Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Am I a Bleeding Heart Liberal (Or even a special snowflake?)

That’s a recent accusation and one I can understand. So, I’m going to answer that question to the best of my ability. Ready? Here we go:

I believe in political accountability: Politicians are elected to serve We the People. If they are negligent in their duties there should be consequences. If they try to bend the rules or break them, they should be held criminally accountable. Hell, if I had my way they’d be regularly sued for breach of contract, when they go against their political promises. If you are in service of We the People, you should get regular reviews and your pay should be docked when you fail in your duties. I believe that any politician who abuses their position (by, say, flying off to Aruba on the taxpayers dime) should not only be fined but should face criminal charges of embezzlement.

I believe in facts. I believe that facts are more important than opinions. Scientific proof holds more value for me than faith in any religion. That said, I respect the rights of others to disagree with me.

I believe that the news should not be called the news unless it is backed by facts. I believe that editorials should be clearly labeled and held until the end of new articles both written and recorded.

I firmly believe in the separation of church and state. The two do not mix. Your faith and mine are likely not the same. Why then, should I be dictated by your faith and yours alone?

To that end, I believe in pointing out on my Facebook page and in other locations, what I see as screw ups. If I think a politician is doing something wrong, I’ll post it. As always, I welcome fact checks and debates. I do not welcome name calling. I tend to delete heated posts, because I believe in being civil.  If I am wrong, I’ll admit it. If you can sway me with logic and facts, cool. I love learning new things.

I believe that hate crimes should be dealt with harshly. I believe that rapists and pedophiles should be dealt with harshly. I believe that violent crimes of any nature should be dealt with harshly. I am a firm believer in punitive damages for the families/survivors of violent crimes. You crippled someone for life? Hard labor and whatever monies you night get paid go to the victims. Maybe pay minimum wage for services. That way the bill can be paid off faster.

I believe in equal rights for everyone. A few clarifications for people. I believe in the right of everyone to live their lives peacefully. No one should be targeted because of their race, their sexual orientation, their color, their gender or their religious beliefs. Gay? Don’t care. Not my business. Transgender? That’s okay in my book and use the restroom of your choice, because, and I mean this part, I work under the assumption that whatever your gender you are not automatically attempting to create a criminal situation.

I’ll go one better here: Rapists and pedophiles are rapists and pedophiles and should be dealt with as such (Which is to say, HARSHLY). If anyone believes that a male putting on traditionally female garb and going into a womens’ rest room is there to find easy prey, they give too much credit to the evil genius. Sadly, most women are very aware, of necessity, of their surroundings. Most children need to be protected. But I do not believe for one instant that getting dressed in woman’s garb makes a person a sexual deviant. Should women be protected? Yes. So should transgenders, who are extremely likely to get beaten down or worse if forced to go into the male restroom at your average honky tonk or sports arena. I believe statistics back me on the number of attempted rapes by transgenders, by the way. Doesn’t happen much.

I believe in family values. By that I believe that families should have values. Husband and wife. Husband and husband. Wife and wife. As long as they all love each other it’s none of my business. I also genuinely don’t give a care one way or the other about polygamy as long as everyone’s happy with the arrangement.

I believe that far too often religious fears complicate what should be a simple situation. Homosexuality is not the same thing as pedophilia. To that end, I have no problem with gay or lesbian couples raising children. I have a problem with pedophiles raising children. Or abusive parents being allowed to raise their children simply because they are blood related and that somehow makes the abuse right. If I didn’t know of cases where this sort of mentality still existed, I wouldn’t bring it up. Abusive parents are abusive parents and should have to be a) monitored and b) given therapy before ever seeing their child again. Sound harsh? Go do some time with a grand jury and hear a few of the horror stories, then come back to me.

I believe in freedom of religion. All religions. I firmly believe, however, that the laws of these United States supersede the religious values of any and all religions. So if your faith says it’s okay to beat your spouse and the law says otherwise, you can’t beat your spouse. Want to have a human sacrifice? That, too, is against the law here in these United States.

