You see, when I was a boy, Conservatives were conservative. Democrats were liberal to be sure, but in those days, it was the economy! We were slowly crawling out from under the greatest depression in the history of the United States. There was no middle class, only the rich and the poor. So, if you were in the great underbelly of American society, you were as close to the toilet, economically speaking, as it was possible to sit. The goal was to survive, to get out of the outhouse.
My dad worked part time in a peanut butter factory, delivered newspapers early every morning, then sold butter and eggs from my grandparent’s farm in Milford, Delaware to our neighbors in Northeast Philadelphia. Weekends, we drove to Milford to pick up the butter and eggs, and sample my grandmother’s sticky buns (no raisins in mine, thank you very much) before we headed back to Philly. I thought we had a great life! Compared to most, we did.
We were conservative. There was no other way to be. There were a few billionaires running the railroad and getting Wall Street back on track, but we thanked FDR for putting poor people to work building highways and the electrical grid and canals and you name it. We all worked for a living; by then, even I had a job bagging groceries at the A&P. Everyone seemed to share the burden. Of course we voted for FDR; he saved our lives and our livelihood. (Anybody remember Herbert Hoover?)
Then came the war, and the world tilted a bit. Maybe that’s when Republicans changed direction. They went south, literally and figuratively.
My dad ran for the Virginia State Legislature after the war, as a Republican. A couple of lawyers put him up to it; probably thought they could get dad to do their bidding. They really didn’t know my dad. He lost the election anyway; just not conservative enough, I guess. About then, I began to realize, being fiscally conservative doesn’t make you a Conservative. We needed, as we do now, some radical changes in our thinking.
Living in the South had a profound effect on my outlook. While I had just returned from the next war after WWII, the South was still fighting the Civil War! OMG. They hadn't progressed a day. Re-enactments! Are they kidding? What’s to be proud of about a civil war? And now they all vote Republican, even if they are not making a million dollars each. They’ve gone mental.
And recently, the entire Republican Party has gone mental. They are no long conservatives; they are extremists! They are not Christians; they are Tea Party Christians (the American Taliban).
FDR is gone. Long Live Obama.