Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lost in the middle

Other than the occasional link and pithy comment in the weekly "potpourri roundup," I rarely blog extensively about politics here at TNRLM. Not to say that I'm not interested, as I have dozens of blogs and news sources that pour into my RSS reader, and I also keep up with newspapers (remember those?), magazines and virtually all the talking head shows on the cable news networks. I'm just disgusted by the two party system, since both sides have such firmly drawn and intractable positions, and I can't really identify wholly with either one. I used to live in a traditional "red" state, and now I live in a totally "blue" state, so how I voted in each in election didn't really matter in the big picture. I feel like what I think and want and believe doesn't have a voice -- at least one powerful enough to affect change -- and it's deeply frustrating. Every choice, whether it's for a representative, senator or president, is all about a compromising of integrity and selecting a lesser of two evils.

For example, (and I know these are broad strokes on the various positions) the Dems get a lot of things right. They want to ensure a woman's right to choose. They want to keep the superstition, supernatural and theocracy out of our schools and government. They're more hesitant to interfere in the business of sovereign nations (unless, of course, it's to give them more of our money). They don't look to a book of fiction to define who should marry and divorce each other, or adopt unwanted children. However, they're also hysterical about the "environment" and "global warming." They believe in quotas, affirmative action and tend to base things on gender, race and identity politics rather than pure merit (and let their guilty liberal consciences overcorrect for long-past transgressions). They're distinctly anti-capitalism and free market. They believe the most inefficient and ineffective organization ever created -- government -- is the solution to all the world's problems. They don't believe in holding individuals responsible for their own choices and decisions. They believe that government should fund (from money stolen from you and me) things that are better left to the free market. And most importantly, they create class/success envy, and consistently believe in punitive and escalating taxation and income redistribution.

On the other hand, the Republicans get a lot of things right, too. Primarily, they believe in a free market economy. That people deserve to keep what they earn without the government taking it at gunpoint and giving it to others who didn't earn it. That hiring, firing and appointments should be based on qualifications, not on grievances that are hundreds of years old. That people and companies can come up with the best solutions, not government. That you can choose what school you send your kids to. But they're also equally frustrating and odious in they way that they try to legislate their version of morality. They want to create a theocracy, and control every citizen's life based on a group mythology that has ZERO basis in provable fact or science. They've recently strayed from strong defense and protection of national interests to a nation building interventionist policy. While they don't typically legislate based on pure quota and gender and racial identification, they do give excessive breaks and preferences to those who choose to spawn, instead of just worrying about the rights of individuals (no matter their sexual, reproductive or marital status). They believe the "6,000 year old earth" nonsense should actually be included as a viable option in textbooks.

So what's a guy to do?

Technically, I'm probably more of an objectivist, and am actually a card-carrying member of the Libertarian party (though they have their fringe elements that don't exactly jive with my worldview, either). So each and every election, I face the same dilemma of holding my nose and casting a vote for the party/candidate which offends me the least. In order to do this, you have to prioritize your needs and principles, which leads to a lot of internal anguish and disappointment. Always, my highest priority is reducing the excessive and progressive amount of money confiscated from me by the government and given to those who didn't earn it, or don't deserve it. And I can proudly say that I've never voted for a candidate who espoused raising taxes of any kind, on anyone. So I usually wind up voting for Republicans, even though their increasing fealty to the supernatural and fairy tales, and tendency toward legislating their version of morality (and restricting the liberties and choice of individuals) makes me want to vomit. It's a gut-wrenching Sophie's choice every election, and just makes me loathe the whole process and the puppets who participate in it. Why can't there be a D who is anti-taxation and who wants a limited government, but is intent on protecting individual freedom without excessive social engineering? Why can't there be an R who stops developing policy based on mythology and treating fiction as fact, yet still gets government out of the way and lets capitalism work unfettered? Sadly, I don't think I'll live to see the day when we have a candidate who is openly agnostic or atheistic, wants to abolish the current tax code in favor of a flat or consumption tax, protects a woman's right to choose, gives all citizens equal civil rights (no matter their race, religion, marital or sexual preference) wants a strong defense but eschews foreign intervention unless it specifically threatens our interests, and truly believes that the ONLY role of government is to protect the life, liberty and property of individual citizens.

Sigh. Didn't mean to get off on a rant there. But here are a few news tidbits for you to help the morning go down better:

Hybrid drivers get better parking spaces. Ye gods. "global warming" hysteria reaches new levels. I understand closer parking spaces for the handicapped. But for hybrids? Or mothers or chicks who are knocked up? Aren't these personal choices? Still, as long as individual companies do it willingly as a unique selling proposition or customer differentiation strategy, I'll support their right to do it, even if I personally find it stupid. However, if government starts the same shit, let's dump tea in the harbors.

I always though Victoria Jackson was kinda cute. I didn't realize she was insane. Did the "good book" reveal that C-List SNLers would reveal the anti-christ?

It gives me hope that a majority of Americans are now smarter than they were in 2004.

"Fair" = "punishing success" for some.

Quotes from the orchestrator of last weekend's flat-earth minstrel show. How does this crap enter the mainstream? Sigh.

Geeks apparently lean conservative. I think I agree with Catwoman.

Has Bush done anything right? Mostly an acknowledgement of correcting horrific initial mistakes, though it doesn't mention the REAL thing he got right: tax cuts.


  1. Here's the thing, eight years ago, I would have gladly voted for McCain. He was a fairly moderate Republican. Since he decided to run (and has a chance), he has steadily floated to the right, f only to court the conservative (zealot) vote. The problem is that he's still not conservative enough for the fundamentalists, and I have a feeling that his running mate will be chosen solely to appease that segment of his constituency.

    The farther I drift into my 30s I find myself straddling the line between a social Democrat and a fiscal Republican. There's no right answer, and no matter who we elect, the real power is in Congress and the State legislative system, which the average person doesn't realize (sadly).

    You are correct, Maryland is a blue state, however, it's more purple than anything else. With the exception of: Montgomery County, parts of Anne Arundel County & Baltimore City, it's a fairly conservative State.

    Sorry for such a long comment (and/or rant). Vast amounts of coffee, an early Friday night, and mountains of laundry will do that to a person.

  2. Hey, no problem. It feels like a "ranty" kind of morning. I'm already on pot 'o joe #2, and have my fantasy draft coming up in 2 hours. And you're right, there's no real "space" or "voice" for fiscal conservatives/social liberals. I liked McCain's more moderate past, though he didn't pass my personal #1 litmus test back then, because he didn't zealously support the Bush tax cuts. He's moved that way now, which is good, but you're also right in that he's continually pandering to the fundies these days. Sigh.