Well, it's about fourteen months from election time. I decided I'd go ahead and weigh in with my political stance now, so as not to be accused later of jumping on a bandstand, or intentionally being a contrarian. I consider myself to be solidly middle of the road. I think this is born out by the complementary facts that my conservative friends think I'm a raging liberal and that my liberal friends think I'm a conservative. The truth is that I take a liberal stand on some issues, and a conservative stand on others, but on most I find the most common-sense, easiest to apply solution lies in the middle ground. I'm sure this will confuse some and irritate others. I wouldn't have it any other way.
In no particular order, here are the issues that I listed on a piece of paper, and my very general thoughts on them.
Private Ownership of Weapons:
Okay, I get the initial objection. Who really needs military hardware? I mean, an RPG is a pretty stupid choice for home defense. However, I own guns, and if I could afford it and it were legal, I'd love to have a fully automatic weapon to play with at the range. I wouldn't use an automatic weapon for defense, though, because they require training I haven't received in order to be effective. Still, it would be fun to make matchsticks out of a tree trunk. Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with veterans or anyone else who has received training with automatics owning them. It's not the regular law abiding citizen that should be seen as a threat. The Second Amendment gives the people the right to keep and bear arms. Notice that's “people”, not “state”, not “federal government”. The government doesn't need a Constitutional amendment to give itself rights; this is guaranteeing rights to you and me.
In addition to the whole gun control issue, is the fight that private citizens are now waging to be allowed to own pocket knives. Yes, in some places, there is a lobby to outlaw knives. The oldest and most commonly used tool in the history of mankind, and they're trying to take it away. Guess what? I carry a Buck knife with a locking blade between 3 and 4 inches long. Not as a weapon, but because I open boxes for a living. Sometimes utility knives get mislaid, and I can whip this off my belt and carry on with work without wasting time. Also, sometimes you need a sturdier blade than the flimsy, glorified razor blade in those box knives. I carry a Tinker model Swiss Army knife, too, because you'd be surprised just how often those little miniature tools come in handy. This doesn't qualify as an arsenal in my mind. But, with the Second Amendment, so what if it is?
The simple fact of the matter is that outlawing anything doesn't keep it out of the hands of criminals. Have you noticed that crack hasn't disappeared from the planet? If you outlaw my guns and knives, it just means that some guy breaking into my house knows I'm unarmed.
Well, this is quite the buzzkill topic, eh? Are we talking a child, here, or a choice? Both? Neither? Okay, here's my line of thinking. I really don't think it should ever be considered lightly and any woman who chooses abortion as her primary form of birth control should probably go join a convent or something. However, I will also say that I don't think a woman should have to carry the child of her rapist or molester. I also don't think that a fetus is a separate life until the pregnancy has reached the stage where the child can survive outside the mother.
Guess I'm not so long winded on this topic.
I like the idea of a safety net for those who need help temporarily. Yes, I know it comes from taxes we all pay, but think of it as insurance against people becoming those panhandlers who annoy you at the off ramp. What I do have a problem with is people whose career goal is “Welfare Recipient” and have no desire to earn a damn thing for themselves. I don't mind temporarily helping with food and necessities for the family whose breadwinner got laid off or injured and can't work. I do mind supporting lifelong laziness. I have no problem with requiring a drug test before handing out the food stamps and welfare checks. I'd include testing for alcohol and nicotine. Cigarettes are expensive with all the sin taxes being hurled at them lately. If you can't afford food, you damn sure shouldn't be literally burning your grocery money.
Okay. Hot topic. Lots of ranting and raving from the Left and the Right. We have a system in place to allow for immigration. I'm sorry, but it's not everyone’s God given right to live in the U.S. Follow the system. Stop making excuses for illegal immigrants. The key word here is “illegal”. They broke the law to be here. Don't give me that crap about “No person is illegal”. Of course his or her existence isn't illegal. His/her presence is. Amnesty for illegal immigrants is a slap in the face of legal immigrants, like telling them they went through all the red tape and jumped through all the bureaucratic hoops for nothing. On the other hand, if somebody has a valid driver's license, don't harass him for his green card or demand a birth certificate. I don't carry a copy of my birth certificate with me, and it's unreasonable to demand a U.S. Citizen to do so just because his skin is brown. We don't require our citizens to carry “traveling papers” here. Well, maybe in Arizona...
