Wednesday, February 7, 2007

My Political Beliefs

Someone at work asked me about my Political stance. This is a delicate issue, since politics is something that is so polarizing for today's society. And the media plays its part. The more division there is between the parties, the more controversy, and so the more news there is. A government that actually works together is a dull one, although it gets much more done.
But anyway, there are two ways of trying to define my personal political beliefs: by pointing on a ideological graph different people that I agree with, and then place me someplace in the middle, or by talking about the philosophies behind my beliefs. I'll do both.

At the very core of my beliefs is a paragraph from Henry David Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience." Instead of typing it out, I'll place a link, here . It's the last paragraph in the essay. It basically says that, following the idea that A government governs best that governs least. Now, I'm not talking about anarchy here, but rather a clearly defined role that the government has in the lives of their citizens. Further, Thoreau says that he envisions a government in which the individual is truly the governing power. In other words, government by the individual, for the individual, is the ideal form. While you might say, well, isn't that democracy? No. Because our own government believes that the majority rules, and that society as a whole develops the rules in which we all live.

Now, the important leap that Thoreau, and I, make, is that if the Individual knew right from wrong, and governed his or her own life according to the Ideal, then there would be no need for the government to "govern" his life.

Of course this is the Ideal method. We live in the real world, where morals differ greatly between different people, cultures...etc..., where people live without conscious, where mental disorders curb some people's ability to determine right from wrong, and where parenting skills have so dulled the difference in children that now instant gratification overcomes any moral philosophy.

Thus the decision is whether to live your life thinking ideally, that people should have the ability to govern themselves, or to live thinking realistically, thinking that individuals are unable to control their urges, and that the government must step in to provide boundaries for its citizens.

I have decided, even with all the evidence pointing away from it, that people should have the ability to govern themselves, and that the government is not needed to tell us what to do and how to live. So where does that put me, on this one core issue, as far as the current American political system. Democrats believe in a strong central government with rules to govern lives. Democrats think Realistically, in that they believe in the Government's power to guide it's citizens down the right path. On the other hand, Republicans tend to think Idealistically, tending to leave people (and businesses) to govern themselves as much as possible.

Except that's not true at all. Republicans are all for letting people govern themselves as long as morality is not involved. But when an issue like Gay Marriage or Abortion or whatever becomes involved, they tend to stomp hard on the side of strict regulations on their citizens' private lives. Democrats would govern every aspect of a person's life... gun control, smoking, but tend to be more lenient on social issues.

Except that's not totally right either. Nothing in politics is black or white. You have to examine a single issue, one that's highly polarizing, to realize where the parties stand. Let's look at Gay Marriage, since it's highly polarizing. Republicans would tend to be against it, even though they are not for the federal government controlling its citizen's lives, because it is a moral issue and tends to be against Christian beliefs. Democrats, while they might oppose it for political reasons (their constituents, for the most part, are Christian and therefore oppose it) would not be for legislation since it is governing a religious issue, even though Democrats usually favor a stronger, more guiding central government.
So there is a conundrum here.

Let's take a look at other things, current events and political stances, and I'll outline what I believe.

* The Iraq War. Might as well start off here. I do agree with the war in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan and the war on Terror in general. I don't agree with how Bush has done it, or his reasonings behind going into Iraq, but the idea was sound enough. Let's face it, Bush should have been honest with himself when he went for Iraq first. He was going in there to finish what his father started. Not because someone had hidden Nukes there. Iran doesn't have to do that, they make them out in the open. What Iraq had or didn't have, I'm not sure, but I do know that Bush should have been more honest about his decisions and revealed them more to the public. Instead, the Iraq war is unpopular, and Senators are waiting in line to bash Bush and to find any reason to pull the troops out. Of course, it's the media that has helped to propigate the unpopularity of the war. The Vietnam War was much more bloody than the present day one, with thousands dying every week. But we see the Iraq war as being identical in scope because the media reports on every soldier killed and every bomb exploded. Al-Queida (sp) is counting on it. In almost every case, the media rears its ugly head to make any issue more polarizing and more devisive than before.

