Can I take 3 minutes to convert your political beliefs?

The Indiana Republican Party is holding their convention this weekend. There is a debate about whether to remove marriage being defined as a man-and-a-woman in their official platform. Last night, the report came that Speaker of the House Brian Bosma is against it. Governor Holcomb dodged it and refused to form an opinion. It’s up to the delegates, and I have no idea how they’ll vote.

But as they’re voting, literally a half mile up the street Indiana’s largest gay Pride parade and festival will be marching along.

I’ve written about Pride before. To recap: I don’t quite understand it, and I’m still not convinced it helps win over the hearts and minds of the people that have hearts and minds that need reaching. But people have fun, it does no harm to me, and best I can tell it doesn’t cost a bunch of money from public funds (parking revenue losses may be a wash with other parking revenue elsewhere, and police presence may be a regular shift of officers. I don’t know.)

I know a lot of gay people. I know a lot of Republicans. And I know a lot of Democrats. I know two gay Republicans. I know that Republicans get booed, with few small exceptions (like former Mayor Greg Ballard), and most of the people there are firmly in support of the Democrats. It’s not hard to imagine why.

But this does not align with reality. We know that about half of the population has to be conservatively-minded and half are progressive and liberal. It’s been this way forever. So how can you have that many thousands of diverse individuals at Pride and not have more than half a dozen people in favor of a narrowly defined government, cost savings, and personal freedoms?

You can’t. At least a third of the people there have some conservative ideals.

Over the years I have shifted between political parties, often voting fiercely independent in each election. But this does no one any favors because it still rewards bad behavior. There’s one party that is so hung up by civil liberties and personal freedoms they can’t help be renege on their own platform and deny them to people. This is idiotic and hypocritical.

But for the millions of gay men and women looking for a party, the Democrats are “the least bad choice” in most but not all circumstances around their personal freedoms. But what if you think charter schools might be worth looking at? What if you don’t think a government program is a solution to a problem? This is no way to live. This is no way to run a country or a state. Because then you’re tied to the baggage of the rest of the platform.

If you’re reading this and nodding slightly in agreement — regardless of our sexual orientation — consider if the Libertarian Party isn’t exactly who you are. Consider that maybe people should be free to do with their bodies as they wish, love who they choose, take part in safe, lawful events as they choose, and also we can do things in this country without it being a government program. That maybe there are some cost savings yet to be found in a few places. That maybe some government programs do more harm than good. Perhaps the solution to not every problem is an increase in taxes, but a re-alignment of taxes. That the best way to honor our veterans is to avoid sending them to more wars. And that maybe, just maybe, adults are free agents capable of deciding what’s best for them in every circumstance of their own lives. Perhaps a policy of “do no harm” is ideal.

A lot of this used to be the Republican Party, which does not seem to exist anymore. Someone once told me the reason they don’t vote Libertarian is because “Libertarians don’t win”. Well, you know what changes that, right?

Freedom of Common Sense

My apologies for the long tirade. It’s rather personal to me, so it’s nice for me to flesh out my thoughts…


I wasn’t able to vote in a presidential election until this past one, where I voted for Barack Obama. Frankly, McCain and the Ghost of Mrs. Twit weren’t really viable alternatives. Obama fit the bill with me pretty well and was a smooth performer and seemed articulate, smart and generally a good guy with a good heart. But lately, I’ve felt a little disenfranchised. I don’t regret my vote — at least not yet — but I don’t feel like Obama is making good on the things that were most important to me (and a lot of other people).

For years, I’ve dubbed myself as “fiscally conservative, socially liberal”. I call this “common sense” — it even says on my Facebook profile next to “Political Views”. I like the idea of a government that doesn’t spend or take much, but makes sure everyone’s protected and respected. My government currently doesn’t do either of those things. Congress ran out of checks 3 years ago and maxed out all the credit cards 2 years ago. Now, we’re just scribbling “IOU” on napkins. It’ll be an economic disaster when the bills come due and something my generation will have to deal with.

