Once I was a Liberal

Besides wrecking the economy and weakening our armed forces, I feel that Obama’s greatest disservice was separating the classes and the political parties into factions of hate.

I was a liberal for my first fifty years.  I’ve been a conservative for the last fifteen. I’ve been a poet, a scholar, a CEO, an actor, a model and a ranked boxer, tennis player and ski racer.  For the last eighteen years I’ve been teaching boxing at Gleason’s Gym. I’ve done a lot of stuff.  I’ve never been great but I’ve been semi-pro or pro at everything. 


Am I proud?  You bet.  But I’m also embarrassed that I never did better.  I was something but not someone who was consistently numero uno.  I am not a perfectionist.  I believe in doing the best I can even if it is someone else’s worst.  Trying is its own reward.


Right now I’m doing the mitts with Nathan in the ring.  He is a dyed-in-the-wool liberal Jew.  Kind of like I was when I was a CEO in the eighties and early nineties.  He is a nice guy, strong, and in decent shape.  I feel his punches through my wrists into my shoulders.  We’ve had many arguments about politics.  We are on opposite ends of the earth.  I don’t like his ideas but I like him.  He hates my ideas but he tolerates me because I’m a nice guy. Wouldn’t it be nice if politics didn’t matter?  Speak to Obama who exacerbated the divide.  I feel like I am trying to long jump with concrete sneakers on when I speak to a liberal.


I also like the faux generosity that seems to underlie Nathan’s thoughts.  Liberals seem so good, so true, so giving to the disenfranchised of the earth.  I get fooled.  Sometimes I wish I were a liberal; I wish I were one of the generous of the earth.


Alon, an ex-Israeli in his twenties, who is working on his doctorate, walks by.  I ask him if he has finished his dissertation yet. He’s getting his doctorate in anthropology at CUNY Graduate Center.  That’s where I got mine in English Literature in 1976. His father was probably still an undergraduate.


“Almost finished with the dissertation,” he says.  “But you wouldn’t like it.  It’s too liberal.”


“I don’t know what I am,” I say.  But I have become a conservative.  Everyone in my liberal gym, Gleason’s, knows it.  They tease me. I’m pretty open about my hatred of Obama.  Bruce, the owner of the gym, says that I should keep my views to myself or I will lose business.  Surprisingly, no one has yet left me because of my politics.  They tease me but they stay.


“You’re a covert liberal,” Nathan says. That surprises me.  I didn’t know that Justin  (Nathan)  thought I was so complex.  I thought that he just thought that I was a benighted redneck.


“I’m a conservative liberal and a liberal conservative,” I say. I don’t really mean that.  I like the sound of my own voice.  People shouldn’t take themselves so seriously.  Who cares? I’m really a conservative.  I just like liberal philosophies. In tone, you know.  They sound so friendly.  They’re so giving.  They’re so pretend-nice. If you’re a liberal you feel like Christ even if you’re Judas. Who wouldn’t want to be a nice guy without taking the responsibility of doing anything nice?


The liberals stack all the self-promoting cards in their favor.  They take credit for altruism when they’re egotists who only really give to themselves by acting the part of generous people rather than living the deed. Indeed, they are duplicitous with a veneer of false sincerity.


George Bush made up the term compassionate conservative.  But it didn’t stick.  It sounded like someone trying to be something he wasn’t.  And yet compassionate liberal flows from the lips like kisses even though it’s an oxymoron; most liberals are thickly ideological and don’t understand conservatives or others who are more sophisticated than their simplistic love-bias. They are prejudiced against us.  And liberals, despite their advertising, are known to be less generous to charities than conservatives.


I can’t help but like liberals’ images.  They take credit for the good deeds of others.  I want to appear like a liberal but to help the world with a conservative philosophy. 


It’s only conservatives who think ahead.  We practice long term hedonism instead of short term doomed-to-failure results. We don’t give the poor fish.  We teach them to fish or at least to work so that they can buy their fish in the supermarket.


Liberal solutions seem good at first.  But they ultimately fail.  Obama’s nanny state has generously spent, spent, spent.  But now we are sixteen trillion dollars in debt, almost bankrupt and in danger of a revolution by the disenfranchised the liberals tried to help.


Last year during the spoiled OWS crowd marched up town into the rich neighborhoods. How much further would it have been for them to start throwing stones at windows and setting houses on fire?  When will the limousine liberals have their limousines burned? And what will happen to our millions of people when their money becomes inflated and they can’t feed their children?  Obama led OWS.  Will he also lead the malcontents yelling, “Let it burn.”


Nathan has to leave early to go to an art gallery opening.  We stop the mitts and finish up with the weights.  It was nice before Obama, before conservatives and liberals hated each other so much that we could cross the dividing line of political separation as if it were a bridge rather than a ravine.


Besides wrecking the economy and weakening our armed forces, I feel that Obama’s greatest disservice was separating the classes and the political parties into factions of hate. Next time he blames the Republicans for gridlock he should look into the mirror and see the bitterness beneath his lockjaw grin.


Obama is the same man who implemented the sequester and then blamed the Republicans for it. I think I knew his double in 1969.  He was a cool black guy who was graduating from Hunter with me.  His name was Ivory.  He had been awarded a full scholarship to Harvard for graduate school even though Harvard had rejected me despite my better grades.  I said God bless him.  I was naïve.  Thirty years later the same thing happened to my son.  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s enough.  Maybe well-intentioned minor league thinkers should quit trying to legislate our lives and God-like determine what is fair and what is not.

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