Op-Ed: If You Care About Civil Liberties, Why Would You Vote for Democrats?

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One of the great general truisms of contemporary American politics is that Democrats are the party of freedom on social issues and Republicans are the party of freedom on economic issues.

And like most truisms, that one is actually a load of nonsense.

Republicans passed Medicare Part D, many joined in voting for bailouts, and almost universally are opposed to pro-market immigration reforms. However, most people acknowledge the ways the GOP has worked to advance non-free-market measures.

What I’m interested in looking at here is how badly the Democrats have betrayed their supposed commitment to civil liberties.

It’s certainly true here at the state level.

Just a few weeks ago Gov. O’Malley announced he would veto any bill the General Assembly passed legalizing medical marijuana.

Looking at gay marriage, another signature civil liberties issue at the moment, Gov. O’Malley did give it his support this time around – but he was conspicuously silent about it last year when it didn’t aid in his presidential ambitions.

And during his time as mayor of Baltimore O’Malley was the architect of policies that lead to thousands of people being arrested without probable cause.

And it isn’t like Gov. O’Malley is a fringe figure within the Democratic Party – he is considered to be one of the frontrunners for his Party’s presidential nomination in 2016. If he’s the type of person they’re turning to as a leader, what does that say about the Party as a whole?

Looking from a potential presidential candidate to our current one, the story gets no better.

Pres. Obama flagrantly broke his promise to leave alone medical marijuana clinics that obey state law.

He went back on his promise to close Guantanamo and end the practice of using military tribunals instead of civil trials for terror suspects.

Going further than Pres. Bush ever did, Pres. Obama asserted the right to not only order the assassination of U.S. citizens, but to do so without trial and without having to reveal who is targeted and why.

Continuing with that trend, Pres. Obama has also more than outdone Pres. Bush in terms of deportations, well on track to deporting more people out of the U.S. in a few years than Pres. Bush did over two full terms.

It even appears that the U.S., under Obama’s administration, is pressuring Central American leaders to not attend a discussion on drug legalization they had previously supported.

It seems pretty clear to me that this isn’t an issue of one or two men betraying their Party’s values. There has been almost zero pushback against Obama from the Democrats when it comes to civil liberties while O’Malley’s readiness to set them aside hasn’t done anything to hamper his presidential aspirations.

The only conclusion to be drawn from that is that civil liberties are, at best, a back-burner issue for Democratic politicians and voters, if not actually something they care about at all (so long as they hold the reins of power).

So please, if you are a voter who cares about civil liberties and you have historically voted Democrat, please don’t continue to enable a Party that doesn’t care about the issues you value.

I’m not saying vote Republican, I won’t pretend they’re any better. But don’t limit yourselves to the two major parties.

Make a protest vote for someone like the Green Party or the Libertarian Party, whose likely nominee, Gov. Gary Johnson, was rated higher than Pres. Obama by the ACLU. Or just don’t vote at all (but make sure to tell the Democratic Party and others that you aren’t and why).

Whatever you do, make sure that the Democrats know the civil liberties vote isn’t to be taken for granted.

(FULL DISCLOSURE: I am the former Maryland State Director of Gov. Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign. I am also a member of the Queen Anne’s County Republican Central Committee. From the point at which Gov. Johnson left the Republican presidential primary I have endorsed no presidential primary candidate.)

Letters to Editor

  1. I won’t defend the handful of Democratic lapses cited by Mr. Waterman regarding civil rights and liberties. I’m as angry as he with Mr. Obama for not closing Guantanamo and his other failures to fully uphold the Bill of Rights. (Several shallow remarks about Mr. O’Malley deserve no comment.)
    But Waterman’s blanket indictment fails to acknowledge that, lapses aside, Democrats have not “betrayed their … commitment to civil liberties.”
    It’s important to recall that after a Democratic president and Congress enacted the monumental 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the former “Solid South,” egged on by Richard Nixon, quickly transformed itself from Democratic to Republican, and remains for the most part conservative, racist, angry that it lost the Civil War, and, from Virginia to Texas, the heartland for the modern GOP.

