My Introduction to Politics

After retiring from the Civil Service, where my political activity was restricted, I continued for some years to have only a limited interest in politics. Most of the professionals in that field seemed unimpressive, and some downright lacking in integrity.  So I chose to give little attention while they went on doing their thing.

That changed during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. For the first time it became clear to me just how much damage the politicians were doing to people’s lives and welfare.  I didn’t use such a sharp term as class warfare, but I saw a growing suppression of the middle class under the policies of Reagan and his Republican successors.

The labor unions were weakened. Sharp limitations were put on governmental benefits – through lids placed on the existing benefits, proposals for privatization, and sharp opposition against new benefits.  A combination of technological advances and forced gains in productivity managed to reduce available jobs and to cap the growth of wages beneath the growth of inflation. The previously strong influence of Corporate America in politics has been expanded enormously.

To me, these developments were directly related to our lingering economic problems involving unemployment, declining tax revenues, and growing national debt. The reduced purchasing power of the middle class reduced demand for domestic products and services, from which the other problems were spawned.

Since the 1970s, I have never voted Republican, because I realize that their policies are against my interests as a member of the middle class. Unfortunately, many of my class continued voting Republican because they supported that party’s “cultural warfare” on such issues as abortion, gay rights, tax reform, climate change, and immigration.  This was warfare in name only, but it was an effective bait for voters.  The groups under Republican attack have consistently gained ground.  Middle-class Republican supporters were not only deceived about the warfare, but they have also seen their own economic situation shrink under Republican policies.

Business interests have repeatedly claimed that the solution to our economic problems is to get government out of the way and to minimize labor costs. They say that only capital can create wealth. This gave rise to my first published political utterance, a letter to the editor titled Capital, Labor, and Government Create Wealth.  Writings such as this became easier once the feet were first wetted.  And so, over the following years, I wrote more letters as more issues came into view.  Only those letters that met the test of publication have been featured in this blog.

I believe these political issues are so serious that I cannot simply rest after voting. I feel a further need to apply my skills as best I can, and to date this has been through writing and publication.

6 thoughts on “My Introduction to Politics

  1. I think you should now put out all your letters/writings that, for one reason or another, failed to be published elsewhere. Let them be read, circulated, digested, before voting begins.

  2. Doug, thank you for your kind comment.
    Claude, Good Idea. Problem is, the only “failed” letters I recall right now were dealt with in the posting about press freedom at the Daily Progress, and also another post that’s referred to in the Daily Progress item. I’ll keep trying to recall more.

    • Like Wagner’s music, Trump probably isn’t nearly as bad as he sounds. He knows how to hit tender points that get people excited, but I think in practice he is more of a pragmatist, less threatening than the ideologues that abound in the Republican party. Whatever, I plan to continue my aversion to any Republican candidate. Thanks for your comment, Mark.

      • I must correct my overly optimistic impression of Trump, as posted on February 4. Given the flow of his pronouncements since that date, I now consider him actually dangerous to our Republic. One of his revelations that particularly signals this danger is his claim that for him to lose the general election in Pennsylvania would require cheating at the polls. Currently, all indications are showing that he will indeed lose that state. He is therefore preparing the most stupid of his followers (of whom there are many) to mount a major protest against the alleged cheating, once the election returns are in. Thus far, the ballot box has been highly respected and accepted in this country, a major contribution to our peaceful transfer of government from one party to the other — even when this was severely tested as in the year 2000 victory of Bush over Gore. A significant protest move against acceptance of ballot results in this next election could seriously endanger our peaceful acceptance of poll results for many years to come.

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