Politics today are vitriolic.  No matter who you support, you get crushed by the other side.   I am a moderate on a lot of things, and I feel most of my country is.  However, most politics have become issue or identity politics.  For example, the LGBT community has hitched their wagon to the democrats, and therefore any republican must be evil.  I support the LGBT community, mostly, and it’s not because someone ordered me to think or speak a certain way.  It was out of compassion, understanding, and exposure to members of the community which has me supporting them – mostly.

Mostly.

And here’s where we start to get into some nuances of politics.  And, I hope you hear me out.

Our founders wrote the Constitution with the idea of giving states individual rights with the ability to have federal laws which could supersede state laws.  Anything specifically NOT in the Constitution, is then to be addressed by the states.  We made this document and our government in such a way that it could adapt over time.  Some things are good for all citizens – like a form of centralized taxation to support a centralized Army.  Some things are bad for all citizens and must be banned, like slavery.  Throughout our country’s history, you have a push/pull effect.

Republicans traditionally have fought for states to have their own identities and minimize federalism.  Democrats have fought for more control at the central reins because a unified identity is important to them.  This has also played out with the concept of “big government”.  Democrats have fought for a lot of centralized programs, and Republicans have traditionally seen the dollar amount with these programs and felt the government should not be in (name your business here).   Additionally, Republicans have been free market champions and with this, need to expand into markets overseas and have a strong military to keep other countries from federalizing their companies (for example, Cuba in 1960 and Venezuela under Chavez).  Democrats want those dollars to build American fabrics stronger and support people in need.  Therefore, there are usually heavy politics involved with how this pie is sliced up.

Mostly.

I believe in gay marriage.  However, it’s not listed in the Constitution.  I believe enough states support it so it can be made into a Constitutional Amendment.  I also believe, like driver’s licenses, if you’re married in one state, it should be recognized in another.  Therefore, if you had lived in Pennsylvania and NY and MD both had gay marriage laws, I felt that, according to the Constitution, a couple could be married in NY and it be recognized in PA.  If there was a Constitutional amendment proposed, I would support it.  DOMA essentially blocked Article 1 Section 8, which recognizes if someone is married in one state, that it’s recognized in another.  I was for getting rid of DOMA.  When it went to the Supreme Court, the SCOTUS then struck down DOMA and then somehow, some way, declared that immediately, gay marriage is legal in 50 states.

For those of you who don’t follow things closely, the SCOTUS is a checks and balances mechanism.  They cannot declare new law.  This is the Republican issue with this, for some.  If PA was highly religious and didn’t want to perform those ceremonies, they should not be ordered to do so unless, and until,  PA creates a law legalizing it or and amendment to the Constitution is passed forcing it on all.  Short of that, the LGBT community was ecstatic with the win, but most of us scratched our heads like….”how?”.  If you strike down DOMA, essentially you would then be able to be married in NY and it be recognized in PA for all rights and privileges of marriage, but PA would not be permitted to perform ceremonies.

This was essentially the same argument for Roe V. Wade, in a sense, where the SCOTUS then created new law which was not in the Constitution – and the 10th amendment to the Constitution then allows states to create such laws.

The same problem was happening with illegal immigration.  President Obama, who I voted for twice, essentially ordered people to turn a blind eye to this and allowed the rise of sanctuary cities.  I believe our immigration system is broken, but the answer is NOT to ignore laws at the behest of the president.  The answer is….to change the laws.  The same can be said for pot.   I am for anyone who wants to smoke a blunt.  Don’t care.  No one has EVER died from an overdose of pot.  However, there is a federal law banning pot.  This means that states cannot create laws to legalize it. Obama instructed the DEA to turn a blind eye to this.  Again, I’m for legalization of pot, and I believe many people would support this as well.  All they have to do is get the DEA to remove it as a schedule 1 drug.  Then, any state you want to legalize it, go for it.  Have at it.  But to instruct the DEA to ignore laws and not change them…that’s bad practice.  And what most Republicans have issue with Obama.

