The Quirks Of American Politics
Wednesday - July 13, 2011
Here are some phenomena that greatly intrigue me.
It’s obvious that very conservative radio talkers are much more popular in America than those of a liberal stripe. And that periodically a very conservative politician will capture our full attention I’m thinking George Wallace, Barry Goldwater, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin but we never come even close to electing a wingnut as president.
So what’s going on?
Social conservatives and Bible thumpers tend to thrive in America’s rural heartland and the South.
Progressives draw strength from the two coasts, big cities, union leaders and urban educators.
Luckily for the nation, the most votes are usually bundled in the latter areas. Elite progressives are not standing in line to move to Waterloo, Iowa.
But why this groundswell of fascination with the Limbaughs, Becks, Bachmanns and Palins?
I suspect it’s because in Waterloo or Fountain Run, Kentucky, there abides a genuine fear of change, of big government, of the gay lifestyle, and the specter of lost jobs blamed on illegal immigrants and cheap overseas labor.
And remember that America’s Midwest and West were founded on a principle of, “I’ll take care of my family and you take care of yours.”
Or sometimes, “I’m getting mine and to hell with you.”
So conservative blowhards appeal to a dark thing inside a lot of us. Especially that fear of change.
Talk of “taking back America” inspires, even if it doesn’t make any sense.
Which America do they want to take back 1700s, 1800s or 1900s?
In the end, though, good sense remarkably always prevails.
We discover that even a Reagan, a Ford or a Bush isn’t all that rockribbed conservative.
We say no to a Wallace, a Goldwater or a Bachmann or a Palin.
It has faults, but it’s a pretty damn fine country!
A recent Star-Advertiser interview with city transit-oriented development chief Terry Ware made me realize the real reason I so enthusiastically support the Honolulu train project.
Not just easing highway traffic. It’s about creating new community-living models along the rail line, especially near stations. Pedestrian friendly and with locally owned retailers. Some vertical development for sure, but ground floor room for Joe’s Sandwich Shop. A chance to regain some of what we lost with the advent of urban sprawl, strip malls and the big box outlets.
The latter will still exist for car users, but train stations can bring back the foot traffic.
I just had two fabulous customer experiences.
One at the Kahala Mall Apple Store (from Cheri Bluefarb).
Another at the AT&T Kapahulu store (from Jevon Kaaloa).
Exceptional help from sharp people.
Both of them young women.
And, no, they didn’t recognize me as a MidWeek or ex-TV guy!
I wish all retailers trained their people that well.
And did away with the robo-calls.
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