Which side am I on?

Like many people, I consider myself a moderate.  My conservative friends and family think I’m a flaming social liberal.  My liberal friends and colleagues think I’ve drunk the conservative “market kool-aid.”  Both groups are right.

On social issues, I am unabashedly inclined to support individual rights.  On all the civil quandaries pitting government against the rights of people to comport themselves as free and responsible agents, including marriage benefits, gay rights in general, the rights of women, the right to choose the time and place of one’s death, recreational drug use, and other societal rights, it’s clear to me that government has caused much more harm than good by manufacturing a prerogative to make or influence decisions impacting these rights.

On issues of finance and the market, I also believe that the default government stance should be to stay out of the way.  But I am not anti-regulation.  Government must adopt policies that maximize economic benefit for all its people, just as corporations follow their own policies and bylaws to maximize the return on investment for shareholders and provide a quality, affordable product to customers.  The key is to simplify our codes of regulations, public and private, so we don’t crush ourselves under the weight of mounting bureaucracy.

Where does all this place me on the modern political spectrum?  I’m not really sure anymore.  Republicans have clearly surrendered the ship of fiscal restraint, and their continuing affair with religious fundamentalists will always be a turnoff to me.  Democrats still extol individual liberties, but their actions in recent years have fallen way short of their rhetoric and their persistence in wallowing in victim politics has repelled many mid-spectrum voters.

My guess is that there is a large segment of the American citizenry that is, like me, unsure who stands for what in politics, and that’s probably a good thing if it doesn’t last so long that it paralyzes us from action.  It’s a sign that we are in the midst of a significant political shift.  It’s also an opportunity for the body politic to shed its murky, tattered skin and show off a new set of colors.  This is a different world than it was 40 years ago, when the culture wars of the Boomers took ascendancy in the political heavens.  It is time for new coalitions with new leaders to take us forward into the next 40 years.  Hopefully we won’t spend all that time in the wilderness.

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2 Responses to “Which side am I on?”

  1. Massey Says:

    When you peel back the onion to its core (do onions have cores?), the only viable solution for the long-run viability of our Republic is a viable third political party. Both parties merely kick-the-can; neither is interested in making the hard decisions to set our country on a solid long-term footing. Without a viable third party (or more), solutions to the most difficult problems vexing our society will simply never be solved and America will be consigned to a protracted period of decay and, ultimately, dissolution.

    Bummer.

  2. jeffbowers Says:

    I’m cool with making room for a third party, but I think it will best serve the country if its base is the center and not the fringes.

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