Last year I wrote down some of my central positions to create a chart by which to navigate the inevitably dangerous waters of conflict, should that day ever come. I’m concerned about the direction of politics and campaigns, in general, and I think every politician would be well served by creating a personal document of this nature.
Candidates are often afraid to voice their true opinions for fear of losing votes and political backlash and their ability to lead can be diminished as a result. When they get into office, the soft shoe either continues or they show their true colors and alienate their original support.
It can be risky to document positions that can evolve (a “Flip flopper”!) but I’d rather not be in office than be afraid to voice the opinions I carry today or to compromise what I believe. These are not specific policies on issues (that’s for if, and when, I run), but broadstrokes to guide where I stand today.
The collapse of 2008 was the result of legislation from neoliberal economic theory (not to be confused with social liberalism) and those policies have controlled the argument for over 30 years. It favors the well-to-do by creating tax loopholes along with too much de-regulation, and that allowed for toxic assets in a volatile subprime market.
I support regulations to control ( and make transparent) the massive, risky bets with borrowed money (an unscrupulous practice of AIG, for example) that brought down the financial system. I also support “No more tax payer funded bailouts” of financial institutions.
I recognize that Small Business needs to be incentivized and supported (tax breaks) and I believe that the Democrats, historically, in a noble core directive to support labor, sometimes turn a blind eye to small business employers. I’ve been an employer myself and too often the regulations designed to reign in corporate malfeasance have choked Main Street and we need to separate the two.
The Middle Class has been squeezed to near non-existence and yet they are the fuel of our Capitalist/Mixed Market system. I will always lend my voice to their needs first. While I support and contribute to Corporate America because it is the engine of that system, I’m not worried about the quality of life for those who are already well off. Rather, I am concerned about the Working Class and ensuring them the best wages and working environments possible, as well as the necessary support they require if they’ve fallen on hard times.
Unions (Collective Bargaining)
In the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice . . . Workers have a right to organize into unions and to bargain collectively with their employers, and . . . a strong, free labor movement is an invigorating and necessary part of our industrial society.”
I am a card carrying union man and I vigorously support the Unions and Collective Bargaining to protect the best interests and prosperity of the American worker. While problems do exist within unions and they need to be held as accountable as we demand of management, they serve a necessary purpose in a free society.
I support the Public School System and while school vouchers might seem a like a solution to rescue poor students from failing schools, vouchers threaten our free educational system as well as the constitutional principle of separation of church and state as taxes would be funneled to parochial schools.
We must prioritize higher teacher salaries, better facilities and educational funding programs. Everyone, regardless of party, says they support education, but when push comes to shove, educational initiatives move down the priority ladder. We need to consistently move it into the highest priority when we create our budgets.
We can hold schools and teachers accountable for results, but only if we have given them the best tools and viable incentives by which to teach.
I believe that to recognize the civil rights of all citizens regardless of race, creed, gender, color or sexual orientation is the advancement of civilization and not a symptom of moral decay. I support Human Rights to the fullest degree and that extends to the rights of Gay Americans to fully participate in the civil rights we are all guaranteed.
I support the decision of the Iowa Supreme Court to allow gay marriage. They ruled that the Constitution cannot alienate any group of its citizens from that right and that includes those who are gay. That was a correct constitutional decision regardless of anyone’s personal or religious view of homosexuality.
We may all believe and live as we choose, but we cannot allow a personal belief system to become the doctrine of constitutional justice. You can preach and live by your moral doctrines, but that is a compass of your own choosing and not a place for government to dictate, except to guarantee the protection of that freedom.
The Constitution is not a moralizing document and government is not the administrator of religious moral doctrine. The rights of non-believers to appreciate the freedom protected by our Constitution are as great as those who believe that our morality is founded on Christian principles.
Hard as this is for some to grasp, we can never allow our country to be determined a Christian nation. The freedom protected, therein, is not the private domain of only those who believe a certain way.
With this realization of freedom in mind, I support a Woman’s Right to Choose. While abortion is a terrible thing, it can be necessary, such as in the case of rape or when a mother’s life is at risk. A woman, not government, must have control of reproductive rights.
No one is “pro-abortion,” and no one, who is thinking rationally, supports the idea of abortion as a birth control option and that’s why it must be kept out of back alleys. The decision must be left to a woman and the counsel of her doctors and others whom she trusts (family, church).
The Arizona immigration law of 2010 was a dangerous precedent that can lead to unlawful enforcement, civil rights infringement, illegal profiling and reinforce trends toward racism. Illegal immigration is illegal, but our focus should be on strengthening our borders and re-evaluating immigration as a whole.
Having been a small businessman in California I know firsthand that most illegal immigrants are not here to break the law but are here to work so that they can provide for their families. The action they have taken has broken the law but before we judge them as criminals we should consider that they are also courageously trying to create a better life at great risk. There is a difference between a criminal and someone who has broken the law and our immigration policies and enforcement must reflect that distinction.
Immigrants must follow, and we must enforce, legal standards to become Americans but we have created a system by which illegal immigration is often more viable; we have created jobs that many businesses have knowingly hired illegal immigrants to occupy and so the culpability for the problem is shared.
Except for Native Americans we are all descendants of immigrants, and while most came here legally, we need to include wisdom and compassion in our application of justice.
I believe that we have reached a critical juncture that will compromise, even destroy, the quality of life for future generations and we must embrace Green Initiatives, Renewable Energy and Bio-fuels with urgency. Climate Change is real and environmental protection is necessary in more stringent ways.
If future science proves me (and over 80% of all Climatologists) wrong, I will gladly submit to a spanking, but a clean energy future, non-dependence on foreign resources, is the correct direction for America, no matter where a person stands on the issue of greenhouse gasses today.
This is not really a 2nd Amendment issue; rather it is an argument of common sense. We can debate the intention of the Framer’s with regard to a citizen’s right to bear arms, but I posit that it has to be considered in the context of its time. I do not take a position that civilians should not realize their 2nd Amendment rights today, but with the advancement of weaponry and the evolution of how our sovereignty is protected, guidelines are necessary, as they are with any exercise of freedom. Anyone who is not proficient in the use of firearms or who has a criminal history must be denied access to deadly force as realistically as society can enforce such control.
Just as we can acknowledge that an automobile driven by someone who cannot drive is potentially deadly, why on earth would we have lesser restrictions to use a firearm? To drive we require passing written and applied tests and a license to show proof of that aptitude, and gun control should be no less.
The Role of Government and Welfare
I believe in good governance; organized, effective and strong. When in the hands of informed and responsible legislators, chosen by an electorate that shares the same responsibility, it becomes the impartial equalizer to ensure that all Americans have access to our resources and benefits.
Too often this is misinterpreted as a trend toward “socialism” and it is not. While everyone will experience success, affluence or struggle in different ways and to different degrees, the goal of our constitutional Republic should be to create an America where every citizen can participate and pursue Life, Liberty and Happiness to the best of their ability.