I used to listen to Churchill’s speeches over the radio during World War II and most of them made sense, but then, some of them did not. This one rubbed me the wrong way then, and it still does, all these years later. He said, “Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.”
That clearly puts people at war with each other. I can imagine people thinking that if they are fiscally conservative but socially liberal, an essential part of themselves either has no brains or has no heart.
Can you imagine what politicians could do with that kind of rationale when it comes to campaign sound bites? I can just hear their commercials: “If you are in favor of world peace, vote Democrat.” “If you want to balance the budget and keep America from defaulting on our foreign loans, vote Republican.”
When it comes to one’s personal concerns, I’ve seen time after time how people vote for their wallet. When there were bond issues that meant raising the tax by even a half a penny, the bill was defeated. And some of those bond issues were for things that would improve the quality of life for everyone.
Even today, we can want better highways or more libraries, or any upgrades that would make our life easier but, when taxpayers figure out that it’s going to cost them more money, they vote against the measure. And it doesn’t matter whether they are Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives. It’s the power of the purse that goes to the polls.
If Churchill were still alive today, even with his powerful words and enormous influence, I wonder if he would have much sway over the votes if the bill pitted a homeowner’s added taxes for schools against how much was going to come out of his own wallet.
It’s the old story, people can be sympathetic when it comes to the masses but not at the expense of their own sacrifices. We can shudder at the violence that’s going on in war-torn countries but we’re absolutely panic-stricken when there’a rash of home invasions in our neighborhood.
Liberal or conservative? When you look at people’s real concerns, how much it’s going to cost them wins out every time.