The Conservative Fantasy

This just in:  I sometimes write just to help my mind flush out an idea or solve a problem.  One thing that has always escaped me is, “Why do conservatives want to be conservative?”  Today, I’m going to explore that.

I may be right but I’m probably wrong.  So…let’s see what happens.

Republicans are seen as the party of “Conservatives”.  One of their rallying cries that never fails to gather enthusiasm from their base is “We are the party of family values!”

What does that mean?  Does it mean that only they value families?  Does it mean that they think marriage should be as it has been traditionally; between a man and a woman?  Does it mean that they long for the days of Leave it to Beaver; where there as a strong father figure and a woman that stays at home wearing pearls?

I read something yesterday that made the argument for the Leave it to Beaver scenario.

It went like this…

Family values means there is a strong male figure that leads the family.  He makes the tough decisions.  He earns the money.  The wife is subservient; her job is to keep house and raise the children.

Does this fit?

Conservatives tend to claim to be “God Fearing.”  This feels a lot like needing a strong father figure that will take care of things.

Conservatives tend to vote for authoritative figures; typically equating wealth with strength.  Could Trump be their “God” or their “Father”?  I certainly see a lot of parallels.  Trump acts like he is the boss.  He acts like his word is law.  He acts like only he can save us.  Sounds a lot like vision of what a Father should be to his family.

Suppose this is right.  Suppose conservatives do like to have someone or something they can look to as their “protector”.  Who cares?

I don’t.  At least I don’t until the politicians get involved.

Here is what happens…

The Republican Party rallies their base with “We are the party of Family Values.”

Recall that is says, “We can take care of you”.

Next, the Republicans say, “The government should be small”.

Now, this is the exact opposite of “We can take care of you” but it is exactly what you want your party to say if you are rich and want to have regulations relaxed and taxes dropped so that you can be even more richer.

I’m certain that the Republican base would disagree with this.  I’m equally certain that the Republican base loves Trump.  So…you can probably understand when I care very little about what the Republican base thinks.

I care only to the extent that I’m trying to understand.  Why are there any Republicans?  Why do they elect people that represent the exact opposite of what the base says they stand for?  Why do they change their views and principles to stay loyal to a president that shifts with the tides?

I must admit, I like the idea of Mom staying home and Dad going to work.  I equally like the idea of Dad staying home and Mom going to work.  I think a family does better if someone is there to raise the kids.

So, if this is what we want…what should we do?

I will give you two choices…

Choice #1: Do what the Republican Party is doing now.  They just passed a huge tax cut that does nothing for anyone that is not rich.  This further increases the income inequity between the rich and everyone else.  This causes poverty to spread even as the economy grows (because that growth is going to a very few people).  As poverty spreads, not only do both parents need to work, they need to work multiple jobs.  Plus, kids getting out of college are so far in debt that they can’t afford to start families; in fact, the often move back home.  Older people re-enter the workforce to pay for medical bills.  Etc…etc….  In short…we can have a small government that benefits a small portion of our citizens.

Choice #2:  Pass laws that end income inequality.  Tax the rich and redistribute that wealth throughout the country.  This is not stealing from the rich.  It’s putting an end to the rich stealing from the rest of us.

The true path to family values goes through a world where the middle class can afford to own a home and raise a family.  We are not on that path right now.

Hmmmm…..

Having written all of that, I’m not sure I solved anything.  But…it does give me pause.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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My Ideal Candidate

This just in:  Election season is officially here.  There is probably no single candidate that agrees with me on everything.  However, I thought I would put down those campaign issues that get my support…in order of priority.

Get money out of politics.  This is the root cause of nearly every problem in D.C.  Politicians are spending half their time raising money and, in the end, vote in accordance with what their largest donors want.  Jon Stewart, yesterday, said that politics is no longer about governing; its about getting re-elected.  I agree.

Education.  We are not even in the top 15 when looking at global achievement in all areas of basic education.  We have a system designed in the early 1900’s that was intended to crank out people that would work within the framework of the industrial revolution.  Now we are in the digital age.  We’ve been here for some time.  We need to innovate.  We need to look at countries that are doing it right and learn what we should do.  We need to make education available and affordable to everyone.  We need a system that allows our citizens to achieve the highest level to which they aspire.  We don’t need to do this because we are benevolent.  We need to do this so we can remain on the top of the hill.

Healthcare.  If you tell me we can’t get this done, you don’t get my vote.  Obamacare was a baby step but it was better than nothing.  Universal healthcare works.  My view is that we not only provide healthcare, but we fund research.  So long as companies can maximize their profits by “treating” rather than “curing”, that is what they will do.

Income Inequality.  There is an abundance of evidence that says “The greater the inequality, the greater the social strife.”  I don’t begrudge anyone’s ability to make a ton of money.  I don’t want “their” money because of some Atlas Shrugged plot line.  We need to redistribute income because it makes us a stronger country overall.  We need high speed transportation.  We need education.  We need healthcare.  We need innovation.  We need so much.  Instead, we funnel money to they very rich in hopes that they will maybe create a new job; perhaps we can mow their lawn.

Taxation.  We need to have a progressive tax system that funds our national needs.  Cutting taxes does not create long-term growth and raising taxes will not create long-term stagnation.  Trickle-down economics is a scam created by those that would take advantage of the intellectually lazy.  The rich need to pay much, much more.  Stuff is not free.

