absolute nuts. It's very hard for me to see them as people when they candidate they vote for demonize me and their political leaders use increasingly violent language. Then again, this is Western Washington state. They may just not have the numbers to be heard compared to the rest of GOP.

There's probably more common ground to be found on economic issues as well as some potential innovations to be had from a good conversation between the left and the right. However, until the culture wars end, there is no way I can to even talk to a Republican. This past year, their leaders have said that gays are a graver threat to this country than terrorism, that commuting by bike is some sort of UN conspiracy, then there was the whole 'give us money bitch' ad against my local rep, Janice Hahn. Until this stops, I have consider anyone in the Republican party a direct threat to my existence. A lot of my hatred and intolerance comes from being on the receiving end of very mean spirited rhetoric since the 1980s. Every Republican campaign ad, it seems, features a villain that looks, racially, like the people I grew up with and live with now. There's just been a steady stream of flat out racist ads and comments from Republican public officials. Then there's long running attacks aimed at secular folks like me that's only picked up in intensity over the years. How on Earth can I view these people as having anything in common with me and my community with a history like this? I really don't think it's worth sitting down with the other side. I'm sure it's a tragedy, I'm sure it's a loss, but there's no way to trust them. Practice culturally divisive politics and you get a culturally divided nation.
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From:merle_
Date:2012-Mar-3 10:08 pm (UTC)
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hat commuting by bike is some sort of UN conspiracy

Uhm. Really? How'd they swing that? Mostly curious; obviously it is not but it is a very weird argument to bring to the table.
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From:dagoski
Date:2012-Mar-3 10:33 pm (UTC)
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This was something a candidate for governor in Colorado was spewing out. I honestly could not make much sense of it. In general, there's a lot of crazy coming from the right on topics that have to do with mass transit and urban planning. I think some this comes from misunderstandings about a UN backed plan or standard designed to promote smart development. It's name is something like Plan 29. Ergh.... I can't remember the name of this thing to even Google it. But, one of the UN bodies gathered together a set of smart planing standards from various countries and gathered it together into a set of best practices for urban development. One of the recommendations was developing bike lanes and so forth. The Tea Party got ahold of this and turned it into a big conspiracy theory. This was then picked up by a couple of Republican governors and candidates who used it pander to their base. The guy who put out the most crazy was the Dan Maes who claimed that the plan to put bike lanes in Denver were going to convert the city into a United Nations community.

In the past, I've also heard that mass transit policies were plans to 'depopulate the land' in order to bring the population together in one place for easier control. This is why I just cannot even take a Republican seriously these days. Mass Transit and bicycle provisions are fairly pragmatic ways to deal with congestion and rising gas prices. The basic idea shouldn''t be a political/cultural issue. The politics should probably come in on how to implement and pay for them. Debating that would lead to innovation.
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From:merle_
Date:2012-Mar-4 12:07 am (UTC)
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I've also heard that mass transit policies were plans to 'depopulate the land' in order to bring the population together in one place for easier control.

Wow. Considering the number of rich people who take public transit and the number of bus lines to smaller sections of town.. I would think they would blame it on communism and not be suggesting we need more of a police state. But that's just my nickel.

But, eh. I walk. I take the bus. I ride the subway. I don't care what they think of me. I'd bike too, if not for the potholes because the governments can't be bothered to fix the roads.
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From:dagoski
Date:2012-Mar-4 01:06 am (UTC)
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There seems to be geographic divide here. Rich folk in the city may avoid certain transit lines, not the least because they don't go where they want, but they do ride the system. This was true when I lived in Philly. You didn't see the Rittenhouse Square crowd on my bus, but that was because my bus didn't go where they did. You'd see these very wealthy people on the center city trains. And the wealthy first ring suburbs made heavy use of the trains as well. But, the divide happens when you get farther out into the exurbs. And, you begin hear weird stuff about transit in the Midwest. Man, did I ever hear some strange comments from conservatives when I lived in Michigan. One that sticks in my head is that cycling was a conspiracy to turn the US into a homosexual nation. That was a local conspiracy in circulation in the communities around Ann Arbor in the late 1990s. Plus there are lingering perceptions about who rides mass transit that seem to sabotage it. I remember a GM ad from the 1990s that sums this up. It showed a picture of a bus and a GM car sitting side by side at a stoplight. The car looked all nice and shiny. The bus' placard read 'Line 23 Freaks and Weirdos'.

Anyway, I don't think we're looking at an income divide. It's cultural.
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From:merle_
Date:2012-Mar-6 01:50 am (UTC)
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Interesting. I had never considered stratification of the levels of suburbs, aside from the "if you're willing to drive forever to get to work you can have a 5b/3b mansion" bit. But you are correct, there are 'burbs you can get to via subway and ones you cannot get to with no car. I'm pure urban so did not think about that.

Cycling is going to turn us into homosexuals? Perhaps only women ever saw the Kathy Ireland photo with her on a bike. As far as conspiracies go I'm all for this one.
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From:xolo
Date:2012-Mar-3 10:03 pm (UTC)
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It's refreshing to know that at least some of those who consider themselves liberal are interested in what's best for America, have an open mind, and don't want to suppress any idea with which they disagree. I'm not sure there're that many of you left, but it's good that there are some.
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From:inaki
Date:2012-Mar-3 11:00 pm (UTC)
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This very definitely goes both ways. :)
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From:wbwolf
Date:2012-Mar-4 01:15 am (UTC)
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More than you might think, but they are usually not the ones screaming into the microphone. As noted above, it goes both ways.

On the other hand, I have noticed that those that are technically inclined and highly educated tend to side more towards the libertarian end of things (small government, leave me alone attitude). And western Washington does have a lot of those types around, so it's little surprise they would dominate the caucuses. (Heck, there's been a Ron Paul sign next to I-5 for years.) Interesting that pre-caucus polls were saying Romney followed by Santorum were leading.
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From:merle_
Date:2012-Mar-3 10:11 pm (UTC)
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What was I doing at the Republican Party caucus?
Entertaining myself.


Good on you, mate.

It is always wise to keep a cautious eye out, and the Republicans we grew up with are not the ones getting the news coverage these days. They've learned shock and misinformation tactics. But there certainly are good Reps out there these days. Not saying I'll vote for any of them (having already said I would not next election) but there are some sane minds out there.
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From:erbana
Date:2012-Apr-16 12:04 pm (UTC)
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...one day, we will all shun the labels that our fathers' created for us...and simply let our opinions and beliefs do the talking. labels, the root of all problems in politics.
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