A Moderate Mini-Manifesto
We need a new political party — but how?
For a few years, I’ve quipped to friends about the need for a Reasonable Person’s Party (RPP). The way I see it, it should be based on three simple values: First, be fiscally responsible. Second, take care of people that need it. And finally, mind your own damn business.
The RPP motto would be, “Well, that makes sense to me.”
So let me share what I think about those values, with the understanding that the devil is in the details, everything is a balancing act, and there are damn few easy answers in life. Full disclosure: I am not a political wonk. I really don’t even like politics. I do like, and respect, all the people of this country and our freedoms.
Don’t spend money that we don’t have. Pay the bills on time. Be fair in financial dealings. Racking up massive national debt hasn’t done the US much good. We seem to be behaving like a couple of rotten kids with a credit card that we think we’ll never have to pay back.
Fiscal responsibility also requires prudent investment in things that matter. We need to invest in maintaining our nation’s infrastructure to support commerce (among other reasons). Let’s think about working for the future rather than beckoning to the past. A great example is exploring new technologies around energy rather than fracking and continuing to subsidize coal. We need to invest in education so future generations of American kids will have the necessary skills to manage the country.
All this takes money. People will have to pay taxes to fund the operational budgets of the country. That means all the people, in proportion to their income. Warren Buffet has a good point about his secretary.
Social Security and Medicare are part of this responsibility. The country must honor the commitments we’ve made to American workers by taking the Social Security and Medicare taxes of over 14% out of their paychecks every year. These are separately funded programs and absolutely not some kind of welfare.
Take care of people that need it:
Social and safety net programs are a necessary part of a developed and compassionate society. Significant hunger and homelessness are inconsistent with compassion. Certainly, we need to manage those programs as efficiently as possible, which is no small feat. We need healthcare for every American, at a cost that doesn’t bankrupt them, and is not dependent on an employer.
Taking care of people also means defending our country from genuine, credible threats. Terrorists, foreign and domestic, rogue nations, etc. Note that protecting ourselves means we stand strong. It doesn’t mean we have to be the world’s biggest bully. That may also mean that we can’t always afford to be the world’s SWAT team.
Mind your own damn business:
Live your own life and I’ll live mine. Your religion is none of my concern. The US has no national religion and the First Amendment wisely prohibits the establishment of one. So unless your beliefs promote hate, hurt people, or actively threaten my safety, we’re good. I don’t care who you love or marry, their race or which restroom they use. It doesn’t threaten or impact me at all. We need to stay out of people’s bedrooms. And their healthcare, too. Whether or not someone has a medical procedure, including terminating a pregnancy, is none of my business. That’s a matter for people and their doctors. Personal responsibility is the big theme here in the RPP.
And by the way — we seem to have a lingering problem that the RPP can help clean up. Specifically this: The protections, rights and freedoms of this democratic republic belong equally to all of The People, regardless of gender, race, religion, or lack thereof. Does that make sense to you?
There are lots of questions left unanswered — immigration, reasonable gun control, foreign policy and trade all come to mind. Again, there are no easy answers, but if we accept these core values, maybe they can be a guideline for productive discussions. Many people are concerned that the US has become an oligarchy. That our country is controlled and led by a small, elite, dominant class comprised of powerful members who exert total control over the government and through them, the general population. Perhaps the RPP is one way in which We the People can take back the country.
Finally, no party should stand alone. Our legislative bodies should be forced to work to build coalitions for the greater good. Both major American parties have imploded and lost their direction. They no longer have a sense of what is good for all of us, and instead pander to a wealthy and powerful segment of the electorate. With a new party (or maybe two) perhaps we’d have sufficient political diversity to deny total control to any one party. Let’s abolish the congressional aisle, and then no one will have to reach across it.
Let Cooperation be the new mantra.
— “Well, that makes sense to me.”
So there you have it. I have no idea if it would work, but I’m certain that what we’re doing now is def not working. How does one start a Movement? If anyone wants to take these ideas and run with them, you have my permission. My only caveat is that you must do so with a sense of cooperation and with respect for all people regardless of race, religion, gender or orientation. Be excellent to each other — m’kay?