Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Manifesto, Who I am and what I stand for

Growing through my teen years in Utah Valley, My political views were shaped largely by my environment.  In ultra conservative Orem, I bought into the mantra, “you can’t be a good Mormon and a “Democrat”.  I proudly pulled the lever and voted for Ronald Reagan.

Many were the arguments I would have with my Grandfather over politics and social issues.  He was a “FDR democrat” and we disagreed over most social issues, especially Social Security and its promise to America.  I was informed that FDR cared about the common man and those who needed a hand-up (job) not a handout. Most of our national park trails, buildings, roads, bridges, and dams were begun under his administration.  “There will come a day” he said “when you realize the folly of your thoughts”.  I laughed and thought “whatever old man…this is the new America and everyone will be rich and have no need for government intrusion in their lives”.  Like most young people today, I took so much for granted and didn’t’ appreciate the sacrifice of others.

Time, personal experience and awakening proved the old man right.  I am reborn as an FDR Democrat and this is my manifesto, so read on if you dare and are not easily offended.  I intend to be simple but blunt in my views of the kind of world I want to live in. But, If you really want to know who I on.

INFRASTRUCTURE (No you didn’t build that by yourself)
My conversion from Red meat Republican to FDR Democrat began as a young Mormon missionary in Bolivia. I had never seen such abject poverty or obscene wealth side by side.  Rich luxurious mansions and estates sat side by side with grass roofed mud huts with no electricity or water. 

As I pondered the lives of the souls struggling to survive in their humble abodes and became familiar with the culture, it became very clear to me that things I had taken for granted everyday in America, infrastructure, was non existent there.  With a top income tax rate of 13% and corruption, there was no tax base to develop the public utilities needed to improve people’s lives.

"I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

At the height of the great depression FDR brought hope to Americans.  This new deal began with the greatest public infrastructure investment in the history of mankind.  Bringing with it millions of jobs, water and electricity to many parts of the country where none had been before.  This and WWII became the base on which America emerged as the mightiest economic and military power ever. With access to the basic necessities of life, the lives of Americans improved by leaps and bounds.  

Putting people back to work in a job that gave them dignity was the priority, not worrying whether someone was getting a freebie.  I bet many of my young nephews, nieces and cousins don’t realize that their own great Grandparents in Coalville and Park City didn’t have running water or electricity till the 1920’s. I believe in an America that invests in itself and modernizes its infrastructure.  This costs money and that means taxes.

I was teaching an extremely poor family about the virtues of the gospel when their 4 year old daughter was carried in by neighbors.  She had just been hit by a passing vehicle that didn’t stop.  Unconscious, she lay on the side of the road until a family friend saw her and rushed her home. 

I picked her up in my arms and we rushed her to the local hospital where I was informed that since the family had no insurance someone would have to come up with 2000 pesos ($100) to begin treatment.  I dug in my wallet and paid the ransom.  She died later that night and fortunately the Christ like Doctor told the family not to worry about his separate bill.  She probably would’ve died as a result of her injuries, but, the look of shame, terror and desperation on the face of the parents haunts to this day.

I paid the $50 dollars for the tiny casket and burial plot in a potters field.  Was $150, the value of that young life?  Her name was “Angel de los cielos”…Mary From Heaven… 
That day forever changed how I view healthcare. I want to live in a world where even the weakest in society have a right to dignity and access to affordable healthcare.  It is a right, not a privilege reserved for those lucky enough to be born into wealth.

             -Franklin D. Roosevelt

I hate Obamacare because it is a corporate handout to big insurance companies not a single payer system that I believe is everyone’s right
During a discussion on healthcare during one of the Republican Primary debates I heard someone in the audience scream…”Let them die”.  He never held a dying child  and had her eyes look right through you, pleading with you to save her life…and you couldn’t.
In Bolivia, the children of the poor were “educated” in classroom mud huts packed with as many as 50 students.  Often only one textbook was in the class..with the teacher. This “free public” education was for the lucky poor, for those students whose parents could afford to not have them work all day for pennies to help support their families. Only the wealthy received a good education at private or Parochial schools. Bolivia still has a 40% illiteracy rate. Upward mobility on Bolivia?  Not a chance if you were poor. 

