Thursday, November 10, 2016

Rant/Rave: Politics

Just a random observation, it seems that conservatives are far more likely to treat those with whom they disagree with respect and civility.  It was quite common this election cycle to be de-friended just for liking Trump’s page even if you never commented on it.  I shy away from politics on my Facebook page but do comment on other posts only if I agree.  Only once have I cut off a friendship because of an offensive view, which was an anti-Semite who honestly tried to tell me that the Holocaust didn’t happen.  I would also do the same if a person was an apologist for radical Islam while railing against Evangelicals and conservative Catholics.  I maintain my no de-friending policy but have unfollowed several people for excessive left-wing posts filled with profanity.  I still care about them and occasionally check to see how they are doing.

 Let’s go back to 2004.  Remember the “Jesus Land” and “United States of Canada” maps.  I heard a talk show host say that she wished Lincoln had allowed the Confederacy to secede so the present day U.S would be more “progressive.”  Forget the fact that most of the black race would have been enslaved for another generation or 2.  Other posters openly hoped for another 9/11 level attack only if it happened in a red state.  Both sentiments were VERY offensive to me.

This time around, it’s twice as bad.  It seems that the far left (not all liberals) have genuine disdain for people with opposing views as evidenced by Clinton’s basket of deplorables comment.  They preach tolerance for different lifestyles yet mock those who enjoy hunting, fishing and going to church.  We’ve got a 50/50 nation with a deep urban/rural divide.  For example, Maryland was a 25 point blowout for Clinton but she failed to win a single county outside the Beltway metro area.  18 of the 24 counties went for Trump.  If you look at New York and Illinois, the story is similar.   Somebody tweeted “Rural America= Stupid.”  Can you imagine if a conservative posted the same thing about the inner city?   

If you’ve watched the news, you’ve heard all the “F--- Donald Trump” and “Die Whites Die” chants and people being beaten just for wearing a Trump hat or T-shirt.  Some victims were young girls and senior citizens.  Several FB friends have posted that they are “terrified” of a Trump presidency including one person who posted a picture of a black man in a cotton field saying Vote For Hillary or else this will happen again.  There is a Twitter hashtag trending that says “Assassinate Trump.”  Sadly, in my experience, it is nearly impossible to have a rational and reasonable discussion with the far left so I expect the divisiveness will continue.  Go down to Cuba and see what happens when your ilk comes into power.  True, the right has said some pretty nasty things about Obama but nothing on that level.

As for me, I consider myself a moderate conservative.  On a scale of 0-100 with 100 being the most extreme right, I’m probably around a 75.  In other words, I’m well to right of center on most issues but usually pragmatic and willing to listen to well-reasoned opposing points of view.  For an Alabama resident, my views are pretty much in line with most of the population so if you are curious about what most Southern conservatives really believe, here it is:

Abortion- Life begins at conception and termination of a pregnancy is tantamount to murder.  The media would have you believe that it is usually not a black and white issue but here’s the truth: 3% of abortions are due to the life of the mother, 2-3% are due to a severe fetal abnormality that may result in a stillborn child, 1-2% are due to rape, 93% are for convenience.    It should be discouraged in all circumstances but forcing a woman who is beaten, raped and left to die to carry the rapist’s child is hard to defend.  Again, these cases are VERY RARE especially with the morning after pill.  The remaining 93% must be stopped. Partial birth abortion is barbaric and indefensible yet Democrats fought tooth and nail to keep it legal.  This may be counter-intuitive but I believe that if the option of abortion is off the table, we will see fewer unplanned pregnancies.

Civil Rights- Hire the best candidate for the job without regard to race or gender and prosecute organizations that practice discrimination.  Work to eliminate all forms of prejudice through positive interaction with those who are different from you.  When it comes to college admissions, I would allow some degree of preference but it should be based on economic disadvantage rather than race.  A minority who lives in the same neighborhood as their white middle class peers should be held to the same standard.  Marginal applicants from the inner city or poor areas of Appalachia may be given slight preference.

Death Penalty- In ordinary circumstances, I favor life in prison without parole for murder.  However, in particularly gruesome or hateful cases such as shooting up a black church, the ultimate punishment is appropriate.  It ought to be enforced surely and swiftly within 1-2 years of conviction with no doubt of guilt.  As a general rule, it ought to be used only for mass murderers and terrorists.

