18 August, 2010

 One of my Facebook friends pointed me to this article.   It is written by a pagan and is in response to the tea party.  Let's explore this poor deluded creatures thoughts, shall we?

At this point, as a liberal, I'm right with them. I voted for President Obama and, although I think he has potential, I have been less than pleased with his administration so far. While trying to be positive, the economy isn't looking good, and it's hurting my community. He's perpetuated the previous administration's power grabs and, while I understand the need for the economic stimulus package, the national debt worries me. Not to mention we are still losing American lives in wars overseas and basic rights for detainees still haven't been achieved.

First off, she states who she voted for, President Obama, and she thinks he has potential. Everyone has potential.  What does President Obama have potential for, becoming a disciple of Al "release my Chakra" Gore?  No thanks, I don't want another sex poodle in the White House.   She goes on to say she understand the need for the economic stimulus package, but yet the national debt worries her.  Where does that national debt come from?  Among many parts of the stimulus package was funding for Chinese Prostitutes in China to learn how to drink responsibly.  I guess that is so Al Gore can release his Chakra without the Chinese lady passing out on him.  

At this point I diverge from the Tea Party as represented in this poll. I think Obama's choice of Evergreen Chapel as a home church is laudable, I think our best years may be ahead, I'm generally happy with the reform of health insurance company practices, I don't feel there is a racial bias in the White House, I'm cautious about vague terms like "smaller government," and I feel that policies should favor the poor in this time of economic upheaval.

Surprisingly, I agree with the author that our best years are ahead of us.  Although I suspect, not for the same reasons.  I do disagree that there isn't a racial bias in the White House.  It's a class bias, and President Obama feels he's yours and mine better.  How can you be cautious about vague terms like "smaller government?"  But hold onto that thought, I'll address it here in a minute.  Policies should favor the poor?  We've had one hundred plus years of welfare and entitlement programs here in the United States and yet, poverty is more prevalent than ever.   I personally favor policies that put government out of the wealth distribution business. 

So far we're about 50/50. Looking at the Contract from America gives me far more food for thought than expected. Let's look at the article's points one by one, beginning with the preamble:

Individual Liberty: I'm with this 99 percent. I want my freedom of expression, of religion, and of economic choices to be protected. I want to be able to speak, read, and write freely without worrying that the government is invading my privacy; to practice my faith openly without fear; to be able to marry regardless of gender; and to be able to purchase herbs, tarot readings, hemp products, and local edibles without government interference. That said, I do like having food inspectors to make sure I don't buy hamburgers tainted with Mad Cow disease and I think it's reasonable to have a license for gun ownership, as a gun is just as lethal as a car in uneducated hands. So I have no issue with my economic freedoms being limited by basic concern for my safety.

Well, why not one hundred percent.  You cannot pick and choose which enumerated rights are enforced and which are ignored.  And even with USDA inspectors, we still have food borne illness.  Here's where I wholeheartedly disagree with you,  and that's a license for gun ownership.  Try this statement on and see how uncomfortable it makes you, "I thinks it's reasonable to have a license to worship pagan gods, as religion is just as lethal as a pen & paper in uneducated hands."  I bet you feel a tad bit upset that I would advocate licensing to practice your religion.  Look at it from a peaceably armed citizen's point of view.  I can't say it any better than Benjamin Franklin, so I'll use his quote to rebut your last statement here, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Limited Government: I do think the government should have a limited presence in our daily lives. They shouldn't be concerned with what I'm reading or what happens in my bedroom between consenting adults. It's none of their business if I burn non-addictive herbs for their scent or for their relaxation properties. However, I recognize that my effect on other people is limited, while corporations, insurance companies, and Wall Street can have a disastrously detrimental effect on society at large if allowed to function unchecked. A corporation's first priority is profits, not the welfare of the society it exists in, so regulation of industry is for the public good.

Ah, so you are for limited, albeit, smaller government. The leviathan has too many heads and needs to be pruned.  I bet every time, Congress has acted to limit business somehow from "trampling over the poor and middle class," business has found a new way around said law.  

