Where Do You Stand?

One of my blogging friends recently posted the contents of a newsletter she received from her Conservative congressman. In her post, she pointed out that she didn’t vote for this person — nor would she — as she strongly disagrees with his political platform, which she described as follows:

He is anti-women’s rights, anti-LGBT rights, opposes the use of renewable energy, has an “A” rating from the NRA, wishes to repeal ACA (Obamacare), supports maintaining a “numerically superior” nuclear arsenal, supports Trump’s border wall and a ban on Syrian refugees, supports a “Judeo-Christian” national code of morality, and more.

From my perspective, this person pretty much comes across as a poster child for hardcore Conservatives so I’m quite sure I wouldn’t vote for him either.

In the political arena, I suppose I would be considered more “liberal-minded” as I tend to have more of a live-and-let-live attitude towards life. In fact, I find it rather appalling when some individuals insist their perspective on life should be mandatory for everyone. It seems that allowing individuals to be who they are according to their own conscience and desires is somehow verboten.

FLASH! We are not robots. None of us has been programmed to live according to any one particular paradigm.

I am not saying that liberal-leaning individuals have all the answers. In fact, I feel many of them go overboard in their viewpoints as well. What I am saying is we are all individuals. Each of us possesses a brain and a conscience. Each of us is a product of our upbringing and life experiences.

In other words, the opinions and outlooks we have formed about the world we live in is very personal — which is why I believe it becomes a mockery to individual independence when politicians (on both sides) attempt to control the lives of others by passing laws that favor one part of society over another.

It’s a bit unnerving to see how the divisions in this nation’s political realm are gradually ripping communities apart. Insults and name-calling are commonplace, and there have even been incidents of violence. The possibility of a civil war has been mentioned by some. I dread to think it could go that far, yet the many signs of unrest are distressing.

I admit I don’t have all the answers. There is certainly evidence a nation will fail without some sort of governing body, but I do wish ours could be a bit more egalitarian.

I suppose, as the saying goes, this too shall pass. But sometimes I wonder how bad it’s going to get before then.

The Political Conundrum


Even though I think most of us feel pretty certain about where we stand politically, sometimes it’s good to review the actual principles behind our beliefs. We may discover we’re not as “full-blooded” as we think we are.

On Robert Vella’s blog, The Secular Jurist, he recently posted the following definitions for Progressives and Liberals. I’m using it here because I like the simple way he laid out the two perspectives. I’ve followed up his definitions with some information related to Conservative beliefs.

Generally speaking, these are the demographic and issue-based distinctions between liberals and progressives in a modern context (subjective interpretations by the author):

Liberals tend to have higher incomes and education than progressives.

By and large, liberals are more ethnically and culturally diverse than progressives.

Progressives are typically more religious than liberals.

Progressives are more numerous, and are distributed more evenly throughout the nation.  Liberals are mostly clustered in a smaller number of urban/suburban communities.

Liberals are more concerned over a wider range of issues including human rights, civil rights, sexual equality, healthcare, public education, social services, immigration reform, poverty, international peace, environmentalism, the separation of church and state, domestic violence and gun control, voting rights, prison reform, constitutional protections for individuals, and the eminence of the Fourth Estate.

Progressives are more oriented towards economic issues, and see income inequality as the greatest threat to the nation.  They support collective bargaining, workers’ rights, labor empowerment, progressive taxation, small business entrepreneurship, and domestic production.  They oppose industrial monopolies, corporate consolidation, deregulation, money in politics, globalization, outsourcing, off-shoring, and the omnipotence of big banks and multinational interests.

Conservative

I discovered this ideology is a bit more difficult to pin down, but in general conservatives are opposed to rapid changes. They like keeping traditions in society and support the notion of faith. Some conservatives would also like to return to the way things were at an earlier time in our history.

