According to some of my family members (the majority of which consider themselves "centrist" or "liberal")...I am a raving conservative. In actuality, I like to think that in the world of government "less is more" (freedom that is)...and I want the government to do what it is constitutionally mandated to do (enumerated powers from Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution...thanks, Wikipedia!):
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
That's it. That was the original intent. Everything else was left to the states. Anything that the government is doing that is not outlined here is a result of the judiciary, constitutional amendment, or (in my humble opinion) overreaching power-hungry politicians.
Do I want clean air and water? Sure! But do I want the government outlining what light bulb I can use in my home? Absolutely not. I'm pretty happy about what little freedom I have left and I'd really rather it not be chipped away any more than it already is. I mean, seriously, I don't even really own my home even though my name is on the deed. Just let me fail to pay my property taxes...and see what happens.
On the other hand...I'm losing rights that I've always had such as religious expression. If people don't choose to believe in God...that's their loss...and that's my opinion. You don't have to share my view. You are entitled to your own. Whether or not you believe as I do, this country was founded on Judaic-Christian values. If you don't believe that from a spiritual perspective...at least respect it from a historical one. Leave me alone and allow me to have the right to believe as I do. Turn your head if you have to, but please...stop trying to take my rights away.
In return, I'll respect your right to believe as you do. I try to remember to respect the person even when I am asked to accept that there certain things that other people strongly believe that I don't. We're all different, you know. Because I must be sensitive to other people I have to keep up with the current name of choice for various groups, I have to overlook the obvious, and I have to accept that sometimes other people's right to choose means that my right to not have to deal with it gets put on a back burner.
Maybe you believe that to solve all of the social ills of society that we need to band together and pool our resources to allow government to solve them. I tend to believe that social ills are best handled by those closest to the situation...neighbors and churches with assistance from local and state government. I find it embarrassing to expect residents of Montana to fund a bike trail here in Pike Road, Alabama with their tax dollars and I don't like hearing the stories of wasteful spending, people ripping off the government, or ridiculous regulations that protect a salamander but leave farmers without water for their crops. I personally think that's insanity.
During Hurricane Katrina, some of the residents of New Orleans were waiting for someone to come and fix the situation. They were on television blaming everyone for being too slow in responding. People were hurting. Law enforcement walked off the job. The pain and suffering was blamed on a lack of action by the Federal government. The local and state leaders -both Democrats - blamed the president (a Republican) for not responding for three days.
It was a horrible situation made even more so by inadequate preparation by local and state officials.
While next door in Mississippi...the governor was handling the situation. The people of Mississippi quietly rebuilt what they could and counted on the assistance of friends and neighbors, youth groups and organizations, along with governmental assistance to clean up the property damage. I witnessed the same thing here in Alabama in April with the tornadoes. Nobody was waiting on FEMA to show up. In fact, some volunteers had to go door to door to encourage storm victims to register. They were too busy taking care of their own property and that of their neighbors, organizing supplies, and serving other people to worry as much about themselves. Truck after truck headed north filled with "good ol' boys," "rednecks," and people of every color, religious affiliation, and political bent to do what they could do.
Yes, I am a conservative. I am not a cold, calculating, rich, heartless creature. I just happen to have a different worldview. I actually like Rush Limbaugh and roll my eyes for the thirty seconds that I can tolerate Joy Behar. See, I get that Rush says things that sound arrogant to people unfamiliar with him, but I've also found that he is right far more often than he is wrong. Over time, I've learned to trust what he says. He usually gives out information that ends up hitting the mainstream media about three months later. By the time it breaks...it is old news to me.
I don't think that the government can solve all of my problems...but believe that government actually creates more problems than it solves. I do strongly support the military and recognize that funding and supporting our nation's security is one of the constitutional mandates specifically outlined.
I believe in freedom...but that can't only apply to people who are fighting for equality or other rights. It applies to all of us. Even those of us who are white, Southern and Christians. I think that the people closest to the problems are in the best position to solve them...and that's local government. I am not a fan of red tape, hassles, or politicians who keep voting to spend more money on stupid programs that benefit few but have to be fed year after year from tax dollars that I seriously hate sacrificing. I've had it with dung covered canvases in the name of "art." I'm tired of "pork-barrel" spending, politicians who can't behave ethically, and the liars that make up a large majority of those we entrust with our nation's checkbook. I happen to hold politicians to a higher standard. And no, you don't get a "pass" just because you don't have "standards" that anyone can hold you to. When did we start giving mulligans or "do-overs" anyway?
Don't even get me started on the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Anyway, thank you for letting me get this out. I've wanted to write this down for a very long time. Many of the people that I love very much cancel out my vote every time we have an election. But that's okay. At least right now...this is still America. We can think differently and co-exist. At least I sincerely hope so...because I really do love my family and friends who don't necessarily "get" my views.
Hopefully, this will help...