Youth Essay Winner — Downfall of a Portland Liberal

xanderThis is the Honors Award winning essay in the 2015 Next Generation Essay contest sponsored by the Taxpayer Association of Oregon.

Portland, Irony & the Downfall of a Liberal
By Xander Almeida

My pilgrimage in worldview can be described by a desire to relocate into Portland which became the final tipping point.

When I turned 18, I registered, bleeding heart in hand, Green Party. I resided in Santa Barbara, worked under the table, didn’t pay taxes and my living expenses were subsidized through living comfortably off of my parents. In 2003, I registered Democrat so I could support the presidential ambitions of Dennis Kucinich.

When I was 19, I relocated to Portland due to rumor of it being a liberal mecca. Though my consistent need and desire to devour all current events, politics and goings on I realized something. Absolute liberalism seemed to be, indeed, some sort of mental deficiency. Efficient bus-lines were being cut to make way for far more expensive MAX lines. Fees and taxes were being raised, which I suddenly realized hit me very hard while Democrats here seemed so adept at squandering the “revenue”. So in 2008 I finally realized I was actually quite conservative. Odd, I thought, to find myself registering Republican at the age of 23.

In my wayward youth, while not paying taxes, I often debated my grandfather, himself a Republican. I would say without thought of cost or consequence “We should have free college and healthcare!” And he would always reply, “How are we going to pay for it?” My response was always “Taxes!” of which I was paying none and hadn’t ever planned on figuring out how.

My grandfather had many issues with the GOP as I still do. The dissolution of religious social conservatism (as he was part of the party before it took over) and willingness to pander to issues contrary to ideology (such as Iowan ethanol subsidies). And my more liberal of family would ask “How can you possibly be part of a party which is against x, y and z?” The answer was more simple than not: would I rather be part of a party I agreed with 90% or 10%? Not a hard choice as I was never a one issue voter.

Thusly, a mixture of family and personal experience (and initial lack thereof) firmly helped sculpt my worldview. And through the ever enduring great spirit of Portlandian irony, I can thank the fine liberals for this fair city and state for forming one heck of a strong minded conservative.

— Xander’s Essay was the 2015 Next Generation Honors Award Essay winner.  You can view the top winning essay “Life Lesson forged in Iraq” here.

  • Bob Clark

    This reminds me of Dan Meeks, local political progressive activist, who finds himself often battling against government bureaucracy, such as recently him getting kicked off his health plan and into less quality ObamaCare. Mr. Meeks doesn’t seem to understand at a certain point, a point we are currently well beyond, government becomes the continual problem rather than the solution. The problems he fights are those induced by big government, and yet he doesn’t see the irony he simultaneously supports more big government.

    • DavidAppell

      Bob: What is your evidence that Obamacare is of lower quality?

      • DavidAppell

        I didn’t think you could provide any such evidence, Bob. In my experience, you are about the worst at providing evidence for any of your wild and inaccurate claims.

  • DavidAppell

    Xander: You’re 23?

    I’m sorry, but you know very little about life.

    Yes, I was once your age. I thought I knew a few things. I did not, and learned otherwise by hard experience, in ways I could not conceive.

    Perhaps you’re end up a conservative. Perhaps you won’t. But what you know now is simply no indication — you have an immense amount of life experience ahead of you — experiences that won’t turn out the way you would currently guess.

    Best of luck navigating through them. Really.

    • guest

      Sighed DA, hanging like a piñata off the St John’s Bridge awaiting wet nursery.

  • Dan Meek

    Bob, I support transparent and effective government but not “big government.” For example, I think the U.S. military and bureaucracies in general should be much smaller.
    Re my health care, I had health insurance through the Multhomah Bar Association (lawyers) for about 25 years. The ObamaCare law then prohibited associations from offering health insurance to sole practitioner professionals. So that forced me into the individual health insurance market, which forced me into CoverOregon for a year and then The plan I chose was the same plan I previously had with Kaiser, so there was no reduction in quality. Yes, there is excess bureaucracy involved.
    And the Oregon bureaucracy is making matters worse for the average person. While Kaiser proposed for Silver plans in general a premium reduction of 2% for 2016, the Oregon Insurance Division issued an order that literally forces Kaiser to increase those premiums by 8%. And forcing Kaiser to raise its rates makes it easier for other health insurers to continue to charge higher premiums by reducing the competition from Kaiser. This is an example of “regulatory capture,” in my opinion.
    Your portrayal of me as a proponent of “big government” needs some nuance.

    • Horser Hoarce ]Play

      Nicker, nicker!

  • Ron Swaren

    The answers are “out there” Republicans are often controlled by a military interest (of couse when things go wrong as they have in Iraq they blame someone else. And then the libertarians dream of no government and splinter off conservative votes. But the Dems do these things too, and they have fake ‘social justice’ programs where they don’t have to pay (thanks to efficient tax preparers) but other folks do.