You know, lately I have been doing a lot of thinking and trying to figure out who I am. When I say “who I am” I am talking politically. I have been quite politically active since I was about 16 years old, when I was in High School and lived in Louisiana.
When I was 15, I got my first “real job”. I had already been working for years, but doing odd jobs, nothing formal, as I was below the US working age. When I was 15, I got a job at a company called T.G. & Y. Stores. T.G. & Y. was a retailing company that operated a chain of discount stores mostly in the Southeast USA. The headquarters of the company was in Oklahoma City, and it operated around 3,000 to 4,000 stores, as I recall.
As I said, I started working for T.G. & Y. when I was 15. They were opening a new store in the town where I lived, Franklinton, Louisiana. It was a large store, what T.G. & Y. called a “Family Center”. They operated Family Centers, which were the larger discount stores, and they operated Five and Dime stores, which were smaller operations, kind of a “Mom & Pop” store, although it was certainly not operated by any Mom or Pop.
What does all of this have to do with my politics? Well, when I started working for T.G. & Y. I met a man who became my mentor in many parts of my life. His name is James Daniel. Mr. Daniel was the Assistant Manager at the store where I was working. He was also very active in Republican Politics in Louisiana. Those were lonely days for a Republican in Louisiana, as the State was like 99% Democrat!
Mr. Daniel got me started thinking about Politics, and he taught me a lot. Soon, I was doing volunteer work for Dave Treen, who ran, and was elected as the first Republican Governor in Louisiana since Reconstruction (following the US Civil War). All of this was in the late 1970’s. As 1980 approached, I was firmly a Reagan supporter for the Presidency of the United States.
Although all of my life I have been a member of the Republican Party, I would not first describe myself as a Republican, politically, I would term myself as a Conservative. I cared less about Party Politics than Ideology when it came down to it. It so happened that over the years, the Party that matched me ideologically was the Republican Party, so that is where I felt at home.
Other than Reagan, though, Republicans didn’t have that much control in the 80’s. The Senate was Republican for a short time, yet the House had been Democrat since the 50’s or before. But, in the mid 90’s the Republicans started taking hold and even controlled the House, as well as the Senate. There were times when there was Republican control of the House, Senate and the Presidency.
Problem is, though, that the Republicans didn’t change much when they had power.
Being conservative, there were certain things that were important to me. Some social issues were important. However, I personally am more interested in fiscal issues than social issues. I am conservative socially too, but it takes a back seat to fiscal issues.
So, when the Republicans took control of much of the government in the 90’s and into the 21st Century, they really showed that they were less concerned about upholding their ideology, and more concerned about being in power, and the perks that come with it. Now the Democrats control virtually every part of the government of the United States. Frankly, there is not much difference one way or the other.
In 2000, I moved to the Philippines, and have lived here ever since. Being far distanced from US politics, I have come to care a lot less about it. It doesn’t affect me that much now. But, when I think about it, I find it hard to identify who I am, politically. I am still conservative, ideologically. But, I don’t see any Political Party that I can identify with. I certainly am not a Democrat – virtually every policy that they stand for runs counter to my thinking. Much of what the Republican Party says they believe in is what I believe in, but they have shown that when they have power, they do not seem to implement any laws or policies to further the causes that they espouse. Some of my friends have talked about moving to the Libertarian Party. I don’t feel a fit there, though. Yes, on some policies the Libertarians fit my beliefs, but on others they are really counter to my thinking. So, where do I fit?
I mentioned Ronald Reagan earlier in this article. I have to say that I pretty much identify with the things that Reagan espoused to this day. When Reagan was younger, in the 40’s, 50’s and early 60’s, he was a Democrat. He always said that he never left the Democrat Party, but that the Party had left him, which caused him to become a Republican. I feel that the Republicans have left me. Problem is, I don’t see any other Party where I feel that I would fit in!
In the past 2 to 3 years, I have pretty much become apolitical. I have gotten where I don’t even enjoy talking about politics any longer, and it used to be a favorite topic of mine! These days, the discussion of politics is so sour that it can cause friends to feel like enemies. There seems to be no sense of trying to compromise, or listen to others anymore. That’s why I have pretty much gotten to the point where I just don’t care to even talk about it any longer.
I still wonder, though… who am I, in the political sense?