Favoring a Path to Citizenship to Illegal Immigrants


For the past few years, I’ve gotten into conversations with people about immigration reform. I think people try to start conversations with me on immigration because I have done several cartoons on the subject and I’ve been in several political marches supporting immigrant rights. I’ve learned a lot about immigration issues and realize that it is a complex issue. I’m in favor of immigration reform that allows most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in this country a pathway to citizenship.

Our current illegal immigration problem can be traced to the passage of NAFTA in the 1990s. When the United States negotiated the NAFTA deal with Mexico, Mexico agreed to get rid of their subsidies to Mexican corn and other farm products. The United States, however, didn’t get rid of its subsidies to American corn. So when cheap subsidized American corn flooded the Mexican market, Mexican farmers couldn’t compete. Over 2 million agricultural workers lost their jobs.

The Mexican government knew that the NAFTA deal would severely affect their agricultural sector. They were betting that the industries that benefitted from NAFTA would be able to absorb the people who had lost their agricultural jobs. This didn’t happen. The displaced agricultural workers instead immigrated to the United States to find work in the agricultural and service industries.

Before NAFTA, illegal immigration was in decline. After NAFTA, illegal immigration went through a steep rise until the mid 2000s.

There is a myth that illegal immigrants have taken away jobs from native born American workers. There are instances of this happening. The vast majority of illegal immigrants, however, have taken jobs that most native born American won’t take. And many illegal immigrants are working in industries that are facing worker shortages. Farmers in Arizona and Alabama, for instance, faced worker shortages after their states enacted strict laws in the 2000s that targeted illegal immigrants.

In 2013, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill that I thought addressed both the Democrats desire to help illegal immigrants and the Republican concerns about border security. To address conservative concerns about border security, the bill would’ve added 500 miles of a border wall, invest in drones and other high technology to protect the border, and add 20,000 personnel to guard the border. In exchange, illegal immigrants who are in this country would be given a 13 year waiting period before being given a chance to becoming a citizen. In that period, those immigrants who are here legally and are in a waiting list would be given a first chance to become citizens. After 13 years, illegal immigrants would be given a chance to be a citizen if they speak English and they do not have a criminal record.

When the Senate passed the bill with both Democrat and Republican support, the bill went to the House, where it died due to the extreme conservative Freedom Caucus Republicans not allowing the bill to be debated. If these Republicans were serious about immigration reform, they could have come up with a bill of their own that could’ve addressed any perceived flaws that they saw in the Senate bill. Then they could’ve negotiated with the Senate leaders in the reconciliation process and come up with a compromise bill. They didn’t do that.

The Filipino American community is affected by the immigration reform debate because around 500,000 illegal immigrants are Filipinos. Many of these Filipino illegal immigrants are in the caregiving and nursing professions, both industries that are facing labor shortages. The shortage of caregivers and nurses is expected to get much worse in the coming decades as the Baby Boomers beginning retiring from the workforce. Right now 13% of the population are over 65 years old. In 2030 over 18% will be over 65. The American birth rate is 1.9 children per couple. The ratio of young workers to retired people will shrink. This will create stress to the social programs and the workforce as industries struggle to fill shortages.

Trump’s policy of cutting immigration will exacerbate these problems. Our country could potentially face the same problems as Japan, a country with an aging population, a low birthrate, and an overly strict immigration policy.

I do favor deporting illegal immigrants who are guilty of violent crimes like murder or rape. Most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in this country, however, are not guilty of violent crimes. I think it’s demagoguery to try to stereotype illegal immigrants as being murderers and rapists when the vast majority are not.

I think the 2013 Senate bipartisan immigration bill was a good compromise that tried to address the concerns of both liberals and conservatives. I hope any future immigration reform debate is made in the same spirit of compromise and give and take.

Abby Martin outlines the disastrous effects of so-called “free trade” policy NAFTA, including the ejection of over two million Mexican farmers, a surge in sweatshop labor and the destruction of Mexico’s food sovereignty.

