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Republican turned Democrat

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  • Independent
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    Hi all - I have been looking for a place to interact with non GOP loyalists. I grew up (I can see this now in hindsight) in a nutty GOP household. By nutty, I mean "the other side is anti American and should be tried for treason" type thing. I wouldn't even call it conservative - it was strictly GOP loyalist. I'd say many in my family have more in common with fascists - my father literally wants to nuclear bomb Iran "until they glow." Oh, he attends Church weekly.

    Anyways - I departed from that mindset when I began an economics PhD program. By the end, I began to see that deficits and the national debt were not things to worry about (I won't discuss that here). Combined with becoming Christian, I began to believe morally that everyone should have food, shelter, and clothing. I also believe government is better at providing that than churches/charities. Churches tend to want to only give those they deem worthy (single mom attending service/Mass weekly and taking the kids to their events) and do it inefficiently. As a true believer, I believe all deserve food, shelter, and clothing - even those that are horrible, lazy, and nasty people. That is the challenge of my beliefs.

    This election cycle is driving me crazy! I am literally having nightmares about Donald Trump. In them, I am at a Donald Trump rally and trying to "stay hiding" so they won't find me. I have to constantly keep quiet around my wife's friends because an awful lot of them are really worried about men being in women's bathrooms (seriously!).

    My father seems to have ignored me long ago when I told him I was not voting for the GOP in 2008. He continues to talk to me like I agree with him and despite him agreeing that the budget does not need to be balanced after I explained it, he continues to huff and puff about it. He thinks I am stupid because I am "young and dumb" despite having a PhD in Economics and not really being young anymore (I am in my 30s, have a career in Finance, have a house, and a family).

    My wife's father is a GOPer like its a Red Sox/Yankees event. When we go visit and he drives us around their town, I feel ashamed to be in his car because it is plastered with insane bumper stickers. I have not told him who I am voting for and to the best of my knowledge, he does not know. I ignore it when he talks about politics (he is obsessed and extremely ignorant). He goes around spouting Christian stuff despite never having gone to church in his life (which is fine but if you claim to be a Christian but do not go - its silly).

    Beyond the immediate family, I hear whispers of what my extended family and father say behind my back. One of my cousins simply won't talk to me anymore because I disagreed once. My uncle sent out a chain e mail accusing Obama of something that obviously wasn't true and when I called him out on it, he won't talk to me anymore either.

    So here I sit, pretty much isolated. I go to a local bar but the area I am in is like overwhelming majority Trump supporters (not just GOP, Trump supporters...) and it drives me crazy to hear people spout nonsense that I know I should not refute (because it would not end well).

    Finally - let me end it on this. I am glad Hillary won the nomination. Bernie Sanders demonized institutions too much. You want someone that can work with institutions and not show up at the meeting and throw the table over. In this current climate, defending the progress that we have made (social security, ACA) will be difficult. On the other side are people that literally clap when it is suggested that you should die if you do not have private health insurance (see 2008 GOP primary debates).

    I feel it is important to speak up because on the face of it I should be Republican - we attend Mass weekly, I am a white male, and I make six figures. I would guarantee that on first impression, 90% of people would guess I were a GOPer.


    Have a good day!

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    strato, I hope you enjoy visiting and contributing to this site. I too am a white male who was raised in a gop household. I voted gop for several elections but as an adult you need to learn to think for yourself. People can respect each others rights to their opinions while not agreeing with those opinions. I started seeing the patterns of the parties and you can love what you want and not accept what you don't love or agree with. It seemed obvious a long time ago that trickle down economics weren't working. Thus we have massive gaps in wealth today. That's because half of this country want to stay on the bad path until the end of time. It makes you wonder why. I read something the other day that said Mississippi is drastically poor and under educated yet they still want to vote for republicans........ makes you wonder if they'll ever get it. I changed to democratic voting because I realized republicans would let poor persons die without a second thought. No need to worry about those poor persons because they rarely vote.

    You don't need to challenge dad our your father in law but I hope one day you'll realize the easiest or most convenient choice isn't necessarily the best choice. My father was gop 100% of the time while my mother,my brother, and myself changed our views. We'd respectfully disagree with dad without trying to tell him what to think or believe. Late in his life he said that he was voting for a Democrat for president. The comment was that it wasn't his republican party any more. My brother said that's what got him into heaven. LOL. It was a major comment from him because he thought whites were the only choice. Racial acceptance is also a positive choice that adults can make.

