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I’m a Conservative Who Supports Bernie Sanders. Here’s Why.

February 18, 2016

by Bill Norman : brokeassstuart – excerpt

Excepting either side’s lunatic fringe, a clear majority of Americans have a similar view of where we’d like to be – we just disagree on how to get there…

My name is Bill Norman. I’m a life-long conservative and I support Bernie Sanders. Here’s why:

Through a degree in Political Science from the liberal bastion of University of Wisconsin – Madison, I retained a belief in personal responsibility, reverence for the Constitution, and an unshaken faith in the power of government to stifle innovation. My flirtation with Conservatism started – as these stories often do – at that awkward stage between adolescence and adulthood. A well-meaning friend says “Hey, have you read The Fountainhead yet – there’s some really profound shit in there” – and with that, I fell down the rabbit-hole of Ayn Rand’s morally fraudulent pseudo-philosophy of Objectivism. For those who are uninitiated, Objectivism is the libertarian bible, a belief-system that argues for selfishness as a virtue. And like so many, I found myself lost in the mire of this McPhilosophy, expounding to all that would listen, “why Liberalism would be the death of our society!!”

It was through these leanings that I celebrated the “compassionate conservatism” of George W. Bush, mourned the tragedy of 9/11, and trusted in the justifications for our “intervention” in Iraq. Drowning in the leftist sea of Madison, WI., I proudly stuck to my guns while the bumper stickers around me protested “No more blood for oil!” I laughed at their ignorance. I knew that the world was more complicated than that – energy security is national security, and if we could deliver an Uncle Sam-sized dose of Democracy at the same time, were we not virtuous?

But as the years passed, cracks started to develop in the foundation of my convictions. In my beloved Wisconsin, our legislature passed a Constitutional amendment against Gay Marriage – one of those pet peeves of the right that never made ideological sense to me. I sought a logically consistent argument for how this fit with the party of personal responsibility and freedom from government tyranny, and found only electoral convenience. Governor Walker rose to power here, bringing with him the rage of the Tea Party – a group that knows the system is rigged against them, yet consistently fails to see that the rich oligarchs are the source of their misery. And with the Republicans sweeping to power in Wisconsin we saw a war against Civil Servants, gerrymandering that would make even the most cynical machine boss blush, an assault on our tradition of transparent government, and the dissolution of independent electoral oversight. Nationally, a trend of xenophobia aimed at immigrants, Muslims, and homosexuals has provided vulnerable scapegoat populations for the new right-wing to focus their frustration on.

In the midst of all of this, I asked myself “what does it mean to be a Conservative?” I reflected back on my role-model, Grandpa Russ, – whose belly-laughs and charitable nature provided the evidence that conservatism is a belief structure based in love.   Would Grandpa Russ stand for minorities being lambasted for the purposes of political expediency? How would he feel about electoral districts being drawn in such a way as to stack the deck impossibly against the true voice of the people? Grandpa Russ believed in fair play, even if it didn’t work out in his favor. He spent his retirement working with disadvantaged minorities in our community, and every Friday served free meals to all that were in need. A life-long Republican, if he were alive today, he would no longer be welcome in the Party of Abe Lincoln..

Excepting either side’s lunatic fringe, a clear majority of Americans have a similar view of where we’d like to be – we just disagree on how to get there…

I firmly believe that electing Bernie Sanders is the conservative thing to do…  (more)

Let’s not forget that we all share the same goals.

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