    • Just for completeness, I’ll offer two facts:

      *A larger percentage of GOP congressmen voted for those acts than their DEM counterparts.
      *LBJ, in his efforts to gain southern support for his bills, was very loose with certain words.

      • Bingo … and … bingo!
        So many southern Democrats were in fact “Dixiecrats,” and voted against these two monumental, game-changing, historic, moral, and so-late-to-arrive acts! The Dixiecrats and their successors were harried by their politics and history into the Republican Party, where they’ve remained. The inexorable logic of life, liberty, and justice for all still eludes them, to their shame.

  2. Hugh Silcox says:

    I can do little more than concur in Gren Whitman’s response. I, too, am frustrated that President Obama did not turn out to be the raving “socialist” the drumbeats from the GOP warned us about (and continue, ludicrously, to sound). But the alternative Mr Waterman presents is hardly appealing — not when the likes of Ron Paul, with his documented history of racism, sexism, and homophobia bears the standard for that third choice. No, I’ll stick with the Democrats; sometime grudgingly and sometimes against their political interests, they will at least listen to concerns of minorities and the oppressed, without the nauseating sneers so evident elsewhere.

    • Stephan Sonn says:

      Well!!!

      Vintage liberal purism rides again.
      I am so thankful that yours is an
      abstract and esoteric argument otherwise
      I would risk shuddering 1972 again, in spades
      as it was gently rendered by George Mc Govern
      and that was a motley stew of woven dreams.

      Back then I voted for McGovern
      who Robert Kennedy said was the
      most decent man in Congress.
      My dad, a lifelong Democrat
      Told me not to. Later I voted tor Carter
      Another very decent human being.

      Then I swore off Democrats until Bill Clinton.
      Then I endured the Mini-me Bush for 8 years.
      In 2008, I voted for Obama the brave
      and I will again in this round for bigger reasons.

      I do not disdain the good works of decent people
      and Obama actually is one, however foiled by realities
      He has been dealt a hideously complex hand
      With an out of the box enemy assault, like no other

      It is not so easy saving America from itself
      Think of that when you vote for him

  3. Jim Bnick says:

    The Republicans set our house on fire during the Bush II administration with well known and documented instances of gross maleficence too numerous to tally here. Not only did Obama inherit this mess with a house already on fire but a determined Republican minority in the Senate and a Republican-controlled House has effectively given him a garden hose to put out the fire. And at that, they have been actively putting kinks in the hose over the last four years to insure the house continues to burn with their near immoral use of the filibuster, secret holds on political appointments, robotic stonewalling, and allegiances pledges that punish anyone that even thinks about compromise.

    The failure to close Guantanamo and end the practice of using military tribunals instead of civil trials for terror suspects is not an indictment of Obama. The blame lies squarely on fear mongering mainly, but not entirely, from Republicans that stopped this idea dead in its tracks even though many terror suspects had been successfully tried and convicted in civil courts during Bush II’s reign.

    As for the deportation of illegals, bailouts, drug policies, and assassination of US citizens (I’ll spot Mr. Waterman the plural here but I’m only aware of one US citizen so targeted), I heard a great quote recently, to wit – “To an ideologue, what’s right, works (by definition)… to a pragmatist, what works is right”. When are people going to get off their high horse of near-religious fanaticism that this country must operate in a crisp, black-and-white, if-you’re-not-with-me, you’re-against-me manner.

    There’s lots of gray out there. Judging by where the ideologues seem to want to take things, if the Louisiana Territories were to come up for sale today, they would rather bite off their nose and spite their face and stop the sale by taking Obama to the Supreme Court for violating the Constitution which makes no provisions for this sort of Executive Branch power.

    The illegal aliens being deported today are, by and large, those that caught committing crimes, not established, law-abiding families providing needed labor and contributing to their communities. Ok, so the bailouts of the financial and auto industries didn’t abide by the principles of strict, Darwinian capitalism but you better believe we would all be selling apples and pencils on the streets right now if they had not happened. And as much as Mr. Waterman’s primary focus seems to be on legalizing “recreational” drugs, no politician with serious aspirations to high office is going to fall on his/her sword for his agenda.

    That’s pragmatism, Mr. Waterman!