I believe in a criminal justice system. (This one might be flawed, but I’ll explain.) If you do the crime, you should, in fact, do the time. I also believe that white collar crime is just as bad as blue collar crime and that all participants should be doing hard time. If dealing two ounces of pot is enough to get you hauled into the general population for 2 years, then stealing ten thousand dollars through computer fraud should also get you thrown in with the gen pop. Insider trading? Welcome to hard labor with the drug dealers and the rapists. It’s not supposed to be easy. Break the law and suffer the consequences.

Clarifying: I don’t believe in victimless crimes. Steal money? Someone is being stolen from. There is a victim. I don’t care if that victim is a corporation or your aunt Gertrude. Someone just had money stolen. There’s a victim. I believe that violent crimes, however, deserve higher rates of penalty. A murder caused in the passion of the moment is still a murder. Hard time and maybe a mandatory visit from the prison shrink. (I believe we should have prison shrinks, by the way, and that there should be more than one and that they should be regulated.). Insanity pleas are mostly a cop out. There are exceptions, thus, prison shrinks.

I believe that marijuana should be legalized. It’s not a gateway drug any more than alcohol or tobacco. There’s no proof to back that. So legalize it, regulate it and tax the crap out of it, same as booze and cigarettes. By the way, I don’t smoke the stuff and have no desire to start.  I believe that anyone who causes a death through driving under the influence should also be locked away. Criminal negligence is criminal negligence.

I believe that healthcare should be affordable. It isn’t in this country. I believe that this should be fixed immediately and I don’t much care how it’s done as long as it is, in fact, done. I believe that the insurance companies have managed to screw us all over for a long time and that they will continue to do so. Side note: with the exception of restorative plastic surgery I do not believe that cosmetic surgery should be free. I am not opposed to socialized medicine, but there are limits. Want a boob job? You’re on your own, medical restoration aside. Liposuction? Out of your pocket.

Clarification: I do not believe that the only people getting free healthcare for life should be the Congress of these United States. Last I checked they were supposed to work for We the People. Why do they get special privileges denied everyone else? Seriously? Not cool and I’m still thinking it’s against the actual laws that they are supposed to be following. 

I believe in a fair minimum wage. I believe that forty hours a week should be survivable financially. I don’t think it should get you a mansion, but at least enough to cover rent/house payment, food on the table and, of course, that medical insurance we need in this country to survive a broken arm without going into bankruptcy.

I believe that the Electoral College is flawed and should be removed. In this modern era I don’t care where you live, each vote should count. Not everyone in California votes the same way, so that nonsense doesn’t float with me. Live in Minnesota? That’s your choice. You should still get one vote. Local politics would still be handled the same way in any event, but as we can see by the difference between the popular vote and the electoral vote, something is rotten in the state of electoral numbers. That’s my opinion and I sincerely doubt you’ll change my mind. It’s always been a goofy system in my eyes.

I believe that this country is too litigious. We are, as a nation, “sue happy.” I believe that every citizen has rights, to be sure, but one of the reasons insurance rates climb is bloated litigation. There is no easy fix for this, because, honestly, if someone accidentally takes my arm (God forbid) in a car accident, and the insurance company wants to pay me 500 dollars, take it or leave it, you can bet I’ll be seeing someone in court.

I believe in term limits for politicians. If we can’t have the same person in charge of the executive branch for more than eight years, why should there be a different standard for the Administrative or Judicial for that matter? The system is flawed and should be fixed. As it stands there is too much chance for hardcore corruption.

I believe that “Citizens United” should be repealed immediately. Corporations are not people. They should not have a say and even if they DO have a say it should be no larger than the same amount allowed for individuals to offer to politicians in the past. What we have right now is too easily used to influence political sway. It’s called bribery, folks, and I firmly believe that anyone who is offering millions of dollars to the political campaigns has undue influence. But please, by all means, feel free to prove me wrong. Show me solid numbers that the money is having no undue sway over the politicians who are supposed to be working for the people.

