Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Real Reasons Why Poor and Middle Class Americans Vote Republican

I recently read an article by Allen Clifton of Forward Progessives entitled, "5 Reasons Why Poor and Middle Class Americans Vote Republican." I found it fascinating, and I will give Mr. Clifton kudos for at least giving a minimal effort in trying to understand why someone like myself, who comes from 3 generations of poverty, might not be voting for the party who claims to be for the poor and the downtrodden.  So, I will help him gain insight into the mind of a conservative voter who is not rich by sharing with him my own.

I apologize in advance for what is going to be a rather lengthy article, but unlike Mr. Clifton who believed it "isn't too overly complicated" why we vote this way, I believe it is a complex issue which if the Democrats ever hope to win voters like me to their side they ought to at least try and understand.

Reason 1: We're turned off by your condescending attitude.

It's so hard for Mr. Clifton to imagine that we might see things differently than he does, that he makes fun of us for what we believe without even trying to understand why we believe it. Yes, I believe in God. I have lots of reasons for my belief, and they are rational and logical beliefs. I have seen God work in my life, and in the lives of others.

One of the benefits of my religion is that it has helped me to be able to better discern between those who truly care about me and have genuine compassion for my situation and someone who is just trying to use my situation to further their own ends. Mr. Clifton - and the Democratic party - reek of trying to use the poor and other people like me to further their own gain. Mr. Clifton has implied that we are easily led - even as he rails against the fact that we're not cooperating with his agenda.

When it comes to abortion, he has outright stated that we're "too blinded by the “killing babies” rhetoric to think rationally." What he appears to mean by this is that we aren't cooperating with him, therefore we can't possibly be doing it for rational reasons. He doesn't seem to have actually asked any of us with intent to understand our point of view.

He says we're being held hostage by fear. He says Republicans constantly use fear as a tactic to keep us in line. It's not Republicans who peddle fear in my eyes, though. Democrats encourage women to kill their babies out of FEAR of poverty. They encourage people to turn away from alternative income solutions such as starting their own businesses and place all their power in the hands of the government out of FEAR of failure. They encourage people to put people into office out of FEAR of what the Republicans might do, rather than encouraging them to choose leaders based on what the candidate stands for and what is good for all. 

He says we're ignorant of how politics works, and that we just don't understand that the Democrats are the ones trying to end government corruption. How, I ask, he can say that line with a straight face is beyond me when Hillary - the primary Democratic candidate - is embroiled in so many scandals it's hard to keep up. And if you want to talk about someone who is in bed with big business on a massive scale, let's talk about  Hillary. Let's talk about her ties to Monsanto and Big Pharma and let's have THAT conversation. Clearly, the poor are not the only ones ignorant of how politics works.

These attitudes are the kind of thing that stops a conversation before it can even begin. Mr. Clifton, and the Democratic party as a whole, if you want a conversation with people, put aside the notion that you already know everything. Put aside the idea that you understand them, because trust me you don't. Open your minds and seek understanding. 

Begin conversations with the assumption that we are all rational and intelligent human beings who have good intentions and a sincere desire to see our country become a better place, even if we may disagree with the path we're going to have to take to get there. We're all born with a limited perspective, a limited point of view. The reason that art and literature are both valuable is that the one literally and the other metaphorically help us see life from a different perspective and in doing so improve our ability to relate to one another. 

Acknowledge that you don't know everything and that you don't see what I see. Ask me to explain and then try to see things from my point of view. Respect what I tell you. Clarify what you don't understand by asking more questions. That's the beginning of rational and respectful discourse, something our country desperately needs.

Reason 2: The Republicans Present More Hope

While Democrats stand there telling teenagers and young adults that they can't possibly be expected to control their sexual urges (even though they're expected to control their anger and a thousand other things) because, after all, they're just animals and nobody expects much of animals, Republicans are there telling teens that their lives matter and that their choices matter.

When the natural consequences of young men and women behaving like animals leads to a young woman finding herself with an unexpected pregnancy, Democrats are there to tell dads that if they just encourage the woman they got pregnant to have an abortion, they can forget all about this little incident and nobody ever has to know. They tell her that her life is over unless she's willing to kill her baby to save her future. 

Republicans are there telling that young woman that she doesn't have to choose between her baby and her future. There are people out there willing to help her whether she decides to give it up for adoption or decides to raise it on her own.  Republicans are reminding the boy who is scared of fatherhood and what it will mean for his future that he owes it to himself to man up and take responsibility for his decisions.

Democrats tell people who are elderly and or extremely sick that they might as well off themselves since there's nothing good that can ever come from it, and they'll probably end up in excruciating pain. Republicans tell them that life is worth living right up to the end, because there is good that can come even in the worst of life's moments. 

Democrats tell people in minimum wage jobs that their only hope to improve that life is to take on crippling debt trying to go to school or wait until some politician deigns to think of them and pushes for a minimum wage hike. Republicans tell the minimum wage worker that if they aren't happy with their situation, they have opportunities to change it. Republicans are there holding out the reminder that there is another way and that yes, the path is risky, but the risks are worth it.

Democrats tell people who are mired in debt so deep that it feels like they'll never get out that their only hope is to elect politicians who will wave the magic debt wand and make it all go away by forcing other people to pay for it. Republicans remind people that integrity begins with honoring your promises, and that there are ways other than working yourself to death or stealing to find the means to pay for what you've borrowed.

