Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sorting through the politics of politics, and the reasons why I'm not as independent as I thought..

My father is a self-made man by all accounts; “a good old boy,” if you will. He dropped out of high school at age 16, but he still managed to build a very successful construction business, while pursuing a career in public service. He’s saved every dime he’s ever made, and he’s never expected a handout in his life. We’ve always lived comfortably, and that’s because my father busts his ass and is smart with money– bottom line. He reads the Boston Herald, drives an American truck, and supports the Republican Party.

I, on the other hand, have always considered myself to be an independent when it comes to politics. I’m fiscally conservative and socially liberal, to be exact.

My parents made sure I learned the meaning of hard work early on, and I’ve held a job since the age of 15. I believe in personal responsibility when it comes to money, and that each person should have an obligation to put in as much as they take out, in one form or another. I don’t spend beyond my means, and I don’t think it’s anyone else’s duty to pay for the things I can’t afford.

But, I also know that I’ve been very blessed. My parents have set me up to succeed, and I’ve never wanted for anything. My father’s hard work has granted me a great college education, a roof over my head, and a car to get me where I need to go. I’ve never gone hungry, and I’ve never been without. I realize that not everyone is that fortunate. I know it’s easy to believe in financial responsibility when you’re already financially stable. I’m lucky that I have my parents to fall back on. Many young adults don’t have that kind of support, and we don’t all start out on a level playing field.

I can see both sides of it. We need a welfare system to help those who can’t help themselves – the disabled, the elderly, and the children living in poverty. I understand that to support a welfare system, the government needs to take in order to give. The only way to do that is through a progressive tax structure. If the money taken out of my paycheck means that people much less fortunate than me will eat dinner tonight, then I’m more than happy to give it. They need it more than I do.

What I do have an issue with, is supporting and enabling those who take advantage of the system. I won’t get too much into it, because that isn’t what this blog post is about. But if you are able to work, and make a living, and support yourself, then you should. There are far too many people who are truly struggling for the government to be supporting those who aren’t. Welfare systems need to be reformed, period.

So, that sums up my fiscal views, which I believe are pretty moderate. Like I said, I see both vantage points.

But what I can’t see, or understand, or support, are the views of social conservatives. I very well could be perceived as a republican as much as a democrat if it weren’t for the social conservatives. They’re the reason why I no longer consider myself independent. I’m not “on the fence” anymore. I’m a democrat, and it’s because of them.

I’m not even 100 percent sure that my parents are still republicans, either, because of the social conservatives and the current republican candidates and election. Those who are republican for fiscal reasons, and those who are republican for social reasons are very, very different types of republicans. And that’s what will cause the party’s demise, I think.

There has never been, in my eyes, a bigger contradiction than the Republican Party. How did a conservative ideology come out of the most liberal/progressive political movement ever? The republicans freed the slaves. Whether it was for economic reasons or not, they freed the slaves. That sounds pretty freakin’ liberal to me. The republicans have been a confused bunch from the get go.

So, lets take a look at the republicans today. Laissez-faire economics is still their go to for economic policy. The less government involvement, the better, right?

But, if that’s the case, then will someone please explain to me why bedroom talk has been the main focus of the primary election? If the republicans don’t want to get involved in corporate policy and private business practices, why do they want to decide whether or not I have an abortion or use birth control? If government shouldn’t have a say in how people spend their money, then why should government have a say in my reproductive life?

I assume that the majority of people use birth control because they don’t want children. Duh. Many young people can’t afford to have children yet, and they know that, so they prevent pregnancy. That’s called being responsible. When pregnancies happen and young people can’t afford children, they depend on social programs. Unwanted children who aren’t adopted become the burden of the government. It’s simple.

So there’s the contradiction. You can’t be against government spending on social welfare programs, but pro-life and anti-birth control. It doesn’t make any sense. If you believe that all children have the right to life whether or not the parents are prepared, both mentally and financially, then whom do you expect to pay to raise those kids? Think about it, religion aside. Kids cost money. Where’s the money supposed to come from?

And what about gay marriage? Here’s a scenario. You have a gay couple. One man has a great job with good benefits. The other has just lost his job, and therefore his benefits. If they were allowed to get married, both men could be insured under the employed one’s policy. But if they can’t get married, the one who lost his job will have to get state health insurance, which costs the government and taxpayers money. Allowing them to marry would cost nothing.

Spirituality is a personal thing, whether conservatives want it to be or not. We have separation of church and state for that reason – because everyone has and deserves the right to their own religious beliefs. If you personally don’t believe in abortion, then don’t get one. If religion tells you it’s wrong to be gay, then don’t be gay. But why do you care how I chose to live, and what does that have to do with government?

That’s what I don’t like about the Republican Party, and that’s why I’ve chosen not to support it. If socially conservative republicans feel it is their moral obligation to interfere with one’s sexuality, how can they turn their cheek to corporate corruption? Being a Christian doesn’t mean you get to pick and chose which “sins” you want to stand up against.

And say you don’t believe in funding social programs that provide birth control, like Planned Parenthood, for fiscal reasons. Would you rather help pay for an unemployed woman’s birth control – while helping to end the cycle of unplanned pregnancy and child poverty – or pay to raise her child that she couldn’t afford to begin with? The birth control sounds like the logical choice to me.

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