So I am mostly with the LGBT community. Mostly.  The issue I’m having is with the transgender folks.  Not my issue.  It’s what others have.  Gay rights took 20 years or so to take effect, in full.  Most of us didn’t get there because people shouted us down and told us how to think.  I support Caitlin.  Have at it.  I also don’t give a flying fuck what anyone wears behind closed doors or who you bang, as long as people are smiling and everything is legal age/consensual, etc.  I don’t think that people with one set of genitalia should use the bathroom of the other.  And what then happened was CNN and the like were going living trying to shout people down who did not believe that.  I’m like….”hold the fuck on.  I support Caitlin.  I live in America.  I don’t think this is right.  I have an opinion.  I should be permitted to speak my opinion”.   Most anyone who thinks like me was suddenly labeled a bigot or some other label.  I’m like…how the fuck did I get that label?  If I had a vote, which I do, I vote no on that.  I don’t hate the person.  I don’t dislike them.  It’s just how I feel.  10 years from now, I might feel differently.  But don’t tell me how to fucking think…as I have supported the LGBT community for probably 15 years now.  My first “exposure” to the TG side of things was when a friend of mine, Melissa, took me to some club in Philly maybe in 2000 called “Shampoo”.  At the front door were probably 2 6’5″ black trans men dressed…well…not as I’d expect a man to dress.  Again.  Zero fucks given.  I’m in a big city, big cities have a LOT more tolerance for this sort of thing, ok.  I went on with my night, and at one point I went to the bathroom and there was some dude kissing his girlfriend in there.  She was sitting up on a counter and he’s kissing her.  No one giving a fuck.  I didn’t think it was right.  I wanted to take a pee and not have some woman 3 feet away from me.

Then I thought that in more conservative places in this country, you might have a trans person dressed to the nines out at some diner and a highly religious woman wants to take her 6 year old little girl to the bathroom and in there is a 6’5″ trans dude.

Whose rights prevail?

It’s not an easy answer.  I can tell you, conservative America is not fucking ready for that.  And every actor or Hollywood type that live in Metropolitan and highly liberal America came out in fashion to shame those who did not share the same opinion.

And the left started calling people names who did not agree with them.

And I got offended by people insinuating something about me.

And I started moving a little to the right.

I started looking more under the hood.   If California wants some of this stuff, but Iowa doesn’t…..let the states decide some of this shit.  I started to realize that’s what Republicans have been saying for awhile.  They have constituents that aren’t “quite there” on a lot of things that wouldn’t phase me one bit.  They don’t care if you do it in your state, just don’t force it on me in my state.

The battle has thus sort of become:

The far left trying to centrally control laws/thoughts/taxes/services for all aspects of your life is a more socialist setting.  The far right is trying to rebel against any centralized control, wants very little federal oversight, and wants taxes as low as possible so they can spend that money how THEY see fit, not the central government.

This power struggle is getting worse.

When riots happened in front of Milo’s performance at Berkeley, it made national news.  I had no fucking idea who he was before that.  Berkeley, ironically, is sort of the champion of free speech.  The left now has become the “thought police” in order to try and erase any form of discussion.

During this past election, I really tried to debate ideas with people who were more on the left.  I still wasn’t a republican.  I tried to pick their brains about things….and suddenly I’m shouted at, I’m labeled things, and people are triggered and flipping tables and shit.  And I started to wonder about the lunacy of what had become of my party.

One of the big things I found with the Republican party that I gravitated towards was “personal responsibility” and “pick yourself up by your own bootstraps”.   When you’re 18…or 22…or 29 even….personal responsibility is more of an ideal than a reality.  You are still trying to understand this world, and many things that happen to you are outside of your control.  You are told that things aren’t your fault.  It was the teacher’s fault.  Or your eating disorder was because someone inflicted emotional distress on you.  Things at those ages appear to be other peoples’ causes – and you are the victim in this.

And then a funny thing happens.  You grow the fuck up.

