Progressive Politics, Conservative Christianity, and Me

Posted by Michael A. La Framboise on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 Under: Politics
There was a time in this country when political affiliation had no correlation with Church attendance. (See “Welcome To Pergamos”) Those in the pew were diverse in their politics, and the church one attended was statistically insignificant as a measure of voting habits. But such is not the case today, as church attendance has become a major factor in predicting whether one will vote republican or conservative; so in this political climate I am indeed an enigma to some. I have loved ones who cannot fathom my politics, because in their eyes, if I am a Christian I must vote republican, or at the very least adopt conservative politics. To them one cannot honestly be biblically conservative while holding to politically progressive ideas and principles. However, this is who I am. I am deeply committed to conservative or fundamental theology, yet I am a progressive at the ballot box. Perhaps a few words on the subject will be of some use, at least I hope so.

My grandfather was raised in the home of democrats, and my grandmother was raised in the home of republicans. When they got married my grandma asked her husband, “Well Jerry, my family is republican, yours is democrat, what will ours be?” My grandfather answered this question just the way he would answer a similar question to me 35 years later: We vote for the man, not the party. And so, as Grandma recalls, Grandpa would do his research on the candidates, and then sit down with Grandma and explain how he was going to vote and for whom he would vote for. But he would always be certain to emphasize that Grandma should vote for whomever she wished. I saw this played out in 1992 when George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot were all three on the Presidential ballot. Grandma wanted to vote for Perot, even though it looked as if he no longer had a chance after dropping out and re-entering the race. She asked my grandpa if she should vote for Perot since it probably meant she would be throwing her vote away on a candidate who no longer had a chance to win. But he insisted that if she felt that she liked Perot better than Bush, that she should vote for him. He never urged her to vote for his preference, which was Bush.

I turned thirteen years old that election cycle, and the lessons I learned from my grandparents have never left me. As I grew up I always kept in my mind that I should never vote strictly for a party, but that I should objectively weigh my political decisions with an open mind, casting my ballot for whomever I thought made the best arguments for my vote. This is probably the one thing that sticks out in my mind more than any other in my approach to politics, and I cannot emphasize it enough to the one who seeks to understand my politics. I have never considered myself loyal to a party; even when I was eighteen and registered to vote for the first time, I registered as “Decline To State.” Keep in mind this was in contrast to every person in both my family and extended family; in fact I’m not sure I knew an adult who was not a registered republican. Even today I consider myself an Independent. The only reason I am registered one way or the other is for the sake of primary voting, since we have a closed system here in California. The reason I chose the Democratic Party is simply because in this era a progressive candidate is more likely to come from the Democratic Party. That alone is it. I truly feel no further connection to the DNC than that. By the way, I registered as a republican during the 2000 election when I lived in Wisconsin, and then again when I returned to California, keeping my affiliation with the Grand Old Party until 2007. How did my affinity for Progressive politics develop? Well let’s find out.

As an adult my employment has always required extensive driving, and I learned early on that music radio can only take you so far before you’ve heard every song a million too many times. This led me to the AM dial and talk radio where I began to listen to local political talk like John and Ken, and Larry Elder, and I also became a big Dr. Laura fan. Eventually I became a loyal ditto-head to Rush Limbaugh, and listened to other conservative voices like Sean Hannity and Michael Savage. I was not a casual listener in the least, I was tuned in to these programs every day. Mine was a heavy diet of Conservative talk and opinion, mixed with a large dose of the Calvary Chapel radio station. Interspersed between the talk, I listened to the Bible teaching programs of various pastors throughout the day. I grew in my understanding of both politics and the Bible as I drove around town each day.

In my early twenties I began to take my faith very seriously, which eventually led me into the ministry as a pastor. During this time of spiritual growth I voted along conservative lines, like everyone else around me. I voted for Tom McClintock for governor in 2003 because Schwarzenegger was too liberal, and McClintock identified himself as a Christian. I figured if the Christian candidate couldn’t count on the Christian vote then what did my vote count for anyway? I voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004; but then things began to slowly change as I became disenchanted with conservatives.

