Election 2016 Thoughts
The election is over, thank goodness.
Do things. Write. Blog. Create art. Criticize the powerful. Engage in dialogue with your neighbors and beyond. Get out of whatever bubbles you might be in, and we are all in bubbles, to find common ground with people of other ideologies.
When I read some of the claims about Pres. Obama, I remind friends I side with socialist Cornel West and libertarians against extra-judicial use of drones, expansion of wire-tapping, the selling military "surplus" to police forces, the highest rate of deportations in U.S. history, and many other policies we have had during this time. How many bankers went to prison?
I respect Pres. Obama more than I will ever respect a Trump or Pence. But I'm not going to waive my moral and ethical compass on issues for any leader. Always hold leaders accountable.
I'm sorry, but we must never dismiss the "wrongs" of any side, even when it could be worse. When you tolerate bad policies, because they seem pragmatically the best, that just continues the system.
Trump must be held accountable. Don't hide away, don't panic, don't retreat.
I remain opposed to the same things I was opposed to yesterday and last week, as a small-l J. S. Mill libertarian. I remain opposed to police with too much power, a demonstrably biased judicial system, easy wiretaps, access to electronic messages, anything regulating how adults live in private, and many other things.
I remain opposed to moral relativism and tolerance if it means accepting the bigotries in other nations. Sorry, but I believe in lecturing other nations about mutilating women, stoning LBGTQ people, executing apostates, and so on. I will continue to call out injustices beyond our borders, because that's the right thing to do.
I remain opposed to many laws and regulations that have unintended consequences. I oppose the "reforms" that have weakened political parties (we need those moderate elites of the past). The primaries are a disaster. Redistricting is a mess. (But remember, the Senate is not gerrymandered, and it is more radical than the House.)
It bothers me that only a third of people voting can name the Vice President. Half cannot name their two Senators. More than two-thirds of self-described "progressives" say they cannot be friends with conservatives or libertarians.
I often read someone post or hear someone say, "Well, he is okay. But he's not really a libertarian." Yes, I am. I can give you lots of reasons not to trust any government, especially when it comes to how our government has treated marginalized groups: slavery, internment, medical experiments, sterilization, and codifying prejudices. I distrust government funding of the arts and any media because then those artists end up being regulated via taxpayer pressure (or must be "apolitical" - which is impossible). (I strongly support donation-supported arts and media. I don't create some works to make money. And I might offend political leaders!)
I believe we need a Bill of Rights and we need Amendments to the Constitution because I do not trust the vagaries of elections. Free speech, citizenship, voting rights... these are not negotiable, no matter what a majority wants. No, we must be protected from "too much democracy" and we must protect our fellow citizens. When I fail to protect the rights of others, I am enabling the loss of my own rights.
The most sickening moments of last night were when Republicans called for the closure of voting locations because some time was hit on a clock. Laws, government regulations, were being used to deny rights. I will stand up, always, for people wanting to be heard. Including people with whom I disagree. The GOP has crossed a line on the voting rights issue. It offends me.
The GOP must be watched. Their lack of respect for their historical founders and purposes upsets me. The GOP opposed slavery, supported the suffragists, and warned of the military-industrial complex. They supported term limits and restrictions on power. They were historically linked to the Federalists and the Jeffersonian Democrats. The GOP created National Parks, the EPA, OSHA, and the Clean Water Act. The 1956 GOP platform reads like a "leftist" pledge to protect individual rights from government and corporations. The Voting Rights Act passed thanks to Northern ("Moderate") Republicans. That GOP wing is on life support, sadly.
We, as a people, must insist that the GOP respect individual rights and liberties while ensuring that our choices do no harm to others. That's what J. S. Mill and Adam Smith wrote: I should be free and sovereign as a human, that I should have all rights over my own body and mind. But, Smith eloquently said that when my choices exploit others and when I negotiate in bad faith, I should be held accountable by the law.
Do not relax. Do not panic. Engage with the system and with people across the ideological spectrum. We need each other.