I want to learn all I can, live as wisely as I can, and savor every moment on the journey.
I’ve never felt confident enough to talk or write about politics—because I just hadn’t done it! I thought I needed to have studied all past and current events and political theories in great depth; but all I really needed to do, I’ve recently discovered, was pay attention thoughtfully and try on different ideas.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. Don’t worry, I’ll not going to become a politics junkie; that’s just not me. But I want to be able to think and converse intelligently about politics. So here’s my very first attempt. (Perhaps I got my courage up after my last post on my dreamy idea of doing away with political campaigns.)
As a U.S. citizen, I’ve never firmly landed on a political party—Republican or Democrat—and I still don’t know which I prefer (I guess that makes me an Independent?). Let me think out loud a little here.
What I like about Republicanism/conservative politics is the value of work and of individual power. I think it’s very important to be able to feel independent, productive, and empowered in one’s life, not dependent on a government or anyone else as far as possible. I also think it’s important to have wide freedom of choice about how you live your life (so maybe I’m a Libertarian?), and I value the ideal of as little government interference in one’s life as possible.
However, what I DON’T like about Republicanism/conservative politics is the pervasive attitude I hear that “poor people are just lazy.” Um, wow, that’s a huge and hasty generalization, which is a type of logical fallacy—not to mention just plain arrogant!
What about all the people who do have full-time jobs but still live below the poverty line? What about people who are truly, legitimately disabled and would have no means of income were it not for Social Security Disability? And what about people whose poverty and desperate circumstances in their growing-up years did not allow them the possibility of getting a good education or specialized training for a well-paying job? For example, if you’ve seen the show Shameless, think of the character Fiona: her smart younger brother found a way to go to college (though it’s a culture shock for him), but she’s always been too busy taking care of her younger siblings to even think about her own education, and she understandably struggles to hold down a job. Would you describe her as lazy? No way!
So I’m in the middle right now. (Does that make me a Moderate?) The label I think I like best is “Independent,” because it doesn’t tie me to any certain viewpoints. I intend to stay open to what life and learning teach me in the realm of politics.