Friday, October 7, 2011

Sticking to the Issues, Not a Candidate

Following my last post, a friend asked if I was "coming out" as a Republican. No. That's not going to happen, since I am deeply offended by the influence of the religious conservatives within the GOP. I have no interest in supporting candidates or a party that isn't willing to "live and let live" on most social issues. But, I'm also not going to embrace a party that wants to regulate an even broader range of behaviors I consider to be personal choices. If I want a greasy burger or a buttery croissant, leave me alone. "Sin tax" is one of the more idiotic phrases in government revenue collection.

Given a choice, I am more likely to support and even work for "conservative" Democrats, but I'd also consider a "liberal" Republican. However, I tend to focus on issues as a scholar and adviser rather than individuals. I don't like or trust politicians, but I can support a cause.

If you want me to collect data and report on the rhetoric necessary to promote gay rights and tolerance, I'm right there to help. From equal opportunity to opposition to the death penalty, I'm willing to crunch numbers and analyze public discourse. But if you want me to back a candidate? Forget it. I will help with an issue, but not personal campaign. Sorry, but I don't trust anyone with a desire to "serve" the public. I've watched too many idealistic people sell out and become part of the problem.

Government is the problem. Corporatism is the problem. If it is a large organization, it cannot be trusted. That's not because people are inherently bad or that corporations and government are "evil" in some way. Large groups simply lose the ability to connect to individuals. The larger a group, the weaker its link to ethics and the shared values of a community.

We try too hard to place people in "left/right" boxes, when most of us — myself included — are "independent" and not particularly loyal to a political party. We find issues we support, at most, and try to decide based on those how (or even if) we will vote in elections.

I'm a union member, an educator, an agnostic, an equal opportunity advocate, and more. Statically, I should be a "progressive" voter, but that's not going to happen. I was young once, but I learned from my mistakes. Today, I am also an entrepreneur and an advocate of personal freedom. Leave me alone, is my rallying cry. Don't tell me how to live and don't try to protect me from myself.

I've been asked if I would work for a politician because we share an interest in some issues. No, I politely responded, because I don't get involved in party politics. I generally, and reluctantly, vote against extremists, but I haven't voted for a candidate in many, many years. I'd rather stick to the issues so I'm not disappointed by whatever idiocy a candidate will commit once in office. Both parties want to dictate their values to others. Admittedly, I have values I wish where forced upon society regardless of popular support or a lack thereof. We would all be tyrants, sadly, but with different beliefs we'd attempt to codify.

It isn't that there are not well-intentioned Democrats or Republicans, but those elected have a way of turning into party loyalists. I'd rather not be disappointed by making the mistake of believing in a candidate.

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