Thing I commonly say to household pets and people on television: “The reason for your problem is that you are an idiot.”
A non-political post, but I’d like to put my politics in context for some of my more conservative friends, so they can see we’re not as different as they may have suspected.
I consider my most important roles in this order: father, husband, writer, citizen. My wife and I have built our own business over the years, and it is a classic small business: we work all the time, pretty much seven days a week. We have been slammed by the recession, as were many others in many walks of life, and of course our own book industry has been in crazy flux during that time. My/our income has shrunk to about a third of what it was just five or six years ago, and we have had to make adjustments accordingly, including parting with our beloved, long-term assistant. (Not ending the very important friendship, of course. We’re grateful we still have that.)
I am not speaking from some high place of economic security when I rant about politics, although I’m in better shape than many people, which I try to remember every day. My tax dollars are just as important to me as anyone else’s, and I want to know where they’re spent and why. I also believe in individual responsibility, and that the best base for a system of economics and government is a free market. How that market should be regulated and the responsibility (and regulation) of corporations, most definitely including banks, may be areas where some of you and I differ, but I do not believe in government-directed (or “command”) economies. They have been almost uniformly disastrous in practice and I do not trust a government to determine my ability to make an income any more than I trust it to tell me what to see, read, think, or believe. I certainly do not trust government to make women’s health decisions for them, so I am adamantly pro-choice. This does NOT mean I think abortion is a good thing, only that I think it’s a necessary option, and it’s none of your damn business whether a woman exercises that option or not.
This is a CIVIL society, not a religious one. Your (or anyone else’s) religious rights take a back seat to what the community agrees is best, even if you deem that anti-religious. All religious beliefs are equal, and all are subordinate to the community. That’s what the separation of church and state means, and it’s vital. The historical example of religious states is generally an ugly one. As an American, your beliefs remain your own and cannot be silenced…but you can’t force them on me or the rest of the community if we don’t agree. If you don’t like that, then go and live in a country with only your own religion as an option. The rest of us want a more dynamic, richer environment for ourselves and our children. And practicality suggests that is also a more economically vibrant environment as well.
I am not a member of a religious group, but I welcome it in the lives of any who want it. My wife and I are keen believers in citizenship, even at the neighborhood level, and our teenage children, without religious training or fear of punishment after death, are among the most truthful, kind-hearted, moral people I know. I get furious when “morality” is confused (or even deliberately substituted) for religious indoctrination. My kids are good because it’s healthy and happy and right to be good to others. They also, like many of their generation, find it hard to believe the craziness of earlier generations’ mistreatment of minority and outlier groups. Bless ‘em.
My political beliefs have come into being by trial and error, by questioning and researching. I’ve been doing it an almost depressingly long time. I consider myself to be ultimately a practical person who wants the best possible world for everyone, even those who disagree strongly with me. I do not automatically assume I’m right, but I’m not easy to bamboozle with alarmist flimflam, either. I’ll discuss anything in a civil way, but even if you AGREE with me, I don’t have much patience for blind allegiance to any cause, or ad hominem arguments. Just because you think somebody’s ugly or a creep doesn’t negate their beliefs, at least not for me.
I love my country, for all its flaws, and unlike some people, I have lived and traveled in lots of other places. I speak more than one language, and that has helped shape me too. Still, I have loved America all my life. Just because you love it in a different way than I do, or love different aspects than I do, don’t you dare fool yourself for a moment that you are more of a patriot than I am.
Context clear? Then back to the election-season arguments.