    Don't just do what's easy. Do what's best. Unless dad is paying your mortgage and buying your food......... The choices are yours to make. Different opinions can happen with mutual respect.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    Welcome Stratozyck , Looking at the generosity to include "even those that are horrible, lazy, and nasty people." Wondering why you didn't include healthcare and education? The last four letters of your name remind me of a Dan Dee potato chip contest in Pittsburgh that cost the company a fortune. They put letters in potato chip bags. If you collected letters to spell your last name you would win a cash prize. They controlled the number of winners by how many vowels would be put in bags. The Polish Nation with a lot of consonant only last names almost bankrupt the company. People with last names like Wyczk and Styczk would buy some of the thousands of consonants and win hundreds instead of one prize .

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    stratozyck -- As one who has had arguments with Republican relatives and friends much of my life, I can empathize with you. I gave up and started reading articles by psychologists and social scientists on how our brains become wired not only from birth, but also at the moment of conception. In other words, how much of our religious and political worldviews are driven by genetics and how much by our environment? It's not easy to change brains of those so indoctrinated and for the very extreme cases, it is impossible.

    I read several books and articles on the subject but if I were to recommend one it would be, Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences, by Hibbing, Smith and Alford.

    The only point I will also make is that trying to put people in stereotype buckets based on their political beliefs, one will find that mostly one or two issues will place them there. On many of the issues of the day, both conservatives and liberals have no firm beliefs that have been carefully thought out. However, tribalism will put them into one or the other camp.

    Our society has extremists at both ends of the political spectrum but most people fall in-between with varying degrees of commitment. We have lots of low information voters.

    However, it is the extremists which seem to capture the media headlines because of the sensational nature of the utterings. It sells just like the supermarket tabloids sell...with sensational headlines.

  • Independent
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    Schmidt Wrote:

    stratozyck -- As one who has had arguments with Republican relatives and friends much of my life, I can empathize with you. I gave up and started reading articles by psychologists and social scientists on how our brains become wired not only from birth, but also at the moment of conception. In other words, how much of our religious and political worldviews are driven by genetics and how much by our environment? It's not easy to change brains of those so indoctrinated and for the very extreme cases, it is impossible.

    I read several books and articles on the subject but if I were to recommend one it would be, Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences, by Hibbing, Smith and Alford.

    The only point I will also make is that trying to put people in stereotype buckets based on their political beliefs, one will find that mostly one or two issues will place them there. On many of the issues of the day, both conservatives and liberals have no firm beliefs that have been carefully thought out. However, tribalism will put them into one or the other camp.

    Our society has extremists at both ends of the political spectrum but most people fall in-between with varying degrees of commitment. We have lots of low information voters.

    However, it is the extremists which seem to capture the media headlines because of the sensational nature of the utterings. It sells just like the supermarket tabloids sell...with sensational headlines.

    That is definitely true. I have read a study that showed that people flip flop on views when told their party favors it.

  • Independent
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    Chet Ruminski Wrote:

    Welcome Stratozyck , Looking at the generosity to include "even those that are horrible, lazy, and nasty people." Wondering why you didn't include healthcare and education? The last four letters of your name remind me of a Dan Dee potato chip contest in Pittsburgh that cost the company a fortune. They put letters in potato chip bags. If you collected letters to spell your last name you would win a cash prize. They controlled the number of winners by how many vowels would be put in bags. The Polish Nation with a lot of consonant only last names almost bankrupt the company. People with last names like Wyczk and Styczk would buy some of the thousands of consonants and win hundreds instead of one prize .

    Health care I would agree - education I don't see as a moral "right" but more of a cost/benefit analysis. I think it makes sense to educate people but I don't think it stands on the same plane as keeping them alive and healthy. From a cost/benefit point of view I would prefer to live in a more educated society but not from a moral point of view. I (mostly) disagree with the Bernie Sanders supporters that college should be free, for instance, but if it happened I would not think it were on par with major mistakes of the past administration.