Tim Wise, Policy Research Director at Tufts University, explained why illegal immigrants began coming to the United States after the NAFTA treaty was enacted in the mid 1990s. Subsidized U.S. corn was exported to Mexico at 19% below cost of production, devastating Mexican farmers who were unable to compete

Farming uses a higher number of undocumented workers than any other US industry, and that’s sparking concern about what will happen if the Trump administration presses ahead with its immigration policies. Al Jazeera’s Andy Gallacher reported from Clanton, Alabama.

Wisconsin, like much of the country, is suffering from both a nursing shortage and a nursing faculty shortage. To move Wisconsin forward in excellence in nursing practice, Wisconsin needs nurse educators who advance clinical practice and nursing research.

Created for a SSHRC knowledge Synthesis grant led by Dr Margaret Walton-Roberts this film examines the issue of nursing shortages and the global migration of nurses.

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My Love/Hate Relationship with Christianity

I’ve been reading a few posts on Facebook about the Evangelicals in Alabama who support Roy Moore. It got me thinking of some of the conflicts that I had with conservative Christians over the past 15 or so years. In the 1990s and 2000s, I used to know a lot of conservative Evangelicals and they were some of the nicest people that I knew. But I saw how their fundamentalist view of things pushed these nice people to act very cruelly to individuals who did not conform to their fundamentalist Biblical beliefs.

Those conflicts have led to my love/hate views on religion and Christianity. Some people have told me that I’m anti-religion or anti-Christian because I’ve been openly critical of some aspects of Christianity. I’m not anti-religion or anti-Christian. I’m anti-fundamentalism. It seems to me that fundamentalist versions of religion, whether it be fundamentalist Christianity, fundamentalist Islam, fundamentalist Judaism, bring out the worse forms of homophobia, sexism and religious intolerance.

I’m an ex-Catholic but I still have fond feelings for the Catholic Church. I’m a huge fan of Pope Francis. But I’ve been reading about the conflicts that Pope Francis has been having with some of the more conservative members of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has not tried to change fundamental teachings in the Church, but he has tried to change to tone of the Church. Yet even this has gotten pushback from conservatives. Conservative hierarchy have resisted Pope Francis’ efforts to make the Catholic Church more transparent to try to prevent the cover-up of priest pedophilia abuse. These conservatives have criticized Pope Francis’ statement that the Christian community should apologize to the LGBTQ community for discrimination and harassment. Conservatives have criticized Pope Francis for convening a group that is studying the possibility of women deacons.

When Pope Francis became pope, I was considering going back to the Catholic Church. But seeing how Francis is having problems with the more conservative hierarchy, I keep thinking about how I’ll be entering another situation where I’ll get into conflicts with conservative Christians and that is something I’d rather avoid.

There are conservative Christians who oppose Roy Moore. It must be lonely for them to see their fellow churchgoers support Moore. I hope things get better.

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Having a Fruitful Dialogue With Sane Conservatives

There has been a lot of articles about the extreme hyperpartisanship today. It got me thinking about the conversations I used to have with conservatives 20 or 30 years ago and the conversations I have with conservatives nowadays.

Even though I’m a lifelong liberal Democrat, I used to have a lot of conservative friends in the 1980s and 1990s. We used to get into debates and sometimes heated arguments about various political issues. But even at their most heated, we respected the other person’s right to have their own point of view. And when we discussed various issues, we may disagree on policies, but we agreed on the goal.

For instance, I would argue that government programs are necessary to help the poor get out of poverty. My conservative friend would argue that charities or local government would do a better job of helping the poor. Or they would argue that enterprise zones that attract businesses to poor neighborhoods would do the best to lift up the poor. We would disagree on policies, but we both agreed that it is important to help the poor.

That began to change in the mid 1990s. Conversations with conservatives stopped being dialogues and started becoming two monologues going past each other. I’m not sure what happened. A liberal acquaintance who went through a similar experience with conservative friends blames Fox News for the change.

I still have some thoughtful conversations with more sane conservative friends. But in the past decade and a half, I’ve gotten into some crazy conflicts with conservatives where we no longer have common ground. Whereas a few decades ago, I can agree with a conservative friend that helping the poor is important, I’ve encountered conservatives who think all of the poor are lazy and don’t deserve help. It’s impossible to have a political dialogue with no common ground.