After the 2004 election, the first thing that began to bother me was Bush’s statements during his inaugural address, wherein as a professing Christian he said: “Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self. That edifice of character is… sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people… ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever.” I was astonished when I heard these words! I could not imagine how our president could credit the Koran along with the Bible in sustaining our national character. Furthermore, Bush ascribed the Koran as comparable to Jesus Christ: the same, yesterday, today, and forever. To this day I fail to see how this is not plainly a public display of heresy and blasphemy.

Next I was disappointed when after attaining power over both Houses of Congress and the Presidency, the republicans I voted for failed to accomplish anything meaningful, let alone work together for common conservative goals; although they did manage to spend more money than any other congress and president in the history of the United States. Bush moved forward on his campaign promise to reform Social Security, but found no support from his peers in Congress. Then came the scandals of the newly enthroned republican House and Senate leaders Tom Delay and Trent Lot, both of whom were forced to resign; the former eventually convicted of criminal behavior; the latter more recently implicated in a federal bribery scandal. Then came the homosexual scandals of Rep. Mark Foley and Sen. Larry Craig. I could not even begin to consider other problems during Bush’s second term like the Katrina debacle or the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then the failure to locate WMD in Iraq- which was the crux of the argument to invade- along with the apparent misrepresentation of facts regarding Iraq’s nuclear ambitions shamefully exhibited during the Valerie Plame scandal; not too mention the fact that Osama bin Laden eluded the grasp of the most powerful country in the World and lone super power for the duration of Bush’s presidency. Of course, why should that have been thought strange when the President had asserted in March of 2002, “I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority.” According to the Washington Post four years later: The clandestine U.S. commandos whose job is to capture or kill Osama bin Laden have not received a credible lead in more than two years. Nothing from the vast U.S. intelligence world… has led them anywhere near the al-Qaeda leader, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials… The trail, despite the most extensive manhunt in U.S. history, has gone ‘stone cold.’”

As these things were happening gas prices were rising faster and higher: above $2 in 2003 as we entered Iraq; above $3 in 2005 in the aftermath of Katrina; above $4 in 2008 just before economic meltdown. As gas went higher everything followed. At the same time health care costs were flying through the roof. I have never been able to even consider health care coverage for my family which usually prices at about 25% of my income. I was starting to get fed up with the party I had identified with directly and indirectly my whole life. Rush had said that conservative politics would always win when articulated properly. America had bought in hook, line, and sinker and handed the keys over to the increasingly Neo-conservative Republican party, so why was this happening? We voted our morals and our pocket book, so why were both our morals and pocketbook the worse for it? As more examples like this piled up I started to become angry.

Enter John Edwards. I know, I know… but we didn’t know it back then. Before he was caught in the middle of an infamous affair while his wife was receiving cancer treatment, John Edwards had become the poster boy for progressive politics, rather than mere Democratic politics. He was left of left, out in the vicinity of Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent, but principled progressive from Vermont. He was out on the campaign trail days after Christmas in 2006 announcing his candidacy for President. I had grown to admire him during the 2004 election when he ran alongside of John Kerry. But as he ventured out on his own I noticed things about his rhetoric that I felt I had not really heard before. He was talking about restoring the middle-class and making sure everyone in America had access to health care. I had never consciously realized how the American middle-class had stagnated during my lifetime
(, and I just assumed our system of health care delivery was as good as it could be. From that time through the election of 2008 I began to think and rethink about my political perspective and what had shaped it. This is where the foundation my grandparents laid in my life truly began to take effect. I wasn’t loyal to the party I had been voting with, I had simply believed that the Conservative agenda in particular and the Republican party in general best served my interests and represented my principles of government. While it must be confessed that neither of my grandparents would agree with my current political beliefs, I must credit them with my ability to reassess and examine my voting habits without regard to party. Vote for the man, not the party. I know grandma and grandpa (not to mention the rest of my family) would contest my progressive views, but I also know my grandparents would recognize my ideals, in essence, as being their own.

And so in 2007 I seriously began thinking about my politics, but three talk radio incidents also spurred my discontentment with conservatism. I believed that when I listened to Rush or Hannity, and especially O’Reilly, I was getting, at the very least, the truth. Even when I disagreed with something they may have said I never questioned whether they were lying to me or twisting facts. I believed I was listening to moral people, even Christian people, who presented facts first and commentary second. And yet I slowly began to realize that perhaps the facts were not being delivered to me as purely as I had believed.

