A reformed conservative | Ott Observations

Recently, I was looking through my high school yearbook, trying to find inspiration to attend my 50th reunion (It didn’t work).  

Reading all my classmates’ written comments, I was reminded that I was the leading conservative voice in our Contemporary Issues class. This might surprise my regular readers. 

It got me thinking about what changed and led me to my current views on issues.

It started with the Vietnam War. I argued in high school that we had to stand strong against communism, just as President Nixon was telling us. I accepted our government’s prevailing “domino theory” that we had to fight communism everywhere or countries would topple to it like dominoes.

Once I started looking more closely, I realized the South Vietnam government was totally corrupt. A little history research into the start of the war helped me realize Vietnam was a colony fighting a long war with France for independence, just as we had done 200 years previously with England. Ho Chi Minh asked both Presidents Wilson and Truman for help to get free of France, after both world wars. Only communist Russia was willing to help.

I was also a fiscal conservative and still am, to some extent. Then I realized reducing taxes without reducing costs only increases the national debt, meaning more money goes to interest and less to serving citizens. 

The theory that the lower taxes would stimulate economic growth so government revenue would grow even at a lower tax rate never proved out (after multiple tries). There’s a reason this long-held Republican ideology is called “voodoo economics.”  

Being self-reliant and providing for yourself sounded like a fair concept, except it ignored those without equal opportunities – including having responsible parents who teach you how to be responsible and can pick you up when you stumble. I couldn’t reconcile how you can be pro-life (who isn’t?) and yet oppose providing food, shelter and healthcare to those who can’t afford it (because that’s socialism).

I began to realize that every conservative principle sounded great in theory but failed in significant ways when put into action.  I transitioned to looking at each issue in the world as a problem to be practically solved – something which rigidity to any political ideology would never accomplish.  

“Some” taxes are good.  “Some” abortion prohibitions are appropriate.  “Some” gun control laws would improve public safety.

As you watch the current political ads, there is a lot of bashing of President Biden but you don’t hear many specific ideas about how Republicans would solve our problems. Minority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell was recently asked what Republicans would specifically do.  His response was that he would tell us after they take back majority control. That sounds to me like a party at a loss for practical and effective solutions.

Many of my conservative friends tell me they don’t like the current uncompromising and radical Republican party. But they feel bound to vote Republican because their families have always voted Republican. 

I respect that, as I was once you. But I see a new danger our country has never faced before – a danger far greater than a failed domestic policy or not winning the culture war of the month.

The assault on our Capitol to overturn the results of our presidential election is a Constitutional crisis because it threatens the foundational ideal of democracy that the people elect their leaders. 

A total of 147 Republicans in Congress voted to not certify the election, without any evidence.  Think about that. What amount of concrete evidence would you require to overturn an election?  

They also sat silent and allowed their party’s leadership to vilify the two Republicans who are serving on the Jan. 6 investigating committee, one being Illinois’ Adam Kinzinger.

If this election overturn effort had succeeded, then every subsequent election would be determined by whoever was in power.  Everyone who serves in an elected position takes an oath to protect the Constitution, and they all know that what has gone on is an affront to our Constitution.  

Every Republican who did not vigorously fight this election assault is complicit – including our very own U.S. Rep. Mike Bost.

This is not the Republican party your father voted for.  Whatever your position on fiscal policy, abortion, gun laws or transgender athletes, if you vote for any of these complicit Republicans you are also complicit and aiding their efforts to destroy our Constitution.  

When elected officials decide for themselves if they get to stay in office, you’ve lost any say in the matter as a citizen. To get that back would require another revolution. 

Your fellow countrymen desperately need you.  Please put aside your life-long pet political topics and ideological traditions and help us cleanse our government of people who would destroy our government simply to remain in power.  

There will never be a clearer choice in your life.  Every candidate is known as either a defender of our Constitution or insurrectional offender.

Nothing else in the next election matters.

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Bill Ott

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