Sunday, October 09, 2011

A Moderate's Manifesto....

Lately, with all the political rhetoric bombarding us as the 2012 elections come closer, I find myself thinking about my “position”. Where am I politically? When I answer that question, I find that I am a moderate. I look at several points in the areas of financial, social and environmental to determine where I stand on issues.

Financial: as the economy has tanked, and our own personal household economy is no longer based on credit, but solely on cash, I find that not only have I personally become more fiscally conservative, but I believe that as a country we MUST also become fiscally conservative. However, the areas that I see the needs for cuts in are neither conservative nor liberal. We could save BILLIONS of dollars by ending two extremely costly wars; we could restructure the tax code to make it more fair; we could do away with some entitlement programs that were offspring of the Depression and Johnson’s Great Society of the ‘60’s; we can cut back on the salaries and perks of the nation’s largest employer, the US Government, starting with the fat cat salaries of our Senators and Congressional representatives. However, I feel we still need to take care of those here that cannot help themselves: the chronically unemployed; the disabled who cannot work; the old and infirm who have no way to support themselves. So, in fiscal responsibility comes also a social responsibility.

Social: I find that there are two social hot-buttons right now in this country – same-sex marriage and abortion. Sure, teaching Creationism in our schools is also a hot-button issue when you have certain Presidential candidates that bring it to the forefront. But those other issues are ones that engage more Americans than any other. When I was a single man I was fully supportive of abortion, very pro-choice. Now having had two kids of my own, with their uniqueness of who they are, I cannot support abortion as much as I used to. But I find that I still support a woman’s right to HAVE an abortion, within reason (only a 1st trimester abortion), and I still support the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe vs. Wade. I believe too that if we were to reverse that decision, women would still attempt to have abortions, but now they’d have to do it in some clandestine way, without the safeguards that are afforded them by trained physicians and nurses performing those abortions. So, while I don’t LIKE abortion, I believe that legalized abortion is a right and a safeguard. As far as same-sex marriage, well, I’m not QUITE comfortable with the idea of two same-sex individuals deciding to “marry” – it just doesn’t “feel” right to me. Yet I believe that if two individuals, whether male and female, or male and male, or female and female, are in a LOVING and COMMITTED relationship, why should they not LEGALLY marry? Why can they not have the same legal rights as other heterosexual married couples have? I am not sold yet on same-sex marriages being performed in houses of worship, and that may take some time before I land on one side of that issue or not. But the Right’s argument that gay marriage is a threat to traditional marriage I find to be laughable. What really IS a threat to traditional marriage: rocky finances that drive couples apart; infidelity; domestic abuse; substance abuse. Why not make THESE things illegal before we concentrate on making same-sex marriage illegal.

Finally, the environment. I am NOT a tree-hugging environmentalist. I used to be a member of the Sierra Club, but left because it became a “let’s save the environment to the extent that no one can use or even truly enjoy it” type of an organization. The Sierra Club was so anti-development, anti-oil exploration and drilling, anti-mining, that it has crippled our economic ability to sustain our country. While environmental tragedies such as the massive Gulf oil spill in 2010, or the Exxon Valdez in the 80’s are of concern, I think that our government has done an acceptable job in regulating those industries, and we do not need to further regulate without impeding economic progress. I see it this way: we have natural resources that are not abundant, but are ready for “harvesting”, yet we prevent those resources from being tapped by requiring environmental impact reports and studies, permits, etc. I see us as being good stewards of what we have been blessed with. We need to be responsible in using our natural resources, yet at the same time continue to develop renewable sources, like solar and wind energy. But we need to recognize that our poor stewardship over the last 150 or so years has affected our climate (and I do NOT believe that we have affected our climate as much as Al Gore says we have), we have lost many species due to our endeavor to get ahead, and we have lost many wonderful natural sights due to our need to have progress (like the Glen Canyon dam that inundated a wonderful set of canyons in the southern part of Utah).

So there, a moderate’s manifesto