My government doesn’t do much to protect people, either. I’m not talking about protecting us from banks and GM, I’m talking about protecting us from one another. Frankly, my government should be in the business of doing what’s right, even if it’s not politically good. I’m talking, of course, about gay rights, women’s rights and the like. Plus, there’s something wrong when my government can suddenly start, stop or twist a private business around overnight.

That’s why I’m switching parties. I’m switching to the Libertarian party. Frankly, I don’t know why I hadn’t been more involved with these guys before. The Tea Party resonates a lot of Libertarian beliefs — namely, stop taking and spending my money on shit I and no one else cares about. But, I’m not a Tea Partier — most of those guys seem kinda nutty. But ever since Rand Paul, the Senate GOP Candidate running in Kentucky, got some press for his views on property rights, it’s weighed heavily on my mind and his success is largely fueled by the Tea Partiers in Kentucky. While he is running as a Republican, it’s an awfully small “r” and it’s really just so he can get on the ballot. These kinds of small “r”, mostly Libertarian, politicos I can get behind. Folks like Ron Paul, Mitch Daniels, etc. They take the approach of “let’s make people’s lives better by butting out of their lives as much as we can.”

Libertarians seem to be a consistent bunch, that’s for sure. And boy do I appreciate consistency. Ever try reading comments on articles on the Huffington Post or watch FOX News? Those guys can’t keep a straight story together. Libertarians always have an easy, simple, plain and common-sense approach to everything: “Yeah. We probably shouldn’t even bother with that.”

Here are some of my conclusions on various issues that match up pretty darn perfectly with the Libertarians.

Education

No one ever complains about Catholic schools. No one ever complains about Jewish schools or Christian schools or anything else. Why? Because if a parent has a problem with those schools, they don’t have to fund them or send their kids to those schools. Let’s do the same with traditional public schools and put ’em in competition mode to get results and support, innovate their way to success and let parents send their kids wherever they want. Then, when bat shit crazy Texan wing nuts want to stamp Jesus and a gun on Algebra II — fine, whatever. Your crazy asses won’t be around for much longer anyway. And if they do stick around, those parents would have instilled the same message on the kids anyway.

Taxes

The bellwether for any politician, this is really simple: tax only for the bare necessities and let everyone manage their own money, their own savings and their own lives the way they want. For example, I hate Social Security. It’ll be gone before I get to draw anything from it. It’s a stupid idea anyway. Who thought of that shit hole? “Hey, I have an idea. How about we make everyone pay into a big pot of money, then, when they get to an arbitrary age they can all draw from the same pot of money!” It’s the closest thing to a government pyramid scheme anyone has ever imagined and for all the money people put into the program, they don’t get nearly the same amount out of it.

I have a better idea: how about you let me invest my own money how I see fit? Then, in the event that I die before I ever get to draw, or I find a way to make more by investing it wisely, I’m all set with my own estate plans and don’t get screwed out of my own money. Better yet, we won’t waste public money on people who don’t need it . Are we seriously going to give Bill Gates and Warren Buffet a Social Security check!?

Yes, someone will say, “but what about all those people who don’t save money?” Well. I guess they screwed up, huh?

Transportation

Every city in the nation with a transportation system is sitting around scratching their heads on what to do with just about every piece of subway, rail and transit line they have. It’s all falling apart, yet they keep building on to these things and they never have a way to make repairs. Indy’s sitting in the enviable spot of being on the cusp of change on all of this and, sadly, it looks like there’s going to be a push for a massive public funding effort for the same rail lines everyone else can’t afford.

The Libertarian stance on public transit seems to be, from my readings, that it’s better to let private companies figure out and compete on ways to make busses and trains work. I could run off the wagon train just a bit to get behind the idea of government subsidies for some poor, elderly and disabled people to get cheaper fares.

They’re already tons of private shuttles and busses all over the place anyway. I’m sure they’d be happy to figure out ways to run another block or two.

Foreign Policy

America is over here between the Atlantic and the Pacific. Our empire doesn’t need to exist all over the globe — bring everyone home, join in with allies as necessary and keep wars and conflict at zero. If someone rattles our crib, we’ll get up and kick ass, then come home and have a beer.

