Publishers Note; What follows is the unedited text of a letter by contributor Jeff Brown on political labels and, I think, their rather disruptive influence on our democracy. Not all the politics match, but the tone of this letter is a perfect fit for The Rational Middle.
I have been asked what my political belief is (R, D, I, Liberal, Libertarian etc) and either been criticized or praised depending on the audience since the ’08 campaign started. Until a few years ago you could have asked me what my political beliefs were and I would have proudly stated “I am a Republican!” A few years ago I would have answered “conservative”, within the last year “libertarian” and most recently “libertarian-conservative”. The more divided that the country has become the more I have spent time studying the differences between all of the different “labels” in a failed effort to more clearly define myself. What I have found is that my current belief structure falls into so many different categories that I couldn’t really pick one that fit. Some examples follow after the break:
1- The name of our current President is either President Obama or Mr. President. It is NOT “Obama”. I hear a great number of conservative news outlets or talk shows us the term “Obama”, so Conservative doesn’t fit. When Bush was in office the same was done by the Liberals. You see my dilemma.
2- Gun Control- The more difficult you make it for law abiding citizens to own a weapon, the less safe our society is. Criminals who want to get their hands on guns will be able to do so whether or not it is legal. This is a Libertarian and Conservative belief but it is not a Liberal or Democratic belief. I did find however that there are some Democrats that do believe in it. Again you see my dilemma.
3- Illegal Immigration- Well considering that it starts with “Illegal” what more could you say. If you choose to enter the country, do it the right way, follow the law. I know…Racist! Well I dare anyone to enter any other major country without following their laws and see what that gets you. Hmmm…Libertarian and Democrats both agree that we need to pass reform and make all of the “illegal’s” that are here get back in line and apply, pay a fine, pay back taxes and do it the right way. The Republicans are seemingly all over the board. While I do find common ground with all parties, I find myself asking the question “what about the illegal immigrants that come in later?” What is their penalty? Again…Dilemma? *Personal point*- If you do come into this country or are born in this country, you are an American…not a hyphen American…If you want to be the hyphen…go back to that country. I am proud of the fact that I am German and Irish but my great grandparents came here to live the “freedom” that only AMERICA could provide them.
4- Social Issues- I don’t believe that it is up to the government to legislate social or moral issues. If I have not infringed on anyone elses rights then the government should stay out of my life. They should not be my moral compass. If I don’t want to carry healthcare insurance that is my choice, if I want to eat a double cheeseburger without knowing that it has 1300 calories that is still my choice!!! Republicans say that they agree with this but want to legislate things like abortion and stem cell research. The Dems say they have a duty to legislate things like homosexual issues and healthcare. Libertarians believe in TOTAL deregulation of the healthcare industry. While I do believe in the lowering of some regulations, I don’t think that removal is a good idea. Dilemma?
5- Environment- While I agree that the use of fossil fuels does damage the environment, the jury is still out as to how much and what the actual effect will be. Has anyone asked what the effect of having so much concrete and asphalt in the world? I would think that it would aid in the increase of the temperature as concrete holds heat. Is that a little simplistic? I don’t think so. I think that it is a good point. Another question…In looking at Wikipedia, there are literally hundreds of environmental organizations in the world. Why? If the goal is the same (to save the environment) then why don’t they all fall under one? Maybe save the earth. It seems that they would get more done. If you want to create more jobs…allow more nuclear power plants to be built in the U.S. Again in this it does not fit the mold on any of the political parties.
Unfortunately, I think that I have made my point. I have done this with a great many of my beliefs and been able to come to very few conclusions.
First, my core beliefs can be held by different parties.
Second, common ground can be found all of the time. It is through truly respectful debate that we are able to find the compromise.
Third, there is way too much finger pointing and name calling. It doesn’t matter which side it comes from, it is time to really make a difference and begin to fix the problems. Some might say that it is the career politician, the lobbyist and the total lack of representation of “we the people” that is the problem. Just a thought.
Finally, I have figured out what “label” fits me the best…
I AM AN AMERICAN…GOD BLESS YOU!
The Rational Middle thanks Jeff Brown…