  4. Jack Offett says:

    It is amazing that President Obama and Governor O’Malley cling to the last vestige of Jim Crow. It is amazing that they have not sought to end a legal scourge that results in tens of thousands of young Americans being removed from the economy every year with this simple conviction. More than a gateway drug, it is a gateway to the criminal record trap. Indeed, can you name one Democratic or African American politician that is working to overturn this law. The Democrats seem to thrive by keeping folks in jail and out of the economy.

    • Stephan Sonn says:

      It is not so amazing that Democrats are at this time
      are avoiding giving the opposition talking points.
      Amazing that Democrat campaign strategy
      resists fragmentation…..Just amazing.

  5. Steve Payne says:

    “I am also a member of the Queen Anne’s County Republican Central Committee.”

    Just another attempt to suppress the Obama vote.
    I need a surprise face emoticon.

    • Kevin Waterman says:

      Fewer people voting for Obama would pretty much necessarily be an effect of civil liberties supporters doing as I suggest in the column, but it’s hardly the primary objective.

      I sincerely want the Democrats to start actually standing up for civil liberties instead of just talking about it and making a fuss whenever a Republican is in the White House. It’s pretty much the same as how I would really love it if Republican politicians would be serious about their commitment to the free market instead of only paying lip service to it (and were the Tea Party types serious about what they say, they would be threatening to withhold their votes/give them to people like the Libertarians rather than voting across-the-board Republican).

      Also, for what it’s worth, encouraging people to vote their conscience rather than on the basis of some sense of partisan loyalty hardly strikes me as attempting to suppress the vote.

      • Steve Payne says:

        If you want to have a real discussion on rights as a concerned citizen that’s great. But to do so while you’re an official of the Republican party just isn’t believable. If the Rs are aren’t any better as you say then quit and join up with Gary Johnson who is still running. Until then I’ll assume you’re just doing your duty as outlined in your website.

        http://www.qarepublicans.com/queen-annes-republican-central-committee.asp

        I actually do agree with a lot of what you said but this is really just electioneering.

        • Jack Offett says:

          Mr. Waterman is refreshing. That he holds different positions in the community, political or not, informs him. Mr. Payne, you have a bizarre concept of the First Amendment.

        • Kevin Waterman says:

          I disagree with the assessment that it’s just electioneering, but I can certainly see how one can come to that conclusion and I’m not sure there’s much I can do to convince you and some of the others here otherwise.

          I was tempted to stay with Gov. Johnson’s campaign when he switched parties, but the sad fact is the way our electoral system is structured the game is rigged to ensure two party results so the only way to have any real chance of effecting change is to work within either the Dems or the GOP – and given that younger Republicans seem to be leaning libertarian I figure there’s a better chance of pushing the GOP towards more support of individual liberty in social issues than there is of pushing the Dems towards more support of individual liberty in economic issues.

          Question though, if you agree with a lot of the points I’m making, does the reason for my making them make them any less valid? And if it doesn’t, then why focus on the reason for making them instead of the points themselves and how best to rectify the problem?

          • Kevin Waterman opines, “there’s a better chance of pushing the GOP towards more support of individual liberty in social issues than there is of pushing the Dems towards more support of individual liberty in economic issues.”

            With regard to “individual liberty in social issues,” does Mr. Waterman support a woman’s liberty to end a pregnancy? A simple “yes” (bolstering his credibility) or “no” (terminating his credibility) will suffice.

          • Kevin Waterman says:

            Gren,

            I’m pro-choice up until the point of viability, a point of some admitted flexibility but generally definable via scientific methods. From that point forward I think the potentiality of its humanity becomes such that it ought to be considered a rights bearing individual just as the mother is.

          • Steve Payne says:

            These concerns are valid and shared by many democrats. But you just proved my point by saying that you wouldn’t or couldn’t switch parties because of the existing system while recommending that others do just that.
            I had a few rental houses and managed a few more back when O’Malley came into office. It was really bad in some areas. Just off of 295 below the stadiums hookers would walk up and down the streets and actually run out into the streets. Same with the drug guys. People were drinking on the stoops on many streets and yelling at young girls. There was trash everywhere. O’Malley basically did what Giuliani did in NY. It made a hugh difference in a very short period of time. If the economy hadn’t tanked those streets would have had many more owner occupants than they do but what he did worked.

