Sunday, May 08, 2005

Old Fashioned Democrat

I am 61 years old, a former tug boat captain and former member of the New York longshoremen's union. I was proud of the liberal, New Deal Democrats that surrounded me most of my life. I'm for socialized medicine, welfare, free college tuition for all needy but academically qualified applicants, higher taxes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations, support of international, world court based justice. I am opposed to unilateral wars. I am in favor of multi national intervention to stop genocide and aggression. I am pro choice and for strict separation of church and state.

I believe Democrats should not compromise these positions to appease the now extremely right wing Republican Party. I would prefer it if elected Democrats refused to cooperate in any way with the neo fascist right wing congressional majority and election stealing president. Right leaning Democrats like Lieberman and Miller and those who voted for the bankruptcy bill (as good a litmus test as any) should be shunned.

I want an energized party unified around the traditional Democratic positions I mentioned above. If it is too far left for some, let them become Republicans. Forget the center, we need to seize and energize the left.

An altruistic, ethical course usually turns out to be the most practical.

3 comments:

Mark said...

I honestly would love to debate you on some of the issues, but I don't know how you react to such things. Some people on both sides can't have a rational discussion about issues.

Having said that, I wonder about some of your ideals.

"I'm for socialized medicine, welfare, free college tuition for all needy but academically qualified applicants, higher taxes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations"

Socialized medicine doesn't work. I've used it, or have at least tried to use it, in the past. Socialized medicine doesn't lend itself to innovation. In regards to medical research, who would be motivated to discover new cures when the government is running the show? Most people that work to devolop new drugs do so for one reason: Money. Most don't particularly care about any particular disease, they care about creating a drug that will be in demand. A drug that will make them rich. And when it comes to actual medical treatment? Good luck. Why do people (that can afford to) come from places like Canada to the U.S. to pay for treatment out of their own pocket? Because the care is better, it's quicker, and it's more precise. When the government is running the clinics and hospitals, it's a bottom line business. Alternative care programs aren't utilized, medical judgements are based on budget forecasts, and it all leads to poor quality.

I'd support the idea of giving more assistance to people wanting to go to college, depending on the fine print and small details. I can't support the blanket statement though, because just like anything else in this world, you have to figure out how to pay for it. Taxation alone isn't the answer unless you want to at least double what you currently pay in taxes.

I'm also curious about your wish for "higher taxes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations". Higher meaning an unequal percentage? Or just higher in the bottom line dollar amount? Just to keep it simple, lets say you make $1.00 this year, and I make $10.00 this year. And lets say that the government decides to levy a 10% tax on income. You would pay 10 cents, and I would pay $1.00- equal to your entire annual income. This seems fair. I pay more in dollars and cents, but we each paid the same percentage of income. Are you saying that I should pay $2.00? If so why? Why should I have to pay twice the amount of money simply because I decided to take a path that put me in a situation to earn more money than you? Penalizing the American Dream isn't a smart thing to do, unless you would prefer we all depended on the federal government to take care of us, which is entirely possible since you have admitted to being liberal.

Mark said...

"support of international, world court based justice. I am opposed to unilateral wars. I am in favor of multi national intervention to stop genocide and aggression. I am pro choice and for strict separation of church and state."

International based justice system isn't a bad idea, except that there is a bias against the U.S., that's why we aren't participating in it. It may or may not be for good reasons, but there is a bias and it didn't start when George W. Bush became president. Why is it that you're against unilateral wars? If two countries have a problem with each other, and the only solution is aggression, why shouldn't they fight? I don't see a need for a coalition on one side or the other, it just leads to bigger and more escalated wars in most cases.

I think most people are against genocide, except perhaps the people doing the killing.

Go here http://fromacertainpointofview.blogspot.com/2005/04/abortion.html to see why I think pro-choice isn't the greatest position to have.

I've never quite understood the separation of church and state arguement. Perhaps you could enlighten me? I'm not religious by any stretch, and I don't think we should be forced to follow one particular religion, nor do I think our government should endorse any particular religion. I don't have a problem with anyone who cites God, Jesus, et al when talking. Apparently they are religious, and draw upon that for their values and beliefs. If we elect someone to office knowing full well that they draw upon their religion, I don't see a problem with that.

I haven't found one reference in the Constitution or Bill of Rights that specifically defines this. Jefferson did write to the Danbury Congregation:

I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.

What he did was indicate that no religion would be favored, and that all religions would be protected.

In fact, Article VI of the U.S. Constitution states:

Clause 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

So you see, there is no defined separation of church and state, if that is your arguement. If you know this and would like to see the separation more defined, well that's something else all together.

Jim said...

Until now It may not have been necessary to have the idea of chruch/state separation more defined, but maybe it's time to do so.

In black and white situations when all is clear a statement that there shall be no religious test required for public office might suffice. But you and I know life's not like that. Power grabs are historic aspects of human behavior. And graduated chip chip chipping (or a more aggressive hack hack hacking Pat Robertson/Terry Randall approach) often works better than coups. When one group, bent on hegemony plows on despite laws (or just within them) to circumvent an idea (in our present case, religious pluralism), more legal definition is definitely called for.

You say, "I'm not religious by any stretch, and I don't think we should be forced to follow one particular religion..." This is good. We're on the same side there. But if you don't think the Rebublican use of the religious right is leading us to a dangerous place, maybe you should take a closer looks (three great articles in Harpers this Month to this point).