Where I Stand.
I have a voice. I use it. You have a voice. You should use yours too.
We all have different backgrounds, principles, and beliefs that make us unique. There is no one statement or policy that can accurately cover or meet the needs of every individual because of our diversity as a species. However, we can choose a lifestyle that makes for an open-society that allows for the best attempt to accommodate everyone. This starts with conversation. Without (respectful) conversation, ignorance will remain forever. Without expression of each and every person, people will be left feeling misunderstood and unimportant. Each and every voice is valuable and important to creating a society that is TRULY tolerable and accepting of everyone from ‘privileged’ backgrounds to those who have faced unfortunate circumstances and treatments.
I am sure my peers and Facebook friends have an idea of where I stand on today’s issues. However, I think that the perceived stance of myself may be skewed, as I haven’t given the broad picture of my opinions. I have been a small-minded thinker, picking small cases or people to illustrate my stance, instead of being a large-minded thinker and discussing principles.
This article is my attempt to think and discuss in a large-minded manner. I hope this is interpreted as me outstretching my hand, to those who think both similarly and differently, to have civil conversation. This country is seriously divided. If citizens don’t learn to discuss instead of shout at the opposing side, I feel we will continue on a path that leads to a modern-day civil war. My intent is for this to be an illustration that there can be reason and respect when discussing politics or different ideologies. If you feel this is an accurate representation of that, while we may disagree on policies, I urge you to open yourself up for debate as well. I urge you to speak with someone who thinks differently than you to challenge each other in a way that a new level of understanding can be created. Thank you to those of you taking the time to read this to get a clearer sense of who I am. Who knows? We may have much more in common than you may realize.
During high school, I began seeking information on both sides of politics to start developing my own principles and beliefs for the first time. When I began developing my thoughts, I quickly saw just how important politics truly is in our daily lives as citizens. Sure, someone can turn a blind eye to it and simply survive, but in this country we are asked to do more than that. We are called to take advantage of this democratic/republic system we as United States citizens are so very blessed with. Instead of the simple goal to survive, we have the opportunity to voice our opinions with one collective goal in mind — to thrive.
To sum myself up, I am a White, Heterosexual, Middle-Class, Christian, Male. You may be saying to yourself “Damn, he’s the majority in everything,” and you’d be right. I understand that I haven’t seen or faced the same hardships that other people have battled through. I am fully aware that I have been very blessed to be raised in a loving two-parent home, but I do not need to be reminded of where I am from. In many arguments or discussions, I am informed that my stance is irrelevant because I cannot relate or understand due to my background. This same powerless and voiceless feeling based on backgrounds is felt by many in minorities. There is no need for this on either side. I want to understand. I want to have informative conversations in which we both can learn something about the other and their view of the world.
Classical liberalism - a political ideology that values the freedom of individuals — including the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and markets — as well as limited government.
This definition encompasses my ideologies in a nutshell. I believe in the people of this country. This country was founded by those who broke free from the chains of an oppressive government in an effort to allow freedom of each and every individual to live their lives as they best see fit. That same ideology seems to have been stripped and forgotten from our history lessons.
I believe these principles were set out by the original writers of the US Constitution, as well as the original 12 states who recognized the need for the first set of amendments (The Bill of Rights). Unlike some of today’s citizens, I believe this document is just as relevant today as it was when it was drafted in 1787. I believe the forefathers and early citizens fled to this country after they saw the loss of liberty and freedom with a large federal government. I believe they wanted choices — to live their lives without constant government intervention and supervision. I believe they wanted to live without high taxation for all classes. I believe they wanted the freedom to practice and live out their many different religions or their absence of one. I believe they thought people are entitled to run their private business in a manner that reflects their morals. I believe they wanted citizens to have the freedom to be their own individuals and to have the ability to marry whoever they desired. I believe they wanted privacy. I believe they wanted the option to purchase (or not to purchase) goods and services. I believe they wanted the opportunity to defend their families in extreme cases with firearms. I believe they wanted everyone to have the same right for each citizen to fail or to succeed. I believe in the power of the greatest (in my opinion) document ever written. I believe in the US Constitution.
These are the principles I fall back on when looking at today’s social and political issues. I do not fall back onto a political party or person. While I may agree with one more than another, it is not my sole reason for voting for different candidates. This is a thought process that is vital to a successful and productive democratic/republic system. Too many people see the ‘R’ or ‘D’ in front of a politician’s name. Both parties are guilty of being hypocrites at one time or another. Both, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are filled with spineless and corrupt politicians. There are a few exceptions of quality, brave, principle-driven leaders in both parties. However, too many have lied their way into office to then be swayed by their lobbyists instead of their voters. Too many have spouted their “principles” to only see them shed in an effort to gain another term. People in office were not meant to be politicians. Those office positions were meant to be filled with normal citizens who could relate to the people they were representing. They were meant to be filled with someone who was pursuing leadership out of the good of their heart not someone looking for a sizable paycheck.