Economic Freedom: I think this is a bit redundant, and I've already expressed my thoughts on this.

No, you wanted YOUR economic choices protected.  How about my economic choices or the economic choices of the store where you buy your tarot cards?  

1. Protect the Constitution: I think identifying the Constitutional right of each piece of legislature is a fine idea, as long as it doesn't become a tool to reinforce bizarre interpretations of the Constitution.

Right now, the way the current administration is interpreting the Constitution is pretty bizarre.  Where exactly does it say that I have to buy health insurance, I can't seem to find that clause.  

2. Reject Cap & Trade: I don't think industries should be able to buy and sell emissions allowances. I think giving incentives for companies to reduce their emissions, and take steps to "green" their businesses, would increase domestic jobs.

Hallelujah!! Let's make this a free market solution.  But wait a cotton picking minute!  Give incentives?!?!?!? That national debt you're worried about, well those incentives I bet would take the form of tax breaks.  And who is the business gonna pass their costs along to, that's right, you and me.  

3. Demand a Balanced Budget: County governments in the State of Georgia must have balanced budgets to remain an incorporated government entity in the state. I think it's reasonable to ask our government to be fiscally responsible in this manner.

Sorry, can't do that with that Economic Stimulus Package you see the need for.  

4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform: I am in favor of the general principal of tax reform, but I advocate a simple graduated income tax over a flat-rate or so-called "fair tax" scheme. That could be another article entirely.

How about we raise taxes on imports into this country and do away with the income tax.  A national sales tax would also work better, as people are consumers and boy do we ever consume.  

5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility and Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington: Creating an "Internal Services" to police the Constitutionality and efficiency of government offices sounds like a disaster, quite frankly. Aside from the irony of creating a new far-reaching government entity to ensure the government stays small, one of the biggest areas of waste in the federal government is the military. How would this task force handle that while protecting national security? How Constitutional is the war in Iraq, and what is the exact total of money, arms, and lives that could be saved there with greater fiscal and moral responsibility at all levels of the federal government?

You ask how the war in Iraq is Constitutional, and yet you don't ask if anything else the government is doing nowadays is Constitutional.  EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE. OF. LEGISLATION.  needs to & must be scrutinized by the constituency of Congress and the President.  We the People are the ones responsible to correct and direct our elected leaders into a more responsible course of action.  

6. End Runaway Government Spending: Capping spending by inflation and population growth may sound good at first, but I'm skeptical on the wisdom of such a scheme. I would rather the government have flexibility to adapt to contingencies rather than be bound and financially strapped for cash in an emergency. That said, I don't have any better ideas.

How about Congress takes each 'emergency' on a case by case basis?  Otherwise, everything becomes an 'emergency."
7. Defund, Repeal and Replace Government-run Healthcare: I've already stated I'm in favor of the health care reforms enacted by the current administration, but this section of the Contract is worded broadly enough to do away with Medicare and Medicaid, which would be a disaster to millions of our elderly.

 Again, I point to my rebuttal of point five; Why aren't we seriously looking at the constitutionality of health care reform?  

8. Pass an "All-of-the-Above" Energy Policy: I agree that we need to take a fresh look at our energy options in the U.S., but I also think that means we need to seriously promote alternative energy options. The oil spill in the Gulf has hurt the livelihood of the men and women living along the coast, from fishermen, to shrimpers, to folks in the tourist industry. We need to make sure our energy investments going forward are responsible, clean, and fiscally sound. Ranchers can harvest wind energy in the same pastures they run their cows. That's the kind of solution that helps the American farmer and works toward solving our energy issues.

Does this mean that you don't mind if we drill in the ANR?  Or in shallow waters off the coast of California?  Recently,  I took a trip to Wisconsin and saw hundred's of Wind Turbines.  I can truly understand the Not In My Backyard mentality of the Kennedy's.  Huge pylons with three bladed props turning did nothing to improve the natural beauty of an otherwise pristine landscape.
9. Stop the Pork: I think limiting the use of earmarks is a good thing. If government organizations don't have their funds micro-managed by Congress then they have the flexibility they need to be efficient and effective, and perhaps this will reduce the special favors granted to lobbyists.

