Being Liberal

So now we know what being “liberal” means for social conservatives. Newt’s being accused of being one, because he had a relatively humane response to a question on immigration, one that recognized the difficulty of the issue and the ethical and financial problems associated with separating families.

Liberal: someone who makes a humane, considered response that takes into account multiple sides of a difficult issue, shows some compassion and doesn’t assume every problem has a clear-cut, black and white solution.

Don’t get me wrong: Newt “cleared up” his remarks after the debate, probably at least in part due to the howling fantods unleashed by his almost-human response. He’s not a liberal.

But by the above definition, I am. And the people I vote for will be too.  And if your philosophy on practically ANY issue is simple, black and white, then I’m probably not voting for you.  There are too many complex issues on this planet and in this country that require careful, considered thought, and do not have a simple answer. The reality is that if there were a simple answer, they wouldn’t be issues any more: we would have already fixed them.

Life is complex.  Ethical behavior is complex.  Responsibility is complex, and morality is complex.  If being a liberal involves understanding that and recognizing the difficulty and nuance of navigating the solution, instead of bumperstickering the answers, then count me among the liberals.

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Keith Mason, co-founder of the group Personhood USA, which pushed the Mississippi “personhood” ballot measure, said before the vote that a win would “send a message” to the rest of the country. But now he says he intends to renew efforts in the state.

So I guess his group’s initiative loss also sends a message, but he chooses to ignore it.

My message to Mason is that if you can’t get this initiative to pass in one of the most conservative states in the nation, you should give it up. But I’m guessing he’ll ignore my message too.

Citizens United, Freedom of Speech and Money in politics

Hmmm… I’m cautious about this one. While I vehemently agree that it’s undemocratic to have the loudest voice be the one that has the most money, there are a LOT of bad ways to implement this, and I don’t automatically trust the Senate to do it in a good way that respects overall freedom of speech.

The right to participate in elections and support a candidate is a critical part of democracy, and there is a fine line between allowing unlimited spending and allowing only certain voices to be heard. Freedom of speech is a critical issue, and in my opinion the SCOTUS had no choice but to to rule the way they did on Citizens United, given the unconstitutional restrictions on free speech that any other ruling might have entailed. As unpopular as the decision was (I don’t particularly like it), it was the Constitutionally-aligned one to make.

To clarify: I hate the amount of money in politics, I really dislike the fact that corporations can spend all they want to buy elections, I hate that they can do so anonymously.  But I also believe we can’t implement restrictions on this type of activity without a lot of careful consideration and forethought: I don’t get the impression we’ll get that.

I agree with the motivation, I can see where they are going with this and agree with the general direction, I just hope they don’t over-reach in way that ends up having unintended negative consequences for our freedom of speech.

I don’t like inspirational quotes

‎”It’s impossible,” said Pride.
“It’s risky,” said Experience.
“It’s pointless,” said Reason.
“Give it a try,” whispered the Heart.
“Your legs don’t bend that way,” screamed your Hips.
“What the hell where you thinking?,” yelled the Officer.
“You’re going to need extensive therapy,” counseled the Surgeon.
“What am I, the Brain? Why did you even listen to me, dumbass? I’m just a big stupid muscle!” gasped the Heart as you held its Head underwater.

In Congress We Don’t Trust

Thank you, Congress, for taking up these bills of utmost importance. You apparently don’t have the time to pass anything of substance about jobs or the economy, or even a resolution to honor the troops who killed Osama bin Laden, but this… this issue gets your full attention. Congress will only work 109 days this year, so this is clearly a substantive issue that is imperative be addressed before dealing with minor issues like massive unemployment.

Exactly what danger was this motto in that it needed to be re-affirmed?  Wasn’t it dedicated in 1956 as a stand against those godless Commies? And exactly what does it help today, when the stand being made is not against foreign powers intent on dominating the world, but against domestic atheists who just want to ensure that religion isn’t forced upon them by a government that was founded on a separation of church and state?

What a pointless waste of time, resources and taxpayer money.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was supposed to lead the way banning this sort of pointless resolutions when the Republicans assumed the majority this year, but quite predictably his office had “no comment” on this one.  And speaking of changes these guys were supposed to make when they took control (under the chant of “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!  That’s all we’re going to focus on!”), what about the resolution that all new pieces of legislation introduced must be accompanied by a statement pointing where in the Constitution the proposal’s authority derives from?  Funny enough, the Constitution doesn’t mention God at all.

It’s truly, truly shocking that this Congress has single digit approval ratings.  Where could that come from?