Allowing this type of deceit falls on us as consumers and voters. We pay too much attention to CNN or FOX when they are trashing a person or policy because of their political party. This ‘team’ mindset only hurts our country and promotes an ever-growing division. We pay too little attention to what they are truly saying or proposing. We have made politics into an entertainment industry. We no longer demand truth and integrity, instead we demand the fastest (sometimes inaccurate) reporting, the flashiest motion graphics, and cut-throat debates that look like Superbowl broadcasts. We need to take a step back, take a second to gain a new perspective and refocus on what is truly important in politics. When we begin to analyze current events for ourselves, we may see that we aren’t as different or divided on issues as mainstream media leads us to believe.
People who fall both on the left and the right have loyalties. Those on the left feel a loyalty on a universal scale — one that extends to all people of all countries. On the right, most people feel more strength in their loyalty to their country. My loyalty is strongest with my country. I believe American politicians should put America and it’s citizens first. Should we lend a helping hand to those in need in other countries? Most definitely. However when it comes to risking or damaging the lives of US citizens, we should not. This brings me to the conversation of immigration.
I am all for LEGAL Immigration. I am fully aware that this is the best country to live in. Of course, I want people to have the same opportunity to make something of themselves or for the great life that I was blessed to be given. I, however, have a problem with illegal immigration based on national security and economic principles.
Without proper vetting, we expose ourselves to risks. We do not let people waltz into our homes without proper knowledge of who they are and their intents. We have doors on our homes — of which we lock! We like to do our very best to keep our homes, ourselves, and our families safe. While I feel sympathy towards people in life-threatening countries, I believe American leaders are to put the safety concerns of the American people first.
Lastly, here is my opinion on President Donald Trump:
He was never my first choice out of the Republican candidates that ran in the primaries. I loved the idea of having Ted Cruz as my president. There are few men and women in congress who have the same knowledge of the Constitution that Ted Cruz does. He is a proponent of a Flat Tax system. He has nearly always illustrated that he is a man who stands with his principle (except for when he grudgingly endorsed Trump) and has stayed consistent on his stances. I was crushed when my state chose a man who seemingly had no principles. I have always been aware of his explosive temperament and wild decision making.
Many people have accused me of buying into all of Trump’s rhetoric, but I assure you that this is not the case. I have never been 100% sure of what he will do while in office. I, like many Americans, had a decent idea of the types of policies he would support, but could never be sure. This is a man who has been a Democrat his entire life, surely he doesn’t match most of the principles of the party he ran with. Which we have seen a few examples of while he has been in office. He and many of his supporters will tell claim he is conservative. However, this is not true. He is a nationalist and a populist. He is just as much of a populist as Bernie Sanders. He does not know a lick of information in our constitution. Trump falls much more in the center than he and the media will let you believe. For example, his Obamacare repeal and replacement plan mirrors the Obamacare bill. He is now leaving protections for the illegal immigrants who came to this country as children known as “Dreamers.”
Among the dislikes, there are a few things I have liked about Trump. I have always loved his anti-establishment personality. He really has been someone willing to stand for what he believes (or spouts at the time) even if that means pissing off one or both parties. Up until this point he has been a generic citizen, albeit a wealthy one. That’s a characteristic that I feel is much needed in DC. I have always thought to myself that if I ever ran for president or any office, I would be that no-bullshit guy who stands for what he believes and doesn’t mind upsetting a few people if it meant sticking with core values that were believed would better the citizens being represented. He’s blunt and disregards political correctness. I appreciate that greatly. On the flip side, I cannot disagree that he crosses the line between being anti-politically correct and simply being offensive.
I am against executive orders that call for unconstitutional action. I believed it to be wrong when Obama disrespected separation of powers with his unconstitutional executive orders, and I will be against Trump when he does so as well. Something MSNBC may not tell you is that his executive orders (even the travel ban) were all done within his constitutional power. Many of them were glorified promises suggesting items he is committed to pursuing during his term. Some people saw these executive orders that called for immediate action and thought things like “the president has too much power.” Well, I agree. So how about we come together to permanently minimize the President’s power?
Regardless of our different backgrounds, I hope we can all agree that we live in the greatest country on this planet. We are the most diverse country. We have more legal immigration than any other country and that’s because people want to take part in the (ever so real) ‘American Dream’. People want new beginnings and a chance to succeed. People want safety. People want their voices to be heard. People want their opinions to matter. People want to be Americans. We get too caught up in our own little bubble to realize just how well off we are here. We take this country for granted.
I pray that we come together, one voice at a time. I hope this article spurs respectful, thought-provoking conversation. What if we spoke for ourselves instead of letting someone do it for us? What if we all lived lives based on principles, not a team or group? What if we held people accountable? What if we expressed our disagreements to those who may even be on our own ‘team’? What if we admitted when we were wrong? What if we truly accepted all people? What if we didn’t demonize someone or devalue their point of view, simply because it is different than ours? Perhaps we will no longer switch sides on a stance every time parties swap control in the White House. Perhaps we will learn to listen. Perhaps we will learn to empathize. Perhaps we will learn that it is okay to disagree. Perhaps, we will find compromises. Perhaps we will step closer to life in harmony. Perhaps we will once again become the UNITED nation we are meant to be.