Monday, July 15, 2013

Things I'm on the Fence About

I'm generally an independent person, but the Republican party has gone so far to the right over the last 20 years that I haven't voted for a Republican since 1999 and have been a registered Democrat since just after the 2004 presidential election.

Despite this, I try not to be a knee-jerk progressive. I don't completely agree with progressives on a couple of issues:

  • Government-ID for voting. Most poor people do have government-issued ID, even if they don't have a driver's license. It isn't that hard to get. If anything, it might be harder for older people or people who live in very rural areas, and who might be more likely to vote Republican to get a government-issued ID if they don't already have a driver's license. That said, the Republicans are clearly over-rating potential voter fraud, and are trying to disenfranchise people likely to vote for Democrats. I encourage everyone to ensure they have a valid, government-issued ID of some kind to ensure they can vote no matter what weird gymnastics the Republicans require.
  • Edward Snowden. He's not a traitor and he's not a hero either. Still not quite sure what to make of him. Neither side, nor Snowden himself, have made a compelling argument either way. He is telling us stuff our government has been doing for years, but I've found everything unsurprising. He's clearly broken a number of federal laws (as a government contractor, he had to sign a number of papers promising not to divulge what he learned in his job), but that isn't the same thing as being a traitor. But the Snowden problem raises a larger issue, one that's been generally ignored - why the hell is the NSA hiring contractors? If our security is so important, why isn't the NSA only hiring regular government employees who have to undergo a full security clearance before they are hired?
  • Investing. I've always believed in enlightened self-interest. Capitalism and the stock market can raise people out of poverty. I only need look as far as my own husband to see that (coupled with native intelligence and an excellent education, paid for by scholarships, work/study and loans). Sadly, many people who start investing don't understand what they're doing. Coupled with unregulated behavior by many financial institutions, it looks like the deck is hopelessly stacked against small investors. It isn't - you need to be a careful investor. If anyone tells you they have an easy way to $1,000,000, they are lying.

When I was younger, I used to be more on the fence about unions, but given the current mess Republicans (pushed by ALEC and the Kook...errh, Koch Brothers) have made of employee rights, we need unions now more than ever.

I believe strongly in the tenants of the modern Democratic party, including its promotion of personal rights, protecting women and minorities, education, gun control, infrastructure, having a strong social safety net including health care and environmental protection. The Republicans have been very much wrong over their anti-tax raving. As Twitterer @AngieinWAState said "I like paying taxes, with them I buy...civilization." I want to live in a civilized country. The Republicans don't care if the United States is a civilized country, they only care to keep as much of the country's wealth for themselves.

1 comment:

Ronald Oakes said...

This is quite close to where I sit on most of these issues.

I still have some inherited concerns over unions from my mother who feels that when the unions came into the Hawaiian sugar plantation she grew up on (as the daughter of the plantation bookkeeper) they helped price Hawaiian sugar out of the market. But I also have my sister's viewpoint as a teacher who joined the union for malpractice insurance, but has also continued to support their fight to keep the schools in New Mexico funded.