Ok, I met a woman online, at match, a few weeks back. She's really attractive from her picture, seems seriously bright with a lot of energy and is interested in politics. MY KINDA CHICK! She said in her profile she's conservative. Even has conservative in her screen name, sorta. Well that's fine with me. So we started chatting. Anyway, as we discussed politics, she said repeatedly she couldn't date a liberal guy. Now I found that powerfully odd; can't date someone you disagree with? Besides, given that its ME she's talking about, what she's really saying is she can't stand it when a guy she meets is RIGHT and she is wrong...
Anyway, we only chatted once, she said her goodbyes, on political grounds, and that was that. She wrote me recently out of the blue, "why are you lying and stating that you are "middle of the road?" Well, manners notwithstanding, am I lying? Its a fair question-- one who quickly skimmed my blog could conclude I was a real lefty, a real liberal. I don't think that's the case, but one's beliefs should be reexamined now and then, so here goes.
I certainly do have political views that in the modern parlance are liberal, or left wing. For example, I'm a radical believer in gay rights. Now I'm not only straight as opposed to gay, but also straight as opposed to wild. But if two men, three men, two women, three women, 5 of mixed sexes, wish to do whatever in the privacy of their own homes, that's fine with me. Who the heck am I to judge? I favor gay marriage. If two (or 3, or 4) people of whatever genders want to formalize a long-term/lifelong commitment, that's fine with me. That used to be a libertarian before the right-wing nuts of the GOP got ahold of it, but never mind. I'm quoting my friend Andrew in this paragraph, but this is one issue on which I did not need his views to get to the right place. I've always felt this way.
I'm a definite lefty on health care. I believe (for quite hardheaded reasons, I assure you), that a single-payer system is by FAR the best for health care. Providers could compete on service, but not price. The government would write all the checks. The government would NOT, however, be the sole PROVIDER of health care, as in Britain, a system which I do NOT NOT NOT want over here. My system, I believe, would result in hugely HUGELY lower costs, better health care, AND access for all. The proverbial free lunch. Other countries pretty much prove this out.
This is, I freely acknowledge, a lefty position. However, conservatives often say: "you want the government involved? The government can't do ANYTHING RIGHT." Now that's demonstrably bullshit. First and MOST CONVINCING, is Medicare. Medicare, you see, is a single payer "SOCIALIST" health care system, run by the federal GOVERNMENT. And it works. Are there problems? Sure. Big problems? Absolutely. Is it frightfully expensive and on the way to bankrupting the country if we don't fix it? Sure is (remember, it ONLY covers the elderly, so of course it costs a ton per person). But fundamentally, at the end of the day, more than 43 million people in America are covered by Medicare. They get treated, quite well. There are myriad problems, beyond the scope of this post, but "government can't do anything right?" Baloney. There is also the VA health care system, which serves many many millions of people. There were big problems before the Clinton administration, and the Bushies caused some more, but again, it basically works. Millions of people, many older, treated by GOVERNMENT EMPLOYED DOCTORS. Works just fine when the Bushies don't f*** it up.
I'm not really for a much smaller government at the end of the day, also a lefty position (which has been adopted wholesale by the GOP, but never mind...)
Other left-wing positions: environment (very left, EXCEPT for nuclear power, been in favor since I was 18, looks like $4/gallon gas is making that a trendy view, I was there long before), immigration (the one issue Bush is very right about, McCain too, on alternate Thursdays), taxes (I favor a more progressive tax policy, which can fairly be called wealth redistributive), aid to the poor (for all of its painful flaws), affirmative action (well, I actually think it should be CLASS based, a position difficult to call left, but it aint conservative), women's rights (I consider myself a staunch feminist, I agree that many battles have been won). Surely there are other issues on which I'm on the left.
On matters military I tend to the right, sometimes far right. I supported the Iraq war at the beginning, strongly. (We all make mistakes). I have been calling, since about 2 weeks after 9-11, literally, for a much bigger military. I have long supported high military spending (but not wasteful weapons). I support a strike against Iran to prevent them from going nuclear, whatever the consequences. A VERY right wing position these days. I support a strong US military, a bigger navy (not much bigger, but bigger), at least 150,000 more people in the army and marines (where we're short the most bodies), big R&D spending, etc. Not real left, I'm afraid.
I'm hard to characterize on education. I do support more money for schools & teachers (left-wing), but think that teachers unions are a HUGE obstacle to actually educating kids, particularly in New York City (right-wing). I strongly support vouchers, lots of them. Conservative! This is about the only good idea the GOP has had since Welfare reform. A stopped clock is right twice a day. I think the GOP has badly erred on vouchers by being TOO TIMID. They never are willing to spend what it takes to properly educate a kid. I have NO PROBLEM with a state giving out a voucher = per pupil public school spending and letting private companies (or religious institutions, or pretty much whoever) educate kids. Now obviously you need tight regulation (even Republicans agree), but that works for me. If the companies make a profit off of educating our kids? (*Yawn*) Worries me not. (Right-wing).
Trade: I'm a free trader. I think the democrats are whining about child labor (a legitimate issue) and environmental standards (also a legitimate issue) to throw bones to labor rather than out of conviction. I'm not a radical free trader. I suppose that fits moderate. We're all free traders, nowadays, except in democratic primaries, when we lie through our teeth (thanks Hill and Barack-- profiles in courage there).
Abortion? Against, not militant about it. My abortion position is so hypocritical, so weak and inconsistent, that I don't care to discuss it. One certainly wouldn't put me left of center on this issue.
Well this post is long enough. I guess at the end of the day you'd have to call me "left of center" but hard to characterize. Conclusion: I wasn't "lying," but I do stand somewhat corrected.
I note that its a wild distortion of our politics when reforming our nutso health care system is a left of center position. But more on that rant some other day.