Heartfelt convictions over party lines


 As the title I chose for this column indicates, it is a Liberal Dose -specifically, a reaction to the events of the day (and from history) from a left-leaning perspective. As Will Rogers famously said, I am not a member of any organized political party: I am a Democrat. I am the faculty adviser of the TTU College Democrats. I am also the faculty adviser for the TTU Students for a Democratic Society. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that I tend to support Democratic policies and candidates, which MOSTLY align with my own values. However, there are some areas where I am farther left than the Democratic Party, and some areas where I am not quite as far left as some of my friends. I thought I would spend a little time this week talking about some of the areas where I do not align perfectly with the average Democrat.

My biggest complaint with the Democratic Party is how cozy they are with Wall Street and big business in general. Not as much as Republicans, maybe… but darn close. I am reminded of the old joke that Republicans will outright mug you, and then Democrats will pick your pocket while they console you afterward. I am pro-labor, pro-union, pro-working class, anti-bigshot. Wall Street is not as political as some make it out - they do their best to buy off both parties, and leaders of both parties make it easy. That is why I voted for Bernie Sanders the last two presidential primaries. Incidentally, Thomas Jefferson insisted a whole new capital city be built (Washington) instead of keeping the capital in New York City… because the government was literally too close to Wall Street.

I think both parties are too quick to engage in military options, especially the use of drones. I believe that force, sadly, is sometimes a final and necessary option - but, too often, it is the first option and it is used for political expediency. By both parties. That said, unlike many on the left, I support the military. I just happen to think that they are too often used - and expended - for politics or for national gain rather than in defense. For that matter, unlike some of my own friends, I do not call for abolishing the police nor for defunding them in the sense of doing so completely. I AM in favor of reform in the sense of better training. I believe that many police forces have become too militarized, in tactics, equipment, and outlook, rather than thinking of themselves as servants and defenders. Many act like they are soldiers patrolling an enemy warzone and become escalators instead of de-escalators. We are lucky in Sparta and White County in that regard, though in the past that was not always the case across the board. Sheriff Page has made great strides in the right direction. I do not personally know our present police chief, but longtime previous chief Jeff Guth is the most honorable, upstanding man I know, and Chief Goff seems to be of similar caliber.

Finally, I am a gun owner. You could say I’m a gun guy. Unlike some on the left, I believe it is a fundamental right to have a gun to defend your home and family. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean there should be no regulations regarding what type of guns civilians should be allowed access to nor does it mean you need three handguns and an AR-15 just to go to the Sparta Taco Bell. There should also be reasonable background checks.

That’s just a few things - I could make this a whole series of articles. Point is, there is no cardboard cutout liberal who aligns with everything the party does, any more than there is a cutout conservative. We should start seeing the variety and nuances in each other. And maybe in ourselves.

--Troy D. Smith, a White County native, is a novelist and a history professor at Tennessee Tech. His words do not necessarily represent TTU.      


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