Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Caught In the Middle

My word for 2021 is this:

Moderate.

As in, moderation in all things. Eating, drinking, talking, watching TV, playing video games, whatever.

Moderate.

As in, not a Republican (I'm too far left for them), and not a Democrat (I am too far right for them).

I'm a moderate.

Stuck in the middle. My former editor once told me I was what the Republicans used to be, back in the early 1970s.

What are the things I value, then, if I don't fit into any nice square box?

Authenticity
Balance
Compassion
Citizenship (that means different things to people, but to me it means pay my taxes, vote, serve on a public committee or in a non-profit, volunteer to help. I've done all of those things.)
Contributing
Creativity
Fairness
Honesty
Justice (not revenge)
Kindness
Knowledge
Learning
Love
Peace
Respect
Responsibility
Spirituality
Stability
Wisdom

Some people might look at that list and say, Oh my, those are all liberal values. Somebody else might look at it and say, those are conservative values. Somebody else might look at it and say, shouldn't everybody value that stuff? I don't know. There are other things I value too, like peace of mind and feeling secure.

Why am I too far to the right for the left? 

  • I agree with gun control (everybody does, if you ask the appropriate question. If you ask nearly anybody if someone who has proven to be mentally ill and dangerous to society should have a gun, the answer is no. That's gun control.) but not to the point of taking away guns. I have no problems with requiring training, insurance, purchase limits, background checks, or what kind of weapon you own (those are already in place, I can't go out and legally buy a rocket launcher). We live on a farm. We have varmints. Sometimes one must shoot a varmint.

  • I also don't agree with total student loan forgiveness. The program needs to be revamped and modified. The loans should have flexible interest rates, not the high percentages currently on a lot of them. People should be able to refinance them like they would a house loan, say. But not forgiven. There are many ways to get a college education if you want one, and since we don't have free universities here in our little capitalistic love-land, then people need to find ways to pay for it. For example, I took eight years to get my bachelors (10 if you count the time I was at community college), and it was completely paid for when I graduated. I did not use student loans; we took out a home equity loan to pay for my last year so I could push things along and finish before I turned 30.

Why am I too far left for the right?

  • Social safety nets are necessary (so that knocks me off the side of the right) but we need larger government oversight so that the participants meet criteria (that is not the neoliberal way, either). That means we need more social workers or client engagers or whatever you want to call them, instead of having 3,000 people looked after by one single person. It should be like 100 to one or whatever a person could adequately handle in a 40-hour workweek without being stressed. This includes programs like SNAP, unemployment, TANF, etc. I'd throw Medicare, Medicaid, and disabilities into this, too. With appropriate oversight, then the people who really need the money would get it, and the ones who do not need the money, or are receiving the funds when they shouldn't be, (like a dead granny's Social Security check) would be weeded out.

  • Of course, to ensure a single mother can do a job, we need to provide childcare, which we do not do well in this country. I would be amenable to government-provided childcare for those who need it. (I don't know of any party is offering this up.)

  • Some people simply can't do what is required of them in a job, for whatever reasons. Human beings are not robots, and they're not all alike. Some people have health problems, some people are mentally deficient, some people can't deal with stress. These people can contribute in some way, but there again, oversight or a program to help these folks along is necessary, and that requires bigger government. Not the starved beast we're currently watching thrash about in the throes of death in the moat. A government whose focus is on the welfare of its people, as it states in the U.S. Constitution.

  • I am pro-life and pro-abortion. (Yes, you can be both.)

  • I don't care if you have an alternative lifestyle, because I believe what other people do only becomes my business when it affects me as well. As in, wear a mask because you might have covid and if you gave it to me, I would die, but I don't care who you sleep with so long as it isn't me.

  • I believe in climate change, but I don't care what is causing it because I think making the air and water cleaner is a good idea even if it doesn't affect the climate. Who wants to breathe in all that toxic crap spewing out of these industries? Not me. I'm all for regulating that.

Those are some of the hot button topics. Generally speaking, we all want the same things. The disagreement is over how to go about it.

Time we find some common ground.

MODERATE is a good word for 2021.


6 comments:

  1. I love this post! My nephew (age 21) is very politically aware and astute and thinks I am too moderate. I even still use the word "liberal!" On the other hand, I can't ever be a typical conservative Republican because my mind is flexible enough to hold/honor divergent views: like pro-life AND pro-choice, or being a prayerful Christian who insists my government be secular.

    I suspect that there are more of us than the outer fringes knows or wants to acknowledge.

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  2. The things you want, I want (There are a couple of things you mention that I don't support at all, but neither do I judge. As a Christian I believe the truth of the Bible, but the part a lot of Christians miss is that we are to live by that standard. We are NOT to expect those who are not saved to live by those standards.) The big question standing in the way is to what extent we want to allow the government to step in and take control? I like your thoughts on social programs and all, but man, the government really needs to rework itself and get a handle on the debt and trim some unnecessary fat to free up funds. Like maybe stop sending billions to other governments? I hope I don't insult you, because I don't include you in what I'm about to say, but I give a lot of the credit for the divide that exists between the left and right to the media. The politicians themselves carry a lot of the blame, but the media goes on a feeding frenzy and replays the negative over and over and over. Every.single.time.

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  3. Bravo! You articulated a lot of what I think and feel.

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    Replies
    1. I think a lot of people are moderates. Life is not black and white, after all.

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