Friday, November 9, 2012

Principled vs. Partisan

Principled, adjective... 1. (of a person or their behavior) Acting in accordance with morality and showing recognition of right and wrong.

Partisan, noun... 1. A firm adherent to a party, faction, cause, or person; especially: one exhibiting blind, prejudiced, and unreasoning allegiance.

I find it fascinating that the term "partisan" is bandied about so much. Truly, to be a "partisan" is a negative thing. Blind adherence to a political party is beyond dangerous. It was partisanship that allowed Nazism to rise so prominently and quickly. Many people were willing to turn a blind eye to a lack of principle in favor of the party.

I notice, however, that people are quick to accuse others of "partisanship" when what they really mean is "principled." An unwillingness to compromise on basic principles does not equal partisan behavior -- it's principled behavior, which is something we should all desire in our elected officials. How does one, in good conscience, compromise on issues of life? Of liberty? These compromises should not be made. Being willing to compromise on fiscal theory is different. There's nothing unprincipled about saying, "Look -- we'll do it your way for now and see how things go. We can revisit this conversation later if it doesn't turn out the way you hope."

Truth be told, when it comes to fiscal issues, there are partisans on both sides. I, personally, do not think that compromise (in the true sense of the word) is the answer. It makes much more sense to say, "Hey. We'll do it your way. Then we'll try it my way. In the end, we'll see which way works the best." It's like having a debate where one person wants cooked chicken and the other prefers it raw. One could argue that cooking it half way is better than not cooking it at all, but in the end the one ingesting it is likely to be sick.

I think that unfettered capitalism, while having problems if its own, is the best way to a prosperous nation. It can be argued that having fettered capitalism is preferable to socialism, and socialism is preferable to communism, etc... But I would argue that giving way to fettered capitalism ends up giving way to socialism. And socialism, as a theory, is actually designed to be the stepping stone to communism.

If the Republican party wishes to remain so partisan as to compromise principle in order to gain and/or maintain power, so be it. I no longer identify myself as a Republican when speaking to others anyway. I am independent of any party because I think they both have come to worry more about party than principle.

I do wish, however, that the American people weren't so anxious to see their politicians joining hands and singing Kumbaya while walking off a fiscal cliff. It would be much more honorable for one side to try and hold the other back. Or turn in a different direction. Or at least begin construction on a bridge.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Post Election

The election is over and Republicans everywhere are dealing with a big loss. I, personally, am dealing with a sense of frustration -- and an overall feeling of resignation.

Here's what I know: Barack Obama is not a great president. Frankly, there are not too many people in the US who believe that he is. People all over the country are frustrated with the economy, with bits and piece of Obama's foreign policy, and with various other issues. Granted, people frustrated with Obama's foreign policy come from opposite ends of the spectrum -- some are frustrated because he hasn't gone one direction and others frustrated because he hasn't gone another. But basically most are frustrated.

But he's back in again. Four more years of this garbage.

I had an overall feeling of resignation after the Republican primaries as well. They threw Romney up there and I thought -- NOOOOOO! Romney is NOT a conservative politician. I was forced to, again, choose between "liberal" and "liberal-lite." I was so frustrated. But I still went to the polls to vote for "liberal-lite." While Romney was running, though, he spoke some conservative thoughts... and ran as someone I didn't believe him to be. Wow... you know what the Republican party is going to take from this election, right? They're going to say, "See??? We ran as conservative and the American people don't want that... so we're going to have to run some more liberals for office. THAT'S what the American people want." And again, in the future, there will be two candidates put forward to the American people from which to choose... with not too many differences between them.

But now we have a Republican controlled House, a Democrat controlled Senate, and Obama in the White House. The Republicans in the House will do more compromising this time around, taxes will go up, and Americans everywhere are going to be hit harder. Frankly, with the amount of money I am spending on gas and groceries, I don't know how most Americans are making it. Oh... wait. I do... 47 million Americans are on food stamps. 49 percent of Americans live in households that receive direct government assistance (including Social Security and Medicare recipients), and 35 percent of Americans are on means-tested assistance (food stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance, etc...).

Looking at the above numbers, one can feel a bit daunted. Add to that the fact that 47 percent of Americans don't pay any income tax at all and one can feel downright overwhelmed.

How long can the "wealthy" be soaked to give gifts to others? And don't tell me they're all poor -- they're not. I know people who are on the public dole via "unemployment benefits" who are milking the system for all its worth... they're retired because they were laid off close to retirement, but in order to continue to collect their unemployment checks, all they have to do (legally) is enroll at the community college. So... what are a few classes? They can do that - no problem. I have also heard of people who are on food stamps. Perhaps they legitimately needed help at one time, but they are now employed and can afford their own food -- but they still qualify for the program and so they stay on it.... while also being able to qualify for a mortgage for a very nice house, thank you very much.

The way that people think and behave is a mess. And, unfortunately, it's going to continue. And it's apparently going to get worse. See, people have figured out that they can vote in the person who's going to keep the money coming. They've bought into the idea that there's actually money there to give when there isn't any. When people are interviewed on the street and they say they're going to vote Obama because he gives them money and phones "from his stash," you know we're in trouble. And we're all to blame. Our education system stinks, we've not held up our end of the bargain when it comes to being invested in our children -- staying involved in their lives and invested in what they're learning. I hate to say it, but Americans everywhere are completely lacking in character and it shows in our system as a whole.

This is not something that can be fixed politically. So what can we do?

Keep talking. Engage people around us in thoughtful conversation that's rooted in logic.

Be a positive influence on the next generation. Do you have any idea how many kids are out there floundering with no one to guide them? Be a second mom or dad to those kids. Heck, be a FIRST mom or dad to them if you can!

Don't be too intimidated to stand for what is right. There are so many people who will try to "win" an argument by making you uncomfortable rather than by making sense. Don't allow yourself to feel uncomfortable -- and keep turning conversations back to "making sense."

Never, ever give up. No matter how impossible it all seems.