Thoughts on the Eve of the RNC

On this, the eve of the Republican National Convention, I’ve been thinking a lot about politics, rhetoric, groups, and individuals. A number of articles have been spurring this thinking, from yesterday’s ElectoralVote talking about the R platform, to an article in today’s LA Times about the deepening divide within the Republican party, and how the party is not united by what they are for, but what they are against. Obama.

Let’s start with that hatred. Especially if you read comments on news articles, you’ll see there is a lot of hatred going around. People “hate” Obama and believe the Democrats are socialists. The Republicans “hate” women, and are waging “war” on them.  We are in this increasingly polarized name calling atmosphere. Well I hate it. :-). We need to tone down the rhetoric. We disagree with positions, but we shouldn’t take that to the personal level. I doubt that any individual Republican truly hates women — they have a different view and mindset (one with which I disagree), but I don’t think it goes to the level of hatred. When we use such rhetoric, we make it harder to make our case.

I’d rather talk about what I’m for, and I support the President because he mostly believes in what I am for. He doesn’t agree with it all, and Congress certainly does not agree, but I will support candidates that align with our views.

  1. I believe religion is a personal matter, and should not be legislated. In other words, government shouldn’t be making our moral decisions for us. If you believe in the Bible, look at Deut. God gives us the choice between good and evil, life and death, and it is our responsibility to do the right thing. Having government make that decision for us takes away our ability to do good. In other words, government shouldn’t be prohibiting things like abortion, contraception, or the types of relationships that people form — they must be legal, and it should be up to the individual to decide what they want to do for themselves. Further, freedom of religion means that I must be free to practice my religion, and your religious beliefs (which might differ from mine) shouldn’t be prohibiting me from acting in accordance with my beliefs (within the realms of public safety).
  2. I respect the hard-working immigrant, be they legal or not. Hard-working immigrants have formed this country, and we should encourage and provide an easy path to citizenship to those who work hard and follow the law (modulo, of course, immigration law where it has gotten stupid). Thus I support efforts to reform and correct our immigration laws that are along these lines.
  3. I strongly believe in the public school system — both K-12 and universities — and believe these are the foundation for a successful society. Our citizens must be able to think and think critically. They must know how to work with technology, and not be afraid or disbelieving of science. Efforts to prevent critical thinking are wrong.
  4. Although I believe we need to reduce (but not eliminate) the national debt, there is a time and place for everything. Sometimes, you need to spend a little to gain a lot, and in recessionary times, appropriate government investment in its people has shortened the recession as well as creating technologies that have permitted America to rebound. We need to do that again: putting people to work repairing infrastructure, doing research and development into new energy and scientific technologies. This short term spending will go a long way to bringing America back.
  5. I also believe in paying our fair share to keep society going. That means when you “have”, you sometimes give more (percentage-wise) than those who do not have to benefit all. This notion has been lost with the idea that we must keep cutting taxes. We either need to increase taxes on the wealthy, or the wealthy have to demonstrate that they don’t need taxes to use their money to do good and put people back to work.
  6. I believe there is a role for government in many areas: building infrastructure, providing national defense–defending our economy as well as our borders, providing directed investments to make our country better. I do not believe in minimal government, but I do not believe in maximal government either. Government needs to be balanced.

When I look at the positions in the Republican platform, I see positions that do not agree with my views. When I read about the divide in the Republican party, I realize that the overall position is something with which I cannot stand. While I might agree with a single position here and there, and I might find individual members of the GOP to be good people, I generally do not agree with their candidates. I find in their positions a desire for a simpler time (some have characterized it as the time of Taft and Roosevelt — Teddy, that is). I can certainly see that in the stances on women, gays, immigration, isolationism, robber barons, and the gold standard. We need candidates that focus on the future, not a past that is being viewed through rose-tinted glasses.

That’s my rant for this morning.