17 April, 2012

P is for Politics

You can find a full list of my A to Z challenge posts here. :)

Boy, I musta been over caffeinated when I picked my topics for the month. ;)

Here's hoping I don't piss too many people off.

I was born into a family of liberal democrats, married a man who considers himself extremely conservative, and I fall awkwardly between.

Yes, I am - gasp! - a centrist. A moderate. One of those wishy washy middle people who tries to find a reasonable compromise and thinks the screaming folks at both ends of the spectrum are equally nuts.

Sorry if you're one of them and that bothers you, but this is my blog.

I have a few hot-button issues, but mostly I'm socially moderate with a slight liberal lean, and economically moderate with a slightly conservative lean. In short, I straddle the political fence.

I know that anyone's life can go to hell without warning - sudden job loss, house destroyed by fire, accident, whatever - and there should be programs and safety nets to help. However, I do not believe in a life long (or generations long) free ride. I'm happy to help pick someone back up, dust off their backside, then, once they're moving forward again, let them go on their way, but I don't want them camped out on my couch forever. Also, I tend to learn from my screwups and I get aggravated when someone apparently doesn't get it despite making the same damn mistake over and over and over. Once, okay, here ya go! Twice....  eh, fine. Third time, figure it out for yourself. I'm not your mommy.

I'm apparently a hard ass that way.

I refuse to go to church, but I donate to charity. A LOT. In fact, every penny of my ebook sales is donated to charity, plus I'm a regular contributer to our local animal shelter (I buy bags of cat food and drop it off at their door), our local homeless shelter (I donate groceries), local library (new, current books), hospice (quilts), volunteer fire department (fundraiser supper and raffle tickets) and the battered women's shelter (I've sent books, clothes, toys, money...). I also happily buy whatever crap local kids are selling door to door because if some kid has the guts to go around knocking on doors, the least I can do is buy a candle or package of cookies.

I believe abortions should be safe and legal, but they shouldn't be the 'first choice' option for birth control (there are lots and lots of ways to not get pregnant in the first place so wise up and use something!), nor should late term ones be allowed except under medical necessity (why can't they just c-section deliver the babies and adopt them out??). I couldn't imagine having one myself, but I don't feel it's my place to tell someone else they can't, especially if they've been molested or raped or there's something medically wrong with them or their baby.

I believe in personal responsibility, not government control.

I believe that we need to stop shitting in our own ecological living rooms by polluting our water and land and air, and there should be tight regulations on industry to ensure our environment is kept clean, but I think Carbon Credits are a bunch of hooey. They're just another way for someone in a fancy suit to make money. Also the first step in improving our environment should be to STOP RIPPING UP WILD AREAS. You want a new factory or housing development, put it where urban blight has left vacant buildings to crumble and decay. Clean that up, repair and rebuild what we already have, and leave the remaining wild places alone. Then expand the wild places, not with rows of easy-to-maintain pine trees, and kentucky bluegrass, but with the same kinds of wild plants, trees, streams and whatever else that was here before we came and ripped them out in the first place.

You wanna be green? Don't build a new house, buy an old one and fix it up. Think of it as upcycling. And it's cheaper, too.

I'm a flat taxer. Simplify the damn tax code already and I don't care if you charge every citizen the same $$ amount or the same percentage, just make it simple enough a 4th grader can figure it out. You made this much, you pay that much. End of story. We could do it with postcards, it'd be so easy.

While we're simplifying the tax code, simplify legislation, too. Bills should have one piece of legislation on them, not a pile of expensive riders just so some Senator's brother's company gets a lucrative contract for something that's essentially worthless. One thing. If it's a bill for housing for the poor, then that's all it is. Vote on that, just that. Additional funding for low-rent housing in an economically blighted area? Pick one, yay or nay, and let's move on. Quit padding the popular bills with expensive crap, and passing horrid, freedom-crushing legislation because it has one good rider stuck in there everyone wants. Pass the good stuff, vote down the crap. How can that be so difficult?

