Monday, June 18, 2012

Differences of Opinion

I've been getting into trouble recently

A few of my Facebook friends... OK, more than a few of my Facebook friends (and a number of my real world friends) are very Conservative. I mean, c'mon, how can you be involved in firearms without knowing some Gun Guys (and if they aren't a conservative bunch, I don't know who is).

I was called out for offending someone with cartoons and posts that made it seem I was trying to say something about them personally. Most of the posts/shares I made were attempts to show the political beliefs I espouse or to ridicule what I see as the low side of both ends of the political spectrum. One cartoon was about the lowest common denominator within a conservative political group (and something I have seen first hand).

I have known your run-of-the-mill Conservatives, religious Conservatives, economic conservatives, some people who are Reagan Republicans, some folks who think of themselves as Reagan Republicans (but aren't), a number of Libertarians, some folks who think of themselves as Libertarians (but aren't), a guy who thinks of himself as the modern incarnation of Theodore Roosevelt (without using the word 'environmental', because, you know, only Liberals have something to do with environmentalism - and, no, he isn't on Facebook), and some folks who make the John Birch Society look like the Socialist Party of America. I have gotten along with them all - granted some better than others. I even changed some minds in the process - while I had mine opened as well.

I myself, as the blog title suggests, am not conservative. Well, not about most issues. I have also started to become less quiet about my beliefs.

Given the various places I have lived and one particular job I had, I now tend to let people know what I am thinking about a political subject. I got tired of having to nod, smile, and say, "Sure" when someone suggested the President was born in another country and how he was going to try to force Socialism on us and take our guns away. In the position I worked, I would likely have lost my job if my political leanings would have been made public.

So, back to Facebook...

Lately, I have been sharing some comics, graphs, and other things that support my worldview. Some people have taken issue with these beliefs and think that because I don't like some of their personal and political beliefs that I do not like them. This could not be further from the truth.

The first thing I ask myself: 

Are you a mean person? I have known Liberals and Conservatives both who were complete asses. There are people across the spectrum who want to hurt people, who don't respect property, and who think of those who disagree with them as lower life forms. A perfect example of this are some (not all) of the Occupy protestors at Zuccotti Park. Closer to home are people who abuse their family members. Douchebaggery knows no political lines.

Next: 

Do you use your worldview to determine how you treat others (coworkers, people on the street, customers, etc.)? For some people this manifests itself through ignoring those who do not attend your church, go to your political club, or attend your rally. An extreme case is robbing and murdering people because you don't like illegal aliens...


If the answer to either is yes, I may not want to be your friend. In a lot of ways this comes down to a simple question: "Would I want to have a beer with you?" In the case of the current presidential election, I could answer yes for either of them. Hell, I would have said yes to Ron Paul. Most of the others would be a solid no.

I can't think of a person I am friends with that I wouldn't want to have a drink with. I hope you feel the same way.

What is my worldview? 

Here is a short list.

(Note - I have the right to add, delete, or modify anything on this list without notice)
  • Yes to separation of Church and State (much of the rest hinges on this)
  • Yes to Taxes - especially yes to raising the capital gains tax back to pre-Clinton levels; especially no to a flat tax
  • Yes to reducing unnecessary governmental spending
  • No to continuing tax credits or subsidies for US corporations keeping headquarters/money overseas for tax purposes 
  • Yes to Evolution
  • Yes to Gay Marriage
  • Yes to Social Welfare, unemployment, food stamps, etc.
  • Yes to a program allowing illegal immigrants a means to become legal citizens (Not Amnesty)
  • Yes to Gun Rights although I agree with background checks at Gun Shows and take issue with some of the nonsense spewed by the NRA
  • Yes to cutting back on the military - specifically the F-22 and Joint Strike Fighter
  • Yes to Health Care Reform
  • Yes to reproduction rights for women. However, while I support the right to it, I do not support the act of abortion. 
  • I disagree with the Citizens United Decision
  • I believe that many Tea Party members are genuine in their interest to see a better America and that the end result is similar to my image of a better America. Now if we can only agree on how to get to this shared destination
  • I believe that the people running the Tea Party (There are several Tea Parties to choose from - each supporting slightly different things) have been very good at pulling the wool over the eyes of the rank-and-file, hiding the corporate/1%er wolf under the sheep's wool of God, Flag, and Family
  • I believe that teachers do not get paid enough and if the pay was better, we would get better teachers. 
  • I believe that unions are a good thing for disenfranchised workers - until they get too greedy for their own good. 
  • I believe that the Amendments to the US Constitution compose a list of our rights, first and foremost. Any attempt to amend it in order to infringe the rights of ANYONE goes against that theme. (There is no such thing as a right to not be offended)
  • I believe that the President is an American Citizen, a Christian, and the legal Commander-in-Chief
  • I believe that there is no Muslim agenda to destroy America - I am more worried about a Christian Identity member with a U-Haul full of ANFO
  • I believe that the 1% is padding their wallets and that the rest of us are suffering as a side effect
Yes. I am the Secular Humanist your parents warned you about.

2 comments:

Ceilon Aspensen said...

I understand your need to post this, as I hail originally from the South, and 99.9% of my gene pool still lives there. Oklahoma may not be officially part of the Deep South, but the Oklahoma territory and the two of Five Civilized tribes (the Choctaws and Chickasaws)sided with the South, the latter losing many of their treaty rights for siding against the government with which they had formed the treaties...but that's another topic for another time.... All of that to say: politically, Oklahoma is just about every bit as Southern as the former Confederate states. (Another aside: there's a guy here at MSU in the History masters program whose thesis is that "Montana is the farthest north Southern state"...and here I was thinking I'd fled the Confederacy...I digress....)

All of THAT to say: It can feel overwhelmingly oppressive to be continuously surrounded by Southern conservatism; every bit as oppressive as the intense heat and 100% humidity that makes it so hard to breathe there. It's the only place that I have lived where I felt extreme pressure to either conform to their regressive politics and religious beliefs, or keep my mouth shut and play along. It's the reason I moved OUT of the South (though I had forgotten that reason after 17 years in Montana, and then forgot that Maryland is below the Mason Dixon line when I moved back there; just a couple of years in Baltimore was enough to reawaken those memories of intellectual oppression I experienced as a child of the Deep South).

Yes, there are "liberals" (I prefer "progressives") in the South. But you/they are seriously outnumbered, and meet with so much LOUD opposition when having the audacity to voice your opinions that it almost seems like a form of social control on the part of the regressives (make no mistake--it IS).

And all of THAT to say: "I feel ya" (as my Baltimore students would say), and keep speaking up! That's how change happens. I found it too hard to continuously be at odds with my own family, and had to get out of there--"no man is a prophet in his own land" (as the founder of their faith said, though they wouldn't know that, because they don't actually READ the Bible).

Southern stuff aside, I'm interested in your position on abortion. My own position is pro-choice, as you know. But what you may not know is that though my belief is that the only one who gets to say what happens inside my uterus is ME, and the regressives need to get OFF that subject and back to the business that we sent them to Congress to do, I would always counsel ANY woman against having an abortion if she can possibly avoid it (for reasons that would take way too much space in your thread). So: pro-choice, anti-abortion, but not by force. Is that what you are saying, also? Just curious.

Keep up the good work, Dave. :-)

David Kennedy said...

Ceilon - my abortion thoughts are about that - it is their right to choose, but I would recommend against it.