Why I Feel Sympathy for Conservatives

For many years now, conservatives have been trumpeting the cause of deregulation and smaller government and less governmental intrusion into people's lives. They haven't been practicing it necessarily, but they've been trumpeting it.

They've created a mythology that paints themselves as the guys (and gals, on occasion) in the white hats, who govern with prudence and wisdom and as long as they're in charge, the valleys will be flowing with milk and honey.

Then along comes the financial crisis, revealing the ugly underbelly of greed and injustice that those liberal bad guys have insisted has been there all along. Maybe I should rejoice in shadenfreude, but I'm not.

I'm thinking back to the job I held in my early- to mid- twenties at a low income housing developer. Under Clinton, there was this tax credit program for companies that invested in community development, and the place I worked for allowed companies to simply hand over some cash without having to deal directly with the community organizers and mind-numbing paperwork and such.

We had this "mission statement" that stated our goal of reinvigorating neighborhoods and helping poor families and all other sorts of noble undertakings. At the head was this guy who would appear on 60 Minutes and in publications as this ultra do-gooder, yet we (especially us young female staffers) knew him as "Gropin' G--" who used money from the organization to keep an apartment in the city for dalliances, while his wife and kids lived out in the suburbs someplace.

The worst, though, was at a meeting to discuss which projects we should undertake. One of the projects would actually produce revenue, but wasn't really helping people in need. When one of the board members objected, stating the project didn't fit with our mission, he said, "Fuck the mission! Let's make some money!"

There was also a time I saw a hard-as-nails project manager quit in tears because the land upon which a project was to be built was tainted with lead, yet the board still voted to go ahead and build there despite her objections because the land only cost a dollar.

See, companies would often donate land or sell it very cheap to nonprofit organizations to avoid cleanup costs of hazardous sites. Then the church or the community group or whoever would be stuck with the bill from the EPA. Now we're getting back to the corporate greed.

Anyway, my point is, I know what it's like to be filled with confidence that you're working towards good and making the world a better place, only to find it's a sham abused by people at the top for their own selfish objectives.

Collectively, we good-hearted liberals and those well-meaning conservatives need to figure out what we're going to do about these people who seem to ruin each good idea and every constructive plan with their devious self-interest.

Before that happens, we need to give the conservatives some room to mourn the loss of their ideology.
Name: Übermilf
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