Sunday, January 19, 2020

A Party of One

The other day I took one of those “Who You Should Vote For” surveys. They ask questions about a wide variety of issues including education, science, electoral process, crime, immigration, social, economic, domestic policy, the environment, national security, transportation, foreign policy, healthcare, local politics/elections. My score ended up with a tie between Michael Bloomberg and Donald Trump at the top followed by Joe Biden and Amy Klobucher. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and the rest of the free stuff fun bunch lagged way behind.

I just happen to be one of those independents who refuses to believe that either party has all the answers. I tend to consider myself more of a pragmatist than an idealist when it comes to politics. I am also inclined to question anything that is said by those on the extreme ends of the political spectrum. I know where Fox News is coming from and how it slants its reporting and commentary. Same thing for MSNBC and CNN. I gave up on the networks years ago.

My positions on taxes, climate change, gun control, welfare, same-sex marriage, abortion, immigration and most issues are a mix of conservative and progressive. If weighed out, the scales tip more toward the conservative side for sure. But I am not 100% on either side on most issues. Just a few examples:

_Taxes. I think we should reduce the size and cost of government. There is way too much waste in government, especially in the federal government. So check me as a conservative there. However, I also think we should increase taxes on the wealthy. I’m ok with carrying National Debt and when necessary over-spending for a year or two. But, we are out of control and need more revenue to bring things back in line. Plus we know that we need to spend more on education, healthcare and infrastructure.

_Right to life. I am pro-life. But I am also a pragmatist. Women will have abortions. Always have and always will. So we should make it as safe as possible. However, there should be more done to counsel, support and encourage women to go ahead and have that child. Then give it up for adoption if that’s the best option. But, if the woman chooses abortion, so be it.

I am also a pragmatist when it comes to end of life issues. Terminally ill patients should have the option of ending their lives via assisted suicide. Some will ask how I can claim to be Christian and support such an idea. I honestly do not see how you can be a Christian and not support it.

And then there is the death penalty. I am generally opposed to it, because we know that sometimes juries get it wrong. But, in certain situations, for certain crimes, I think it is justified and I support it.

So when it comes to these life and death issues…am I conservative or progressive?

_Immigration. I am not for building a wall and I think we need more immigrants, not less. So does that make me a progressive? I am also for tighter border security and more restrictions, so I guess that makes me a conservative. I am for establishing a streamlined pathway to citizenship for illegals who have been in this country and stayed out of trouble for some period of time. And we need to move quickly to grant citizenship to “Dreamers” who were born here. So I guess that makes me a progressive. But wait, I think immigrants should be required to learn the English language and the history and culture of America. I suppose that makes me a conservative.

_Guns. I own guns. I have a permit to carry. I am a gun guy. That’s about as conservative as it gets. However, I don’t think civilians need high-capacity semi-automatic weapons. Certainly not military type assault-rifles. And we need tighter regulations on buying and selling guns. So maybe I am a gun-toting progressive.

_I tend to lean left on same sex marriage, but don’t think churches should be forced to perform such marriages. Perhaps I am more of a “civil union” conservative. Live and let live. Move on.

_I am all for renewable energy, clean air and clean water. But I am also a realist and fossil fuel still offers the biggest bang for the buck. I do believe the climate is changing and we have been in a warm cycle. We have been in warm cycles before and it’s not all about C02, although CO2 is probably making some contribution. Overall, I am a skeptic when it comes to the “science is settled” dogma that CO2 and human activity are the primary forces driving climate change. That makes me about as stone-age conservative as you can be these days.

Therefore, I have become a Party of One. If you have a brain and are willing to use it, feel free to join me.