A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Name: Tom McLaughlin
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
It’s time again to tell readers that I wasn’t always a conservative-racist-homophobic-misogynist bigot. No. Back in the day people though I was a weirdo-hippie-commie-pinko-progressive. I worked with Saul Alinsky radicals and then for John Kerry’s 1972 congressional campaign. I believed poverty caused crime and people were poor only because other people were rich - and got that way by ripping off the poor. I believed in big government because it was the only way to counteract big corporations who were our real enemies. I believed government worked best when it played Robin Hood and spread the wealth around. If I hadn’t grown up, I’d probably be working for the Democrat Party or writing for some progressive think tank, and I’d likely have voted for Barack Obama twice. Ugh.
But I did grow up twenty years ago, and I’m embarrassed it didn’t happen sooner. What can I say? I was a late bloomer. The process began years earlier, but the transformation wasn’t complete until about 1994. So, I was a diehard lefty from about 1970 to about 1990 or so, then the transition, and for two decades since I’ve been the thoroughly conservative writer with whom you’ve become familiar on these pages. It hasn’t been helpful for my bottom line though. I would likely have progressed farther income-wise if I’d remained a lefty both in education and in writing columns, but I just didn’t believe in that world-view anymore and I couldn’t fake it.
What caused the change? Too many things to include here. My book goes into detail about the transformation and I’m past the halfway point writing it. I should be ready to shop it around to publishers come early summer. It compares how conservative critics treated me when I was a lefty teacher/writer to how lefty critics treated me when I became a conservative teacher/writer. The latter part is much longer though. It goes into depth about how various “tolerant” and “open-minded” liberal individuals and groups tried to get me dismissed or silenced. Book-publishing is a competitive business, but I believe readers will find my book interesting and I’m prepared to give my best effort when selling it to publishers.
As a committed conservative, the reelection of Barack Obama in 2012 discouraged me deeply. Most of my like-minded friends have since given up hope of a conservative resurgence, but I haven’t. “Look,” they say. “The left controls the media, education, the culture (Hollywood), most of the judiciary, the White House, and the Senate. What have we got? Talk Radio, Fox News, some churches, and the House. That’s it.” They’re correct in all that, I know, but I have more faith in the American people. My pessimistic friends expect the fed to keep printing money, government to keep spending it, the debt to keep increasing, more people to go on welfare, fewer workers and businesspeople to pay taxes - and for everything to go on like that until it all collapses.
That could happen, I admit, and it could happen sooner rather than later. A lot of Americans have become dependent on government programs of one kind or another - even a majority by some counts. There are many “low-information voters” out there and their numbers will increase enormously if amnesty for illegal immigrants passes. It can get discouraging, no doubt, but I guess I believe in the common sense of Americans more than most of my conservative friends. Most of us know as some deep level that it just can’t go on like this. According to Rasmussen, two out of three Americans believe we’ve become too dependent on government. That would have to include people who are themselves dependent to one extent or another, but they know the government gravy train will go off the rails eventually. Not enough of them went to the polls in November of 2012, but that can change in the next two election cycles.
More and more Americans will be discovering this year what was in the Obamacare bill Democrats rammed through in 2009 and they won’t like it. I think it’s safe to say that most already don’t like it, but that number will reach critical mass sometime in 2014 as millions more lose their coverage and are forced onto the exchanges. Others who think they’ve already signed up will discover how much more Obamacare is costing them compared to what they had before its implementation.
We’re in for some economic and foreign policy shocks, but I expect Americans to survive them and smarten up in the process. They’ll learn that, as Margaret Thatcher put it: “The facts of life are conservative,” and vote accordingly. We’re in a deep hole, but I choose to believe we can still climb out of it.