Thursday, September 17, 2015

I Believe

I consider myself a Progressive. I have long felt myself in a place with one foot in the realm of the Liberal, and one in the Conservative, but I also know change is a good an healthy thing. I personally believe that there are others like me out there. I hope there are, because the events of the last few days have left me feeling very depressed about the future of our nation.

I believe in total equality for all, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the pursuit of happiness for every, single citizen of this country. I believe that we must reach out and provide help to those who need it to reach those goals. I believe everyone deserves quality healthcare. I believe in an intelligently regulated market, and I believe that achievement, however you want to measure that, is not something that should be demonized or scorned.

I believe that blanket Federal laws covering things like guns and minimum wadge are foolish, because the people pushing for them can't seem to rationalize that there are huge swaths of this country that simply don't operate in the way their own lives operate. A $15 minimum wadge in New York City is probably rational. A $15 minimum wadge in Broken Bow, NE is probably overkill, and would likely harm small business. That the vast majority of gun owners are skilled and have safety as a primary concern. These things should be decided on a state level, because local lawmakers SHOULD have a much better sense of what is needed in their regions.

Conversely, "States Rights" are not a license to perpetuate hatred and bigotry. That achieving a level of financial success should not be a license to bully those who have not. That a woman's body is her own. That your religion is yours, not mine, not your neighbors'. You are welcome to use your religion to inform your voting choices, but the law is the law. Your religious convictions are not a valid reason to break the law.

I believe that businesses will pay their workers as little as they have to. I believe that unions are vastly important to protecting the interests of the worker in the face of big business thinking. I also believe, in a number of cases, unions have become big business. That they have been complicit in financial disaster by strong-arm tactics to force benefits that could not be sustained.

I believe that solutions to this country's problems can come from anywhere, and will never be found if we continue to invalidate, ignore, or attempt to silence, voices that are not in line with our own. I believe that, while there are many downtrodden and marginalized people in our country in need of our help, there are very few true victims. There is very little to actually fear. That the perpetualization of the victim and fear mentality is engineered by those who profit by keeping us apart. Those who profit from discord and strife.

I believe that "internet activism" has virtually nothing to do with changing anything, and everything to do with enjoying our own voices. It's sole purpose is to create an echo chamber of unchallenged, often incorrect or outright fabricated, opinion back at a mob that already agrees with it. Solidifying groupthink and hardening hearts and minds to any possible solutions that may not fit the pre-conceived narrative they have been indoctrinated into.

When I hear a phrase like "the devil never needs an advocate," I know that the person speaking is deathly afraid of being wrong. Of being confronted with a question that their narrative cannot answer. I believe we should all welcome the moments when we can say "I don't know."

I believe we are all the same. I believe a joke is a joke, and art is art, and that both of those things are intensely personal. That artists must speak truths, and teachers must teach truths, no matter how uncomfortable.That you have every right to not patronize that which you are offended or injured by, but you have no right, at all, to silence anyone's voice, or to impede others from enjoying, or learning from, said voice if they wish to.

It's become depressingly clear to me that there are very few "Progressives" of my stripe, willing to speak out, left in this country. But, my oh my, are there so many Fundamentalists of both a liberal and conservative bent, who will bend your ear for hours. Who's goal is not to improve our society, except in the most narrow, self-centered, of visions, but to win the game.

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