Did I become a radical or did one side of the aisle simply become the enemy of reason?

Logan trying to keep his head above the water in a maddening time — Photo by John Todd

In the course of five recent political posts to my social media page, I became a “shit-sucking liberal” in the eyes of an old college buddy. How did this happen? I was born and raised in Greenwich, CT and grew up a Republican because I liked the idea that Republicans were innovative and entrepreneurial. They seemed smart, and I saw big government as dumb, clumsy and wasteful. Somehow in the course of my lifetime, the Republican party lost me when it became ignorant, bigoted, racist and simply dangerous to humanity and the environment.

In the eyes of my conservative friends and family, I am a bleeding heart liberal not because I’m vegan and have lived in trees to keep them from being cut down, but simply because I believe in equality for all beings on earth. I am radical because I believe that every non-native American is related to an immigrant, so I think we should support immigration today. Why should the door be closed behind my ancestors and me? Right wingers are fearful that terrorists are hiding in undocumented immigrants and they may be right, but where is our collective courage? When we stand for what is just, we take a risk, but we also get to be the moral standard bearers for freedom. When we act out of fear, we sacrifice our values and become the standard bearers for selfishness and greed.

I am a liberal nut because I support the environment and agree with the 99% of scientists that mankind is destroying the planet. I am a hippie freak because I want gun control for suspected terrorists and the mentally ill. As a practicing psychotherapist, I know firsthand how mental illness goes unchecked in our world. I’m also a nut because I don’t think the world’s largest military needs to get larger and believe the government could spend those dollars elsewhere, like improving infrastructure, to solve real issues facing our country. Is anyone worried that ISIS will build a better navy someday? I should also state that I’m wacky because I think the government has no business telling women what to do with their bodies. I’ve joked that if men could have children, their time of the month would be met with hushed tones as to why they were home for the week versus how women are supposed to just roll with bleeding and painful cramping. I am quite sure that if men could have children, the right to choose would not ever be an issue in religion or the political landscape. How many men dispense with half children each day? Where is the defense of semen act?

So because I support the basic human rights for all people and science-based views of our planet, I am viewed as radical left-wing. I know that many of my friends and loved ones join me in leaning left these days because of the right wing platform, yet some need to keep it close to their vest, so as not to offend conservatives or endanger their standing at work or in their wealthy families. I understand the fear, but letting fear hold back one’s opinion does enable bigotry to continue unchecked. Many conservative friends and family say I should keep my political views to myself, which I would understand if we were conversing about tax cuts or government spending, but the right wing’s dangerous platform of today simply changes everything. Is it uncouth to stand up for equality? Any debate of the finer political points, like trade, simply cannot even occur when opposing stances are wrapped up in hateful and hurtful policies.

Donald Trump is a self-serving narcissistic sexual predator, and his rise is directly due to a twisted platform that went away from being slightly different to downright fanatical. The current right wing platform is filled with frustrating hypocrisy. To name a few:

They say they support fair elections yet use voter suppression tactics in battleground districts and states. Watch clips of long voter lines, and you will never see wealthy white people. These voter ID laws are designed to suppress democracy, and it is the biggest reason for voter apathy. Who wants to or is able to stand in line for hours at a significant cost in lost wages?

How can right wingers oppose Muslims and Muslim countries that follow Sharia law and yet also want to use their own rigid, and at times fanatical, Christian views to govern here in the US? What happened to the US being a new model for a country for having a separation between church and state?

How can thousands die on the watch of Republican leaders in US embassies and on US soil and “safety” be the theme used against Democrats? Beirut bombing? 9/11? And who got Osama?

How can the party that touts Trump as a necessary outsider and change maker also support countless career right wing politicians in down ballot elections? The career politicians will write Trump’s policies, yet they endorses an inexperienced, unqualified outsider? It is clear they will say anything to get elected and it will be crystal clear when they roll out a career politician in 2020.

How can the media be rigged for the left when the only major national newspaper to support Trump is owned by notorious right winger Sheldon Adelson? Isn’t that more rigged than the right wing leaning Houston Chronicle endorsing Clinton?

How can the party that for years lamented left-wing “free-loaders” put forth a candidate that doesn’t pay his taxes? How can a party led by financial experts put forth a candidate who’s finances they know nothing about? They literally want to go into business with someone whose balance sheet they have never seen!

How can the right want to lock up Hillary over using a private email server when their nominee is a willful sexual predator, who created a fake university to bilk money out of the public, has a history of not paying his debts, countless civil complaints and may be in bed with a foreign power? Yet she is the crooked one here? Seriously?

The only answer to the mental gymnastics needed to being in denial about these hypocritical behaviors is either excessive greed or reckless ignorance based on fear and hopelessness. Anyone who promises lowers taxes strikes a chord with the 1%, but Trump has struck a nerve because we have genuine problems facing our country. But how can our government solve real issues when they are unable to govern? We have no idea what Obama could have achieved when virtually everything he attempted was stonewalled by the GOP. Their failure to replace a supreme court justice and threats to continue under a Clinton administration impacts an entire branch of government. Instead of accepting that the majority of the people want more progressive views from our leaders, they have dug their heels in and are attempting a passive aggressive coup. If the left wing acted in such a way, I cannot imagine the outrage. How can we even debate about healthcare or economic differences to help solve the real problems facing our country when the most basic views of human decency are not mutually agreed upon and are also seemingly constantly up for debate? If given control, the right wing has threatened to roll back Roe v. Wade, institute a ban on gay marriage and a return to burning coal and risky fracking and to remove regulatory bodies like the EPA or oversight of Wall Street.

Because the right wing platform refuses to join the rest of us in 2016, moderates like me are left with no choice, but to stand with the party that openly supports the equal rights of all and the need for science-based research to inform governance over religion. And if that makes me a “radical,” than so be it.