First, in 2005, during the Terri Schiavo case, Sean Hannity misrepresented a guest on his program, and never apologized for it, let alone admit it to my knowledge. He brought in one Dr. Hammesfahr, who claimed against the majority medical opinion, that Schiavo was NOT in a persistent vegetative state, and furthermore that she could be rehabilitated. To back up these incredible claims Hannity emphasized over and over again that this doctor had been nominated for the Nobel prize. Later it was proven that the doctor had never been nominated for the Nobel prize, and furthermore that Schiavo was indeed in a persistent vegetative state from which it was impossible to recover. In fact, her autopsy revealed that her brain had shrunk to half the size of normal! (,2933,159606,00.html) This episode really bothered me, since it had so many moral and spiritual implications. The truth is, that without people like Hannity stirring up the masses, this case would have remained a conflict between in-laws rather than becoming a national controversy. This was the end of my Hannitization.

Second, sometime around 2005, while listening to The Radio Factor, Bill O’Reilly’s radio program, I was startled to discover spin in the “No Spin Zone”! One day a caller asked him why he had not reported certain details of a particular story which I no longer recall. What I do recall is that O’Reilly replied that the details in question had no bearing on the story, while I myself thought it altered my perception of the story and those involved significantly. I was thoroughly disappointed, and although I continued to listen to the show religiously until it went off the air in early 2009, this incident was ever in the back of my mind thereafter. Of course, I had been disappointed earlier in 2004 when a sexual harassment suit was filed against him. The lawsuit seemed more than credible after he settled for undisclosed multiple millions of dollars.

Thirdly is Rush Limbaugh. In 2003 he checked himself into a drug  abuse treatment center, but everyone has problems, right? Then in 2006 he was detained at the Palm Beach International airport after illegal prescription drugs were found in his luggage. Then in 2009, after a three year investigation, he was arrested for illegally attaining prescription drugs, though the charges were dropped in lieu of treatment. So he’s got some personal issues, but that doesn’t mean I can’t trust him when he talks about politics, right? A silly example will suffice: In 2009 he blamed President Obama for his removal from a bid to purchase the St. Louis Rams, saying “The Rams bid fallout is Obama’s America on full display.” He accused a representative in the NFLPA of blowing up his bid as part of an Obama administration conspiracy, while Colt’s owner Jim Irsay said he would have never voted to allow Limbaugh in as part of an ownership team in the first place. But I guess he could be in on it, too. But for me, it’s frankly difficult to take anyone serious who talks like that. I know it’s tongue in cheek, and I’ve come to realize that everything he says is mostly said to get a rise out of people, but after a while it just becomes noise. What bothers me, however, is that many aren’t in on the joke, and believe what he says to be true, and I think that he and others like him on both sides of the political aisle damage our democracy when they flood the airwaves with so much verbal pollution. The point is that these things have affected my perspective.

Now this was the thought that broke the GOP Elephant’s back. I began to wonder what had made America so different in my lifetime. I had lived through the presidency of 5 republican administrations, and only 2 democratic administrations, so shouldn’t I be living in a conservative utopia of freedom and opportunity? Why was it that my great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents were all able to achieve a good middle-class life, and yet that same life was something I could hardly imagine grasping? My grandparents were born in the Depression era, yet lived to see America become the strongest most prosperous nation on earth, with a thriving and vibrant middle-class, of which they were gratefully a part; and yet as I looked at myself and others my age, it seemed the American dream was not as accessible to us as it had been to those who came before. What was the deal?

