Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Let's get political (a rant? a digression? avoid as necessary)
Posted by Todd Newton
You may want to skip this [giant] post altogether.
No, really. It's long, sweary, ranty, and political.
It's said that one should never discuss religion or politics at the dinner table, mostly because people's stances on topics are defended like the Alamo (except with a lot more boiling oil). I ranted, semi-recently, on Facebook about politics based on some exposure to the GOP "debates" and I've been reading more and more Dailykos ever since.
To be honest, I'm a writer, not a politician. I'd make a terrible candidate, what with the skeletons in my closet resembling certain underground scenes in Pitch Black and my propensity for saying what I think rather than what my potential constituency would have me say. I have no desire to be a politician, for various reasons.
I heard a quote from a Colorado congressman on NPR this morning, that if he "didn't vote his district, someone else would," implying he'd be out of a job if he voted based on his own thoughts on issues. This would, I imagine, include not voting on his conscience, though 9 out of 10 politicians will tell you they do on such hot-buttons like abortion.
But that's the problem with representational government, isn't it? Who, exactly, do you represent? Do you vote in the best interest of the majority, the minority, the squeaky wheels, the biggest contributors, or do you go with what you think is best? Not to mention that it's territorial representation; the only way I can affect a Senate race in some other state would be to contribute money to a party or candidate to be used how they see fit. A drop in the bucket compared to what some might contribute, and yet Senators from other states vote on things that affect my daily life.
It's fair, but it's also unfair, and somehow we've survived over 200 years with this hybrid of a Democratic Republic (get it right, we don't live in a Democracy). With so many moving parts, moving so slowly, it's a wonder the entire thing hasn't fallen apart. It feels like every election, that's the big fear: "if you elect [my opponent], things will get worse to the point of catastrophe!" It's bullshit, and it's the same popularity contest whether it's an election for Student Council or US Senate.
At the same time, I'm well-aware of the fact that I don't have a complete understanding of the political system. Lobbying is something that people believe is necessary, but to me it seems like cheating. The assembly of a bill, earmarks, and the sheer breadth of it all is mind-boggling. Not to mention that congresspeople still get paid when bills don't pass (even though they've basically wasted hundreds if not thousands of hours in debate, filibustering, foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging, and every other kind of dragging I can think of).
Now that my own fervent ignorance has been declared, the only other item I wanted to profess today was my stance on certain major things. You can extrapolate from my reading of Dailykos that I'm somewhat liberal, and it's true: I lean more liberal than anything else. In fact, I'm not sure an area exists where I would agree with the conservative troupe. Here goes. These are not numbered because they are pretty much all of equal status for me.
I believe abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.
Some might call this pro-choice, but that's not good enough for me. Unfortunately, a person can be anti-choice, but I can't exactly call myself anti-life. Semantics. Regardless, in pursuit of this goal, I'm on board with providing any and all kinds of contraception to any female of any age at no cost, mandating sex education in all schools (not just public ones), government funding for Planned Parenthood, and pretty much everything else in this direction. I believe that men, as a whole, should stay the fuck out of the abortion debate in general, since it sure as hell isn't wreaking havoc on our reproductive systems and bodies and emotions. Whether it's a case of rape ("honest rape" as Ron Paul stated, or otherwise) or incest, or even as a method of birth control, I'm in no position to make that decision on someone else's behalf. Let the women decide how they want to run their own bodies. And anyone who professes belief that women get breast cancer because of abortion (regardless of hyperbolic logistics) deserves to get punched. Hard.
I believe in a graduated tax rate regardless of income type.
My income tax accounts for somewhere between 26-30% of my paychecks. The carrot/stick approach of if I made more money, particularly from capital gains, I would pay less in taxes, doesn't make sound financial sense for the common good. It's not that I'm all about the common good, but spending the money I pay in taxes on people who need it seems like an passively effective way to help others like any human should want. Hoarding money only benefits the hoarder; it doesn't "create jobs" and it doesn't "boost the economy." Now, if I could mandate the amount and manner that certain moneys should be spent by certain peoples, that would be a different story--but even I believe that's an incredible amount of overreaching. Taxes are the way to go, and fairness tempered by reasonability and common sense seems like the way to do it.
I believe in legalizing marijuana for recreational use, not just for medical use.
This has been such a no-brainer my entire life that it's staggering the issue has not been resolved. I don't know that I've ever heard a competent argument against it, quite frankly, since tobacco and alcohol (sans Prohibition) have been legal, recreational "drugs" for centuries. Why an arbitrary line should be drawn between alcohol and pot, I have no idea, but I think it's ridiculous and strange. At the basic level, the fact that it's illegal for me to grow (or, I suppose, acquire) a certain type of plant, for my own personal use that influences no one but me, is an absolute infringement on a basic freedom to control what I put in my own body. Slap a warning on it, sell it to 21-and-over, and let's all get on with our lives.
I believe that illegal immigration is a sticky, sticky problem.