It was much the same in America until FDR signed the last major component of the New Deal, the Original GI Bill. This bill:

"gives servicemen and women the opportunity of resuming their education or technical training after discharge, or of taking a refresher or retrainer course, not only without tuition charge up to $500 per school year, but with the right to receive a monthly living allowance while pursuing their studies."

It also gave veterans looking for jobs unemployment insurance.  They also were given government backed 0% down low interest Home loans. Homeowner ship skyrocketed and most vets went to school.  In 1939, 139,000 Americans graduated from college by 1947, more than 400,000 vets had graduated. By 1952 more than 9 million of 16 million vets had taken advantage of this government funded investment. 
In today’s political climate…would you call that a handout?  Many do not appreciate the significance of the original GI bill…It created the middle class.  I believe that if we cut education we destroy the middle class and will revert to the poverty of pre WWII.
Social Security has been in existence for 77 years.  It is a program that has bettered the life of every American.. It has touched every one.  I have been reflecting what Social Security means in my personal life. 
I grew up poor.  My Dad struggled to get ahead and Mom stayed home and raisd 5 boys.  When he was close to a major promotion with a large Life insurance policy, he died from heart disease.  Left with nothing,  my family qualified for Social Security Survivor benefits.  Those payments kept us out of poverty and like the GI Bill, paid for 3 of our college educations.  While it disappoints me that some fail now to see the great impact this new deal program had on their lives and the lives of their children, I am hopeful that someday they too will have an awakening.
"we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age. This law, too, represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built, but is by no means complete.... It is...a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide for the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness."-- Franklin D. Roosevelt, August 14, 1935

In Bolivia the wealthy clung to their gold and fine linens…they cared very little for the poor. In America after 30 years of tax breaks to the “Job Creators” and trickle down economics…Where are the Jobs?  Where is the trickle down?...All they have down is line their own pockets and began the destruction those very elements that made our society great

Obsession with and the linking of wealth to righteousness was one of the key drivers why I left the religion of my youth.  It is contradictory to the teachings of Jesus Christ.  The rich should pay more taxes not simply because they can afford it, but, because it is required of them, and the math is simple really. 
Take as an example a family that pays a 10% tax on $100,000.  That leaves them $90,000 for everything else…most of which will be eaten up with mortgage, food and other expenses just to survive.

On the flip side a lot has been said about  Mitt Romney paying 13.9 %  That’s about $ 2+ million on his income of about $20+ million leaving Mitt with about $18 million for everything else. That’s a lot of money isn’t it? 
But think about this, If he paid 38%, his tax would be $7.9 million leaving only $12 million or so to survive.

$12 million vs $90,000 to get you through the year. See why I have trouble feeling a lot of sympathy for the rich?  When you subtract the expenses just to survive in life the poor and middle class have a much higher tax burden than the wealthy as a proportion of their disposoble income.

Look to Luke 21:1-4
1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 
4 fo r all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

I believe if you are truly a follower of Christ,  you must believe in a progressive tax system where the rich pay more…there will be plenty left over for them

So this is my Manifesto…In fact you can say it is also my creed because it states my religious views as well.
FDR was perhaps the greatest president this country has ever known.  When you walk or drive thu a national park, party in vegas, drink water, take advantage of social security or student loans and grants, FDR is part of your legacy as well and your childrens.
Don't forget who created the beginnings of the great society we live in. guard it from those plutocrats who wold sell you a "solution"  when all they want is your money. 
Thank you Gramps.  I now see the folly of my youth. 


  1. Bob, it's good to see I agree politically with someone I went to high school with. There are not many of us around.

    Evan Porter

  2. Wow, who would have thought that OHS had liberals.....Thanks