When I was younger and active duty in the US Navy it was self preservation that made me a Republican. Republicans love the military and like to spend money in that area. It meant good pay raises (relatively speaking) and a government that spoke in glowing terms about us. That was important after the way people felt about the military post Vietnam. Military spending sagged a little when Democrats were in charge, but really there was not much difference other than the rhetoric being thrown about Washington, D.C. The Democrats switched the focus from military spending to domestic programs. We liked being the stars. So Republicans it was.
The Gipper, Ronald Reagan, was the best thing that ever happened to the US military morale. His bravado was largely responsible for ending the Cold War. Trickle down economics, not so much. History has shown it to be rapidly flowing up economics. The middle class has almost completely disappeared since 1980.
Still I was a Republican, registering with the party in Appleton, WI after I retired in 2003. It was there that I first stood in line to vote in a presidential election. The emotion was strong that day. Every ballot I’d cast before then was through the mail. When the Tea Party and the right wing Christian crowd took over I had to bow out. There is nothing that represents me less.
The Democratic party doesn’t represent me well either. Just as the Republicans pander to evangelical Christians and big business the Democrats pander to their own set. Unfortunately they pander to both sides of the economic equation. Publicly they talk about social programs and helping the American worker while being in bed with the same big business as the Republicans.
I was talking to a Siemens executive overseas when he made a comment that surprised me. The more I investigated after he made his claim the more I found it to be true. “Americans think they have a two party system when it’s obvious to the rest of the world you have a one party system.”
When I stepped back and took a longer look, I saw some truth to what he said. The Democrats and Republicans fight in public to divide us, but the whole time big business, the lobbyist set, are the ones who are represented in our government. The rest settle for the scraps and do the fighting to protect them.
The illusion we are sold is that we are a democracy and a capitalist economy. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are a representative democracy where the votes that really matter are usurped by big corporations. We are a corporate socialist economy, where the profits are privatized and the losses are shared socially. The government is constantly propping up failing companies citing the “too big to fail” mantra. Charles Koch says it best in The Science of Success. “The…process of industrial mutation…incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of creative destruction is the essential fact of capitalism.”
The not so funny fact is that Charles Koch and his brother are two the biggest lobbyists and influence peddlers of our government.
Both sides of the political aisle have interrupted the process with the intended or unintended consequences of the near extinction of the middle class. We don’t need more government involvement to fix the problem, we need less. Bad companies need to fail. Good companies need to be allowed the room to grow. The only involvement needed by the government is to make sure businesses don’t exploit the American people. Whether a business fails or succeeds should be a matter for the free market to decide.
And that is why I’m not a Democrat or a Republican.