Citizens have to live within their means and the government should, too. Suck it up and get it done. If someone's living expenses get too high and they dig a deep debt-hole to pay for it (like our government has done oh so well), private individuals generally have to do two things at the same time: make more money and cut expenses. The government needs to do that, too. Maybe they can hire Congressmen out as babysitters on weekends or make Senators greeters at WalMart or something. Have congressional staffers fry burgers, I dunno. No, wait! How about cut spending and raise taxes?? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Also, you cannot have every freaking program under the sun for free, okay? Social programs cost money and have massive staff and overhead requirements. That money has to come from somewhere, it's not freely floating around the air. It's not. If a program is needed, something else has to be cut. In the opposite hand, you can't keep crushing the working class and expect the economy to grow. There has to be a balance in there, between all the cuddly teddy bears on one side and the corporate interests on the other. We need BOTH, okay? Big business and social programs. We do. Don't expect the ever shrinking working class alone to fund all these programs.

And, goddammit, stop allowing any private company that receives government funds to give big bonuses to its executives when the company LOSES MONEY, especially if they're still in debt to the government. That's freaking insane! Btw, if a large company is losing money, it's not the lowly clerk's fault. The worst they're doing is wasting a few staples and staples are cheap. Don't fire the clerks and janitors to trim payroll and expenses because, frankly, it's stupid. Losses are the big-shot decision maker's fault. Fire them instead because they're the ones going through huge budgets like they're breath mints with expense accounts and thousand dollar suits and trips to Barbados and crazy ass ideas that don't do anything but burn money. Clear out corporate (and governmental) bloat from the top down, not the bottom up, and most everything will run a lot smoother.

Lastly, I think that just about every politician above the local level is a greedy crook and the only real difference between the two parties is the color of the team-stamp on their foreheads.

As an illustration of the above comment, as a centrist I have noticed that the Right is calling Obama almost word-for-word the EXACT SAME THINGS the Left called Bush. Same complaints. Same descriptive put-downs. Same extremist paranoias. Same every freaking thing. Oh, the specific details might vary. A little. Bush had Haliburton, Obama has Solyndra, that kinda thing. But it's the same crap as the last guy and, frankly, I've seen little difference between them. I also don't love or hate either of them. I rate both as 'meh', they're okay, I guess. Just one more rich guy in a suit tying to separate me from my money, and slowly boiling the frog of my personal freedoms. But, then again, so has every other administration and congress I can personally remember. I've lost count how many times one side proposes this idea that the other side DESPISES then, two years later (or four or ten) the second side proposes the same dang thing, only this time it's the FIRST SIDE that despises it. Heck, how many times has a politician ran on tearing down the other guy because he voted for this crap thing, or slept with that prostitute, or took money from that dastardly interest group or whatever, then, once elected, did the exact same thing. It happens so much we barely notice any more.

They're all crooks, and they're all in this together. Their primary goal is more power for them, less for us. As long as we keep taking sides against one another, the red vs the blue, the politicians win and we all lose.

When talking about local people serving in local offices like city councils and county boards and things, some are really great people trying to make a difference, some are wannabe bigshots who'll screw over anyone who isn't greasing their palm. By the time a politician's reached the national level, the genuinely-trying-to-make-a-difference has almost always been beaten (or bought) out of them. As far as I'm concerned, professional politicians suck.  Politics sucks. No matter who wins, we're all screwed.

Deep breath.

Thank goodness tomorrow it's all about Quilting. I'm getting rather tired of these aggravated emotional topics. ;)


Maripat said...

Dang...you are so my soul sister when it comes to these things. I'm a moderate/independent. I grew up in a very active political family. They use to go around getting signatures and sat at voting booths. I'm not political. I don't vote based on party but by what the canidate has to say. The pickings for senators, reps and prez have been sad to say the least. Loved your post.

Tammy Jones said...

Thank you SO MUCH!!! I spent all of last night terrified that I'd started a political flame war. {{huggs}}

Erin M. Hartshorn said...

I don't think I could as eloquently enumerate the things I believe about politics. A very thought-provoking post. :)


Tammy Jones said...

Thanks, Erin! {{huggs}

Janna said...

It's rather refreshing to hear a moderate's point of view. The way things are portrayed out there, you think we'd don't exist. I agree with you on almost all points. I myself have tried to concern myself less with national politics, and keep my view more local.