Wow. I usually have a pretty good idea of where I stand, but I'm really unsure and clouded here. I really and truly believe there are people who deserve execution. I think it's jumped to too quickly in a lot of cases, though. I think, with a few exceptions, if there's a chance of rehabilitation, then a lighter sentence should be given. On the other extreme (hey, I'm full of internal contradictions) I think a sentence of life without parole is kind of dumb. You're saying you don't want any chance of this person ever being out in the world again. Ever. So you dump him in prison, where he costs the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars a year in food, housing, and guards. Plus, there's the chance he could escape. If he's never to be let out of prison, why not execute him?
On the other hand, many innocent men have been convicted, then later exonerated on new evidence. How tragic it would be to find evidence vindicating someone after he's been executed? That makes the state, and by proxy, all of us, guilty of murder. And don't give me that crap about “I'd rather execute innocent men than let guilty men go free”. Guess what, genius? For every innocent man imprisoned or executed, the real guilty one IS FREE. AND you've killed an innocent person.
Because of the fact that innocent people sometimes are convicted, capital punishment makes me nervous. I wouldn't call for stopping it, but I would strongly urge judicious hesitation in its use.
Creation of Federal Jobs:
Big subject here. Yes, I know their pay comes out of taxes. So would their food money otherwise. And those tax dollars going into their checks then goes into the economy in the form of buying groceries, paying rent, buying vehicles and gas and clothes and whatever else employed people buy that unemployed panhandlers don't. I know – you're thinking that then we have to keep paying them because they have this job. Well, look back at the jobs FDR created. Federal and Interstate highways. Yup, they're built, all right. Guess what? You like using them, right? Do ya like not having potholes and cracks in them? Federal parks – built. They still have to be maintained and policed, eh? There's work to be done, and if money is being paid to workers, then it automatically goes back into the economy.
Don't tell me gay marriage in any way affects the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. The only things affecting the sanctity of your marriage are you, your spouse, and your actions. If the sanctity of your marriage is affected by anything outside that, go get some marital counseling. Think about all the straight people you know who have been married multiple times. I'll hold myself up as a bad example. I have two failed marriages and a failed cohabitational relationship behind me, and I'm in a cohabitational relationship now. That's four women I've lived with in 21 years. There are many gay couples who have been faithfully together longer than that. How is my situation any better than theirs? Some will claim Biblical reasons. I'd remind them of the separation of Church and State (more on that later), and also remind them that if we go Biblical, depending on whose interpretation you use, their own relationship may be called into legal question. I was raised to believe divorce was only allowed in the case of adultery, and that the guilty party had no right to remarry. You wanna institute that as civil law? No? Then let's not base our laws on a 1500 year old ambiguous text.
I'm no pacifist. I do think we stick our noses and guns into too many other countries' business too much, though. Like my thoughts on capital punishment and abortion, I think it should be a last resort to invade another country. I don't hold that against the troops by any means, however. They took an oath to give their lives to defend this country, and part of their job is to follow orders. They don't get to question, they just go. I'm a veteran; I understand this, and I thank those serving now. As a matter of fact, today is Friday – I wore a red shirt, did you?
Separation of Church and State:
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. “
I think a lot of people focus on the part that says “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, and ignore the part before it, which says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. I think it's telling that the forefathers stated the part about no laws respecting a religion before the part about not prohibiting the exercise. The first part means that freedom OF religion does indeed mean freedom FROM religion as well. If we don't practice the same faith, then how can I have freedom of my religion unless I'm free from yours?
It's really tiresome to hear some guy go on and on about freedom of speech, only to have him try and shut you down when he finds out you disagree with him. Especially when he tells you you need to move out of the country because you're too liberal, or too conservative, or too religious, or too …
Freedom of speech is for everybody's opinions, not just the popular. The popular opinions don't need a law to protect them. Beliefs and speech supporting government don't need protection. It's the dissident for whom this Amendment was written.
And, as much as I support our troops, whenever somebody protests military action/war, and a veteran says “I fought so you could have the right to say that shit”, he's kind of contradicting himself, isn't he? He's saying he fought to preserve freedoms that this protestor is exercising, yet is offended that the protestor is is using the gift the veteran gave him. I've never understood this argument.
Federal Power vs State Power
Guess what? This is one that can take a whole post just by itself....