I am an advocate. Not a powerful or successful one, but a small still voice striving to be heard above the booming of the right-wing media echo chamber, advocating (except in the case of my ill-advised screed on the South) for a nation that pays some attention to the poor, the underprivileged--in short, all the people who not only weren't born on third base, but may never be allowed an at-bat. I believe, with Ben Franklin (in a different context) that we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. When the poor pay more taxes than I do (on a percentage basis), that's just wrong. Eliminating the estate tax is wrong. It would save my family a fortune, but it's still wrong. Note that Bill Gates is in favor of the estate tax. I've never cared for the man's personality, but heavens to Betsy his heart is in the right place on all the big issues except regulation of monopolies.
My life has been blessed regularly by public subsidies of various sorts--my public education, the federal subsidy of universities, social security for my grandparents, and more. I believe government can (not always is, but can) be part of the solution to many large national problems. I believe the regulated capitalism of 1950-1970 was better than the unregulated capitalism of 1880-1900, and I think the numbers back me up. The GOP is driving us back to the laissez faire economy of 1880 with all its might, and I feel I must resist as a union man and the son of a union man.
We must have equality of opportunity as our ultimate goal, but along the way we're going to have to assure some equality of results. I believe we were better off as a nation when politics hovered around the center, rather than driving to the extremes. I think pre-emptive war stinks, and Bill Clinton no more committed high crimes and misdemeanors than George Bush. Bill Clinton's crime was to serve as president with a Republican house. I gave to Katrina relief; I hope the rest of the country will help us out when our time in nature's bull's-eye arrives, as it probably will in my lifetime. I think of myself as a straightforward 1960s liberal, a man who campaigned for Wayne Morse and George McGovern and is proud that his daughter interned with both Hillary Clinton and Diane Feinstein. I think my column reflects these views. I don't spend a lot of time defending Bush's record on the war because a) others do and b) he is wrong.
I think, as a whole, my column reflects these views. If you disagree (either with the views or my self-perception), feel free to let me know.