Before they were born, the early 20th century saw the rise of the progressive movement in America, bolstered by republican President Theodore Roosevelt, and supported to varying degrees by Presidents William Taft and Woodrow Wilson, a republican and democrat respectively. These progressive policies had a dramatic effect on American life, and paved the way for a burgeoning middle-class and the “roaring twenties”. However, this growth was hindered under the republican administrations of Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, which promoted lower taxes for the wealthy and limited government oversight of industry. Thus the Republican Great Depression ensued, and was at its worst when my grandparents were young. Yet during his inaugural address in1932, President Franklin Roosevelt declared to their parents and to the nation: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Roosevelt then began to enact sweeping and unprecedented reforms, called the New Deal by supporters and the Raw Deal by critics. Roosevelt led our nation through a transformation, helping us to become the greatest military power, and the greatest economic power, and the place of greatest prosperity for its people as the middle-class exploded and grew, and more Americans than ever before were enjoying a work load of fewer hours and greater pay and benefits. These sweeping reforms in tax and trade and industry regulations were kept in tact and supported by later presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter. While republicans and democrats differed on many things, all of them supported the fundamental economic policies begun under Roosevelt. That was until just after I was born, when President Reagan led the country down another economic path. No presidents in the modern era affected such sweeping, dramatic, and fundamental changes as did Roosevelt and Reagan. One led to the greatest era of middle-class prosperity the world has ever seen, while the other led to the greatest prosperity the American elite had ever seen.

The America which existed at my birth provided an environment where uneducated, but hard workers could support a family and consider themselves part of the middle-class. My grandfather drove a bus for the school district which allowed him to buy a house in his twenties and raise a family in a nice neighborhood. My father was a steam engineer, and bought his first home when he was in his twenties and raised a family with greater comforts than he or his wife had enjoyed growing up. All of my grandfather’s children bought homes in their twenties, and worked at various jobs from office secretary to police officer. None had studied for a degree. They graduated high school, and their diploma allowed them entry in the American middle-class.

I come along and strive to go further, just as my parents had gone further than their parents; yet I found my self with a brain full of education with no place to work for more than a paycheck to paycheck life, with no possibility of saving, buying a home, or purchasing health care. What was the deal? And why did it seem Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity were telling me to vote against my own interests? No health care unless you can buy it from a for-profit corporation. Lower taxes on the rich. Reduced help to low-income citizens… wait a minute that was me. What happened?

While these thoughts percolated, I decided to vote for John Edwards in the California primary, and the only way I could do this was to re-register as a democrat. The republicans were offering John McCain and Mitt Romney for my consideration, two of the most liberal politicians to ever run on the modern republican ticket, both of whom were pro-choice up until that moment in political history. This made my decision much easier, and far more comfortable. If I was going to vote for a liberal candidate, I would vote for one who was honest about it. Besides this I was flat out angry and disappointed with the republicans I had voted for over the past eight years, and I had decided that they had certainly not earned my vote again, nor did they deserve it. My vote would be one of protest against the Republican party, rather than one of support for the Democratic party. My vote could not be taken for granted! A cousin of mine advised me that I should not vote at all if I was going to vote democratic. I thought that was funny. But not as funny as John Edwards caught in a shameful and adulterous affair just weeks before I was to cast my ballot for him. What was I to do?

As the California primary approached I was left with two candidates: Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama. I figured I would vote against Clinton, so I voted for Barak Obama for no other reason than that. But then I began to pay attention. During a democratic debate Obama proposed that under his leadership the U.S. would seek out and kill bin Laden, even if he was found in a place like Pakistan. Roundly criticized by both sides of the aisle as a careless statement, it was a statement which resonated with me. But would he back off of this strong and controversial declaration?

Here’s what Obama said during his convention speech: “When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. You know, John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the gates of Hell, but he won't even follow him to the cave where he lives.”

This was a major factor in my voting decision in the general election of 2008; but then other statements solidified it: first, one about American life; second, one about abortion.

Obama during his convention speech: “What -- what is that American promise? It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have obligations to treat each other with dignity and respect. It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road. Ours -- ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools, and new roads, and science, and technology. Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work. That's the promise of America, the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation, the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper. That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now.”

Finally, Obama astonished me during the third presidential debate when he said this about abortion: “There surely is some common ground when both those who believe in choice and those who are opposed to abortion can come together and say, ‘We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby’. Those are all things that we put in the Democratic platform for the first time this year, and I think that’s where we can find some common ground, because nobody’s pro-abortion. I think it's always a tragic situation. We should try to reduce these circumstances.”

