Friday, October 19, 2018

Respectful Discourse - and What I believe

One of the things I pride myself on is my willingness to listen to people with points of view that are different from my own. I welcome the give and take of a good debate not because I’m looking to change others’ minds, but because I think it expands my own knowledge and ways of looking at the world. And if I change my mind and/or the other person does, then it’s a bonus.

With our current political climate, it’s very easy to get differing points of view on almost every topic. Unfortunately, they tend towards way out on both fringes of opinion, at least they do until, and if, you can get someone to really discuss individual issues and not just spout off rhetoric. (Which then, usually, devolves into name-calling. I wonder, is this caused by a lack of knowing about the subject? 

Or is it a “give up” position where they just don’t care to listen to anyone else’s opinion?)
What is my political side? Well, it depends on who you ask. I have some friends who think I’m a raging Liberal and others who think I tend toward Conservative values. Take a look at these statements and see if you don’t agree with opposing opinions, too.

I believe that gun ownership is a Constitutional right provided by the Second Amendment AND I believe in responsible gun ownership. I also believe that no one needs to own an automatic weapon (I’m okay with semi-automatic) or the ability to have more than 10 rounds in their gun at a time. I believe that, since it’s a deadly weapon, owners should be licensed, made to pass a safety course, and have an insurance policy to cover harm that might occur. Why? The only other deadly weapon that most Americans possess is an automobile and all those common-sense things (license, safety course, insurance) are required by law when we own one of them. Why shouldn’t it be true for guns? That
Sorry. I don't think anyone needs these.
just seems reasonable to me. We have to stop all the senseless killing of kids and I don’t know how to go about it. I’m not in favor of outlawing guns. I am in favor of understanding the data and figuring out how to stop it, first. The NRA seems dead set against that but until the problem is studied, we don’t know how to fix it! So, am I a Liberal or a Conservative? (By the way, I own a few guns and I wrote this paragraph a few weeks after the latest school shooting in Florida. I also think that no one needs a gun that was designed specifically for killing humans, like the AR-15. The fact that there are over 10 million of them in American’s hands leads me to believe we’re always going to have them, unfortunately.)

I believe that our government is too large. Not because it’s doing too much but because it’s inefficient in how it’s run. I think that if some business tenets for managing people, establishing goals and budgets and performance management, were instituted that we could make it more effective. It takes in far too much money and often provides little in return and desperately needs to be more efficient. So, am I a Liberal or a Conservative?

I believe that we need term limits for our elected officials. Two terms for the President, two terms for the Senate, and five terms for the House of Representatives. (I’m not sure about judges and SCOTUS
but I’m leaning to a certain number of years, say 20.) I also believe that all these people’s health insurance, retirement programs, and other perks should be the same as “normal” Americans. (I don’t know of any job where you can work for a couple of years and then draw 80% or your same salary for life. Congress can do that. Yes, really.) I’m also in favor of controls on campaign contributions – the amount of money these people are taking in is ludicrous and I’m appalled at how much money is spent to influence them. They all appear to work for the lobbyists with the deepest pockets, from what I can tell. So, am I a Liberal or a Conservative?

I believe that our federal budget should be balanced – what comes in, goes out. All of us as citizens live that way; our government shouldn’t be any different. To enforce this, I’m in favor of all of Congress being replaced at the next election cycle as a penalty for failing this simple test. (I realize this would take a Constitutional Amendment.) So, am I a Liberal or a Conservative?

I believe in capitalism as it’s the basis for the American Dream. I also believe that regulation is important because greed makes people compromise their rules/morals and there must be consequences for doing so. (I don’t know how much regulation is too much. I do know that, occasionally, regulations are put into place and create unintended consequences. Because of this, there needs to be constant vigilance around regulations, ensuring that they’re accomplishing the desired behaviors.) So, am I a Liberal or a Conservative?

I believe that, since the Federal Government was created “in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare” of the nation, that it’s responsible for providing military might, establishing and enforcing laws, and helping people who are unable to help themselves. (Yes, including health care.) This is accomplished through the collection of taxes and delivery of those named services to everyone as they need it. So, am I a Liberal or a Conservative? (Or a Communist or Socialist?)

Whatever, man.
I believe everyone should be allowed to practice whatever religion they want (or not practice one at all) without anyone telling them that theirs is better or worse. So long as their "religion" doesn't
negatively affect others, then it's acceptable. I also believe that our country was founded by men who
were religious and that they went to great lengths to keep their beliefs out of forming the country. In other words, this country was NOT founded on Scripture but on the rule of law so that it could apply to every person, regardless of individual beliefs.

I believe that, in a developed society like ours, basic health care is a right not a market; it’s right up there with clean water. No one should be denied healthcare just because they lack the ability to pay for it. As a society, we have the right to expect that healthcare to be as available, good AND as inexpensive as possible. (I recognize that’s a balancing act between those 3 parameters.) So, am I a Liberal or a Conservative?

I believe that our borders should be difficult to cross for the purposes of immigrating here (No, not a wall) and that we should be diligent about whom we let in. (We already are, by the way.) I also know that there are people who were brought here as children, who have only known this country and are now adults – in most cases, providing for their families, paying taxes, acting as good citizens should act. They should be given an easy route to citizenship. Those who came here years ago, illegally, should also be given a chance to citizenship if they’ve proven to be upstanding individuals – paying taxes, not committing crime, etc. I don’t believe in simply deporting those people. It causes far too much chaos for very little gain. (Contrary to some opinions, illegal immigrants can’t get government handouts. Their kids can get public school education and if they show up at an ER with a life-threatening condition they will receive treatment because of the law that states everyone will be treated, even if they can’t pay. Yep, it’s a law. Signed by Richard Nixon in 1972.) Am I a Liberal or a Conservative?

I believe that women have a right to choose what they do with their bodies and that includes get an abortion if they so desire. I also believe that abortions should be the last choice as there are plenty of childless couples who are willing to adopt a child that is unwanted. That then means that the public needs to help take care of the women who are carrying these babies to full term as the expense, for many women, can be a burden. So, am I a Liberal or a Conservative? (P.S. if you really want to reduce abortions, provide easily available health care for all women – that will reduce unwanted pregnancies thus reducing abortions.)

Finally, I believe that our political leaders have a duty to comport themselves in a manner that is in line with basic, acceptable, societal behaviors. That includes using facts, eliminating lies and apologizing when one is uncovered, setting an example for how one should behave, and not resorting to name-calling or bullying of others. It also includes holding other world leaders to the same set of behaviors

Now, from these statements I suspect you’ve formed an opinion about me. Some of it good and some of it bad. That’s a direct result of whether you agree with me or not on each specific point. Chances are that you have agreed with me on at least one point and, depending how important that point is to you, it forms the basis for your deciding if I’m a Liberal or Conservative. (I have a friend of mine who thinks I’m a C because I’m a capitalist and want business to succeed. Another thinks I’m a flaming L because I want to see regulation in place to constrain bad behaviors. As you can imagine, those respective points of view are strong passions for each!)

My effort behind this post has been to provide a starting point to conversations. If you’d like to join in with me, comment by clicking the comment link below. Please stick with facts, not opinions, and include a link to whatever supports the facts.

All comments are moderated by me and won’t be posted if there is any name-calling, whatsoever!            


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