I recently spent seat time with a gentleman from Minnesota on a flight from Myrtle Beach, S.C. to Charlotte, N.C. He had been in the newspaper business for most of his life beginning in New York at an early age.
He told me that politically he was a fiscal conservative and somewhat more liberal on social issues. I indicated that his political philosophy sounded a little too prescriptive even in an environment that seeks to force people to choose between being conservative or liberal.
I went on to say that for me it was difficult to predict where I would fall on an issue that for me depends on time and circumstance. It is within all of us to call on our philosophical instincts to face and order those things that influence and define us.
I concluded my thought with the notion that it is unfair for political entities to seek us to declare for one extreme or another in political beliefs because this leaves us less than whole in our own way of looking at the world. In other words, when we do this, what happens to the other things within us that are left out of a political belief system that we may be asked to adopt?
The presidential campaigns were also a topic of discussion. This gave the gentleman the opportunity to express his opposition to President Obama and his policies on the deficit, tax policy and insurance reform.
I mentioned that his view reminded me of the Tea Party’s position on the notion of taking the country back and putting the “right” people in charge. He said that he had attended a couple of the Tea Party meetings and found himself in agreement with their platform.
I asked him if this included the racist and anti-immigrant remarks made by fringe members of the party. He said that he had not heard any comments of that type.
Then he said something very interesting. He said that his idea of taking the country back was actually tied to his nostalgia for the times of President Kennedy that in his mind did everything right.
Talking about what appears to be Latino overwhelming support for President Obama he wondered why this community still followed Obama after the broken promises of immigration reform and the DREAM Act. I pointed out that Latinos are naturally a traditional and conservative community, but have been driven out of what could be considered their normal political milieu by assaults on their dignity and denial of political and economic opportunity by bigoted elements in American society.
As time was running out on our short flight we got into the issue of the promise of America’s future. He felt that the country was going in the wrong direction and needed to be brought back to fiscal sanity.
I told him that I felt that the available remedies to do this were necessarily slow as they are in the recovery because we should not take the European approach of severe austerity that is currently threatening to destroy the economies of several countries. Also, the hole was dug by those that created the Great Recession, which had been so deep that it would take more than a jump in the stock market to dig out of it.
We sat at the very back of the plane next to the stewardess and she listened intently to our conversation and commented that our frank and friendly discussion was comprehensive and included many of the issues that concerned her. We then shook hands and left.