Reason 3: We Value Our Freedom

There is a complex relationship between freedom and responsibility. The slave may not be free, but he doesn't have to be responsible for his life, either. He doesn't have to worry about making decisions and facing the consequences. He doesn't have to worry about finding food, only convincing his master to give it to him and to give it to him in sufficient quantities to satisfy his appetite for today. 

From my perspective, what the Democrats offer is slavery. They offer to take care of all of my problems if I'll just let them rule and control my life. Let them sign whatever bill or law they want, and they'll provide all the things my little heart ever desired. I won't have to do a thing except whatever they tell me I have to do to get it. The government will be my security.

Except that logic tells me the government cannot offer me real security. It can't protect me from a tornado or defend me from an earthquake. Every promise a government makes of safety or security is a false promise, empty of meaning and void of ability to carry it out.

Republicans don't falsely promise me security. They don't promise me an easy life. They don't promise to save me from the consequences of my decisions. They don't guarantee my success. 

But they respect me enough to encourage me to try. And they are willing to let fail because they understand that being able to fail and to experience the painful consequences of failure is what encourages men to succeed. 

I've spent 39 years of my life trying - and failing - at various business ventures. Every failure was painful, but every failure taught me something important and brought me one step closer. It was when I didn't have a safety net waiting to catch me that I was finally pushed into figuring out how to make everything work for me as a business owner. 

This valuing of freedom is why the gun control issue is such a hot-button issue for most conservative voters. I'm not a gun owner. I never have been. I choose not to be. But I understand those who own them and why it matters to them so much. 

Don't misunderstand me. Guns don't give you freedom. Your freedom is an inalienable right. Nobody can ever truly take it from you because nobody can ever take from you your ability to choose. Even if a gun is pointed at you, you still have the ability to choose whether or not you will obey or disobey the instructions of the person behind the gun. In the end, you face the fundamental choice of doing what is right and going down with a fight or giving in to what you know is wrong in the hopes you'll save yourself. That's what freedom is - the ability to choose between doing what is right and doing what is wrong. 

The reason so many equate gun ownership with freedom is that they understand what many Democrats do not - that the ownership of a gun gives you the ability to protect your freedom. It allows you to protect your person and your property from harm by those who would abuse their freedom to try and take yours.

Reason 4: We Don't Envy the Rich

Unlike the vast majority of Democratic voters, conservative voters do not envy the rich. We hold them up as examples because it's our way of reminding ourselves that if they can do it, we can do it, too. We believe in ourselves and we believe in our own ability to make a better future for ourselves and our families.

No, I don't care that 80 people hold half the world's wealth. So what? I don't care that there are people with billions while I struggle with paying the rent sometimes. Do you know why I don't care? Because I know that if I can learn from them, I can achieve greater things than even what they've been able to do.

Once upon a time, I couldn't walk, either. I looked around at the people who could walk and I used them as an example of what was possible for me. It took me about a year and a half to do it, but I learned how to walk and I haven't stopped since.

We also see the opportunities that those 80 people have provided for us that make it easier for us to climb the ladders to the success we desire. Jeff Bezos is a billionaire. His company, Amazon, has made it possible for people like me to make money off our books without having to go through a major publishing company to do it.

Somebody like me wouldn't have stood a chance in the writing industry even 20 years ago. I'd have had to compete with other, better-funded books for space on shelves and wait years for some publisher to find me.

Do I resent Jeff Bezos his billions? Heck, no! I'm glad he has it because he's continuing to invest in things that give people like me greater opportunities to succeed. And it continues to benefit his company to do so. We both win.

The funny thing about every single big business millionaire and billionaire out there is that they have done more to advance the cause of entrepreneurship than any government run program ever has. Right now, I can get free mentorship and training from the best in the marketing business just by trading them my email address. The amount of in-depth, incredibly valuable training in business, marketing, and even money management that is out there right now is astonishing.

No longer do you have to be able to afford a college education to get quality classes teaching you virtually any topic you want to know. People have learned to take their knowledge and make money by teaching others, and they are doing it at increasingly rapid paces. We have transformed the culture from the few being in control of knowledge and learning to the many. 

Capitalism is doing for America AND THE WORLD what no other system made possible - the capturing of knowledge from the minds of a massive cross-section of the world's population and the transference of that knowledge to others for the gain of all.

Reason 5: They Come Closer Than You Do

You'll have read this and you'll be thinking to yourself, "Man, is she for real? What about Flint, Michigan and all the trouble that's been caused by bad Republican policy? What about all the other problems that have been caused by corporate greed?"

We're not ignorant of those issues. Remember how I said at the beginning of the article that I'm not Republican, though I vote more often for Republicans than for Democrats. To be honest, NEITHER party is to my liking.

But the Republican party comes closer to sharing my beliefs than the Democrats do. That's it. That's the reason I vote for them. Give me better options, and I'll be voting for them instead. You give me a democrat who stands for these things AND values life, and I'll vote for them. 

I would vote for Bernie Sanders today if he would just realize that abortion doesn't actually help men or women. I know the man cares for his people. I know he's got a good heart, and I know he's just as concerned about the future of our nation as I am. I just can't vote for anyone who doesn't understand that if you don't stand up for the right to life there is no other right that matters. Dead people don't have rights.

I Hope This Helps

I truly hope this helps you understand my side. Feel free to comment and I'll be happy to discuss it. Fair warning - I welcome discussions, but those take my time. I will invest time in having a conversation with you because I think you are worth it and because I think the issues are worth it, but I won't waste time on people who already think they know everything.

Popular Posts