Immigration- Canada has been known to deny entry to tourists who had a recent DUI.  Any country can and should be able to decide who enters and who is likely to thrive if they stay permanently.  It ought to be based on merit and job skills that are in demand as well as shared values without regard to your home country.  In other words, I am not at all against immigration but it must be done LEGALLY.  The border must be secured in a manner that all future illegal immigration is stopped cold once and for all and future legal immigrants must be carefully screened.  As for the illegals already here, they must turn themselves in, pay a fine and submit to a background check or be subject to deportation.  If they can pass the tests, I am fully on board with a path to legal status.  However, I am firm on the only path to citizenship being going back home and going through the same legal process as everyone else. As for refugees, polls show that at least 1 in 8 Syrians have a favorable view of ISIS and a larger percentage do not accept basic rights for women, gays and other religions.  Yes, most are peaceful but it’s NOT just a TINY minority that are dangerous.  If you don’t believe me, look at the Pew Research polls and see for yourself. 

Taxes-Capitalism may be unfair but history has proven that it’s the best system we’ve got to lift people out of poverty.  I will not go as far as to support a flat tax and am strongly opposed to a regressive national sales tax but I do support making the income tax flatter and lower for all wage earners including the top 1%.  When it comes to the top 0.1%, which is largely composed of athletes, entertainers and CEOs, yes I would be open to them paying a little more especially if it increases revenue.  I support cutting corporate tax rates as well as capital gains taxes for ordinary investors but a hedge fund manager who makes millions per year should pay the same tax rate as the top bracket.  It’s counter-intuitive but throughout history, tax reduction has often led to an INCREASE in revenue for the government.

Trade- In theory, I do support free trade and open markets but multinational agreements such as NAFTA and TPP must be written in a manner that safeguards American interests and sovereignty as well as human rights around the world.

Foreign Policy- I support a strong defense but no more nation building or unprovoked regime change.  Spreading democracy in the Middle East is a noble idea but I just don’t think it can work in that culture.  I do strongly support Israel as a nation that largely shares our values.   Iran must not acquire nuclear weapons and ISIS must be defeated.  A secular dictatorship is preferable to an Islamic sharia state.

Health Care- No universal government run health care but I support vouchers for the poor and disabled.  I have no need for prescription drug coverage and doubt that I would take it if it were prescribed.  I would take coverage for catastrophic events.  If it were up to me, I would allow patients the right to choose coverage for either prescription drugs or naturopathic testing.  I’ve spent thousands on lab tests over the years and if I didn’t have a decent job or a supportive family, I would have been screwed.  Don’t worry about the costs to cover naturopathic testing.  We are highly motivated individuals who will generate far more tax revenue when healthy and able to return to work. 

Gun Control- I do not own a gun myself and can’t envision buying one given my issues.  I support reasonable background checks and waiting periods but for law abiding citizens, I do support the right to own a gun.  I have no problem with concealed carry but open carry makes me uncomfortable.  I also believe that a good guy with a gun can save lives in a mass shooting.

Education- Allow more state and local control and allow parents to choose schools via vouchers.  Private school tuition can be prohibitively expensive for lower income families, which is just not right.  Common core, especially when it comes to math is a joke.  Just memorize the addition, multiplication and division tables.  No need to draw pictures to show the work.  Encourage schools to take a hard line on bullying and I do believe that prayer can help combat that problem.

Criminal Justice/Drugs- Stay tough on serious crime but consider alternative sentencing for petty cases.  Imprison drug dealers but users should be given a shot at mandatory rehab for a first offense.  When it comes to marijuana, I do not favor legalization but do support decriminalization.  By that, I mean that if a college kid gets caught in possession, he or she will pay a fine and that’s it.  It will not affect the criminal record or job prospects down the road.

Religious Freedom- No establishment religion and no restrictions on free exercise.   Allow prayer groups to meet in school during free periods but no spoken prayer during class instruction time.  Businesses should have a right to refuse service for any reason unrelated to race or religion and customers have a right to boycott those whose policies they find objectionable.

Trump- There are aspects of his character and personality that I find distasteful and for that reason, I voted against him in the primary.  However, once he secured the nomination, I was fully on board especially against Hillary.  Could I ever vote for a Democrat?  If a candidate was nominated who is pro-life and strong on national and border security, yes I would consider it in spite of advocacy for big government. Truman is an example of Democrat that I probably would have liked. Such a candidate could be nominated at the state level today but don’t see it nationally. 

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