You start to learn your own skin.  You start to understand your place in the world.  You’re fat now because you want to be fat.  You have a shitty job because you didn’t do something years ago to make it better.  You’re making shit wages because you didn’t apply at a better place and you like the short commute as opposed to the long one.  You start to realize that shit in your life is more under your control than you thought.  I “picked myself up by my bootstraps” and over the course of 14 years, rebuilt my life with 6 years of grad school and 10 fucking hard years of work.  You started flipping burgers at $4.35 per hour at Burger King.  But now you see them holding signs demanding $15 per hour and the only thing you can do is:

  1. laugh to yourself about the insanity of what has become of this world
  2. urge people to understand that minimum wage jobs are not meant to be a career destination
  3. Demonstrate that through hard work and sacrifice, that they, too, could improve their lot in life.

And the left was supporting it.

I lost my fucking mind. Bernie Sanders (who I really like, just disagree with 96% of what he says), is out there championing this.  Then a friend of mine pointed me to Alinsky’s doctrine…and I was like….”whoa”.

Now, I’m no right wing nut job.  But I am also looking at healthcare costs.  I’m looking at how everyone in this country wants to pay $200 per month for healthcare and expect all of their drugs, dialysis, lung cancer treatments, and open heart surgeries should be free.  They don’t grasp that this shit costs a lot of money.  It should be “free”.  Someone else should pay for them.

Well, I figured what I can do is do my part with this.

With healthcare, I figure if I do my part and not wind up as a 400 pound person needing dialysis 3 times a week, a liver transplant from drinking, lung cancer, 4 open heart surgeries…I can do MY part to keep healthcare costs lower for everyone.

While my ideals have evolved, I’m still sympathetic to issues on both sides of the isle.  I think part of the republican party is too far religious zealot for me, there is a progressive socialist left that is trying to take over freedom of speech and thought in this country that is, at best, frightening to me.  I have also witness first hand how CNN has just gone bat shit crazy before my eyes.  I watched/listened to them for 10 years.  Now, they are on what appears to be some sort of personal quest to destroy our president.  I mean like they have lost all journalistic integrity to the point where I was like, “what the fuck am I watching?”.  The death knell was CNN reporting on the fake news story of Trump with Russian hookers that was made up by 4chan and run with as a legitimate story.  They reported that “buzz feed reported it”, but didn’t take 5 seconds to check – they simply ran with a shit story to smear our president.  I don’t trust 95% of the news anymore.  Most of the news is heavy left spin.  Some is heavy right.  Some is moderate, but they are few and far between.

In my life, my politics have led me to personal responsibility.  Don’t blame everyone else for your shit.  Figure out a way to own it.  If you don’t like your path in life, change it.  Don’t sue someone or blame someone else.  Do what YOU can to make your life better.

Someday, I may vote as a democrat again.  I stayed away from the republicans because for the longest time, they were the far right church group who was anti-sex, anti fun, anti-gay, and anti-science.  Today, I see a fit woman dressed to the nines in stockings, heels, skirt suits with a great career – my guess is she’s a republican.  If I see a fit dude who has a great career and wearing a suit and driving a Benz, he’s probably a republican.  While you might think they are just rich bastards trying to avoid taxes, what I see today is a group of people who took responsibility for their bodies, their careers, their destinies and they just simply don’t give  a fuck who you marry or if you have hair arm pits, just don’t force your beliefs upon them.

C’est la vie.

Today, I’m a republican who doesn’t hate anyone or anything.  I just want to take responsibility for my life, you take responsibility for yours.  I don’t want to get involved in your bedroom life, stay the fuck out of mine.  But for god sake’s, don’t force your shit on some rural hick who never hurt anyone in his life and just wants to take his “traditional” family to a diner.   I want the “party of tolerance” to be tolerant of others who do not support your opinions on nationalizing thoughts.  I want to stand side by side with you and fight true, ugly racism…but I don’t want you to call people racists who simply want you to follow the laws of this land, as they are written today.  I want you to realize that high medical premiums forced on people who don’t want to pay them under threat of the IRS is not the country I want to live in….and I choose a better system with more choices and lower premiums where people take more responsibility for their health and help do their part in lowering premiums for all.  I realize I may fall some day and need the government to give me a hand….but I don’t want to live in a society where millions of people are essentially forced to live on government hand outs because all of the good jobs left because of your fucking shitty trade deals.  And when jobs are promised to be brought back with lower taxes, you demonize the orange haired twitter beast – not because it’s good for America, but because it’s bad for your agenda for him to succeed.

