Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where Do You Stand?

Race42008 has an interesting mindless post asking people to list where they stand on the great issues with 10 being the most conservative and 1 being the most liberal. You can view my response there. It got me thinking, how do we all define ourselves politically.

Some of us take political polls to determine where we fall on some biased compass with an X and Y axis defined by social and fiscal issues. But, in the end, a person's views are more complicated than a mere 2 dimensional axis and I'm sure you are well aware of that.

My views alone are so varied that they do not fall into a particular category. I am against Roe v. Wade. I think it was a poorly decided case that established a dangerous precedent. I'm pragmatic on abortion and although I am generally more anti-legalized abortion in my views, I know it must first be decreased in need and/or use before it can be abolished. I am a fiscal conservative, but realize that sometimes you can't just cut taxes in order to fix things. We need spending cuts coupled with tax cuts to balance a budget, which is something George W. Bush and too many "compassionate conservatives" did not entirely understand. I supported the War in Iraq initially and still do. I am in support of same-sex marriage, but don't want it forced upon churches and do not want churches to be stripped of their tax exempt status because such marriages are contrary to their beliefs. We wouldn't force a Kosher deli to sell pork, why then should we require a Roman Catholic church to perform a same-sex marriage. On that same note, I do not feel religious institutions should be forced to perform medial procedures that they are against; yes, I mean to say that Roman Catholic Church owned hospitals should not be required to perform abortions. Yet, as a pragmatic voter I still find myself sitting in the Republican Party. Despite my disagreements on certain issues, we can not be robotic in our adherence to principles. We must realize that compromise is required to accomplish anything. That may be one of the many things I liked about John McCain, his ability to reach compromise to make sure that this nation moves forward in a manner which is not entirely contrary to what we as a people need. But, I digress.

The question still remains how does one define themselves politically speaking when their views can be all over the place. Do you define yourself by the portions of your ideology or does that become too difficult? People want a quick answer when you try to explain your views. I suppose that means we need to come up with some new terms or help others realize that we are not defined merely by a series of single issues. Ideology and pragmatism go hand in hand for many so perhaps we need to take them into account. In that regard, I'll begin with my own definition -- I'm a pragmatic strict constructionist. Meaning? I believe that our constitution needs to be strictly interpreted with the innumerated rights reserved to the individual states actually being performed by the individual states and not by our federal government. I believe that our government needs to be limited in its power specifically granted to it by the Constitution. Yet, I'm practical and realize that we can not merely abolish each of the departments I find unconstitutional. We need to work practically and realistically to achieve any of the goals of reasonable governance. That's where I stand. How about you?

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