Not only do illegal immigrants get taken advantage of in every conceivable way, they live in constant fear of deportation, and are absolutely demonized. I say let the children go to college with in-state tuition and become productive members of society. I say grant some measure of amnesty. At the same time, I marvel at the courage of these people; knowing USAmerica is in a severe recession and that the vast majority of citizens loathe and fear illegal immigrants, they still come here seeking opportunity because their lives are so horrible it's somehow not as bad here. That, by itself, should speak volumes. This is not going to be solved in my lifetime, but I sure as hell agree more with a friendly approach than a "get the fuck out of MY COUNTRY" approach.
I believe that prayer should be banned from public schools,
but why stop there? Prayer should be banned from all publicly-funded endeavors, particularly congressional sessions. "In God We Trust" should be taken off our currency. People need to know that it's okay to not be Christian. Evolution should be required curriculum in all schools, and "Intelligent" Design (aka Thinly Veiled Creationism) should be laughed out of existence. Anyone who believes in a Young Earth should band together, wall off their compound, and speak no more where I can hear them. The separation of Church and State should be complete and absolute, to the point where it doesn't require fervent Christian beliefs to get elected to public office--particularly President of the United States. "Handicapped Black Lesbian Jew" FTMFW. Oh, and faith-based organizations should have to pay taxes like everyone else. Exemptions for bullshit reasons are bullshit.
I believe in universal fucking healthcare.
The "fucking" part is important there because this argument is completely ridiculous. If you care more for the profits of corporations than for the health of your citizens, doesn't that make you kind of a fucking asshole? I'm not saying we need to do it exactly like Canada or other socialist nations, but they do seem to get by without complete societal fucking breakdown (whereas we're still stuck in argument over mythical Death Panels and fucking contraception). I want to feel like my government fucking cares about me, and how better for them to do so than to actually care whether I'm healthy or not? The kind of spare-no-expense, money-is-no-object kind of care that I'd get from a committed partnership such as my government. Oh, but where would the money come from? Oh yeah, fucking taxes. (Fuck.)
I believe campaigns and, subsequently, campaign finance are bullshit.
He who has the most money runs the most ads. Most of those ads are negative, giving rise to the expression "lesser of two evils" around every election time. Get a website, put what you stand for on the front page. Add a forum to it where you can discuss those stances with people. Don't be a dick. I figure this would cost about $100, far fewer figures than any campaign I've ever seen. Hell, buy a decent video camera and upload some YouTube videos that drive people to your website and forum. They don't have to be expensive videos. YouTube is [ad-driven] free. For a few thousand dollars, at most, you could get your message out there, allowing all that un-donated campaign money to be spent "stimulating" the economy. Stimulation is good, campaign ads are bad. Where the hell did we go wrong with this?
I believe in Internet privacy, anonymity, and the free sharing/distribution of assets and information.
I believe any attempt to regulate what I can say or post on a global, worldwide network is a waste of time, money, effort, resources, and attention. The Internet is an organic community that will figure itself out. Leave it the fuck alone or you're going to ruin it for everybody. Then what are we stuck with? Corded telephones. No more memes. No more Facebook. Did you really enjoy the 1980s that much?
I believe in term limits for all.
I'm sick of old, white men deciding what is best for me. I'm sick of people who have no idea what my life is like deciding what is best for me. I'm sick of people making decisions on how they perceive the 21st century, and where they think our country should head, rather than where we're actually heading. Congress needs a faster turnover, ruining the concept of Career Politician, because when you become one of those you have no choice but to become out of touch with the true daily life of a USAmerican. I want people who wear jeans and have tattoos represent me, not squeaky-clean people who won't go out their front door unless dolled up in a suit and tie with no hairs out of place. Not that I have anything against suits, but they don't inspire confidence in me the way they did to everyone in the previous century. Make a congressional "seat" an achievable goal for all citizens, not just those who attended law school and have the backing of the nearest millionaire. Term limits is a good place to start.
I believe, and this should come as no surprise, in swearing on the radio and television.
Not to mention other things that are overly regulated to no purpose other than to satisfy general moral and ethical standards of arbitrary and obsolete origin. British television is a lot more bold, and their society hasn't collapsed. Their youth aren't all hooligans, or at least no more hooliganesque than USAmerican youth already are. Play songs and televisions shows the way they were intended to be, not edited because Timmy's parents don't want to explain the word "fuck" and why he shouldn't use it in polite company. Stop fining people for being overly exuberant when they win an award. They fucking deserve to be happy. Stop freaking out about every wayward nipple or bulge. Educate, don't regulate, because a large percentage of the Internet is freely consumable porn anyway.
Okay, I should probably end it there, at least for now. This has already ballooned into way longer than I intended, but it felt good to get all that off my chest. Now you know what I stand for; agree/disagree as you see fit. Note, also, that I really don't hate or think less of people who disagree with me. That's one of the things I enjoy most about people who aren't me.
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