          • Kevin Waterman says:

            Steve,

            As a matter of technicality, my suggestion pertains to voting behaviour, not Party registration. It’s just suspicion and I don’t have data to back it up, but from what I’ve seen I suspect there will be more responsiveness to registered Dems or Reps refusing to vote for their candidates because they are wrong on the issues than they would people leaving the Party because the candidates are wrong on the issues (much more likely to see someone who stays within as someone serious and working within the system, someone who leaves tends to get seen as a fringer that can safely be ignored).

            To that end, I think it’s equally true for free market proponents to make sure that the GOP knows their votes aren’t a given either. In fact, I’d wager that in its earliest days the Tea Party experienced some success doing exactly that, through a combination of threats of vote-withholding that were taken seriously along with primary challenges to objectionable officeholders. I think that a lot of Tea Party people have fallen back into Party-oriented rather than policy-oriented thinking (and have been thoroughly co-opted by social conservatives) and have accordingly lost much of their influence on the GOP since Tea Party votes are steadily becoming a given.

            But there was a brief moment when it seemed otherwise to an awful lot of Republicans. Given the size and forcefulness of the anti-war, pro-civil liberties movement during the Bush years I’m confident that they could be similarly effective if they were prepared to hold the politicians nominally on their side accountable and not let their votes be taken for granted.

          • Steve Payne says:

            “To that end, I think it’s equally true for free market proponents to make sure that the GOP knows their votes aren’t a given either. In fact, I’d wager that in its earliest days the Tea Party experienced some success doing exactly that, through a combination of threats of vote-withholding that were taken seriously along with primary challenges to objectionable officeholders. I think that a lot of Tea Party people have fallen back into Party-oriented rather than policy-oriented thinking (and have been thoroughly co-opted by social conservatives) and have accordingly lost much of their influence on the GOP since Tea Party votes are steadily becoming a given.”

            Your right about that!
            I don’t think the Tea Party will stick with the GOP though. As you say, they were co-opted by the social conservatives AND the lower tax, higher deficit GOP people. The Ryan and Romney plans both increase the deficit. Tea Party people are passionate about what they want and they may very well take your advise to make a statement vote.

  6. Stephan Sonn says:

    Duh!

  7. joe diamond says:

    (ok)…………How about this?

    Ah rhetoric, so much like getting on a treadmill and chewing gum after a meal of saw dust. Rhetoric won’t kill you but it won’t help you get where you want to go.

    Implicit in all this is the idea that if citizens would just vote in the best way bad people would be gone and the correct people would usher us into an American heaven operated by saints who are neither Republican or Democrat. The rhetorical proof offered is code for other issues. The central assumption is that people who hold political office have power to control others and produce change.

    So we are informed that the current governor will veto medical marijuana but the evidence offered reports the governor doesn’t think the medical marijuana legislation being presented will stand up to federal opposition. The president sends word to federal agencies to emphasize other aspects of drug laws. Still cops in Manhattan throw kids into the legal system for pot possession after illegal searches The feds close clinics in California in the name of the Food and Drug Administration. State and federal agencies do not do what politicians suggest. We have to look elsewhere for the actual beneficiaries of pot use………….illegal dealers, drug companies…..cops and the legal system (jail business). They benefit from keeping pot illegal but they are not mentioned in any of this.

    Close Guantanamo? Why? We stole it from the Spanish fair and square. But stopping the “renditions” that snatch people from countries all over the world to detention without trial………..that is the real issue to be examined. Not the base in Cuba. Stop deportations? Some dangerous criminals need deportation. Nobody has suggested going after the drug cartels that have destroyed South American countries and caused the migration north. Right now bigger fences are being constructed as camera drones fly. The plan is to stop illegal boarder crossings and drug smuggling. This has not worked yet.

    It is the maintenance of the illusion built into the system that is important. The price of liberty is contradictions, false starts and inefficient programs. The whole point is to keep power from becoming concentrated. The population likes to think they have control. Don’t vote for the same politician or party more than once. Try to ignore the rhetoric. Just count the years in office. At the same time watch the unelected beneficiaries of government actions; the military industrial complex, big, legal American drug companies, the jail business. These have great power and they can control elected officials.