Wikipedia lists the following as being some of the things conservatives support:

  • Individual responsibility, strong family values, and community organizations
  • Capitalism, laissez-faire, and pro-growth or supply-side economics
  • Reduced government spending
  • Lower taxes on everyone
  • A strong military and strong national defense
  • The 2nd Amendment
  • The death penalty for certain cases
  • Educational Choice, e.g. a voucher system
  • Legal immigration, while opposing illegal immigration
  • Oppose government run health care
  • Oppose abortion in all or most cases

Which of these would you say defines you? Or perhaps it’s a combination of more than one. Politics can be a complicated issue, as shown by numerous discussions and arguments (and name-calling) among those who are staunch believers (or at least they think they are) in their particular political orientation.

I welcome input on this topic, but please try to maintain reasoned discussions (and follow blog rules).

A Scary Scenario

Just read that some 300 evangelical pastors recently convened in Florida to learn how to adapt their preaching and outreach skills for the pursuit of political office. Their goal?

To mobilize at least 1,000 evangelical Christian pastors to seek government office in order to promote conservative and traditional biblical values!

You’ll never guess who gave the keynote address … none other than Mike Huckabee.

The training was opened with this prayer: “Lord, here we are, a nation founded for the advancement of the Christian faith in the glory of God.” (Wow! He must not have read his history books.)

While I doubt such a scenario will ever occur, as a non-believer, it scares the living sh__ out of me that the Christian majority might actually rise up and make it happen.

Can you imagine living a life where someone else dictates how you should behave? That you might actually be forced to attend church and to worship Jesus? That your personal rights and opinions would be dictated by “the church?” That abortion, women’s rights, same-sex relationships, and other human rights might be removed because they aren’t based on “biblical values?”

OMG, it makes my blood run cold.

One person commented this about the article: “If Church pastors are going to promote ‘politics-from-the-pulpit’, then let’s start a movement to place a tax on every penny they take in.” 

And I say, Amen/A-women to that!

In the Matter of Abortion

The current political scene has (once again) brought the abortion issue to the forefront with the Religious Right loudly proclaiming their “Right to Life” mantra. (This time, they’re even sticking their noses into the use of contraceptives!)

Now they’re pushing for a nation-wide mandate that abortion providers perform an ultrasound on each woman seeking an abortion. This in itself is unnecessary (and costly, around $200) if the woman has made her decision, but they don’t stop there. They also want to require the provider to offer (encourage?) the woman an opportunity to view the image.*

Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist, recently asked this biased question: “Shouldn’t  abortion-seeking women see the life they are about to end?” (I get so frustrated with men sticking their noses into this issue!)

There are several reasons why a woman will choose to have an abortion. The following statistics come from the National Right to Life website:

  • Feels unready for child/responsibility – 25%
  • Feels she can’t afford baby – 23%
  • Has all the children she wants/Other family responsibilities – 19%
  • Relationship problem/Single motherhood – 8%
  • Feels she isn’t mature enough – 7%

From a woman’s point of view (the only one that counts), these are all valid reasons. After all, she’s the one who will be responsible for the major care of the child.

It’s been said that the recent anti-abortion comments made by certain Republican candidates are not “an attack on females.” Oh really? What do they call it?

I’m not going to get into the debate as to when a fetus becomes a ‘real’ human being. That’s way beyond my grade level – and, to my thinking, everyone else’s. But I will stand up for a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body. And no one – male or female – has the right to interfere.

*According to the Guttmacher Institute (a non-profit organization that works to advance abortion rights), seven states — Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and most recently, Virginia — now have this mandate in force.

ADDENDUM – February 10, 2014

I just came across an excellent blog posting on abortion and God’s will. I urge visitors to check it out at this link. The same writer also wrote the following in another posting on the same subject.

So it’s pretty hard to assert that a developing organism within a womb is a separate human being until it is born and begins to form its own individual experiences of the world. Since men have no existential understanding of what it’s like to be pregnant, a man should not have any say on the issue of whether or not a woman has an abortion unless he is married to the pregnant woman and intends to offer financial and emotional support after the birth. Likewise, a woman should have no say on whether or not a man uses Viagra, unless she is his intimate partner.