And the conversations have gotten a lot more contentious. Countless times I’ve been yelled at in my face, and my patriotism and intelligence have been questioned for having liberal beliefs. With some conservatives, they’re not content with winning the argument, they’re also trying to destroy the reputation and humiliate the person they disagree with.

I still think it’s important to have conservative friends to challenge my beliefs and make sure I don’t get trapped in a liberal bubble. But only if they are sane conservatives, and not the crazy dogmatic kind of conservatives.

On Oct. 13, 1988, only weeks before the presidential election of George H.W. Bush over Michael Dukakis, former Sens. George McGovern and Barry Goldwater dropped by the MacNeil/Lehrer Report to discuss the state of the race, the divisive politics of their parties and the legacy of conservatism and liberalism. Though McGovern was a liberal and Goldwater was a conservative, they became friends and worked together in the Senate on issues of common ground

Conservative Senator Orrin Hatch and liberal Senator Ted Kennedy became good friends during their time in the Senate and collaborated on important laws like The American With Disabilities Act, the Ryan White Act, the Orphan Drug Act, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Though conservative Ronald Reagan and liberal Tip O’Neil fought often over political differences, they did not allow those political debates become personal. After the political arguments would end for the day, they would often meet in private and share humorous stories

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Groupthink and the Importance of Independent Thought

This has been a week choke full of news, with Senator Jeff Flake’s recent speech imploring Republicans to stand up to President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric, the recent Harvey Weinstein scandal, and the growing polarization between conservative Americans and progressive Americans.  With the Weinstein scandal on my mind, I decided to check out the DVD “Spotlight” again to watch the efforts of journalists to uncover the priest/pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church.  In my view, all these cases are examples of the dangers of groupthink, the importance of independent thinking and the necessity of speaking out even if it goes against the group.

The website Psychologists for Social Responsibility gave this definition of groupthink

Groupthink, a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis (1972), occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment” (p. 9).  Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups.  A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making…

…Janis has documented eight symptoms of groupthink:
Illusion of invulnerability –Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.

Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.

Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.

Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of ‘enemy’ make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.

Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.

Self-censorship – Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.

Illusion of unanimity – The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.

Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.
When the above symptoms exist in a group that is trying to make a decision, there is a reasonable chance that groupthink will happen, although it is not necessarily so.  Groupthink occurs when groups are highly cohesive and when they are under considerable pressure to make a quality decision.  When pressures for unanimity seem overwhelming, members are less motivated to realistically appraise the alternative courses of action available to them.  These group pressures lead to carelessness and irrational thinking since groups experiencing groupthink fail to consider all alternatives and seek to maintain unanimity.  Decisions shaped by groupthink have low probability of achieving successful outcomes.

I do not think groupthink is partisan issue.  It affects Republicans who are subject to ideological litmus tests and are under attack by Steve Bannon to agree 100% with Donald Trump’s political views.  It affected a liberal Hollywood that allowed sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein to harass women because of fear of retaliation of these men.  I think groupthink is part of human nature and can affect any political group, religious group, secular group.  I’ve seen firsthand how groupthink can affect otherwise nice people and push them to do cruel things to people who are not in their group.

I used to go to an Evangelical church in the 1990s.  The first 4 or 5 years were wonderful.  I made friends, felt close to God and felt a part of a loving community. People assume that all Evangelicals are conservative in their political and social outlook.  But I found that if you scratch underneath the surface, there is a wide diversity of views that people would express privately.  The pastor of the church was a Democrat.  My former girlfriend at the church was also a Democrat and was critical of some of the conservative views of her churchgoers.  

Though there was a diverse set of views in the church, the more moderate and liberal members were afraid of expressing their views against the more conservative members of the church.  After a while, the more dogmatic and conservative Christians began to try to force me to conform more and more to their way of thinking.  They began telling me who to be friends with, who to date and not date, what politics I should have, what to think.  I saw people get harassed for deviating from the conservative Christian ideology of the church. I saw a woman get harassed for dating someone Catholic.  I saw a few individuals get harassed for being gay and lesbian.  I saw an individual get harassed because he wouldn’t agree to be baptized as an adult since the more conservative members didn’t believe in child baptisms. 

