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Look to the Right for Corruption

ewWhen I was growing up a long time ago there was a presumption of prudential integrity for politicians. Yes, I suppose I was naïve, but as a boy from Minnesota I came to think of politics as a clean game in my formative years.

This may explain why I am nonplussed now with the acceptance of such low standards by so many, and frankly, at this time most of them with the lowest standards seem to be aligned with Trump out on the right. The voters rejected Trump for the most part in our midterms, but this is normal and he lost less than Obama did in 2010, so my question is really for the voters, not the buck naked corrupt Trump wing controlling the Republican party and the base.

Why do you accept, tolerate, and even identify with the dishonesty, the cheating, and the incivility of the leadership of your party? What is wrong with you? Can you help me understand why dirty tricks and robbing people of voting rights is fine by you?

Yes, I’d love to excuse them. Oh, they are working class and ignorant fools, how can they be expected to keep up? How can we hope that they will have decent values? They are all undereducated redneck fools.

Hogwash.

When I finally finished my single parenthood and was able to contemplate college, I knew I’d have to focus. I did. I graduated top of my class, summa cum laude, tied with no one. First. I got all A grades with a C brain plus pure obdurate working class discipline. And here is the thing I knew. My journeyman when I was an apprentice in the carpenter’s union (1544 in Minneapolis) was far smarter than I ever was. His memory outdid mine every single day.

Working people are exactly as smart, and often smarter, than scholars. I’m an academic with a doctorate, and they don’t give those things out on boxtops. It is tough. But most working people never get a shot at it. In my case, I was given a chance. Some get loans, some get scholarships, and in my case, my father took early retirement for a big bonus. He then paid for my bachelors degree. Yes, I still had to work, to pay for my cabin, my truck, gas, and my food and everything else, but I got tuition paid. Damn lucky. I never got my first college degree until I was 43 years old, but I got that sucker. Most poor kids and working class kids do not have that. Because I did, I figured out that workers and managers and owners and scholars are all equally smart, something I observed my long working career of more than half a century. I spent about 25 years doing physical labor and the last 25 doing intellectual work as an academic. I know in my bones that those who work with their hands and those who supposedly live the “life of the mind” are dead even in terms of raw intelligence.

So why vote for a sleaze? Why choose lies and corruption?

That is my challenge to laboring, hard working Americans and to anyone else who votes for these charlatans. Why allow yourselves to be tainted, to be seen as ignorant and selfish and without ethics? I know you are smart. Now be brave. You can see. You can figure out what is right and wrong. Denying votes is wrong. Cheating black people is wrong. Be fair, be honest, and sure, compete, fair and square. Stop taking the low road. It doesn’t look good on you.

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Tom H. Hastings is core faculty in the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University and founding director of PeaceVoice

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