Civil Rights.  We should treat all people equally.  I don’t care about your religion.  I don’t care about the color of your skin.  I don’t care about your social status.  I don’t care about where you came from.  I don’t care about your level of education. I don’t care about your sexual orientation.  I care about the content of your character.  That’s it.

Climate Change.  This appears to be real.  I’m not a scientist so I rely on scientists to tell me what’s going on.  They are saying, “This is real.  This is man-made and this is a problem that is getting worse.”  We can not only address this, but we can do it in ways that are extremely economically beneficial.  Fighting climate change is not a burden; it’s an opportunity.

Then there are a ton of other issues: Corruption in politics.  Immigration.  Gun Control.  Worker benefits and minimum wage. Abortion/Choice.  The truth. The military.  International relations.   These are all important.

So, if you find a candidate that fits all of these, point them out.  Those are the people that I want to follow.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

 

 

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My Progressive Rationale

This just in:  I want to spend some time on today’s blog talking about why I “lean left”.  But first…I’d like to tip my hat to Anthony Bourdain.  He tragically took his own life yesterday.  Those of us left behind get to miss him.   As for Anthony…he is truly off on the final trip to Parts Unknown.

So, why am I a Progressive?  Why do I use that term instead of “Liberal” or “Democrat”?

To me, “Progressive” describes someone that recognizes the world is in constant flux, always moving forward, not backward.  Success belongs to those that prepare for what is coming rather than hugging on to that which is past.

“Liberal” makes me turn away.  It sounds like a person that wants to give stuff away for free because it makes them feel good for some reason.

“Democrat” means “Not Republican” so I could live with that one.

I’d like to list a few items and tell you why I support them.

  1. I support DACA and a path forwards for citizenship.  I support this because these people are an integral part of our society.  They are doctors and farm laborers.  They pay their taxes and, as they stay in the United States, the look for ways to make things better for their families.  In short, they contribute more to our economy and society than they take away from it.
  2. I support Gun Control.  Keep in mind, this is not “taking away guns.”  People blame porn, lack of a God, energy drinks, mental illness and solar flares on the 35,000 gun deaths we experience every year.  I think that is all nonsense.  Why?  Because every other country that experiences all of those things, does not kill itself with guns at anything near the rate we do.  Guns guns the only difference.  (see tab above for ideas about Gun Control)
  3. I support higher taxes on the wealthy.  Yes, this is a redistribution of wealth…but so was the latest tax cut which redistributed billions from the poor and middle class to the wealthy.  This has nothing to do with envy or whatever the Atlas Shrugged people want to call it.  When we have income inequality, the overall economy of our country suffers.  Watch this TED talk about income inequality.  Our overall quality of life, economy and position of power internationally all improve when this inequality is less.
  4. I support universal health care.  There is only one reason for this – it works far better than our current system in 100% of the countries that use it….and all industrialized countries besides the United States use it.  We pay more and have poorer outcomes because…politics.
  5. I support efforts to combat climate change.  There is only one reason for this – 98% of all scientists and our military claim that climate change is real and is the greatest threat to our national security.
  6. I support any program that makes sure children don’t go hungry.  I do this because each child represents two potentials: (1) someone that drops out of school and becomes a burden to society and (2) someone that grows up, has a family and contributes to society.  I believe a child with a full stomach is nudged towards the more positive of these two potentialities.
  7. I support free education to whatever level you would like to attain.  There is only one reason for this: We need educated people if we are to compete with the rest of the world.  Short of making education free, we are only allowing the rich to attain it.  Who is to say that the children of the top 1% have more potential than the other 99%.
  8. I support higher taxes that give a positive return on investment.  We can spend $10 billion on tanks and get nothing in return.  Or, we can spend $10 billion on high-speed transportation which enables people to live outside the overprices housing markets in cities and still work in those cities.  Money on universal healthcare and education is money that gives us a greater value in return than that of the tax dollars we invested.
  9. I support getting out of the conflicts in the Middle East.   We started going there for oil.  We stayed there because we wanted to have influence and military bases.  Today, we can conduct a war anywhere without actually having a base nearby.  History books will have a hard time explaining why we are sending our kids to die in “over there” and why we are spending trillions of dollars to do so.
  10. I support legalized abortion.  Why?  Because making it illegal only drives abortions into the alleys.  It does nothing to reduce abortions.  I support Planned Parenthood because it is the single biggest contributor to stopping unwanted pregnancies, and thus abortions.
  11. I support government regulation.  Not all regulations but those that protect the population and the environment.  Why?  I want to be able to eat grapes that don’t kill me.  I want us to be in the game for the long run which means realizing that Earth is a finite resource that needs to be managed or lost.
  12. I support a Constitutional Amendment that overturns Citizens United.  Ever since that ruling, our government has become increasingly more corrupt.  It’s not so much the money grabbing that’s bad.  It’s the bad policy that comes from the money grabbing that it pulling us down.

Notice that none of these say, “I am a good person” or “God told me this”.  I’m just going with the facts.  When the data says universal healthcare works, I believe it.  When Hannity says it doesn’t…I know he is lying.

The crux of the matter is being informed.  If you think guns are not the problem, then you and I don’t differ on philosophy, we differ on degrees of information.

So there you have it.  Am I a liberal?  I don’t think so but you can call me that if it works for you.

I’m a progressive.  I want policies that make us stronger overall.  I want policies that use data to drive decisions.

And…I want to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

 

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