    Do not throw mud at the puppet. Don’t try to speak to it or comment on its’ clever tricks.

    Eh?

    Joe

  8. Stephan Sonn says:

    Anytime or place that the ideologue purist presents, either as protagonist or antagonist
    mud is slung on the political process of reaching consensus, by design or default.

    Yes the deliberate instigator is a shopworn puppet hardly worthy of recognition
    particularly since genuine phonies tend to thrive on it, for lack of higher grounding.
    They almost always protest too much.

    Purist catalysts manifest as tea party goons, presidential candidates, liberal icons or wanna-be dictators right and left
    by rooting in what Eisenhower once called the rabble.

    Steve Payne made the proper call…. and call-out. Us mortals tend to gravitate to useful labels as reference points.

    • I don’t mind labels as useful reference points. To me, the danger lies in using those labels as epithets to turn political debate into warfare.

      • Stephan Sonn says:

        Keith

        If a person is motivated by a particular philosophy, sometimes he wears it as a label.
        It is totally legitimate to object to a philosophy and criticize it. If you wear it, you own it.

      • Stephan Sonn says:

        The writer of this piece, a Republican, speaks for his party interest
        when he presumes to be the moral conscience for Democrats to vote by.

        As a tactic John Anderson whom I supported in 1980
        for better or for worse, pushed Reagan over the top.
        Ross Perot had a Texas sized grudge fight going on with the senior Bush
        So he ran for president made sure the better of the Bushs lost.

        So maybe there needs to be another label created.
        That does not reek of warfare just clarification.
        like ideological purist for instance.
        Virtually anything can be demonized

        This has all been done before
        and subject to droll banter at the men’s club
        Or on firefly blogs and maybe rude radio shows
        or acting out in the Halls of Congress.

  9. Ron Saunders says:

    How about voting democratic because if we had one more democratic judge in the supreme court they wouldn’t have been able to pass the bill allowing strip searches for any and all offenses last week?

  10. Lainey Harrison says:

    From the author “So please, if you are a voter who cares about civil liberties and you have historically voted Democrat, please don’t continue to enable a Party that doesn’t care about the issues you value.I’m not saying vote Republican, I won’t pretend they’re any better. But don’t limit yourselves to the two major parties.”

    Nice attempt at divide and conquer. The GOP has been split by the T.

    Talk about trying to dismiss civil liberties…. and I quote the author ” or just dont vote at all”
    Yep, if you cant beat em, suppress em.

    • I’ll grant that Kevin’s way of delivering the message is a bit incendiary, but I think the message is valid. If you value small government and personal freedom, whether you’re talking about civil liberties or fiscal policy, both the Democratic and Republican parties fall short of those goals. The huge shortcoming of our current two-party based political paradigm is that for many voters, the only real option is the lesser of two evils.

      • Lainey Harrison says:

        Well his remarks certainly dont win friends and influence people. All the while, Im supposed to “buy” this from member of the Republican Central Committee? It sounds much better coming from you Keith, not a member of the party leadership. I wonder how his paryt faithful felt about him slamming his own ” I’m not saying vote Republican, I won’t pretend they’re any better”, or did they just write this off to him trying to divide and conquer? Then you got to wonder how many democratic mail pieces we will get in the upcoming elections with his own words biting him. Can you see it now, “Don’t vote republican – they dont even like themselves!”?

  11. Stephan Sonn says:

    Well… You don’t have to be a Democrat to be rational and united but, the writer of this piece sure stepped into a bear trap.
    Take it as an omen.

    What is coming is a hydrogen bomb of media money and productions but it won’t gut he middle class
    in just one election or ever.

    The Koch brothers were better off leaving that fall to another generation of slow torture. What pathetic old men,
    trying to bring a nation to a downsized budget unit.

  12. Stephan Sonn says:

    Here is a history factoid that us old folks remember. It was the late fifties when there were several instances of older people in rural Maine were found frozen to death for lack of heat and an abundance of pride in self reliance. As if that would keep the cold out.