    Here is my background on this: I used to teach at the university level for three years (I left after finishing my PhD but I taught full time for three years). I also have about 60k in student loan debt. But, it was worth it. Why should others pay that bill when I can? I am all for reforming current policies but frankly, if an investment isn't worth it at 6% interest rate, you either make less of the investment or find ways to lower the interest rate. Sure, we can fund higher ed more so that tuition declines - I am all for that. Sure - we can reform the rules so that students who made bad investments can get out of it (defaulting...). But I fundamentally believe students have to have some "skin" in the game to make efficient choices.

    The alternative is across the pond. In Norway, their graduate schools are funded at higher rates and graduate students get enough income to live and then some. The result? Getting a PhD takes 2x as long in Norway as it does here because graduate students have less of an incentive to finish. Other countries that have free higher ed also do a heck of a lot more selection on who gets in (we are unique in that anyone can come back to school at any age).

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    "Frankly, if an investment isn't worth it at 6% interest rate,"

    Who is the significant benefactor of that investment? There are a very few instances where the student is the significant recipient. In all the other situations the employer benefits and finally the country. The most significant benefactor is the country. "In the national interest".

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    stratozyck Wrote:

    Sure, we can fund higher ed more so that tuition declines - I am all for that. Sure - we can reform the rules so that students who made bad investments can get out of it (defaulting...). But I fundamentally believe students have to have some "skin" in the game to make efficient choices.

    stratozyck -- Your point about students having "skin in the game" is well taken. It applies to all facets of life and the choices one makes, but higher education is indeed a major life choice that one should not take lightly. The more skin in the game, the more likely the choice will be made carefully and treated as a life long commitment to one's chosen profession. I say that based on my personal experience of working my way through college in the 1960s, taking on some loans, and otherwise feeling that my accomplishments were earned. That attitude carried over into the pride of my job, which I took very seriously as a registered professional engineer, and later as a mentor to other young engineers.

    Life decisions in the choice of professions, where you live, who you might choose as a spouse, the house you buy, etc. are all major decisions that stand more chance of success if you have some skin in the game. That's not saying I haven't made mistakes...I have. But I treat them as lessons learned and take full responsibility for them. I do not seek to assign blame to anyone else or society in general.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    "The more skin in the game, the more likely the choice will be made carefully and treated as a life long commitment to one's chosen profession."

    That is more an answer logically reflecting on hindsight. You may think you exercise choice in decisions but I think people are guided by their individual character. Your character defines you not you defining your chatacter. Using extreme examples a pro quarterback did not learn how to throw a ball, he was born with that talent. If you are prominent in your field then nothing interfered with your self to detract from that. Consider the implication of sharing or imparting your wisdom. That implies that a character can be learned or that people can learn traits. If that were true and people weren't born with fixed personalities then there would be total chaos. People would constantly be learning and changing unless learning how to determine what was bad and good, learn how to tune out the bad , retain the good and apply it. People don't have the humility to acknowledge a gift.

  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Well said Chet!
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    stratozyck Wrote: That is definitely true. I have read a study that showed that people flip flop on views when told their party favors it.
    How true that is. Far too many people share in "group think" and just go along with what they are told to think because their party platform says so.

    I think this is especially true for Republicans, but many Democrats are guilty of this as well.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Chet Ruminski Wrote:

    "The more skin in the game, the more likely the choice will be made carefully and treated as a life long commitment to one's chosen profession."

    That is more an answer logically reflecting on hindsight. You may think you exercise choice in decisions but I think people are guided by their individual character. Your character defines you not you defining your chatacter. Using extreme examples a pro quarterback did not learn how to throw a ball, he was born with that talent. If you are prominent in your field then nothing interfered with your self to detract from that. Consider the implication of sharing or imparting your wisdom. That implies that a character can be learned or that people can learn traits. If that were true and people weren't born with fixed personalities then there would be total chaos. People would constantly be learning and changing unless learning how to determine what was bad and good, learn how to tune out the bad , retain the good and apply it. People don't have the humility to acknowledge a gift.

    You missed the point that I was making. Certainly one is born with certain characteristics that help them succeed in life whether it be an Olympic athlete, a baseball pitcher, a master violinist, an accountant, a teacher, a policeman, or whatever. But none of them got where they are today without personal commitment and sacrifice...hours and hours of practice for an athlete or musician...hours of studying for an accountant or any other profession. For many of these people they fit the cliché of being the "best that they can be". They or their parents all made sacrifices along the way, whether it is the cost of education or the hours spent practicing. These are the people who have high self worth...a feeling of accomplishment and reward that comes with having made the sacrifices...and taken the risks. They have skin in the game.