*Stem Cell Research. As long as the embryos are going to be destroyed anyway (through a failed fertilization attempt or whatever), what's the harm in giving this unfortunate happening a chance to do something good for people?

*Abortion. I'm pro-life. But not for any religious reason or whatever. I measure any given life in potential happiness. The potential for any one child to be born is one spot of potential happiness to spring forth. I could not end a life when the potential is there for great joy and laughter as the child grows up.

So to take a look at these issues, I believe in a little of both of the parties platforms. I guess if I have to pick a party, I would pick the one that Thoreau would have belonged to... the Libertarian party. Strong on Foreign policy, but believing in the good of the individual to govern in place of rules and regulations on the private lives of its citizens.

And this fits in with one of the people I greatly admire, Bob Barr, former senator (Republican) from Georgia. He did head the impeachment process against Clinton. Because he lied on the stand, nothing more. More interestingly, he voted against the Gay Marriage amendment for Georgia because he believed that the Government should stay out of the lives of its citizens, even when questions of morality are involved. It is not the government's job to tell us what we can and cannot do. It's not surprising that Barr recently quit the Republican party and joined the Libertarians, as he was unhappy with the direction the GOP was heading.

Other people I agree with or admire... There is no greater politician today that can stand up for what he believes in than Zell Miller. Amazing orator, reminiscent of the firey preachers of old. He took Georgia, developed the Hope scholarship, maintained a strong economy that has persisted through down times, and has changed the lives of so many Georgians. I greatly admire him, and he's a Democrat, but one that's conservative on many issues.

Along the same lines, Joe Lieberman chose to run as an Independent from Conneticut, and won over his own Democratic adversary. While I don't agree with his ideas on regulating violence on TV and Video games, his support of Bush's tax breaks, the war in Iraq, and his brilliant debate against Chaney in the 2000 election makes me wonder if he would have won over Bush when Gore couldn't.

To finish off the graph of politicians I admire, we have to place a dot on the Republican side, too, since I've voted Republican on almost everything since I was able. We lost a brilliant man when Ronald Reagan died. And if you watch Fox News and listen to former Oklahoman Senator J.C. Watts (whom I'm convinced would be the first African-American President if he would run, but he's wise enough not to. It's like standing in front of a moving train, it ages you like 30 years. Clinton now looks older than G. Bush Sr., and Carter looks worse than Castro does, and he's on death's door.), you'll be blown away by his beliefs, his ability to connect faith with the government (which should be together, unlike what most people say), and his ability to get a word in edgewise when Hannity and Colmes are at it.

So now, make a graph with a X and Y axis, with Left and Right being what they are (Democrat and Republican) and Socialism at the top and Libertarianism at the bottom. (The Y axis represents the amount of control the government has on people's lives. Too far to the bottom is Anarchy, and too far to the top is Totalitarianism) Now place the dots of the people I (or you) admire and agree with. That puts me someplace on the Right, bottom. Republican and Libertarian, but not so far to the right that I would be considered a strong Conservative.

Anyway, you get where I'm coming from, where I stand on the ideological spectrum of politics and Government. Finally, though, I have to say this. That what happens in Washington or Atlanta or wherever you might happen to live, while important, is not nearly as important as what happens right around you. The individual governs his own space, and has the ability to do far more good for the world than any politician ever could. Love is never passed by a vote, Caring is not a bill to be debated. The people who spend all day worrying about what their government his hiding or scheming or whatever has done nothing to help the people around them. In 2000, Bush ran on Compassionate Conservatism. I don't really know what he was talking about, and it never really panned out. I do know this. That I am going to care about my friends and love those whom I love, and whatever happens in Iraq or Washington or wherever doesn't mean a whole lot to me. If we all get blown to Oz by some Nuke from Iran, at least I will know that I loved someone here on Earth, and that I cared about the people around me.

No comments:

Post a Comment