I am a republican today because I wish to respect our constitution and our laws.  If you don’t like laws, work to change them.  The orange haired twitter beast and his perfectly quaffed puppet have failed in repealing/replacing Obamacare.  And you revel in their loss instead of pitching in to make suggestions to make our healthcare better.  It was better for you to do a victory lap on their defeat than helping to get a better healthcare system in place for all.

You know what?  I think I’m a republican today because I’m more or less done with politics.  You don’t want to debate me anymore because my logic hurts your feelings.  I don’t need to talk politics, because I will just go and vote for people who represent what I feel is right.  Whether that is a republican today or a democrat tomorrow.

I just know I have to do my part.  I have to take responsibility for MY life.  I just don’t want you tell me how I should think.  Let me come to my own peace with things in time.

Voltaire has been quoted as saying (although it may not have been him)…”While I may not agree with what you say, I’d freely give my right to defend your right to say it”.

What about think it?

If you’re with the left today, you have to realize you can’t force people to think things and still call yourself patriotic Americans.

I am a  moderate. But today, you are on the wrong side of the debate – one which you refuse to even have because your feelings are hurt a mean person is in  the White House.

For 25 years, I’ve been waiting for the day I could have someone in the office who was a flawed human being.  He owned that shit.  How many times did we have to try and vote the perfect boy scouts into office for them to do nothing….status quo.  No matter who you voted for, it was gridlock, the debt went up, and spending went up.  Today,  we have a brash person in there who was worth billions and 70 years old.  He could have retired and bought his own country.  Instead, at 70, he wants to work 18 hour days and be the constant target of death threats for the remainder of his life.  He grabbed a woman by the @#$%%.  So fucking what, so did half of my fraternity brothers.  He used foul language.  So did the guys at the bar over beer.  He banged super model after super model.  He’s worth billions.  He says mean things.  Most guys out there want to be him.  Evidently, a lot of women wanted to sleep with him.  He charms business people.  He is a deal maker.  And all you care about is trying to prove he’s a flawed character.  You don’t get it.  WE VOTED FOR A FLAWED CHARACTER.  We voted for someone who wanted to get shit done.

Love him or hate him, he’s trying to keep his campaign promises.

But I digress…

I feel my life working to be a better person is owed towards personal responsibility.  I hope I get to my goal.  I hope everything works out.

But I’m going to do my part.

And that’s not too much to ask of anyone in this country.

Maybe many of you are moderates.  Maybe some of you adapt this element of the republican party of self reliance and still are pro choice.  I just feel it’s a message that could really resonate with a lot of people, not just the republican platform.

Lastly, I love this quote by Ashton Kutcher: “opportunity look a lot like hard work”.  For many years, to me, it seems the left has conflated “opportunity” with “privilege”.  I feel like anyone coming to this country has equal opportunities offered to them.  This is the beauty of this country.  But I also don’t think that people are given privilege because they demand it.  I don’t think people are owed a job.

I might disagree with you on 10% or 90% of the issues.  But I will respect you as a fellow American and debate you on the merits, not the emotions, of an argument.  On some items, I may score some points.  On some, you will.  But hopefully – we can understand more of where we are coming from.  And the idea of this was not to have you like the orange haired twitter monster, it was to show you that while I may vote on the other side of the isle from you, that I am an American just like you are and share many common values with you.  I just don’t want you to feel your moral superiority thus needs to be shoved down peoples’ throats or you call them a bigot, racist, xenophobe, misogynist, etc.  It’s time we start to heal by recognizing differences, appreciating each other as Americans again, and getting back to the spirit of debate…not the nuances of political tactics to take the other down.  In this country, at the moment, the red team has all three branches.  Fight for what you believe in, but respect that in a democracy, sometimes you lose.  Sometimes you win.  If they are in charge, try to get bills to come to the middle more. If you are in charge, don’t strong arm the other team.  Be respectful of differences.  Be kind to each other.  Realize people might think differently than you, and this makes for awesome conversation over a beer.

 

 

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