When I heard these statements in 2008, I was persuaded not only to vote against the Republican party, but to vote in support of a candidate who was declared by conservative pundits to be the most liberal presidential candidate in U.S. history. I guess they never read about the progressive republican Theodore Roosevelt, or the progressive democrat Franklin Roosevelt, both of whom were left of Obama. I was not the only conservative to vote for him either, as the polls later revealed that he had garnered 20% of the conservative vote!

Another thing which irked me, was how the conservative media was in a tizzy over Barak Obama! They questioned his birth, his profession of Christ, his political agenda, and his mentors. They called him anti-American, and the Anti-Christ! They claimed he was a Marxist foreigner and a Muslim, the Manchurian candidate who sought to ruin America! I saw the only presidential candidate to dare say “Merry Christmas” in his campaign ads of December 2007. I saw the first democrat in my lifetime to admit that abortion was tragic, and that both sides should work together to reduce the number of abortions. I saw a candidate who was stronger than his opponents on national defense, and inspiring in his belief of America’s promise of middle-class prosperity as the backbone of our country. I saw a democrat I could vote for without hesitation as a Christian.

I am indeed a Christian. I have studied the Bible and Christian history extensively since 1998, I have taught the Bible since 2001, and I have served as a pastor since 2002. I identify with Calvary Chapel, an openly politically conservative affiliation of churches, and I serve in a fundamental Baptist church. I am orthodox and fundamental to the core, and consider myself a conservative Christian. This, however, throws people off, as many do not understand that Conservative Christianity is not synonymous with Conservatism politically. A conservative Christian is one who takes the Bible seriously, looking to the Scriptures alone for an understanding of the Faith and our practice of it. A conservative Christian believes the Bible to be the inspired and inerrant Word of the Living and True God, believing that Jesus Christ is God the Son, and that Salvation is found in Him alone. I’m sure I could delineate further upon this subject, but I think my point is clear.

Conservatism politically is a far different thing, and has nothing to do with Conservative Christianity, apart from the fact that many of one consider themselves in harmony with the other. Conservatism is a political reaction to Progressivism, an American political movement of the early 20th century. Progressives sought to promote the welfare of the working class, and were instrumental in creating an environment where the great American middle-class could blossom and thrive. It was in large measure a social movement, yet a major facet of its success was its economic tenants of a progressive tax system and protectionist trade policies. The movement touted social mobility and a level playing field, with a wide-lens approach to American prosperity: the more who do well, the better off we are as a country. The middle-class was not an accident, it was an experiment; an experiment which was derided by an opposing movement called Conservatism.

One of the best known conservative thinkers was William Buckley, who asserted:   
    “Among our convictions: It is the job of centralized government (in peacetime) to protect its citizens’ lives, liberty and property. All other activities of government tend to diminish freedom and hamper progress. The growth of government (the dominant social feature of this century) must be fought relentlessly. In this great social conflict of the era, we are, without reservations, on the libertarian side.
    The profound crisis of our era is, in essence, the conflict between the Social Engineers, who seek to adjust mankind to conform with scientific utopias, and the disciples of Truth, who defend the organic moral order. We believe that truth is neither arrived at nor illuminated by monitoring election results, binding though these are for other purposes, but by other means, including a study of human experience. On this point we are, without reservations, on the conservative side.”

Later, President Reagan solidified conservative Republican strength with a near 75% reduction in taxes for the wealthiest Americans, while boosting payroll taxes on working Americans by 25% (; greatly increased defense spending against the warnings of President Eisenhower twenty years earlier, heralded deregulation of industry; and appealed to family values and conservative Christian morality. The New Deal was under its greatest attack since its inception. Thus in my lifetime we have experienced the dilemma of funding Rooseveltian infrastructure with Reaganomics. This clash of opposing ideals has led to deficit spending and the notion that we just can’t afford our social programs. Under the circumstances it is a fact that a government cannot effectively fund Rooseveltian programs with Reagan-style tax and trade policies. And so it must be decided, what kind of a country should we have? A country where the middle-class flourishes, or one where the wealthiest amass greater wealth at the expense of the middle-class? During the fifty years before I was born the ratio between CEO and low-level worker pay was 30:1; it is now 300:1. Reaganomics has created a great vacuum of wealth, allowing in our day the wealthiest 1% of Americans to amass nearly a quarter of American wealth; while hourly pay has stagnated for workers ( I have chosen to vote for candidates who support the broad base of Americans, and who promote middle-class boosting policies.

