Hello friends. This message is a mea culpa of sorts so I hope you can pay attention to my meandering often digressive writing style because this may take two or three posts for the sake of knuckle cramping.
First...the "Cliff's Notes" version....
I have recently converted from being a hard core conservative to a progressive thanks to Thom and one of my best H.S. friends Scott who works at a progressive radio station in Jacksonville Fl.
If you don't want to be bored you can stop reading there. If you want the rationale and back story read on.
How was I raised?
I came from a middle class family in WIsconsin. Both my partents were teachers. My father was a very independent thinking fellow who had two MS one being in American History, the other in English Literature. My mother was a classically trained music teacher and semi professional violinist. She also directed a rather large choir at a good sized church. NPR and Wisconsin Public Radio were always booming throughout the house and Dad always had Willies, Waylon and the boys playing in his car. I was literally raised in a 'people are people' type house and people of a different race were never referred to as such. In fact it was extremely bad form in Dad's eyes to talk anout someone and say "we have this black guy at work......" "Just use his f*****g name", Dad would say. "He's a person. what does it matter what color his skin is." [I am proud to say that I have carried this on to my two sons. Just recently one of them said "we have this black girl in my class that everyone picks on.." "I doesn't matter what color her skin is. Is she a nice girl?"]
How I vote.....
I have never...ever...voted a straight ticket. I have voted for Feingold every single time he's run and intend to this time. Even when I was a hard line conservative in the not too distant past I still voted for him because 1) while he philosophically differs in some of my world views he serves the people of Wisconsin. He's answered each and every letter I've sent him over the years (a real letter...not a form one) and 2)he's kept his promise to have listening sessions in each and every county of the state at least once every year he's been in.
There are one or two Replublicans in the state with whom I have similar views of.
What the heck happened?
I'm a history buff of sorts and have been doing lots of reading on Roosevelt.....no not that Roosevelt THE Roosevelt...The Big Stick. The one and original...not the cheap imitation. I read his biography and was fascinated by how many of his quotes railing on about "big oil" and the banks could have been cut-and-pasted into one of Pres. Obama's speeches today. It would seem that in the early 1900's Teddy was worried about many of the same corporations that we're still wrestling with today.
Foriegn affairs? I spent nearly the entire spring reading Seven Pillars of WIsdom by T.E. Lawrence. I learned more about the Arabian Peninsula and Palestine than I ever have from school, TV, or anywhere else. It is simply not good enough to watch Peter O'Toole blow up trains, the real Lawrence was a scholarly man who recognized that it was utter folly to try to "Westernize" the arab world. These people just want to be left alone. Nothing more and nothing less. Before the Ottomans; Before the British and French set up these weird borders and colonies at Versailles, Christian, Muslimm and Jew actually lived together in relative peace. There were occasional disagreements between clans when one guy would urinate in another's well but for the most part people left each other alone.
That's where I stop typing and start getting ready for work. More tonight when I have more time.