Gay Rights / Abortion Rights

Libertarians seem pretty straightforward on abortion: “Well. You’re the adult.”

As for gay rights, it’s the same thing — two consenting adults can do whatever they want. The interesting thing here is they believe what I’ve thought for years in that government shouldn’t be meddling in marriages. If people want to be married in the eyes of Jesus, Buddha or the Flying ¬†Spaghetti Monster, go to your own freakin’ church. The government, to instill protections in terms of real estate, guardianships, finances, kids, etc. should only offer up civil unions. Then, folks can choose to have a civil union and a religious union, or one and not the other and you can choose which benefits you want. Only want to get married in a church? Fine, but when your spouse goes to the hospital, don’t expect visitation rights. You’re the adult — you decide. This makes the gay marriage issue moot, because suddenly there’s absolutely no tinge of religious or historical precedents in “marriage” to mess with.

I guess, in close, this all makes perfect sense to me that adults should do whatever they want, however they want, so long as it doesn’t endanger me or my property (so no firing fireworks and guns off your roof right next to mine, don’t drive 110 MPH on the highway, stay off my lawn, etc.). Keep the government limited in scope and size and let the adults be adults.

Rand Paul Likes Property Rights, Sorta Cares About Civil Ones

An interesting story caught my eye yesterday about Kentucky’s upcoming GOP Senate candidate, Rand Paul. Rachel Maddow asked him the following:

Maddow: Do you think that a private business has a right to say that ‘We don’t serve black people?’

Paul: I’m not in favor of any discrimination of any form. I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race. We still do have private clubs in America that can discriminate based on race.

But I think what’s important in this debate is not getting into any specific “gotcha” on this, but asking the question ‘What about freedom of speech?’ Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent. Should we limit racists from speaking. I don’t want to be associated with those people, but I also don’t want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior because that’s one of the things that freedom requires is that we allow people to be boorish and uncivilized, but that doesn’t mean we approve of it…

Now, I see what’s he saying. He danced around quite a bit, but as politicians go, that’s a pretty honest response. It’s a very libertarian stance, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And he’s not coming off as racist and I don’t believe he is. Basically, it boils down to “The government and its public money won’t discriminate because it’s the right thing to do. But, if, for example, a restaurant owner who owns and runs his own establishment decides they don’t want to serve a group of people, I guess that’s their right.”

It’s realizing we can’t change the way people think, necessarily. So, let them do whatever they want on their own property. It’s their business — if people don’t like it and disagree, they’ll go elsewhere and the business will fail with no one else to blame but the owner. It’s not any different if I don’t want people on my front yard — whether they’re a majority or minority. It’s my property and if I don’t want you there, I’ll call the police and they’ll remove you.

The trick, however, is that Rand has to have the same feelings about every other law. Does this mean that if a person were to smoke marijuana on his property, the government has no right to stop them? It’s not harming anyone, so what right do they have? This doesn’t mean the government can’t say no to its use on public property like schools, hospitals, parks, etc. That could be treated just like alcohol and tobacco.

One could easily argue that the point here is to protect minorities and without the government’s help, they’ll never have rights. That’s absolutely right. But, it doesn’t cost the government anything to say, for example, “gays now have equal rights”. And, if people don’t want to change their views about gays, fine. But, if a gay couple is on their own property and not doing anything lewd or harmful, they’re protected from people who do harm them on their property and in public places. And if a business owner doesn’t want gay people in his establishment, fine. They lost a customer and revenue and it’s their own fault what happens from there.

And, just as an aside because I know someone is thinking about it: I’m not really a fan of hate crimes for minorities. You have to stop treating people like minorities/majorities and just treat them like people. If someone is killed, someone is killed and it’s wrong and our system of laws will convict and punish the killer. But to say that because someone killed a black woman and not a white woman they have to spend an extra 10 years in jail (or whatever it is), I don’t think that’s fair. Plus, it’s not like anyone ever said, “Oh, I’d better target the white guy so I don’t get charged with a hate crime.”