Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Am I Liberal or Conservative? How about neither?

First off, I hate labels. Labels indicate that you have a nice neat box that you fit into. It also tends to give people an excuse for not seeing things your way or as an argument as to why you have to be wrong. For instance, teaching in special education I was labeled as a teacher. Never mind that I had to go to school for five years instead of four or that I had to take extra classes to obtain my degree, nor did it matter that I graduated in the top of the class at my college. All that mattered to the teachers in the first school I taught was that I was in Special Education. Here is a case in fact: I was the Academic Team sponsor for the school. I took the brightest and best and readied them for competition. When one of the teachers found out that I was sponsoring this group she said, "Oh! Aren't you Special Education?" I replied, "I teach special education, I am not a student of special education." She was far from convinced. She was predisposed to the label of the word and anyone connected with that, in her mind, had mental difficulties. A total misconception for even the students in that area. People that are intelligent know that Learning Disabled is a misnomer. We should rename it to something along the lines of "Learning Differently," because the fact is they just don't seem to grasp the listen to lecture and take notes style of teaching.

So, maybe this is where my root of hating labels begins. I really don't know. What I do know is that labels are extremely limiting and cause misconceptions.

So, what is a liberal? If you look in the dictionary it is far from helpful. It defines it as: "A person of liberal views." Thank you, Merriam-Webster. So let's dig a bit deeper. Like many words the meaning has changed over time. The word actually became political in Britain during the 17th and 18th century. Then it was used to describe a liberty from government interference. They believed that government should not be involved in social services such as education or healthcare to people, and should not get involved with the citizens rights. It is rather the opposite of what "Liberals" tend to believe today. The modern liberal believes the government has a duty to provide people with services and provide social welfare. They would tend to believe that these services should be provided by more taxation on the wealthy and no fear of increased government spending because these services are needed.

A conservative on the other hand is defined as "A person who holds to traditional values and attitudes and is cautious about change." That definition seems to be a bit more clear than the previous one. So, by definition a conservative is more cautious about spending and making changes. A conservative typically does not want an increase in government interference and is more like the 17th and 18th century Liberals of the time.

So what is the big deal here? Well, if you take the definition of either and try to fit me into one of those boxes I just won't fit. First, I don't believe that we should provide social programs for everyone at the expense of our government going broke and not being able to take care of important things. I think states should have more power in taking care of their citizens and making policies, because the Federal Government already has so many duties and expectations there is no way it can meet them all effectively. I think we see this in the abuse we have in the social programs that are in place. How many times have you heard that someone that really needed help couldn't get it but someone that didn't need it was abusing the system? A lot.

With that said, I do think that we need programs. I just think that states would be better able to handle them. Why? Because it's a numbers game. Dividing the population into fifty parts and having leaders in each of those would be more feasible. Assistance from the government to those states could then be based on population and need. States could relegate offices to each county. This would also increase a need for further employment and provide a better ability to determine who is abusing the system.

Of course this is just a thought on my part, not an actual plan. It just seems to make sense to divide things up and make it less complicated. Why? Because the current system is broken. So, in that regard I am looking for change which takes away my "conservative" status and I also am looking for a reduction in aid which makes me non "liberal."

To continue I don't think government should be involved in other social issues. Why does the government care who gets married? Do they really need to involve themselves in who pro-creates and who doesn't? Don't they have other issues they need to concern themselves with, such as protecting the borders or making nice abroad? I don't think the government should be worried about marriage. Again, let the states handle their own marriage laws. If it's about taxes then make the tax frame different. If two men and a woman want to marry or two women and a man want to get married why should I care? I'm not living with them. Does it really have to be such a big deal? I don't care if two men want to marry or two women want to marry. It's really none of my business. Marriage is not a government business either. Most marriages are about religion and isn't there something about a separation of Church and State? So it's okay for the government to break it's own law?

So, according to my viewpoint here I'm probably more liberal than conservative. However, by the true definition since I don't want government involvement doesn't that go more toward conservatism? See how the label thing is kind of messed up?

What do I care about? I care about this country. I was told once that patriotism was dead. No, it's not dead. It may be nodding off and gone from some, but it's far from dead. I still believe in a strong and prosperous United States. I don't like the direction the country is currently taking. I don't like that they seem to be wanting to take away the liberties that were granted to us by our founding fathers. I don't like that they are able to sway people with lies and the media. I really don't like that so many people have become lazy and gullible believing anything put before them simply because it's easier.

I care about this country dying.

Historically as governments fail, and this one is failing, empires fall. We are falling. Our politicians are failing us. They have become more engrossed in power and politics then in the American people. We are a nation run by bankers and lawyers and not by the patriots that founded the country. Our politicians get away with negligence and lying. They have, upon more than one occasion, abused their power - such as when they give themselves secret pay raises as their constituents lose jobs and homes. They can raise millions of dollars for campaigning and run successful businesses but can't seem to control their own spending. It is not a Democratic or Republican issue, but it is an American issue because it is the American people that have to pay for this kind of abuse of power. Voting in an only two party system that controls the media, businesses, and our minds is our folly. Until we get past this we can never get to where we need to be again.

So, if you have to put me in some category to appease your mind then you just might be out of luck. I won't go and sit quietly in a box waiting to make someone else happy. I will continue to think, learn, express my opinions, and run rampant on my political journey even if I travel it alone.

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