(what follows is political and full of my opinions)
So I was clearing the clutter this weekend and found my pin. No, it’s a badge. A Badge of Honor. It is an honor to be able to not only voice my opinions here in my own home on the interwebs, but at my local polling place. My voice is heard locally by my city and county government. My state legislature hears my vote and my voice. Our collective federal elected officials hear my voice with my vote.
It is a huge responsibility that I for one take seriously. I don’t think I have ever filled out an entire ballot. I refuse to vote for an issue or a candidate that I have not researched. I would prefer to leave a blank than offer an uneducated vote.
So what is important to this woman? What things pop into MY head when deciding how to vote? What makes me speak up? There’s a list. I’m not sure there’s an order of importance here, I think it’s just a list. I’m pretty sure that not a single issue here would decide my vote, but a collective attitude I suppose.
- War- It is my children that will go off and fight more wars. They will be honored to do so. We need to make sure to choose the correct fights. And that we define what it means to win, not just fight. We don’t need to be the world’s police but we have the obligation to help those that can’t help themselves (and want our help) and to defend our own freedom. Oh, and for the record, it’s a disgrace that any service members would need to be on welfare of any kind. Period. Fix that.
- Economy- Seriously already. Does ANYONE think it’s a good idea to have China holding so much of our debt? Would it kill you to take even one part of one department’s budget and go with a zero-base and save a bajillion dollars? Then after you save ALL.THAT.MONEY. take that zero-base to other departments? Please take a few years and run this place like a business and get us back on our feet.
- Social Security- See item above. Why in the heck should I trust you, the federal government, to safeguard any of my money when you can’t even manage what you have now? Privatize social security, insure it (think FDIC-like), move on.
- Unemployment- We have built ourselves a global economy. We have worked our own out of jobs. We need to do something. Complaining is NOT the same as doing. We need to get up off our collective asses and train for new jobs. We need to offer creative incentives to the unemployed (like reduction in benefits in exchange for moving expenses to a fresh start with a new job in a better place). We need to limit benefits. It’s a crutch, not a way of life. Most people see it that way and the ones that don’t need to be cut-off.
- Choices- Stop this war on ovaries already. Let’s honor what our framers intended and have this discussion free from religious references. I can respect the religious aspect of this discussion, I really can. But it has no place in our government. Do you even realize that some “mainstream” religious views on this totally stomp on the views of other widely accepted mainstream religions too? Remember, pro-choice DOES NOT equal anti-life (and the Constitution guarantees the PEOPLE freedoms, not businesses or churches, no?).
- Freedom of religion is freedom of religion- You have yours, I have mine and they may or may not be the same thing AND THAT’s OK. Do you even realize that Islam and Christianity share a common beginning in Abraham? That it’s the same roots as Judaism, Shi’ite, Pentecostals, Sunni, Catholics, Baptists and Mormons? A Muslim woman in a Burqa looks a whole lot like a Catholic woman in a Habit. A little respect goes a long way on this one. Ignorance is the enemy, not each other.
- Equality- Marriage, as we see it, has Biblical roots. Marriage, as our government sees it, has federal recognition. Tax status. Survivorship. Parenting. End-of-life decisions. All given weight by our government. Our government, by design, is supposed to be free of religion. Marriage, as viewed by the government, needs to be nothing more than a contract. Make marriage a religious ceremony between you and your church. Make the government recognized union just that, a government recognized union. It’s a contract between consenting adults, regardless of gender. It’s the “sex addicted” celebrities with publicists that reduce the value of the idea marriage, not the happily married gay couple quietly raising responsible children in suburbia.
- Business- Small business really is the heart of our economy. It’s not big business. Do you have any idea how much work it takes to run a small business? To employ people? To keep people? The business becomes your family. Stop encouraging me to take a loan, even if it’s a low interest rate or subsidized. Just because you run your business (the government) based on a house of cards (debt) doesn’t mean that small business should do the same thing. Give us a break. Don’t tax us more if we want to keep a few months of payroll in the bank. It’s the responsible way to do business.
- Welfare- If I am subjected to a drug test to earn my paycheck to pay taxes that then pay for welfare, then the recipient damn well better be subjected to a drug test to get my money. And it needs limits.
- Education- This system is broken. Kids want to learn. Teachers want to teach. The system is preventing that from happening. National and state directives that come down with no funding? Asinine. No child left behind? Some children NEED to be left behind, it’s why “behind” existed. Hold teachers accountable for student progress, but give them other measures of success also. Hold students accountable for their own education. Make them work for it. It’s ok to use a red pen to grade papers; it’s ok to be told you’re wrong. It’s how you learn to be right. We need to teach our kids the same old basics as before. But more than that we need to teach them how to learn. Make them into lifelong learners. They should never be done learning. WE should never be done learning.
- Education- part two College- To me, personally, my education was important. I went back to college as I neared 40 to get my MBA because it was a big deal to ME. My daughter is currently shopping around for colleges. We have some money for her for college, but also feel it’s important for her to have some skin in the game. We aren’t just writing a big fat check to any ole college. Unless she lives at home and goes to community college, she will have to work for some portion of her college education, and that is our goal. She pointed out to us that the only colleges that are affordable have such low standards for admissions that she basically won’t have to do much more than show up for the rest of high school and she will still get in and get some academic scholarships as well. Why should she work harder and stress herself out? Yea for her for figuring this out. How sad that it’s true.
These are big ticket items, items that many of us (the gender neutral collective) find important, regardless of what side of the specific issue we fall on. These are my over-simplified opinions, each topic would be worth its own blog post or more to fully discuss.