Me too, however, let's also, do away with some government organizations, like the Dept. of Education, Energy and the ATF.   While we're at it, let's get rid of the EPA.  After all, they are the ones that will enforce Cap & Trade.  
10. Stop the Tax Hikes: I dislike paying taxes as much as the next guy, but I honestly believe that since we aren't going to reduce the over-abundant coffers of the military and that BP will not bear the cost of cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico effectively, adding in the fact that we've had an ongoing deficit that the current economic slump has deepened, the money has to come from somewhere. It's sad but we need to do what we can to improve our future. 
Yes, I'd rather have the extra cash in my pocket, but I'm also thankful for the unemployment extensions and tax cuts that have helped so many through this recession. It sucks, but if the government honestly reduces the deficit, it's worth it to me. Sure, we could pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and use those funds to pay down the debt while saving the lives of our service members, but we all know that won't happen. We could repeal all the extravagant tax cuts for the oil companies. We could legalize marijuana and tax it. We could legalize prostitution and tax it. We're not going to do those things, though. It will come out of our pockets and it's the price we pay to keep from sinking into an economic Depression as bad as or worse than that our grandparents and great-grandparents lived through.

How about we stop extending jobless benefits and give people some incentive to find work or create new business'?  It seems to me that the government told BP to set up a $20 billion dollar fund to help clean up.  Wait, let me guess, the government is wise enough to know that $20 billion is enough to clean everything up.  No, well then what is the magic number?

We've had national debt for decades, long before it started to climb out of control in the ‘80s. What people tend to forget is that our national debt went way out of control during the ‘40s, when our national debt equated to 120 percent of our GDP. It took us until the ‘70s to bring that back down to a reasonable level. Right now, our national debt equates to approximately 80-90 percent of our GDP. Is it scary? Of course it is, but we have been here before. We handled it then and we can handle it now.
Maybe there is some small truth in Tim's assertion that liberals don't like white, male, 45- year-old Republicans. I think it's the median age we don't like: 45. While their parents survived the Great Depression and a World War, the folks currently in their mid-to-late 40s and early 50s had to survive Abba, the Berlin Wall collapsing, the flourishing economy of the late ‘80s and the ‘90s, a President's getting nookie on the side, and the amazing advances of the tech industry. They had the limited Gulf War but haven't had their generation swept up in the aimless morass of Vietnam, Afghanistan, or the current Iraqi war. It has nothing to do with their being white, male, or Republican; it has to do with their sense of entitlement and jaded pessimism.
As a liberal Pagan, I think I have enough in common with the Tea Party Movement to engage in respectful, serious, and practical dialogue about how to solve the problems facing our nation. Our civic pride and values are very similar. We love liberty, America, and a strong economy. We simply don't always agree with how to preserve those things.
What do I really think about the Tea Party Movement? I think they have interesting ideas, ones that need to be discussed, debated, and taken seriously nationwide. The Tea Party is a corrective action taken against the lack of public discourse about the direction of our country. Politics was once the dinner table conversation of America. Now, we so readily accept all "news" as entertainment that we bypass those posing as objective reporters and go straight to the clown-pundits: Coulter, Colbert, Beck, and Stewart.
I sympathize with the problems the Tea Party has had with the media, with fringe elements, and with being taken seriously. Pagans have been dealing with those issues since the ‘60s and could offer a few pointers, if they'd care to listen. The Modern Pagan Movement is grappling with how to form loose unions in which to promote the interests of our very different autonomous Pagan groups without infringing on their liberties or imposing values on them from the outside. We as a religious movement are deeply engaged in the same issues as the Republic in which we stand. We like tea, we like parties, and we could learn from each other. We should talk.

Sounds good to me, how about over a cup of tea?


孫邦柔 said...
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Anonymous said...

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