Saturday, March 27, 2004
Recently, a teacher of mine asked the each person in the class to write an essay describing his or her political stance in the form of “I am a (blank) because.” Below is my response. I thought some of you might enjoy a little insight into my “true” political colors. :)
I will not be able to complete this essay as it was originally assigned. To do so, I would have had to state “I am a (blank)” and insert a particular ideology into the statement. In doing that, I would be declaring that I subscribe to said ideology, and that, therefore, would imply that I am an ideologue. This is not the case. I consider myself a realist. I am neither Democrat nor Republican. I am neither “conservative” nor “liberal”. The former are no less than political cartels; the latter are simply arbitrary labels used in arguments. This is not to say that I take no stand on any issue. I am not one of the quavering moderates of which Mr. Limbaugh speaks who take the position of the prevailing political wind. On the contrary, I shall discuss three issues on which I hold a solid position. These are, in no particular order, immigration, marijuana de-criminalization, and civil liberties.
Our country was originally built by and for immigrants; this is no secret. But some now would use that statement to propose that we should maintain a policy of allowing illegal immigration to thrive. I am of course speaking specifically of Mexicans illegally crossing the border into America, though I am against ALL illegal immigration into the US (as well as most legal immigration actually, we’ve enough to pay for now). Right now there are millions of undocumented workers in the United States. They pay no taxes, and yet they receive government welfare and services. They have committed a crime by entering our country illegally, and they are treated as normal citizens. This must end. The only people that gain from this system are businessmen and politicians. Businessmen gain by utilizing the cheap labor, and politicians gain by allowing the illegals to continue in order to court the Latino vote. The American people lose because our tax dollars are stolen to pay for the health and welfare of these people who have done nothing to earn it. The American people lose because California is being turned into another Mexican state. And finally, the Mexican immigrant loses because he never gets what he came here for, “The American Dream”.
He enters this country perhaps to try to make a living for his family. He is maybe twenty-three years old with a wife and a child. He finds that picking lettuce for $10 an hour in California is better than working in a factory in Mexico for $10 a week. And things are good for a while. Ten dollars an hour doesn’t look quite as good when you’re fifty and you still have a child to care for. The man never was able to break out of poverty. His hope of his son having a better life than his has fallen to pieces. He never thought it necessary to teach his son English, so he is now destined to follow his father’s path. Is this compassion?
There are millions of people slowly dying in America from painful and incurable ailments. Some can find help from standard pain medications. But for whatever their reasons, many can’t. There are hundreds of thousands of people in America that can and do benefit from medicinal marijuana. Those that do use it continue to use it, knowing they risk their freedom by doing so. But they have no choice. Unless one considers screaming one’s self to sleep every night to be a choice. And this is the current state of affairs in America. It is known that marijuana, used under a doctor’s guidance and supervision can be of great benefit for many patients. It is known that in most cases the benefits of medicinal marijuana greatly outweigh its drawbacks. And yet, it remains a serious crime to posses, sell, cultivate, or make available in any way, marijuana. I ask again, is this compassion?
It is said the world changed on September 11, 2001. I don’t believe this. It’s still the same world. We’ve just come to realize how dangerous it truly is. We can now know what it feels like to be an Israeli standing on the sidewalk wondering if today is the day he or she will be blown to bits. We can now know what it feels like to be a Russian wondering if today is the day Chechens gun him or her down. America can understand now the truth about the “peaceful” religion of Islam and its followers. But now there’s another feeling we can have. And that is the feeling of living on the verge of a police state. Attorney General Ashcroft is currently on a tour of the country touting the values of his so-called PATRIOT ACT, because there is a fast-rising tide of dissent concerning this law. People are beginning to actually take notice of the bills being passed by Congress. And they are not happy. Mr. Ashcroft wishes the public to be content about his Nazi-esque disregard for civil liberties. It seems the Fourth Amendment was a misprint, and he is trying to get legislation passed to fix that. He and his administration are not happy yet however. They have on paper the nicely named “PATRIOT ACT II” bill. It lays waiting in the wings for the apathetic masses to forget about the first bill and be complacent again. These tactics must not stand. I line must be drawn that separates, for purposes of law enforcement, citizens and non-citizens. It must be realized that simply because some visiting foreign nationals may be treated a certain way, we will not abide the treatment of our own citizens in the same manner. We are Americans. And as Americans we have rights. We must stand tall against those who seek to take them from us, and our hands must not flinch as we grasp the remainders of the constitution.
I assume that most people would attribute their own socio-political views to the influences of parents, teachers, etc. I do not. Sure, there was a time in my life when I knew little more than what my parents told me, but that was a short-lived time. I’ve been a news junkie for as long as I can remember. I try to keep up with all that is going on in our nation and in our world. And that is what I base my views on. I base my socio-political system of beliefs on what I see, what I experience. I do not need to be spoon-fed my value system. I believe that most humans are capable of the same thing, capable of forming their own views on subjects and forming their on rational belief systems. Some, of course, are not. I like to call them Democrats and Republicans and Greens and Libertarians. These sad party ideologues rarely even realize little more than what they are told. Rarely do they stop and think, stop and observe. Stop and reason. This is a sad state of affairs, but it is the state of the union nonetheless.
I hope I have been able to give an adequate example of some of my political views and why I tend to think in said fashions. I do realize that this was not exactly the assignment given, but this is the best I can do without sacrificing my own core values. The most important of which I take from Socrates. Know thyself. And stick to it.