I believe if you don’t actively participate in the election process, then you don’t have the right to complain and, I do so love to complain. So, as the state where I live was about to hold a closed caucus I swallowed my pride, briefly set aside my independent bonafides and joined the Republican Party.
The caucus was an interesting process. It was also a good opportunity to visit with neighbors and friends. The big surprise came when one of those neighbors nominated me to be a delegate to the state Republican convention! I reluctantly agreed; putting my independent status at serious risk. When my turn to pontificate came, they called me up in front of the crowd to tell about myself and my politics. The extemporaneous speech went well with perhaps one exception. I confessed to leaning conservative in most things. An honest bit of information but, in hind sight, perhaps best said a little differently. The question quickly came back; “well, in what things aren’t you conservative?” I boldly told the truth and lost in the balloting.
Nevertheless, I would like to share my answers with you because I think there are two areas where the current conservative movement leans a little to the right of common sense. Perhaps, once you understand my reasoning, you may agree with me.
Our Declaration of Independence sets forth the underlying concepts on which our constitution is based. It boldly declares life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as divine rights and that governments should be established to protect those rights. Life, and by association health care, is thus a legitimate business of government. I think this reasoning shows the current escalating prices of health care is a valid problem for our government to solve.
To that end, the current administration unilaterally implemented The Affordable Care Act. I adamantly disagree with the program in concept. My disagreement lies with the government putting the onus for the health care on business. That makes it more difficult for businesses to be successful and to grow. Business is the machine that makes our country work. It provides for both individual wealth and our ability to engage in social programs for the betterment of our citizens. Unfortunately, the big winner in the Affordable Care Act is neither the United States economy nor it’s Citizens. The primary beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act are the insurance companies who helped to write the legislation. They benefit by virtue of the individual mandate which, under force of law, increases their customer base. Obama Care is simply kowtowing to the insurance lobbyists while being of dubious help to those in need.
The Affordable Care Act is not helping to solve skyrocketing costs. We still pay much more for health care than any other country in the world and yet our care is not the best. Interestingly enough, Obama has tried to blame the doctors for the spiraling costs. Obviously he has not been paying his own medical bills. I have no problem paying my urologist the fees he gets. In my opinion, he earns every penny. The problem is our financial support of the totally unnecessary insurance industry and “for profit” hospitals. Those are the medical costs that hurt my pocket book. We can do better. One such way might be to plagiarize Denmark’s national health care system. They have gotten rid of the insurance industry, the extremely burdensome billing paperwork and set the entire health care program up so it is run by doctors and medical professionals, not politicians. Any such program would need to be setup so that grandstanding politicians can’t steal from, nor mess with it like has been done to our Social Security program. There are other possibilities that don’t waste our money to support the very lucrative and unnecessary insurance industry. The Republican Party’s call to simply allow the free market to reign will not solve the problems but will simply allow them to continue as before.
My next confession was immigration.
The problem with most currently proposed immigration solutions is easy to identify. It results from what each party is trying to achieve. The Democrats want to let anyone into the country who will vote for a democrat in future elections. Similarly self serving, the Republicans want to keep any group expected to vote Democrat out. It is all partisan politics. Make no mistake, there is no altruism in either party’s position. They are not trying to honestly solve the problems at hand. While the Democrats just simply don’t address the problems before us, our more conservative Republicans don’t appreciate the complexity of the situation. For example, you create some major issues when you set yourself up to deport roughly eleven million people. Has anyone asked the question; deport them to where? Only half of our illegal immigrants came from Mexico. How do you solve the problem of an individual who was brought to this country from Ecuador when he was two years old? He was raised here, went to school here, received a college degree here, speaks only broken Spanish and is now employed and productive. Do you send him back to Ecuador? A country he has no ties to and does not even remember? That is just plain stupid. The problem with the conservative position on immigration is that it is so absolute. Interestingly enough, that is also the problem with the liberal view. There needs to be a little common sense put into play. It is a complicated problem and will require a complicated solution. Republican candidates who have proposed viable common sense ideas have all lost in the primaries. The remaining candidates, just don’t seem to solve the problems because they are too busy playing partisan politicians. The good of the country and the people who call it home should come first.
While these answers certainly lost me a few votes in my bid to be a state delegate, I am not sure they lost me the election. I rather suspect my being a new person in a small rural community had more to do with it. Most of my neighbors don’t know me. They did know the two very capable and home grown individuals that were elected. But that isn’t the point I want to make.
The point is, we have become excessively polarized in our politics at the expense of common sense. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take the best from each party and forget the political grandstanding? Why can’t we just take the ideals of fiscal conservatism and fundamental constitutionalism from the Republicans and throw away the war mongery? Why can’t we combine that with the very Christian democratic ideal of being concerned for those less fortunate and forget the outright pandering to special interest groups who push immorality, hedonism, identity politics and victimization? Somewhere out there, somewhere in the middle of our political spectrum, resides common sense. Somewhere in the middle is a platform for thinking Americans; for all of us who can think for ourselves and have not simply become media or party puppets. You can’t find common sense in sound bites that fit on bumper stickers or Facebook graphics. Common sense will not come from the media who purposely inflate and polarize issues to increase ratings. It will not come from candidates who need to be on the edges of political thought to get media attention. The road to common sense is the electorate itself. Perhaps if we once again voted for candidates with common sense and realistic approaches to complex problems they could win elections by telling us the truth and would not longer have need of lies.