Oh, or have the corporations making those deductions use the same tax form as the rest of us. If they are one person, they should get one standard deduction.

I believe in the First Amendment. I also understand the need to regulate and make changes to that amendment to better serve the original intent. I believe in the Second amendment in the exact same way. Some of the things I would suggest? Enforced gun safety. Limits on the sorts of bullets that citizens can employ. No one needs a talon, an armor piercing, or a glaser bullet. Ever. Violent criminals and felons should not have access to firearms, unless and until they can prove they are no longer a threat, and probably not even then. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.  Everything gets registered and the owner is held accountable for the use of that weapon. If marijuana found in a car is automatically assumed to belong to the car owner, then the weapons used in crimes should automatically go to the gun owner. Lost a gun? You didn’t control it properly. Go do the time. Your kid picks up your gun and kills Uncle Billy? You get to go to jail. No, I don’t feel that you’ve suffered enough because your uncle is dead. You obviously didn’t pay attention to the mandatory gun safety courses I believe in, or to the news for that matter. Go to jail. Remember what I said about vehicular homicide while under the influence? Same thing. It’s called accountability. If there are special circumstances leave it up to a court of law. I also believe that anyone found using an unregistered handgun or rifle, or stolen weapon, should be treated to a minimum of 30 days in jail and the expense of a weapon trace to see if, where applicable, that weapon may have previously been used in a criminal case. They should be prosecuted for those cases if evidence links said weapon to a crime. See my earlier point regarding ownership of cars and criminal matters.

Back to equality for a moment: I do not believe that any race is superior or inferior to any other. That said, not everyone agrees with me. I am appalled by the number of people who I thought otherwise perfectly rational who told me that Barrack Obama was a horrible president but couldn’t give me solid reasons aside from “just because.” We the People should be better than that. I am a white male. There’s a certain amount of privilege that goes with that. I can’t change that. All I can do is stand by my previous statement. Race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, these are not things that should be considered. I believe we are all equal. We are all human and should be treated as such.

I believe that the United States should have the best educational system in the world. We do not. Student loans should not cripple a person financially. I have not chosen to go to college. I have two jobs and I get along, but if I had student loan debt on top of my current bills. I’d likely be working a third job.

I believe we need less tax loopholes.

I believe that our military is big enough. I believe that veterans who served in the military should be respected and, when necessary, receive help n adjusting to life after the military.

I believe in welfare within reason. Everyone needs an occasional hand up. Not a hand out. Limits to benefits should apply and if that means that people have to fill out extra forms, and accept that sometimes the benefits have tapped out, then there it is. My family was on food stamps when my mother was doing her best to take care of four kids and my dad left and failed to do his part via child support. Sadly, equal pay didn’t exist then (or now) and my mother was paid substantially less than her make peers (remember that equality part I talked about earlier?). When she no longer needed food stamps, we no longer got them, but for a short time they were necessary.

I believe that illegal aliens should be deported. I know exactly how fortunate I am to have been born here. I know that many are not as fortunate. I also know that there are right ways and wrong ways to get things done. Exceptions can certainly be made under the right circumstances and for refugees, but I believe that illegal aliens should be deported.

I believe that anyone who takes advantage of illegal aliens is actually pond scum and should be prosecuted for any acts that violate the rights given to every citizen. Why? Because if they are punished for their crimes, maybe they won’t try pulling that nonsense. Want to pay someone pennies on the dollar for what a citizen would make? Pay the horrifically exorbitant fines. They aren’t horrific? Make them so. It’s a criminal act that borders on slavery and we don’t allow that here, not for a very long time. We’d all like to save a few pennies. None of us have to do it on the backs of other people. Sorry, that’s just the way I feel about it.

I do not believe in judging through fear. I refuse to be afraid of anyone because of their faith, gender, sexual orientation, race or place of origin. I judge the individual by the individual. Profiling does no good.

Do I think I’m a bleeding heart liberal? Not in the least, though I’ll grant my leanings are to the liberal side.

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