A few people privately disapproved of the harassment that we witnessed.  But we were afraid of speaking out.  As I attended the church, I became more wary about openly expressing my views.  After a while, I felt like I was trapped in a cult.  After being miserable for two or three years, I left the church.

I think this type of groupthink mentality affected the Catholics depicted in the movie Spotlight.  They felt that any criticism of their church was an attack on their identities and their relationship with God.  So they were willing to cover up these hideous crimes perpetrated by priests.  They didn’t see that their cover-up was doing great damage to the Catholic Church.  They didn’t see that the Boston Globe reporters who were investigating the sexual abuse scandal were in the long run doing good for the Catholic Church by forcing the Church to deal with a terrible priest/pedophilia problem.

When I read the definition of groupthink, I think this defines the problem of the Republican Party for the past decade or so.  Republicans who have imposed an conservative ideological litmus test and have decried moderates as being “Republicans In Name Only” have pushed the Republican Party more and more to the extreme right.  Steve Bannon’s attempts to remake the Republican Party into a more white nationalist type party and to punish any Republicans who do not agree 100% with President Donald Trump are dangerous to both the Republican Party and to our country as a whole.  Jeff Flake said in his speech against President Donald Trump:

I’m aware that there’s a segment of my party that believes that anything short of complete and unquestioning loyalty to a president who belongs to my party is unacceptable and suspect. If I have been critical, it is not because I relish criticizing the behavior of the president of the United States.

If I have been critical, it is because I believe it is my obligation to do so. And as a matter and duty of conscience, the notion that one should stay silent — and as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters — the notion that we should say or do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavior is ahistoric and, I believe, profoundly misguided.

A president, a Republican president named Roosevelt, had this to say about the president and a citizen’s relationship to the office: ‘The president is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able and disinterested service to the nation as a whole.’

He continued: ‘Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that there should be — that there should be a full liberty to tell the truth about his acts and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.’ President Roosevelt continued, ‘To announce that there must be no criticism of the president or that we are to stand by a president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.’

Acting on conscience and principle in a manner — is the manner — in which we express our moral selves and as such, loyalty to conscience and principle should supersede loyalty to any man or party. We can all be forgiven for failing in that measure from time to time. I certainly put myself at the top of the list of those who fall short in this regard. I am holier than none.

One of the things that I have noticed in both a personal level and in the national scene is how mean-spirited our political conversations have become.  People do not only want to win the argument, they also want to humiliate and destroy the individuals that they disagree with.  This has made many people less likely to express their own viewpoints and less likely to articulate a more nuanced view on complicated issues.  Leaders around the world, from Donald Trump to Rodrigo Duterte, have insulted and attacked anyone who disagrees with them.  It has damaged the ability of people to have a democratic debate on important political issues.

Though the American Right is going off the deep end right now, the American Left has also had its moments of groupthink craziness.  During the 1930s, many American leftists held a glorified view of Joseph Stalin in spite of ample evidence of his purges and mass executions.  During the 1960s, some student leftists extolled Chairman Mao while ignoring his murderous Cultural Revolution.  Both the Left and the Right are vulnerable to the dangers of groupthink because both sides consist of human beings with the same flaws of human nature.
That’s why it’s important for both sides to protect the right of people to have independent thought and free speech.  Progressives should protect the freedom of speech of conservatives and conservatives should protect the freedom of speech of progressives.  We should respect the right of group members to disagree and bring up alternative viewpoints. 
Hopefully we can return to that in the near future.

