My grandfather was proud to be a Democrat and my father a Republican and I am proud not to vote.
My Italian grandfather lived through the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918 that took his father; the Great Depression that took his pride; World War II which took his thumb; the mass production of the automobile that took his pre-teen brother in a fatal accident; and heart disease that took his wife in the prime of her life.
My grandfather lived the life of the typical immigrant and accordingly was a Democrat. Republicans of this generation were rightly perceived to be a party that represented the rich and the democrats were the alternative, thus, representing the working-class.
My off-the-boat Irish father came to the U.S. and worked at odd jobs until my grandfather introduced him to the stability presented by the local utility company.
My father experienced similar hardships in Ireland as my grandfather, but was richly rewarded by the “golden opportunities” that presented themselves even to the off-the-boat Irishmen with the thick Kilkenny-Irish brogue and no high school education. Hey the guy didn’t even know the difference between a hurling stick and a baseball bat.
He rightly is unable to understand how so many people don’t have jobs and often proclaims how this has to do something with an unwillingness to get off one’s derrier ― in much less diplomatic terms and still in the thick Kilkenny brogue.
Of course my father is a proud Republican and now loves even coaching baseball. An Irishmen coaching baseball ― only in America.
My mother a lifetime social worker, and the first person in our direct family to graduate from college was brought up in generation fighting for equality of the sexes and opportunities for the socially disadvantaged.
She became part of this revolution and even made the revolution part of her working life. She, of course, is a proud member of the Democratic Party.
I, being brought up in a middle-class family came to admire, campaign for and even work for Republicans and the party.
After working in D.C. for a conservative senator, I became disgruntled with politics after realizing that Harold Lasswell’s “Who Gets What, When, How?” is not just a book, but the basics of this political game.
The game is well played in America and Korea by politicians that are more interested in political survival than ideology and the well-being of the nation.
I loved politics because of the ideological battles between conservatives and liberals. I came to respect the classical liberal (modern conservatives/libertarian) ideologies for their focus on the individual.
However, it becomes apparent that most liberal and conservative politicians care little for ideology and care more about self-preservation. If ideology is useful it is employed, if not it is maligned. The Hamilton and Jefferson ideological clashes are dead and simply political survival rules the day.
Today liberals in the U.S. and even more so in Korea are hell bent on preserving the status quo. A status quo that keeps certain provinces and occupations loyal to this liberal political elite ― a liberal political elite that lives off the backs of the loyalty given by these regions and occupations.
The conservatives are not much different. A hopeful seemingly ideology-based Korean president fell to “pragmatism” because of a realization that his reform of the service sector, healthcare system, education, politics and bureaucracy was impossible because of vested political elites in all camps that were entirely unwilling to risk political irrelevancy.
If politics is a mere “Who Gets What, When and How?” game and only the few are getting anything, then why do we even care.
The mid-term election in America and the state of political discord in Korea lends itself to a feeling of total political hopelessness for voters and a need for a new political movement.
The Tea Party is available in America with an ideology-based contract from America agenda that calls for: identifying the constitutionality of every new law; rejecting emissions trading; demanding a balanced federal budget; simplifying the tax system; auditing all federal government agencies; limiting annual growth in federal spending; repealing the health care legislation passed on March 23; passing an “all-of-the-above” energy policy; reducing earmarks; and reducing taxes.
Sure some of the “members” are nut-jobs, but at least they are standing up for more than their jobs.
Hopefully, something can brew in Korea other than the ubiquitous Starbucks coffee.
Appeared in the Korea Times on October 23, 2010.