"The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." --Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, October 14

My Nightly Ramblings

How would you define conservative/liberal principles? I guess in the world in which we live, a conservative/liberal is already considered foul language. Some conservatives even say they they are the minority and a rare breed. Can I take a moment and disagree?

My guess is that we all need labels. I've written about this before with democrats, republicans and the likes always feeling like they need to belong to a party. Let me outline one thing before I continue...being a conservative is not synonymous with being a republican and being a liberal is not synonymous with being a democrat. There are plenty of both in either party.

So are conservatives a rare breed? Maybe in Berkley CA or Manhattan, NY but my instincts tell me that the majority of American believe in many conservative principles. I may be shot for this next statement but I believe that same majority believes in many liberal principles as well. Let me give an example.

I don't think that anyone would argue that a person is responsible for his or her own success in life and no one will disagree that self-reliance is a virtue worth striving for. We are all compassionate. I think the majority of Americans favor the tradition of a "traditional family." I don't think the majority of Americans want government interference in their private lives and no one wants half their paycheck sent to a fiscally irresponsible government. Everyone wants to feel safe in their own country and have a strong national defense. These would be conservative values. At the same time, I don't think that we would all turn a blind eye to someone who lost their job and needed unemployment from Social Security for a month or two until they found a job. I believe that most Americans care about how we treat the environment, that equal rights are given to every citizen to vote and be treated equally, and that government has it's checks and balances.

I think the divide comes when people draw a solid line in their own values system on topics that they are passionate about. When a economic liberal and a economic conservative meet to discuss the economic bailout packages, they forget everything good about one another and fight like dogs-inciting so much animosity between liberals and conservatives that each of us feel entitled to take a side, label ourselves a member of a party or ideology and begrudgingly "accept" one another's presence in our country-hoping that someday the other will eventually "come around" or die out.

It's not fair to label every liberal American as a jobless, baby-killing, ecoterrorist who sits and drinks latte bought with food stamps all day discussing the injustices that have beleaguered the minorities and the evils of capitalism, before burning down the local Hummer dealership.

But today it IS okay to label conservatives as self-serving, uneducated, backwards thinking, numb skulled bigots that have never given a thought to their own belief system that drag their knuckles to church so they can fill their hick heads with religious opium to hate black people and gays.

Be honest though-there are some people that fit these extremes exactly. Does that mean everyone who calls themselves a conservative or liberal condones these beliefs? NO!

Why can I not be a conservative and love black people? Why can I not be a conservative and not be narrow-minded? Why can I not be a conservative and be unbiased in my opinions? Why can I not be a conservative and have an education that means something? Why can I not be conservative and be religious?

I believe there is room for all people and their beliefs. Each of us is entitled to it and has the right to do so without coercion-so long as it doesn't interfere with other's rights to do the same or hurt another human being.

I understand that this is not how economic policies are made however, but in my idealist mind, I envision a time in America that we can stand up for a cause that neither forces us into a corner of belief nor keeps us from searching out and embracing opposing viewpoints-without feeling shamed or untrue to ourselves in the process.

But what would we call ourselves? (to be read with sarcasm) Perhaps it will just remain an ideal.

To each it is given the opportunity to decide where their beliefs are on the Economy, National Defense, Abortion, Affirmative Action, Death Penalty, education, environment, gun control, health care, immigration, UN, taxes, and welfare. In any regard, having an opinion about these things is important.

It all comes back to making a minute's effort to understand the opposition before we pass the eternal judgment of hell on each other.

Comments welcome.......

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