Here is a Boston Globe video on their Spotlight Team

Two weeks after the New York Times published an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, director Quentin Tarantino told New York Times correspondent and CBS News contributor Jodi Kantor he feels ashamed for doing nothing after knowing about accusations against Weinstein for decades. Kantor, who broke the Weinstein story with colleague Megan Twohey, joins “CBS This Morning” to discuss the growing number of voices including actress Lupita Nyong’o

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks joined Judy Woodruff for a PBS News Hour discussion on the week’s news, including Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s denunciation of the Trump presidency and his decision to not seek re-election, the impact President Trump has on Republican politics and whether #MeToo is a turning point for men and sexual harassment

Groupthink occurs when people’s desire to maintain group loyalty trumps all other factors, including abiding by their personal code of ethics. This video is part of Ethics Defined, an animated library of more than 50 ethics terms and concepts from Ethics Unwrapped.

A scene from Dead Poets Society illustrating groupthink

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August Landmesser, Donald Trump and the National Anthem

A few weeks ago, President Donald Trump made statements that he thought NFL owners should fire any football players who kneel during the national anthem.  When people debated about the right to protest and respecting the military, I thought of an image I saw a few years ago.  It was an old photo from 1936.  In the photo, a crowd of Germans were giving the Nazi salute to Adolph Hitler.  Conspicuously, one German had folded his arms and refused to give the Nazi salute to Hitler.

German citizens were required to give the Nazi salute to Hitler during his reign. But in 1936, one man refused to salute during a rally because he fell in love with Irma Eckler, a Jewish woman.

August Landmesser had joined the Nazi Party in 1931 so he could get a job during the economic depression of Germany at the time. In 1934, Landmesser fell in love with Irma Eckler, and their engagement a year later got him expelled from the Nazi Party. Their marriage application was denied under the racial Nuremberg Laws.

August and Irma had a baby girl, Ingrid, in 1935.

During a Nazi rally to dedicate the naval training vessel Horst Wessel on June 13, 1936, August Landmesser refused to perform the Nazi salute to Hitler at the launch of the naval training vessel Horst Wessel. This was especially courageous, considering he was surrounded by a crowd of Nazi well-wishers.

A year later, the family attempted to flee to Denmark, but were apprehended at the border. August was arrested for “dishonoring the race” under Nazi’s racial laws and was told to break up with Irma. August, however, continued his relationship with Irma and a month later was arrested again and was sentenced to hard labor for two years in a concentration camp. He would never see his wife again. Irma Eckler was arrested by the Gestapo and was imprisoned, where she gave birth to their second daughter.

Due to a shortage of soldiers, Landmesser was drafted into a penal infantry and died in Croatia.

When President Trump made his statements that the NFL owners should fire any football players who kneel during the national anthem, I thought of the story of August Landmesser.  Trump has equated standing for the national anthem with honoring our military. I love this country and I honor the sacrifices of the men and women who have served in our military. But I think it is wrong to make it mandatory for all Americans to have to stand for the national anthem.  I think it is equally wrong for an American to lose his or her job for exercising their right of free expression. 

Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and other dictators forced their citizens to have to observe their national anthems or they would be beaten, jailed or even killed. Our country should not be emulating the examples of Hitler, Mussolini or Stalin. I think standing for the national anthem should be voluntary.

If you want to honor our country and our military, defend the freedoms enshrined in our Bill of Rights, respect differences of opinion, stand up for the freedom of speech and expression of all our citizens (even those we disagree with), help make sure our country lives up to its highest values of freedom and equality. Help military families and veterans, advocate for homeless veterans and those struggling with PTSD.  Keep informed on foreign policy issues so that we can make informed decisions about whether we should put our soldiers in harms way or whether a diplomatic solution is a better path.

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We Stand Indivisible Solidarity Rally – October 2017

On Friday, October 20, 2017, I went to Mountain View to attend a rally organized by the progressive group Indivisible. The group wanted to show their support for various progressive causes in light of the recent actions by the Trump administration on several fronts.

During that time, I talked to several activists about the political environment since November. Several of them have attended a number of protests, marches and rallies this year, and we traded stories of our experiences meeting like minded people.

I mentioned how I’ve been trying to focus on only a few issues so I don’t feel overwhelmed. A lady told me that she takes occasional breaks so she doesn’t get burned out.

Everyone that I talked to felt that it was important to fight for the rights of all people and to be present when a particular group needs support. I’ve been feeling down about the latest political news, and it cheered me up to talk to like-minded people.

