Democratic Underground

I Was Once a Right-Winger
August 9, 2001
by Kevin Wetherington

Until now I have never voted Democratic. At one time my heroes were Rush Limbaugh, Ronald Reagan, Dick Armey and the usual cast of characters. However, over the past year I started to look a little closer at my life in that meaning became more important than material things. And for some strange reason I started to try to look at what this country was all about, what was happening and who it was happening to.

Even in my right-wing heydey I always pandered to blacks and gays by saying "our philosophy" works for you, etc. And one issue on which I have always been a black sheep of the right-wing was the environment. My response to that was to either ignore the destruction so as not to indict my deity (corporations and capitalism) or to actively promote the insidious notion that private property was actually the panacea for environmental degradation (can you believe that?).

Sadly, the same outrage (anti-government paranoia) that fueled the death of 168 men, women and children (all INNOCENT) in Okie City was burning inside me. While I didn't condone this act, in my mind I "understood" why it was done. Looking back at this evil thinking makes me sick. Over the years I have started to look objectively at the world. Why did I promote rage in concern to incidents in Waco and Ruby Ridge, but you would hear nary a word about the same type of atrocities committed against black people by thug police departments? Where is the right-wing rage there?

I was sympathetic to militias. And keep in mind I am not and have never been a neo-nazi, gun toting, skin head who didn't think the holocaust happened. Yet, here I was, an educated, reasonably intelligent hard working American actually paying the modicum of respect to the militant right-wing.

In my transition from right to left I only recently faced the stark truth, which was that I no longer respected or believed in the ideals of the conservative movement. In fact, I now held those in contempt. However, where to turn? After dabbling around with libertarian "theology" I slowly drifted away from that too.

Initially, I - like most on the right wing - thought any form of Government regulation of the private economy was a evil plot to foster Marxism on the country. However, after an objective, concerted effort to find the roots of the many labor, human, and environmental regulations I realized many of these "restrictions" of economic freedom were grass roots movements of liberal populism. These people had stood up for protections: Protections from rotten meat, shoddy dangerous products, monopolies, human rights exploitation, environmental degradation, racism, sexism, equal rights infringement and so on.

Here I was rejecting everything I stood for since the time I was old enough to utter those words complete with drool off my chin, "Dada…Im a rightist."

I was never as openly anti-gay, anti-black, anti-this or anti-that than my fellow neo-nazis (er…conservatives), but laughed at gays, played race fear against blacks and called anyone who didn't kowtow to my archaic pablum a communist. Even when a liberal said they were in favor of the minimum wage I would yell "socialist," all the while knowing that socialism was simply a state where government owned the large factors of production. Minimum wage didn't and doesn't instruct government to buy up large industry and run them, it only sets a puny-assed minimum for people who bust their humps making others rich.

Even though I had moved from the right I still had it in mind that there was no way I was a liberal. You know how hard it is to finally come to grips in agreeing with a philosophy you have held in contempt - even hatred - for two decades?

On social programs, etc. I looked at liberals who were actually trying to help people and make this country "a more perfect union" and castigated them as selfish leftists. However, I looked around for conservative alternatives to the welfare state, affirmative action, equal rights, human rights, environmental respect/protection and found the movement void of any idea. Hell, the right-wing doesn't even pay lip-service to these issues.

A true axiom of the right-wing is "fuckem." Even worse than just a patent disregard for that which has no power and that which has no voice, the right-wing seeks to entrench and exploit all in the name of freedom. No matter how tightly you wrap hate in clichés such as "freedom," it is still perverse hatred.

Additionally, the right-wing holds the Constitution up on a pedestal as "their" ideals. In studying the Constitution I find their claims to be ludicrous and self-serving. Their arrogance is a direct rebuttal to an open mind. When Rush Limbaugh makes inaccurate statements that are then mimicked by his hapless followers, I find myself sinking in a sea of conservative idiocy. And all along, I was right there with them goose-stepping to the beat of an ideology that has a lot of followers but no center. No real ideas. No real solutions.

On one hand they whine about government, then load their districts up with pork, build and use roads paid for by government, accept cancer treatment supported by government, use the GI bill, support the military, use police and fire protection, attend public universities, use public lands for grazing, hunting and fishing, drive a Harley-Davidson (government saved this company), accept matching campaign funds, build jails, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

Their hypocrisy doesn't stop at politics. It continues right through their seedy morality. Most Republicans now positively disgust me and their greedy, selfish diatribes are hard to even listen to without growing very angry. But, have I become a liberal Democrat? Or even a progressive liberal? I now find myself relating to, agreeing with and supporting Ron Wyden, Paul Wellstone, Dick Durbin, Mark Udall, John Kerry and even Bernie Sanders - all the while believing clowns like Tom DeLay, Don Young, Larry Craig, Helen Chenowith and Rush Limbaugh are a bunch of jack-booted psychopathic thugs.

So I guess it is time that I proudly pronounce myself as the newest convert to liberalism in America, and forever renounce the right-wing of this country. I am proud of this. I am free and believe in my heart and mind the only party than can actually save us from what can only be called the evil hypocrisy of the right-wing is the Democratic Party. Now is the time to stand up and fight. I'm with you.

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