Saturday, November 23, 2013

Am I liberal or conservative?

I was first called a liberal when I called out a co-worker for using the N-word some 27 years ago.  Yet around that same time, I voted for Bush, a Republican, instead of voting for Michael Dukakas, the Democrat running against him.

While it's true that I've voted for the Democratic candidate in every election since, my views ebb and flow between the conservative, moderate and liberal.

So here are some of my current positions.  You tell me: Am I liberal or a conservative?

Gay Marriage

I previously supported civil unions and now support gay marriage for the same reason:  Marriage is a bundle of laws, and I believe that laws should be applied equally to every citizen.

Marriage may mean something to you based upon your religious views, but legally, church and state are separate.  The church ceremony has nothing at all to do with law, and churches should be free to marry---or not marry---anyone they choose.

Some believe that by legalizing "gay marriage," society will suddenly treat married gay couples exactly the same as straight marriages.  If that is the goal of gay marriage advocates, I think they are wrong.  You can't force someone to agree with your view via legislation.

Taxation

I'm not a fan of paying taxes.  Who is?  But I will typically vote for state tax increases if they improve my city.  I supported Vision 2025 and will likely always support capital improvements.  Look, the tax system is a system we're more or less stuck with if we want America to continue to be the country we were raised in.  I have no idea what an America without Government would look like, since my entire life I've lived in our current system.  And I don't hate it, so I don't support breaking it.

Equal protection under the law

I believe that all citizens of the United States should be treated equally, regardless of race, national origin, sexual orientation or any other category that we can dream up to separate us.  We're people, simple as that, and deserve to be treated equally and with respect.

Abortion

I'm not a fan.  I believe legal abortion should be available in the first trimester only, and that abortion inducing drugs should be readily available during that same time. Why are we still doing surgical abortions?  Don't we have morning after pills?  Why wouldn't you want someone who made a mistake last night to not deal with it tonight, when the fetus is not yet formed?

On the flip side, I think 3rd trimester abortions should be illegal. And that second trimester abortions should only be permitted in the case of medical risk to the mother.  Come on people, if you made it to month four of the pregnancy and haven't done anything about it...you should probably just have the baby.  In my humble opinion.

Gun Rights

American citizens should have the right to bear arms.  It's right there in the constitution.  And not for hunting either---such a day might come that we need to arm ourselves against a tyrannical government. Unlikely in the near future, but just in case, I support this constitutional amendment.

States Rights

The federal government is in a much better position to protect us, affect fiscal policy, and frankly do just about anything over the state government.  State government has been taking it easy for the last hundred years.  It's not a serious government. In other words, while I think it's good to retain some individual rights as a state, in reality the federal government is the king of this land.  If states had any real power, we'd still have Jim Crow laws in Alabama.

And I'm glad we don't.

Foreign Policy


I'm don't support the notion of the US being the policemen of the world.  We need to let other nations behave autonomously, and only get involved when threats are immanent.  I prefer diplomacy over war. 

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Obviously my political views are limited, pedestrian, and I doubt I'll be taking telephone calls from heady think-tank wonks with questions about the economy anytime soon.  But I think what I think, maybe right, maybe wrong.

So to recap the question: after reading my views, would you categorize me as a liberal, a conservative, or a monkey from the planet mars?














Thursday, November 21, 2013

The night of the Justin Timberlake concert

It's a cold night in Tulsa, Oklahoma---too cold.  I'd rather stay in than visit Arnie's.  I come into the house and let the excited dogs out of their crates, say "Outside," and watch them race toward the back door.  They won't be out long.  In five minutes or less Henry will be barking to get back in.  In fact, I hear them now, the thumps of dog paws on the staircase.

Why do we have two Christmas trees up?  And before Thanksgiving no less?

I sit and type.  So much of my life I sit and type.  The ding of an iPhone in the dining room prompts me to retrieve the infernal device.  Henry barks, as if on cue, once, then again with impatience as if to say, "Hey, you son of a bitch.  Let me in.  Didn't you hear me the first time?"

It's Steve on the phone, sending me a text about taking the girls to see JT.  I text him, "I just dropped them off.  I'm back home bringing sexy back to my living room."

I rub my eyes and adjust my glasses.  Bifocals.  Not so handy when your head is hanging at a tilt, one eye looking through the top of the lens, the other through the bottom straining to see the words.

The iPhone beeps again.  Crap.  It's so much easier to type on this actual keyboard than it is on the little virtual keyboard.  Why can't everyone just use email?

Hey, if you know me: send me an email.  I hate typing on the little phone. I hate its beeps.  I hate its patented curvy corners.  I'm not 26 years old---I don't really want to text for any reason.  If you want to text, send a message to my daughter.

I pause for a moment to read the other tabs on my browser.  They read:

"bad reaction to waxing - Goo..."
"Blogger: Devin Venable - Crea..."
"Are You Allergic to Waxing? - Y..."
"facial waxing and allergic reac..."
"bifocals - Google Search"

That was me Googling bifocals.  I wasn't sure if there was a hyphen between the Bi and the Focals.

"Shut up Beatrice." I say, hoping to silence her gruff barking.  She quiets down.

The sink is full of dishes and I don't feel inspired to clean them up.  A little voice inside says, "Go to bed," but I know that I'm on the hook to pick the ladies up from Justin Timberlake in a few hours.  Man oh man.  I could just go to bed now, if only I could.  I'd better make some coffee.







Monday, November 18, 2013

This is what it feels like to be a 45 year old man

I listen to Tupac, or at least I did today on the way home from work.  While listening, I had a daydream about writing my own rap song.  Then I remembered that I probably can't rap and that 45 year old white men probably shouldn't rap.  Then I reconsidered, thinking, why not?

I still don't listen to classical music or play golf, two things I've always associated with middle aged white men.

I still like sex, though I can go through longer periods of the day without thinking about it than when I was aged 13 through 44.  I'm pretty sure I'll always like sex, no matter how old I get.  Dirty old men get a bad rap...they're just regular men who got older.

I judge others less based on their religious views, political beliefs, quirks, conversational style and position in life.  This is a growth area for me.  In my 30's I got really worked up over political affiliation.  In my 40's I'm back to believing that people are people.

But I judge some more, particularly anyone who holds themselves up to be better than anyone else, is ridiculously shallow, or prides themselves on their ability to consume products and services.  Yes I'm talking about you stupid-guy-with-flashy-car-fancy-watch-and-overly-white-teeth.

I like to go to bed at a reasonable hour.  Why not?  I feel better the next day.

I don't know if God is real or not, but probably not.  I believe that there are things bigger than me that I don't understand, but I don't know that I'd label it as God.  Ironically, sometimes I still pray.

Only people matter.  Things are future garbage.

I know almost nothing. It would be great if I could say that after 45 years, I've got it all figured out.  But the truth is, I'm just a guy who knows a little, enough to live in our society, but not enough to be a guru, sage or preacher.  I'll tell you my opinion if you want, but I'll probably be wrong.  I'll tell the truth though---I'm not afraid to do that.  The older I get the more real I get.