Here is a video of the rally.

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Senator Jeff Flake and Frank Capra’s Vision of a Democratic America

When I watched Senator Jeff Flake’s speech a few days ago, it reminded me of Frank Capra’s movie Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Like Senator Flake, Frank Capra and his collaborators were worried about the threats to our democratic traditions during the 1930s. Though Capra was a conservative Republican, he worked with left wing collaborators in his movies on issues that were of common concern to both liberals and conservatives. Robert Riskin (the screenwriter of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, You Can’t Take It With You, and Meet John Doe) was a New Deal liberal and Sid Buchman (the screenwriter of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington) was an American communist.

Joseph McBride wrote in his book, Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success about Capra’s respect for divergent views:

The auteur theory… did not recognize the degree to which a filmmaker such as Capra could be influenced by conflicting points of view and incorporate them into his work, nor the degree to which a filmmaker might be expressing his times as much as he was expressing himself. And though there was much controversy in the 1970s about how much credit Robert Riskin deserved for Capra’s success, not even Riskin’s supporters ever pointed out that the crux of the problem was that Capra and Riskin did not have identical sociopolitical views, or that their films could have been a volatile fusion between two conflicting viewpoints rather than a smooth and unified expression of one man’s ideas. Nor was there any cognizance of the degree to which Capra in the 1930s acted as a relatively passive sounding board for the political views of his diverse brain trust, which included the far-right Myles Connolly, the Roosevelt liberal Jo Swerling, and the left-liberal writer and associate producer Joseph Sistrom…. Capra in the prime of his career liked to surround himself with colleagues who were not yes men, and his ability to listen to and absorb such a range of viewpoints ‘made him an interesting guy’, contributing to the complexity of his films.

Frank Capra collaborated with his more left wing screenwriters because liberals and conservatives were both concerned about protecting America’s democratic traditions in the face of a Great Depression, threats from Hitler, Mussolini and imperialist Japan, and demagogues from both the Left (like Huey Long) and the Right (like Father Coughlin). Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, You Can’t Take It With You, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, and Meet John Doe deal with themes like how the wealthy have a responsibility to help the poor, how the community should help those who are struggling and marginalized, how we have to be vigilant to protect our liberties, and how important it is to protect the individual’s right to speak out even if his or her opinion goes against the group.

Capra was able to collaborate with his more left wing screenwriters because the Republican Party of the 1930s had much more common ground with the Left than the Republican Party has with Democrats today. Capra was a Republican at a time when the Republican Party was still close to a progressive Republican tradition that was embodied by Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Robert LaFollette. Progressive Republicans had fought for the regulation of corporations, fought for the rights of African Americans and minorities, and lobbied for a greater democratic process in the elections of public officials. This progressive Republican tradition eventually faded as the more conservative business-friendly part of the Republican Party took control of the party, but it still had some sway among some Republicans during the 1930s. As late as 1924, progressive Republican Robert La Follette ran as a third party candidate for the U.S. presidency and garnered 17% of the vote. Progressive Republicans were eventually absorbed into Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal coalition in the 1930s.

Though the American Left and Right had many philosophical differences, they both share a deep love of America’s democratic traditions and individual freedoms.

Here is a video of Senator Jeff Flake’s announcement that he won’t seek reelection and his critique of President Donald Trump.

Here is a scene from Frank Capra’s movie Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, where Senator Jeff Smith talks about the necessity of fighting for lost causes.

In this scene from Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Senator Jefferson Smith points out that liberty is too important to be buried in text books. Capra emphasizes the necessity of teaching to younger generations the democratic values that make our democratic republic possible.

In this scene from Frank Capra’s movie Meet John Doe, John Doe tries to speak out against the corruption of a potential fascist movement but is shouted down by a crowd. It depicts the necessity of protecting the individual’s right of free speech, even if it goes against the prevailing opinions of the group. Without this protection, powerful interests can steamroll individuals who try to confront them.

In this scene from Frank Capra’s movie It’s A Wonderful Life, George Bailey decries the wealthy bankers’ lack of empathy for the poor and defends the right of working class people to live a decent life.

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