Essays, Poetry, Observations, Etc.

A Change Of Labels is in Order

In change, Labels, philosophy, politics on October 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm

It is recently I have begun to reassess my self applied labels. While I have felt comfortable with my appellations, I have noted, with some dismay, at how others view my self definitions. So, let’s take a look at what we have to date.

Today, let’s take a look at political positions first.

I like to consider myself a centrist, a fiscal conservative/moderate and a social liberal. Many years ago I used to consider myself a moderate Republican, very moderate, that is, until the GOP was pushed into the extremes of social conservatism by zeaolts bent on remaking America according to their artfully constructed view of what America had beem, was and should be. Indeed, a great many independents and centrists these days are former moderate Republicans.

I tend to sympathize a great deal with the social aspirations of many Democrats, better healthcare, slowing down the trashing of our environment, the right to choose, helping those that can be or want to be helped, as well as the freedom to live as a government recognized couple regardless of the gender or preference of either party.

The problem with a great many Democrats is their idealistic nature. There are limits to what we can afford to do. There are limits what you can compel people to do. Not everyone wants or will accept help. Not all problems can be solved by throwing money at them. More government and more oversight doesn’t always lead to better results.

One of those silly little details both the Republicans and the Democrats refuse to acknowledge is that human beings are both natural capitalists and natural socialists… at the same time. We are possessive, we want ownership and control. . We want to benefit from the fruits of our labor. If we can’t, then often we don’t try at all. However, we also want to help other people. We are naturally empathetic. It makes most of us feel good to help give someone a leg up in the world, to give directions. Most of us truly want to help others, with the caveat that we don’t want to spend much money on it!

So, I sit in the middle between both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. I understand a great deal about the rather chaotic goals of both. And, in understanding that, I reject a great deal of what the Republican Party has come to stand for. At the same time, there is much about the Democratic Party that I view as unobtainable, at least in the short term, or at least using the methods so far proposed.

Both sides are unrealistic in their belief that if somehow, they gain power, they will be able to impose their will on all citizens. We live in a democratic country. However, we also live in a country that recognizes that minority positions, minority points of view, also have worth. For a democracy to impose the will of the majority on every body, without regard to the individuals affected or any arguments that might mitigate that will, is morally reprehensible. To impose the will of a political majority on all creates nothing less than a majority run dictatorship.

As I said, I sit in the middle and view both sides with distrust and more than a little contempt. And so I have labeled myself up till now as a centrist. I still consider myself a centrist, but the label is failing me.

Too many think of a centrist who has no real opinion or affiliation, a fence sitter. And, for a great many, this may be true. But talk to a true centrist about any political subject and you will discover that they have very definite opinions, it’s just that those opinions don’t automatically follow the typical knee-jerk opinions of any particular political party. Just because I think position A of political party One is acceptable doesn’t mean that I also think position B for that same party is also acceptable. Party affiliation used to be like a tent that housed many people, sometimes with differing positions, yet still viewing the government and political participation from a more or less common viewpoint.

These days, party affiliation is treated like an organized religion, one must either be all in, agreeing to almost everything, or it’s time for an excommunication! The end result is exemplified in the rolling disaster that is the current political situation in Washington. No one dares waver from the party line for fear of retaliation from extremists on both sides, or from fear of loss of funds from the corporate donors whose hands are deep into the pockets of many, if not most, of our representatives in Washington.

And so, I sit in the middle and both sides view me with distrust and more than a little contempt. They simply can’t understand why their Kool-Aid doesn’t completely kill off my ability to think independently and to maintain a differing opinion on what ever they are proselytizing about.

Therefore, while maintaining the internal label of Centrist, I shall, from this time forward, simply refer to myself as an independent. I have noticed that both political parties have no problem trying to woo independents. They may even modify their positions, remove some of the more extreme aspects of their positions in order to become more acceptable for independents. As is said, I am good with that. If calling myself an independent gives me a little more credibility or somehow removed some of the false belief that I am somehow sitting on the fence on some issues, I am good with that.
An Independent I am!

Oh, hallow day, I am rechristened!

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