    It's also true that for many of these people, their goals were not attainable, and they found a secondary reward. Some rather mediocre quarterbacks become wonderful coaches or teachers or personal trainers. They have certain character traits that drive them to succeed whatever setbacks they are given in life. They get back on their feet. They have a positive outlook on life. They are fun to be around.

    On the flip side, there are potential athletes that never could succeed because they just were not as motivated. Ditto for other professions. While we are discussing character traits then, I read where laziness, for example, might be an inherited character trait.

    Live Science: Lazy? Your Genes May Be to Blame

    So the question I will pose by way of example, if laziness is an inherited trait, should those people with the other attributes that help them succeed, owe to the naturally lazy people to help them cope in society. Should natural laziness be treated as a cognitive affliction the same as mental illnesses?

    Finally, I just read this article in the news today:

    MSN, Apathetic workers in state and local government cost taxpayers billions

    "...many government jurisdictions are saddled with a preponderance of unhappy, indifferent and generally unproductive workers who are costing taxpayers billions of dollars in lost productivity.

    "Based on a nationwide survey of state and local government employees in 43 of 50 states, Gallup found that 71 percent of the work force was “disengaged” or unenthusiastic about their jobs – and unwilling or incapable of improving their output. By contrast, only 29 percent said they felt fully engaged in their work and eager to improve on the services they provide."

    "According to the report, engaged employees “drive innovation and move their workforce forward,” while actively disengaged workers do just the opposite, costing their states millions of dollars annually while “interfering with government goals.”"

    Why is that? I do not have the answer, but I do know that every society and country on this planet has many of the same problems...people who make a real difference and people who are just along for the ride...unhappy people that like to cast blame. You cannot blame the US government for all of society's ills.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    "But none of them got where they are today without personal commitment and sacrifice...hours and hours of practice for an athlete or musician...hours of studying for an accountant or any other profession."

    Schmidt, You say all of that above and then you say a little "skin in the game" could be the difference between success and failure. A person goes through at least 16 years of education producing consistently work above a certain standard both timely and dependably and you think they need some "skin in the game" to be motivated to make a living? Of course I think you really don't believe that. I think strato got you involved in some moralizing hyperbole or pledge hazing ???

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Of course some people will succeed without skin in the game. However, if you are an entrepreneur and want to start up a new business, chances are a bank will not lend you the money unless you put up some of the money yourself. They want you to feel the risk as well as them. In their view, the new business has a greater chance of success if you have a stake in the game.

    It used to be that buying a new house, the lending institute would require a 20 percent down payment. Your money. You had skin in the game. Then we went through a period of easy money in which lenders offered zero down payment loans on homes to people who obviously had a poor chance of making payments over time, and especially if they had no skin in the game. However, those unscrupulous lenders also didn't have much skin in the game as they repackaged the loans and sold them off to other financial institutions. You know the rest of the story. If the originators of the loans had to hold those loans and couldn't resell them, then they would have had skin in the game and would have been more selective on who they lent money to.

    That's the way risk management used to work.

    With regards to college loans being guaranteed by the government, that policy gave rise to unscrupulous institutions of learning that were in it for the money, but also name brand universities. They knew they were going to get paid regardless of whether the student flunked out or finished. No risk for them and thus no incentive to ensure that students got jobs after graduation. The students themselves could have used more counseling about the choice of their careers, but with easy loans there was less thought put into future.

    Right now the federal government liability on student loans exceeds $1 trillion. Many of those loans will be defaulted meaning us taxpayers will pick up the tab.

    So would free college for everyone necessarily result in more successful outcomes for students? Would the graduation rates be any better? The job placement rate? The cost/benefit to society has yet to be determined, but for the institutions that have no skin in the game and for students who have no skin in the game, I can foresee vultures taking advantage of the program in a big way.

    I suppose graduates can always go to work for the government in some capacity and become part of the 71 percent disengaged.

    And there is always Trump University if you want to become a real estate mogul.