Raised in a Democratic family, I thought that was the only political choice until I got old enough to realize we, as Americans, live in a democracy that upholds a choice when it comes to politics. In America, we have the right to be Democrats, Republicans or Independents. We get to say what we want, when we want, without government intervention.
So why, I wonder, is it that everyone wants to force their political views on others?
I purposely keep my political views to myself because I am a newspaper reporter/editor. I have to interview Independents, Republicans and Democrats. Wearing an elephant on my sleeve isn't exactly what you would call status quo for my job.
Because I keep my views pretty private, there has been a lot of speculation as to what I actually am. When folks figure it out, I wish they would let me know.
You see, I am straight down the middle. I have a lot of views that align themselves with the right, and some that go left.
I've never been on welfare or used any sort of government system. I do believe I have the right to make my own health care choices, but believe the system is broke when my provider charges my insurance company at least three times as much as they would charge me if I was a self-pay patient. Children need to be protected and deserve the uptmost support when it comes to education and a good life. But, yes, I believe in same-sex marriage. And, no, I don't agree with everything Obama has done, particularly when it comes to spending. I think government should spend less and tax less.
Marriage is not a religious issue. Same-sex couples should be afforded a civil union. If the Catholic, Methodist or Presbyterian church wants to forbid same-sex marriages within their buildings and clergies, based on the Bible, then so be it. If the government wants to ban it based on the Bible, then I have a problem. Government and religion should be kept separate. I am, perhaps, the only person in Lawrence County without an "In God We Trust" license plate for that same reason. I go to church, consider myself a Christian, and love God above all else, but when it comes to government, I want things separate, so I can worship freely and so my great-grandchildren can worship freely.
Health care is a mess. Too many people are uninsured, especially children. Do I want the government telling me what to do when it comes to health care? Hell no. Do providers and insurance companies need a fix? Hell yes. Take my son's recent tonsilectomy. My insurance was charged $900 for the procedure. The provider got $100. Didn't my provider overcharge my insurance by nine times? And isn't my deductible and co-pay based on the $900 figure, and not the $100 the insurance company said the procedure should cost?
The government rebates and bailouts are out of hand. Cash for Clunkers was a joke, as is the first-time homeowner rebate. Not to mention, only a very small percentage of the population actually benefits from these programs. The people who actually need the help aren't getting it. It's not helping John Doe who lost his job at Visteon and can't find work. How can he afford a new car payment? How will he save his house? Too much spending. My great-great-grandchildren will be paying off the debt.
My problem? Cable television news shows. I wish MSNBC and Fox News would quit fighting and bickering. I wish Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh would quit scaring the right-wingers, and I wish Keith Oberman would get over George Bush's actions, or lack thereof. Too many people think the world is going to end if a man marries another man. Too many liberals fight for ridiculous causes while our own children starve, suffer through abuse and are neglected. Forget the whales, dogs and seals and start looking at the children in our own backyards.
Soapbox? I have plenty. Liberal? Sometimes. Conservative? Sometimes. American? Always. You see, it's my right to voice my opinion. Like it or not. But no one is ever going to tell me how to think ... not the government, Facebook or cable news. And I suppose that's why Freedom of Speech is my most appreciated constitutional right.