Southern Indiana Living

JUL-AUG 2017

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July/August 2017 • 9 B efore I became a husband or father or bald or Catholic or a wearer of briefs instead of boxers, I majored in political science. I aĴended class more often than not. I enjoyed learning the difference between Plato and Pluto, between republics and democracies, between Republicans and Democrats. Happy hour at Nick's Pub may have been beĴer, but the study of politics was usually good. (I also found time to get hooked on "As the World Turns." Hey, can you explain everything in your past?) Indiana University insisted I focus on something more meaningful than pizza and beer, so I went along and at commencement in 1975, someone surely challenged us grads to keep learning. Commencements are like that. It is a wise and fair pursuit, one that nonetheless took a back seat to child- raising and bill-paying and the zillion other thrills of adulthood. For too many years, I read too few books and engaged too seldom in discussions weightier than when the car's oil needed changing. I had turned down a graduate-school fellowship. Unlike several co-workers at the newspaper, I assumed it was too much work to aĴend law school at night. I put my college major to use only somewhat more often than I did the brown corduroy suit I bought on sale at Sears. So finally here I am, mostly retired with a sore knee and ringing ears. I am hooked now, just as inexplicably, on fish sticks and reruns of "Two and Half Men." Yet this is me as well, reading and engaging more. I get a kick from blowing the dust off whatever is left of my fading education. I revisit the Democrat-Republican feud, for instance. I try to get a feel for why you and I are whatever side we are. I grew up a Democrat in Clark County. Funny thing, though: My mother's most-serious boyfriend before my father ended up being a very well- connected Republican. Just imagine, if Cupid had had different aim, I might today be President Trump's press secretary. Instead of being made fun of on "Saturday Night Live," I get singled out with the senior discount at Golden Corral. The Dale Moss of 2017 has a hard time being a hard-line Democrat. I believe that it's a party out of touch with my middle America. It is one too in love with political correctness and with government as the first answer. I cannot cozy up to Republicans all that eagerly, either. Most Republicans do not put down people who are different, of course. But if you are someone who puts down people who are different, you probably are a Republican. I like how Democrats are more accepting. I like how Republicans encourage and expect self-reliance. I like how Democrats fight for employees who increasingly feel powerless. I like how Republicans fight for entrepreneurs who, yes, employ a lot of Democrats. I believe business succeeds because of its workforce, not despite it. I also believe business succeeds because of the risk-taking and creativity of its leadership. Higher wages? Yes, if the other option is to spend profits on still-bigger vacation homes and still-spiffier cars for big shots. No, if it means business truly cannot compete. Regulations? They are like criminal laws. They would be unnecessary if everyone knew right from wrong like they know mustard from ketchup. Rules steer those that go off course when they're on their own. Trouble is, rules also stifle those that can be trusted. I wish Democrats held people more accountable. I wish Republicans appreciated the many holes into which people fall. I wish both parties would evolve. Not all of those in the media are liberal, by the way. I worked with journalists who protested abortion, who were among the most religious people in town. A few struggled when women and African Americans were promoted in the newsroom. When some of my co-workers tried to unionize, others balked. I was in lower management at the time, incidentally. Neither side claimed me. So I approach this D-or-R dilemma honestly. I have a Republican friend who depends on Fox News. He could not wait for Barack Obama to leave the White House. This man volunteers year after year at a food pantry. He donates to the same charity or two that I have. He also campaigns for one GOP candidate after another. His heart does not seem the slightest bit conflicted. I have a Democratic friend who depends on MSNBC. She cannot wait for Donald Trump to leave the White House. This woman assists more needy people in a month than I ever may. She lobbies Washington and Indianapolis to be her partners in compassion. To her, government is a problem only when it fails to be the No. 1 solution. So are we as we vote? I have not missed an election since I did my part in 1972 on behalf of presidential hopeful George McGovern. I have never voted straight ticket. My allegiance remains up for grabs, perhaps more than ever. I like the view from the fence. Join me there. Make candidates earn our support. Republicans are not always correct. Neither are Democrats. Turns out I did not need a college education to learn that. But it helps, like always. • I put my college major to use only somewhat more often than I did the brown corduroy suit I bought on sale at Sears. After 25 years, Dale Moss retired as Indiana columnist for The Courier-Journal. He now writes weekly for the News and Tribune. Dale and his wife Jean live in Jeffersonville in a house that has been in his family since the Civil War. Dale's e-mail is dale.moss@twc.com A Note to Baby Boomers We Are How We Vote, or Are We?

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