By John M. Williams
I confess that in recent conversations with three individuals (who asked me not to use their last names) who call themselves independents, I would call them conservatives. In conversations with Jack. Alan and Patricia, (all college graduates), I learned they detest all levels of government involvement in every facet of American life.
What is it that they oppose? On a national level, they enumerated their staunch opposition to me on the government bailouts for Wall Street and General Motors, the passage of healthcare reform, the passage of bank reform, the Presidentâ€™s Afghanistan policy, the war in Iraq, immigration reform and not allowing British Petroleum to clean up its own mess.
People with disabilities should know that Jack, Alan and Patricia oppose the Americans with Disabilities Act, even though they could not discuss any of the titles in the law, nor could they discuss the reasons the law was passed. None of them had read the law. If you oppose legislation, you should have solid reasons for opposing it.
Not one of them knew anything about assistive technology. They opposed tax credits to companies who employ people with disabilities.
When I asked all three, â€œWhat would be the economic consequences of a Wall Street failure?â€
Jack, a lawyer, said cynically, â€œThere would be many, many fewer super rich people in the world.â€
Restaurant manager Patricia said, â€œWhile massive unemployment would have resulted, the country would survive.â€
Software distributor Alan said, â€œLife is not a bed of roses.â€ He added, â€œLetâ€™s face it. Voters were stupid in 2004 to elect George Bush. The economic crisis is the result of their votes.â€
There was no remorse in their voices as they criticize the president and the Democrats for saving the U.S. auto industry. They believe bad decisions by chief executivess have bad consequences. They believe the U.S. auto industry will fail and that the bailout money is a band aid applied to a major wound.
They want BP to clean up the oil spill and get the government out of the cleanup operations. Unanimously, they believe the government demanding that BP put aside $20 billion to help businesses in the gulf area is bad policy. Their solution is BP work out individual claims, even if the claims reach 100,000 plus. Patricia and Alan believe guilty BP officials should go to prison. Jack wants to learn if any BP official is guilty of wrong doing before commenting..
The three people want the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, Japan, South Korea , Pakistan and more than 30 other countries. They believe we should not be involved in their internal struggles and bringing U.S. soldiers and materials will reduce federal spending dramatically.
I would like to see the U.S. pull out of Afghanistan. I do not believe our nation building policy will work.
On disability, they believe families should bear the financial responsibility, and other caring responsibilities .
They want Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Labor, Housing, Transportation, Education and Health and Human Services abolished. They also want their taxes reduced and an end to federal deficit spending.
They support mandatory term limits of 12 years for both Houses of Congress.
They oppose segregation but are willing to allow segregation to come back if local communities allow it.
They support Congressman Ron Paulâ€™s (R-TX) assertion that Abraham Lincoln caused the Civil War.
When I asked the three people, â€œCan you trust businesses to police themselves when it comes to protecting the environment, manufacturing safe foods and other products, and to end employment discrimination?â€ The three said no. Then Jack added, â€œIrate public opinion always brings businesses into line.â€
â€œReally!â€ I said.
Even if Sarah Palin runs against him, they donâ€™t want President Barack Obama to be re-elected. They voted for him in 2008.
When I asked, â€œWhere is Palinâ€™s intellectual strength?â€ Patricia pointed to Ronald Reagan and George Bush Junior as two presidents without much of an intellect who were successful.
The three of them believe the Tea partiers are extreme right wing conservatives who lack cohesiveness and are leaderless.
I do not understand independents. While I support their concerns about having over bloated levels of government. they do not offer remedies to correct wrongs caused by business and an ineffective government. They certainly do not see any evil when businesses willfully break the law, If they donâ€™t see any evil, does it mean they believe no one does any evil? If the political future of this country is in the votes of independents, then what is our future?