Thursday, October 06, 2005

Staunchly Independent

I do not vote Republican. I don't vote Democratic. I vote on the issue. I vote on the candidate. I am staunchly independent.

I don't get into politics much. However, I keep track of what is going on, and I almost always vote. There was a tiny little referendum recently here in Nashville to raise the sales tax by .5%. The pro tax lobby said it was "for the kids and elderly (boo hoo). They also said that if we don't vote for it, the State was going to impose it, then the money wouldn't stay in town (shiver, quake). It was to be "earmarked" for education and property tax relief for the elderly. Let's see -- education -- isn't that why we have a lottery? Let's see, tax relief for the elderly -- so we tax them more on toilet paper so they pay less on property tax? Then I actually read the referendum in the voting booth. It asked if I wanted to raise the tax. No mention of the elderly. No mention of education. I clicked no. So did a whole lot of other people. It failed.

I didn't look at this as a conservative or a liberal issue. It was a tax issue. I love children and old people, but whoever was in charge of this forgot rule number one of taxes -- people are never going to vote for a higher tax for themselves.

So, why am I an independent? Why wouldn't I be? I can't believe there are so many educated, well-spoken, thoughtful people who are completely aligned on one side or the other. A lot of people forget something very basic: We DO NOT have a two party system. We stumbled into it. (Remember the Whigs!) Public policy shouldn't be a strict liberal/conservative decision. Each issue should be discussed on its own merit. Unfortunately, that requires too much thought. And with our 24-hour news cycle, we continue to be polarized between the left and the right. Where are all the people like me, the middles?

I guess I am closest to the libertarians. I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal. However, the libertarians come off as way too radical for me (let's get rid of the military, build a big wall between us and Mexico, etc.).

So, fiscally conservative. In other words. I want about 1/100th of the government we have now. Get off my back. First. Get rid of the IRS. How much do we spend just collecting taxes? How many employees does the IRS have? Why do I have to spend a couple hundred bucks every year to have an accountant fill out a dozen forms full of government double talk, just so some lackey in Virginia can be satisfied that my line 29b-2(c) deduction was legitimate? We spend billions of dollars every year collecting taxes. The solution? A flat tax. Everybody, and I mean everybody, pays that same, let's say 15%, for the sake of argument. You're a church? Pay 15%. You're rich? Pay 15%. You're a Llama farmer with a windmill in BumDum County Idaho who has been getting a special deduction ever since your Congressman added your "economic stimulus" deduction to a highway bill? Sorry, it's not there anymore. Pay 15%.

Why has this flat tax never happened? The first problem is that the people who have legitimitely proposed it have come off a knuckleheads (Perot, Forbes). The second problem is that the candidates in the "two party" system are all in the pockets of people and corporations who get these deductions and cuts. I say, get rid of them all. Then comes this problem. The first time a tax break of any kind happens (OK, flat tax for everyone except for blind, minority, elderly nuns who make less than $100 a year), then the floodgates open and whole thing starts over again. Slap your hand on your forehead.

I want the government to keep up the military, keep up the roads, schools, dams, pull people out of enormous structures when hurricanes hit, and do ALL the standard Government stuff. But cut the waste. All of it. I'm not going to start listing pork barrel projects, but we all know there are trillions of dollars wasted on crap and people who administer and manage said crap.

However, I am socially fairly liberal. The only social issues that seem to matter anymore are having an abortion or being gay. That last election, where there was so much going on, was spunto come down to gay marriage in most places. What does this have to do with the government? (Other than, obviously, marriage is a government institution). Same with the God stuff. Everytime a conservative gets outraged because a judge wants to take "God" out of a pledge or off a government building, replace it with the word "Allah" and see what happens. After all, there are more Muslims than Christians in this world. On the other side, for every liberal who gets "offended" when the word God is used, I say you need to take another look at your liberal doctrine of tolerence and inclusion. Or, in other words, give me a break. But, the government should have anything to do with my "moral" or "lifestyle" decisions. I don't need some out-of-touch asshole who's skimming money off his campaign contributions and voting for morality legislation while he's fucking his secretary telling me how to live my life.

So the bottom line is this, I like more conservative policies than liberal policies, because it is the fiscal policies that affect me directly. However, I like liberals as people a whole lot better. Not the politicians, they're all the same. But look at their media mouthpieces. Who would you rather hang out with, the conservatives like O'Reilly, Hannity, or Tucker Carlson, or the liberals like Fraken, Garafalo or Jon Stewart? That's a no brainer for me. The conservatives are blowhards. Professional blowhards. And they're mad all the time. They don't seem to have any life other than hating what liberals believe in. Liberals, however are fun. The liberals are comedians. Literally. And personable. And human. And funny. Al Franken wrote for Saturday Night Live for decades. He's Stuart Smalley, for God's sake. I'd love to hang with that guy. Tucker Carlson, well, who the fuck is he? He's the jerk that wears a bowtie. And Jon Stewart called him a dick. On his own show. And he ended up on MSNBC.

So I'm an independent. Any experienced political pundit could blow 100 holes in this post in ten seconds. I don't care. This rambling diatribe is so fragmented, I'm not even going to try to go back and edit it. I can't sum up my political views in 30 minutes of typing. That's what liberals and conservatives do. There are two many tangents to follow to wrap this up into a nice neat point. So I'll just sum it up this way. Get your hands off my money. Get your laws off my lifestyle. And -- Jon Stewart: funny. Tucker Carlson: dick


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