Friday, May 27, 2016

Bouncing between liberal and conservative ideas

The only reason I am not an independent is because if I register as independent I am unable to vote in primaries in my state.

I spend probably more time than I should thinking about the categories of "conservative" and "liberal," and I find myself dancing between thoughts that seem liberal and others that seem conservative.

I know enough about "isms" to be dangerous, but here is the gist of what I perceive:

This is a very simplistic idea, but if often seems to me that conservatives believe in the power and responsibility of the individual to change his/her circumstances, while liberals seem to believe that individuals are too stupid to change their circumstances and better their lives.  On the surface, I totally get behind this.  Liberals often seem to me like "babysitters," who think the government should act as a giant parent.  As a general rule, I think many institutions that are government operated are inefficient at best.

I wonder how much of my own belief in personal responsibility was engendered because my own parents lived it and instructed me in it?  Under different life circumstances, different parents, a different upbringing, would I think differently?

However, I also understand that the power of the almighty dollar and private companies don't always or often value things that have great value, like stay-at-home mothers.  As a stay-at-home mother, I got paid nothing, but I contributed a great deal to society by volunteering like a mother-f*cker at my kids' schools and in their organizations.  Things like parks and nature preserves don't make money but they add considerable value to people's lives.  Clean water and air don't make money either but are necessary for society.  There are some ways in which government is an absolute necessity, and if corporations don't/won't do it, then government needs to.

There also seems to be a connection between libertarianism and conservatism one some issues, like guns, but not on other issues, like abortion.  I have a difficult time resolving that a person who believes in liberty and freedom of choice doesn't also think the government should stay out of people's business as it concerns sex or procreation.  That is a weird disconnect that I don't understand.

A couple days ago, I read a newspaper article in which someone suggested that public schools in our city should offer disadvantaged students three meals a day, longer school days, homework help, and be open schools on Saturday and all summer.  Having worked with disadvantaged students and seeing them on a regular basis again as a substitute, I totally get that there is a need.  There are many, many parents who do a craptastic job of parenting their kids either because of their own ignorance or because of drug addiction or because of poverty.

But my immediate reaction upon reading this sentiment was for my dander to get up.  My question to this person who I am not actually speaking to was, "What is the responsibility of parents, then, if the school basically raises the child?"  The parents need to have some skin in the game.

I know that education tries mightily to right the wrongs of poverty and poor parenting.  This is why I am firmly in favor of contraception being available like candy and abortion rights.  I don't think abortion is right.....I think it is a terrible, horrible thing.  BUT, I think it is more of a terrible, horrible thing for children to be brought into this world and abused, neglected, or "raised" in a pipeline that leads them almost assuredly to drugs, prison and/or violent death.  Morality doesn't truly exist in a neat, clean, black/white line of yes or no.

So my initial reaction to this person's statement seemed rather conservative, but then I stated my comments about contraception/abortion, which are definitely liberal.

I'm confusing myself.

The bathroom wars, LGBT issues.....I'm liberal....but it sorta seems like this would be a conservative/libertarian issue.  Personal liberty and all that.  Keep the government out of my personal business.....

The whole living together before marriage and dating while separated prior to divorce.....I'm conservative.  People froth about sex on tv and in song lyrics but completely ignore how many parents do a piss poor job modeling behaviors to their children by being married to their spouse (technically) and moving in with or dating someone else while they await divorce proceedings to complete.  Be legally single before you start dating (I'm frothing now).

I'm personally fiscally conservative, but I like the ideas of having my money automatically handed out to others in wealth redistribution because I know I am too selfish to give willingly on my own.  So that puts me more in the liberal camp, I think.  I don't mind taxation, but I think the money is spent stupidly.

The removal of Confederate statues in cities and the like....conservative.  I think it is sort of ridiculous to dismantle things when they could be used to educate if anyone pays attention to them at all.  Although I think the removal of state flown/government condoned Confederate flags was appropriate.  See, I vacillated right there, I think.

Immigration---conservative.  I'm not sure what the solution is but as a person who listens to the airline steward on how to safely exit the plane, it would stick in my craw that I'm having to save the lives of yahoos who didn't pay attention to the instructions and follow the rules of responsible airline passenger.  I think a wall between here and Mexico is ridiculous to the nth power, but I also think we reward people for violating immigration law.

Gun rights---I am not anti-gun.  I personally don't want to own guns, but if other people want them....go ahead.  I'm not sure how effective gun-control laws really are.

Anyway....I know I definitely lean more lefty, but there are many issues where I feel like my immediate reaction is righty.

I think I'm stuck in the middle with myself.  

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