Recent reports on the political conventions has caused some introspection. My political conviction probably falls into the “wavering” category. As this is not listed on any poll, my opinion falls through the cracks. I tend to like some positions of each party and loath others. Perhaps, that places me in the category of “undecided”, even if I have decided opinions. A favorable wind can blow me in any one of many directions.
I arrived at my political non-persuasion by devious, non-linear means. As already mentioned, I grew up in an affluent town (albeit without affluence). I attended private school (similar to Bush and Romney), but mine was a church-affiliated one. We did chores and learned “to serve, not to be served”, which might have instilled some of my--what some would call--socialist leanings. My next stop was a liberal (at the “very” end of the scale) liberal arts college (the word repeated on purpose), but enrolled in ROTC. I was fortunate enough to be of draft age during the Vietnam War, which provided me with a first-hand look at the most-significant event of the second half of the 20th century, clear understanding of the workings of a large bureaucracy, and taught me principles (right ones and wrong ones) of leadership and management. Along the way, I have seen much of the world (both sides of the Iron Curtain), read a great deal of history, and paid attention to current events (as well as one can from the media). I worked for global corporations and made a good deal of money. I cannot criticize all aspects of capitalism, because I have enjoyed its fruits and continue to do so.
I recall a time when the middle class--with its lower, mid, and upper segments merging into a mass--was the bedrock of the United States. I recall a time when factories produced stuff...and caused acid rain to fall on my head. Factories, which had produced the tools to win World War II were re-tooled to produced cars, refrigerators, and televisions for a new-born consumer society. Anyone missing those years can watch Mad Men to get a flavor. Then something happened. American companies sought cheaper production in foreign countries. Sadly, American consumers were complicit: they hungered for more than stuff, they wanted “cheap”.
Having worked for a company, which had production facilities in high-wage countries, I learned that few consumers are willing to subsidize higher wages of fellow citizens. Why is Walmart so successful (besides screwing American taxpayers)? Private equity companies have become ridiculously wealthy, while destroying the middle class. Blame goes to politicians, who made the playing field uneven, and citizens who fell for the lure of cheap goods.
My one conclusion is: If I ruled the world, things would be a whole lot different. But, I do not, so all I can do is sit back and take pot shots at those that do and those that let things happen to them.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.