Once again, my grandparents taught me that one thing that separated America from the rest of the world was our great middle-class. In America you didn’t have to be rich to enjoy a nice life or provide well for your family, you could work hard and be part of the middle-class. While other countries, like Mexico to the south, had a minority rich class and a majority lower-class, in America we flaunted a thriving and majority middle-class. Though my grandparents voted conservative, they taught me the importance of the American middle-class. This brings up another issue, which has complicated political matters in our day. Most conservatives do not realize that today’s conservative movement is a far cry from the conservative movement of forty or fifty years ago.

Many who have political discussions with me, will quickly notice my distinction between Conservatism and Neo-conservatism. I could whole-heartedly cast a ballot for a conservative republican like Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the New Deal, invested in American infrastructure, increased the top-marginal rates of our progressive tax system, and proposed a “re-insurance” health care program that was way ahead of its time. Though rejected by Congress, under the Eisenhower plan, private insurance companies who extended benefits to uninsured Americans would be reimbursed by the federal government should they incur excessive losses. However, I am hard-pressed to consider my support for Neo-conservatives, or Tea Party types, who believe tax cuts for the wealthy are the answer to every problem, and that laissez-faire capitalism (Or, Darwinian Capitalism, as I like to call it.), and free-trade at the expense of American workers is the only way to be true to the Constitution. The Constitution I read calls for “We the people” to “promote the general welfare.”

Now abortion is ever the divisive issue. I have no easy answers. How could I ever vote for a pro-choice candidate, and yet call myself a Christian? However, I cannot understate how Barak Obama’s approach to this issue has been effective for me. He is pro-choice. He has never stated otherwise; however, he has reached across the aisle to me, as a Christian voter, and has asked for my support in reducing the number of abortions in America. How can I argue against that? Many do, however, argue against it. We saw this recently over the health care debate, and whether insurance companies should be required to provide free birth control. Rush Limbaugh claimed that President Obama wanted tax payers to fund American promiscuity, and openly ridiculed college student Sandra Fluke for her advocacy of the issue. However, a recent study has shown how valuable free contraception can be in the fight against abortion. According to a research study by Washington University in St. Louis, “Providing birth control to women at no cost substantially reduced unplanned pregnancies and cut abortion rates by a range of 62-78 percent compared to the national rate.” ( I frankly admit the Christian’s moral conflict here, but is our aim to reduce the abortion rate or to convince the world that abstinence is the best policy at the expense of unborn lives. I for one am willing to support any action which reduces the abortion rates in this nation. Otherwise, how is my pro-life position not mere hypocrisy clothed in morality.

Since 2008, I have learned more and more about progressive politics and the progressive history of our country, and it has convinced me through and through. I do not consider myself a party democrat in the least, but I am certainly comfortable with identifying as a progressive, and even as a democratic socialist like Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. I do not fear the criticisms of those who say I’m a communist or a Marxist, or a giant-purple-people-eater! I simply point to the politics of the greatest generation who elected FDR four times, who stemmed the tide of Communism, and who built the American middle-class; and I assert that my political beliefs are complimentary to the fundamental beliefs of republicans and democrats alike of a bygone era. How can I be a communist, socialist, Marxist, or anti-American when I am in solidarity with 50 years of the American way of life and government. If anything, I’m old fashioned!

This year, I’ll vote my old-fashioned beliefs once again as I cast my ballot for the President’s re-election. As a Christian, I’ll vote for the Christian on the ballot. As an American, I’ll vote for the president who ended the Iraq war, refocused our attention on bin Laden and ordered his death, and who has continually called for greater support and benefits for our veterans, and who furthermore took the steps necessary to salvage the American auto industry and enabled General Motors to once again become the premier auto maker on the globe. As a progressive, I will vote for the president who finished the work of health care reform promoted by previous presidents like Theodore Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon, and the conservative republican congress of 1994; and who has continually sided with the American workers and the middle-class on issues of tax and trade. I don’t see how I could vote any other way; but I respect the vote of any person who does. That’s what my grandparents taught me, and that’s what I’ll teach my children.

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