    Stories like that planked the great society platform Johnson embraced, however underplayed initially, That was the perfect storm that brought Goldwater to sweeping Dixie. The sight of and elderly man calling Goldwater out over Social Security, in New Hampshire, still sticks in my mind. That old man did not need a photo ID to vote. But today he might. So don’t underestimate voter repression.

    I have never heard Keith comment about the human casualties that government downsizing government will cause.
    Do you think that grandmas in Maine will not freeze in their farmhouses because there is no energy supplement?
    At what point does an ideological purist become an ideologue. Maybe that is why so many words take on a demonic connotation.
    Words have consequences. If grandma dies of the cold, blaming the messenger is a consequence of those who wrote the script .

    • Stephan, I find it interesting that you use the term “abundance of pride in self reliance”. To me, that implies that those “grandmas” dying from the cold Maine weather were too prideful to seek or ask for help. That certainly was an attitude prevalent in my grandparents’ generation and certainly an attitude that existed in my family and has rubbed off on me. It certainly is a truism that its hard to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped.

      As for the human casualties resulting from government downsizing? It’s possible, but even as this country has fought a “War On Poverty” for a couple of generations now, poverty is still a problem. However what is different today is an attitude change whereas my grandparents’ generation perhaps suffered from an over reliance on pride in asking for help, we now have a generation or two who are growing up with a sense of entitlement meaning that people feel that they are entitled to help even if they are perfectly capable of taking care of their needs. There is enough wealth (both financial and human spirit) that will provide help for people who can’t help themselves (like Maine grandmothers in the winter) but you should ask yourself “when does helping someone turn into enabling someone”? If someone is starving to death due to lack of food or freezing to death due to lack of heat, and yet they’re sitting home watching cable on their big screen TV, or texting people on their cell phone instead of being capable of working and choosing not to as to not lose their unemployment checks…these are people not being helped by your safety net. You’re enabling them and the best way to help is to take away their addiction, which in this case is the government check. You don’t help an alcoholic by giving them alcohol, you help them by treating the problem.

      How do you treat the problem? Well here’s a suggestion…for able-bodied workers, tie unemployment benefits to volunteer work. Have someone help Rebuilding Together do home repairs in the community; have someone work with the developmentally disabled at the Kent Center; help out with the productions at the Garfield Center/Prince Theatre, etc. If you’re a mother with kids, you can certainly watch kids from other families at a government or volunteer facility while the other parents are out volunteering. Volunteering serves two purposes in that it gives help recipients the chance to return the help they’re receiving and it also gives them job or other skills, as well as community contacts that could lead to future employment. Another thought is to require a diploma or GED in order to get government help and the thinking here is that poverty is often something that is self-inflicted due to a lifetime of bad decisions. Working toward getting a GED moves that someone toward making better decisions.

      Finally, I think there’s a misconception that advocates of smaller government are trying to create Utopia. Actually, most small government advocates realize that Utopia is not an option. We don’t want to create a perfect society because that is impossible to do. The ideas brought forward by progressives, liberals, or whatever label you use, are good hearted in nature but I see them viewing wealth as a finite resource that must be shared equally. Libertarians or fiscal conservatives do not see wealth as a finite resource and would like to set up a society that allows individuals to use their talent or sheer hard work to increase their wealth without taking it from someone else. Yes, a free market society has winners and losers but the hope is that by losing, you learn from your mistakes and make better choices. I’m certainly a product of all of the mistakes I’ve made and I’m trying to make better decisions now.

      • Stephan Sonn says:

        I can tell you that I like most of what you say above. I see an angle to this that will add to your journey but not just now. I need a little time to refocus as I am otherwise distracted with another project. I will answer here soon. Just come back to the thread after a few days.

      • Steve Payne says:

        “we now have a generation or two who are growing up with a sense of entitlement meaning that people feel that they are entitled to help even if they are perfectly capable of taking care of their needs.”

        Keith,
        I’m not sure who you mean by this but if your talking about poor people with housing and/or other assistance I can tell you that I have not found that to be the case. Everywhere I did any work in lower income areas I was constantly being asked by neighborhood people if I needed anything done. When I did hire them sometimes they did get better jobs as a result of it. The problem many had was lack of transportation and checking accounts.

