George Boardman: Destroying the Democratic Party I grew up with
Observations from the center stripe: Parking edition
THE PROPOSAL to charge for parking in downtown Grass Valley should free up a lot of parking spots on the streets. It will be too expensive for employees of downtown stores to park there all day … CBS NEWS get an “A” grade for its coverage of sexual harassment charges against one of the network’s stars, Charlie Rose … PRESIDENT TRUMP apparently prefers an accused sexual predator to a liberal in the Alabama Senate race … A FRIEND tells me it take three sopranos to change a light bulb: One to get up on a ladder to change the bulb, one to knock over the ladder, and one to say, “I knew you couldn’t get that high, dear” …
The esteemed editor of this newspaper (or is it the editor of this esteemed newspaper?) recently advanced the ridiculous notion that people untether their brains from their political party and think for themselves.
Hey, a man can dream, can’t he?
That’s unlikely to happen because then people will start having doubts about what to believe, or what they think they believe. There is enough doubt and unknowns in our personal lives as it is. If you slavishly follow your own political party’s dictates, you at least know who the enemy is.
These thoughts have occurred to me in recent years as the Democratic Party has moved farther away from the liberal tenets that are the foundation of my political beliefs. The so-called progressive movement has made my party almost unrecognizable.
Like most people, I got my political grounding from my parents. Both came of age during the Depression and believed that you judge a society by how it treats its least fortunate members. They viewed capitalism as a positive, creating jobs and the opportunity for a lot of people to better themselves. They had no problem with companies making money so long as they adhere to certain standards: safe products, fair dealing with customers, treat their employees with respect, and minimize pollution of the environment.
It occurred to me as I got older that liberals didn’t have all of the answers, and that conservatives were worth listening to on certain subjects. I came to admire elected officials like Dianne Feinstein, who has shown the ability throughout her long career to reach across the aisle and find the common ground that can produce practical solutions to our problems.
Feinstein’s willingness to compromise was standard practice in the ’50s, ’60s and into the ’70s. A lot of people don’t realize that the Master Plan for Higher Education, which created California’s world-renowned university and state college systems, was proposed by a conservative governor (Goodwin Knight) and brought to life by a liberal governor (Pat Brown).
Now Feinstein is being trashed by California progressives because she doesn’t wholeheartedly endorse their agenda, and has actually advanced the notion that Donald Trump may change his ways and become a competent president.
Then there is Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who doesn’t have to prove she’s a liberal, getting criticized for reaching a tentative agreement with Trump to provide legal protection to young undocumented immigrants, aka, Dreamers. Several people who would benefit from such legislation showed up at a press conference chanting “we are not a bargaining chip” and “all of us or none of us.” Real smart.
I have resisted some of the wackier impulses of the left over the years. I’m a native of the Bay Area so I saw firsthand the rise of the Black Panther party, an outfit I viewed with suspicion from the start. Maybe it was because I didn’t have a sense of white guilt over the plight of black Americans, or maybe I just saw them for the con artists they were.
I’ve always been a big believer in the open exchange of ideas, and I experienced plenty of that during my days at San Francisco State in the early ’60s. It was not uncommon to have a communist speaking on campus one day, and a member of the John Birch Society appear the next day. Each had to endure his share of catcalls and hoots, but half the cops in town weren’t required to carry off the event. There were no safe havens either, unless you count the Lake Merced Lodge, the closest bar to campus.
And I can do without progressives who tolerate the hate and violence of so-call antifa groups. These aren’t freedom fighters, they’re hoodlums and vandals. You look like a fool when you condemn white nationalist thugs on the right but give a pass to antifa anarchists.
I was raised to treat all people with respect, to judge them by what they do and believe, and not what they look like. I don’t need guidelines tested for their political correctness to show me how to do that; common sense will suffice.
But showing sensitivity to others apparently doesn’t extend to white, blue collar Americans — the backbone of the political movement forged by Franklin Roosevelt — who have been driven into the arms of Donald Trump. That’s what you should expect when you mock or dismiss the patriotism, religious beliefs, and conservative social values of people. Trump was smart to realize these people had been abandoned by the party that was their home for decades.
The big tent Democratic Party is becoming the party of elitists and aggrieved minority groups — however you want to define that term. The party’s post Trump proposals look like they were written by the Sandernista wing. They apparently will be funded by taxing businesses out of existence.
The party’s future election hopes now depend on enough people rebelling against Trump’s boorish egotism. That’s not my party.
George Boardman lives at Lake of the Pines. His column is published Mondays by The Union. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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