Jeff Flake has written a book and he has something to say. Intrepidity if you’re from the left, the brave Senator who speaks out against his own president and party. Iniquitousness if you’re a Populist watching Jeff spread false information about Positive Populism and our worldwide movement. Yes, the good Senator has some strong opinions about the people rising up and rejecting the status quo and the elite governance that has hurt many people while enriching the few.
For me personally, my political evolution had an arch to it that spanned many years. I was for most of my life a hardcore Republican that believed in all of the tenants taught to me. I accepted Side Supply Economics and was from a generation where that was actually taught in high school economics class. I was taken hook, line, and sinker into the notion of the money trickling down from the top. I believed the government was bad and we did not need much of it. I was taught to hate the entire New Deal and the nation’s safety net. I was a foot soldier in public shaming of people on welfare or food stamps. I railed against a single payer healthcare system and fell for the socialized medicine propaganda put out by the right. I was in every way, a mind numbed right-wing robot.
It took the biggest event of my lifetime to rip me out of that malicious political machine that hailed rugged individualism over the Christian concept of “my brother’s keeper” that was taught to me by the Catholic Church. It took an earthquake to jolt me out of the political fog and that odious belief system. It took the economic crash of 2008 to finally open my eyes to the lies that were taught to me most of my life by the Republican Party and its leaders. When Wall Street pulled off the biggest bank heist in the history of the world and raided the Treasury Department for a trillion dollars, my political eyes opened. When I watched a Republican White House bail out all the banks and left millions of people homeless and jobless, my political soul was awakened.
When I saw people could not just load up their covered wagons in 2008 and go west to start over, I was reborn politically. I saw in real time that rugged individualism had no place in modern America when all of a sudden Americans woke up to having no job, no home and nowhere to go. Short of an armed insurrection, all we had was government, the same government that put us in that hole was the same government to keep millions afloat. Extended unemployment checks, food stamps, and Medicaid were the only thing between us and a full-blown blood revolution. To this day I cannot believe Americans did not pick up arms against its own government after they and the banks robbed us all. I am grateful that it did not happen. I would not want to live in such times. I’m a peaceful person. My fighting days have long passed. I don’t want war. I’m an old man now and war is for the young to fight.
After 2008, I saw the Republican Party still shame people hanging on the nation’s safety net. They called millions of unemployed people who lost their careers and jobs, due to no fault of their own, “bums.” They called millions “lazy.” The Republican Party publicly apologized to the BP Corporation while their oil was still bleeding into the waters destroying the Gulf of Mexico. They took the side of big business and big banks, and everything they did was anathematic to the nation’s self-interests. I stood in a puddle of personal shame that I was ever associated with the Republican Party after all of that. I drowned in my ocean of disgust realizing I was on the wrong side of America, my Church and the fellow brethren in the republic. How anyone could still have faith in that belief system after all that is beyond me.
This shift in my beliefs happened simultaneously alongside my wife. She went through the same awakening with me watching her family business of nearly twenty years collapse under the weight of the fraud committed by Wall Street. She watched the propaganda machine convince her own parents that they just lost their family business because poor people bought homes they could not afford. Together we separated ourselves from everything we were taught by the right and lost connection with friends and family who still wade in the river of lies. They could not relate to us anymore. We no longer believed what they believed and it created a chasm within our personal relationships. It was both a painful and hurt-filled process as we left the political tribe, but I was so grateful I did not have to do it alone and that I had a woman who cared about the truth.
I still consider myself a person from the right. The Democrat Party is so deeply corrupt and in the hands of the rich that people like me could never gravitate towards that party. A lot of us have no political home anymore. This was a reckoning that did not just happen to me or my country. This was a wave that carried itself around the globe. Then came Donald Trump, the imperfect vessel for all our disappointments and rage. He became the defacto head of our populist movement here in America. We sent him to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to shake things up.
Now, Jeff Flake does not like Donald Trump, the populist movement or his party’s loss of power over the people. Completely self-unaware, Jeff has lost the respect of the common man. His conservative ideology lies naked and exposed on the political beach of today’s America. Like the folks of old who spread misinformation through Reefer Madness, Jeff spews out his conservative venom. Making populism his boogie man and framing it in Hitler terms, Jeff moves forward with his book. What he does not understand, what he will never apperceive, is conservatism failed and there is no hiding it. It was crushed under the weight of the corporate bailouts of 2008 and 2009. Conservatism was never real or maybe better said, it was as real as the promise of the Republican Party to repeal and replace Obamacare on day one.