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So, am I a conservative, or have I gone liberal?

by Ron Holdraker
December 30, 2023

 At a recent County Board meeting a former town supervisor asked Wife Patti if I have gone somewhat liberal in my stance.

Here is my response.

I have consistently published all Wayne County arrests for 35 years and have never been accused of purposely leaving an arrest out. Hmm, sounds a bit conservative.

I have fought the state and national Democrats on reducing/eliminating bails in just about every arrest. The liberal thinking is that bail is only meant as a punishment and not to ensure a defendant’s promise to return for his/her court date.

Wayne County solved the dilemma by instituting a reasonable Probation/ Correctional Alternatives and the Pre-Trial Department to ensure defendants without the means for bail could be released  prior to trial.

New York Democrats tossed out Wayne County’s success programs instead of duplicating them. Out goes real bail reform. I objected, and that seems pretty conservative to me.

When the Democratic-controlled government instituted a policy to stop releasing all arrest ‘mug shots’ ending a long established policy by the State Police, I soundly objected as did almost every other police agency in the State. I even went so far as  to post the then governor’s photo in place of the denied mugs. Hmm, sounds like a bit conservative to me.

Currently, the Democrat-controlled State Police have instituted a policy of restricting information and press release on just about every crime. The State Police cover their asses by saying they are only enforcing old rules, but that is bullshit. I must submit questions in advance to a IPO (Information Press Officer) who is not familiar with the incident and will NOT answer such questions as the gender of the victim, relationship or other pertinent info. I also have to wait days for a response. This changes the last 35 years of policies by the State Police. Yup, crime is at a standstill and dropping in Democrat NYS.

Now for the other side of the coin

The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any Western country. We have had a policy of locking them up and throwing away the key in serious and semi-serious cases. Here are some interesting statistics.

There were 106 prisoners per 100, 000 inhabitants in the EU in 2021, slightly more than in 2020, when the rate was 104. In the U.S. in 2012, it was 350 prisoners per 100,000.

Mandatory prison sentencing and sentencing to life without parole has changed drastically over the years. In Western countries even in murder cases, society has learned that the old adage of throwing away the key is absurd.

Over five million people in total are under supervision by the criminal legal system. Nearly two million people, disproportionately Black, are living in prisons and jails instead of their communities. Compare this to the figures of the early 1970s when this count was 360,000. The U.S. was/is totally out of whack!

More liberal states have also realized that, as prison populations age, they are far less likely to commit crimes and thus are only taking up space and tax money being incarcerated.

The Republicans howled at this change and immediately dragged out the worst possible cases of murder, and paraded victims families to ensure some type of rage against the upcoming changes. Of course. this invoked more rage among the Republican entourage, but the changes made sense. Not all aged prisoners will be released, it is upon review of the situation

I and those with common sense agree. Does that make me liberal?

Gun Control:

America has more guns than any other nation in the world – and that number continues to grow each year.  Coincidently, we have the worst gun related charges and mass shooting/killings.

After fighting for their independence, the founding fathers enshrined Americans’ right to firearms in the Second Amendment. This ‘spirit’ of personal freedom and liberty has carried down through the years and is evident in America’s gun culture today - a culture that has gone amok. The United States has a lot of guns, especially for a massive, peaceful, and prosperous country. In fact, about 1/3 of all the civilian guns in the world are in the hands of Americans.

The Pew Research Center has done extensive survey work on gun owners, gun ownership, and what American adults say and think about guns and gun control. America can be roughly divided into thirds - with about a third of adults owning a gun. Of the two-thirds that don’t own a gun, 11% live in a household with a gun. Among that same group of Americans that don’t own a gun, half say they might personally own a gun in the future, and a third say they would never own a gun.

Also at question is the type of guns allowed. Republicans become enraged at the thought of liberals trying to contain bump stocks, assault rifles, home gun building kits and ammunition capacity restrictions. The rest of the world thinks we are crazy and they are right.

I believe sensible gun control makes sense, so I guess I am a bit liberal on this stance, but am I?

Immigration:

The two major parties have NOT addressed real immigration reform since the 1970s. It is a very difficult balance and a can that has been kicked down the road - fearing the loss of certain demographics and potential government control  at local state and federal levels. This in not a unique U.S. phenomena  as the French are becoming less French and the English less English. It is happening in every corner of the world in democratic (?) countries.

Hundreds of thousands migrants want a better life, or life at all. Climate change, political upheaval have brought about major migration escapes/ pathways.

Meanwhile stubborn conservative voices realize that new population numbers by migrants favor more liberal views in voting booths. 

Stagnating population growths in all Western type governments will eventually mean less growth in business and population prosperity. In strictly dollars and sense, migration is a good thing, if controlled. 

Yes, change is coming and standing populations will fight it for decades.

I favor the common sense solution of changing immigration laws. Again it is common sense over terse anti-immigration rhetoric.

Trumpism

As a former Conservative/Republican I witnessed the January 6th attempt to overthrow the Constitution. In the immediate aftermath, so did  Conservative/Republican members of Congress. Within weeks, realizing the  impact to Trump rhetoric and lies, they changed their tunes in order to keep power. I stood firm and realized Trump was  pulling the wool over the eyes of voters at every turn.

I did not and will not change my stance against the corruption of ourconstitution. That does NOT make me liberal. The Times has lost some readership and the support of many local republican institutions. Does that make me more liberal (ish), or just following  common sense?

I dropped all allegiance to the Republican Party when they, on the national, state and local levels abandoned real Republican goals.

Republican diehards pushing an agenda contrary to law and common sense want to control the future and will do and say anything to maintain power.

And next, if there is to be one, a revival of Trumpism will end this republic and I will fight tooth and nail for that thing called common sense.

To the person who questioned my alleged faltering to more liberal causes in general - have I really changed? Or perhaps it is you.

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