        “How do you treat the problem? Well here’s a suggestion…for able-bodied workers, tie unemployment benefits to volunteer work. Have someone help Rebuilding Together do home repairs in the community; have someone work with the developmentally disabled at the Kent Center; help out with the productions at the Garfield Center/Prince Theatre, etc. If you’re a mother with kids, you can certainly watch kids from other families at a government or volunteer facility while the other parents are out volunteering. Volunteering serves two purposes in that it gives help recipients the chance to return the help they’re receiving and it also gives them job or other skills, as well as community contacts that could lead to future employment.”
        I think this is a great idea if the transportation problem could be worked out.
        “Another thought is to require a diploma or GED in order to get government help” I think a high school diploma is generally a good idea but shouldn’t be an absolute requirement.

        “and the thinking here is that poverty is often something that is self-inflicted due to a lifetime of bad decisions.”
        Definitely true but I don’t see a tie to having a GED.

        • Steve, what I cite as an entitlement ethic is largely built upon the observations I see among people in the 25 plus years of my radio career where I see kids straight out of college expecting to get ahead in the radio biz without paying their dues, and who are unwilling to do the work it takes to succeed or listen to the program directors who hired them. Somehow the idea of doing evenings or overnights were beneath their talents and is one reason why automation has largely rendered live evenings or overnights an endangered species in the radio business. Yeah, having jocks running up hundreds of dollars worth of phones calls a week from talking to their boyfriends or girlfriends on the 1-800 request line isn’t going to lead to a long radio career.

          I’ve grown up in a largely rural and suburban environment and not an urban one, so I don’t have a great deal of experience with urban culture like you seem to have. I readily admit that my experience and observations are probably very different than yours.

          The tie to getting a GED or a diploma is simple…it’s simply a sign of putting forth effort. Think of it as a simple eligiblity requirement that proves that someone at least will put forth the effort to better himself or herself and become self-sufficient; especially in this generation. Not having a diploma or a GED almost makes one unhirable in today’s culture.

      • Lainey Harrison says:

        Funny, the situation you describe here – volunteerism for a government check, sounds exactly like socialist Germany. Unemployed folks there clean the city streets for a check. Remedial schooling for a check? Why not just forgive the student loan debt? It has the same effect, correct? A better educated public who did not pay for the education. Geez, didnt we offer free public education for the first twelve years once already?
        Mr. Waterman, you make my head spin. One second you are a republican central committee leader stating that republican leaders are no better than dem leaders. Then you tell me Dems arent concerned with my civil liberties and you offer socialist policies to fix some of what ails us.

        • Lainey Harrison says:

          Re- reading, critically this time, I see that Mr. Waterman did not reply to Mr. Sonn, it was indeed Keith Thompson who replied. I mixed my Keiths and Kevins. No wonder my head was spinning…..

        • Lainey, yes there could be a socialist component to this idea but the idea is probably less socialist that our redistribution of wealth concept practiced by today’s socialist-leaning progressives in that it actually puts a value on the benefit…that it actually puts a value on work. Someone who puts a value on work will have a lower sense of entitlement.

          Keep in mind…this idea was floated out there by me as a way to move from Point A to Point B without directly moving towards Point Z. This idea of moving from Point A to Point Z while skipping Points B through Y is the type of thinking that caused me to give up on the Libertarian Party at least 15 years ago.

          Also, Hitler was an evil dictator with a multitude of character flaws and horrible ideas…his economic policies were among the least of his faults.

  13. Stephan Sonn says:

    Keith begins to offer cause and effect instead of edicts and that is a good sign. Also understanding the differences between rural lifestyle is more visceral than just statistics. So there are different perceptions in competing realities. The city presents changes at rapid speed with little time to for studied choices stable platforms. Country living presents options at a slower pace or not at all. Both cultures are changed in boxes. There really ought to be exchange students out there living in and experiencing the differences as you do when staying in a foreign country. But maybe that is too utopian.

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  1. […] I’ve even had my own bit, with a recent op-ed I wrote at the Chestertown Spy encouraging civil liberties voters to not let Democrats take their votes for […]

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