Saturday, April 5, 2008

What's in a (political) label?

I have always hated labels. I have never wanted to be put in somebody's little box, defined by categories and caricatures.

Political labels particularly get under my skin. Over the years I've been called a right-winger, a left-winger, everything in between. Maybe that's because I don't toe an ideological line. I've always subscribed to the belief that both ends of the political spectum threaten freedom. The left wants to control your money and your guns; the right wants to police your bedroom. I've been told more than once that I have to choose a side. No, I don't. Neither side represents me.

Philosophically, I' guess I'd define myself as a libertarian (although I like the term Romantic Anarchist). I want to be left alone.

On the other hand... I am a member of a community and I have to think about a "greater good" beyond my own personal "don't tread on me" attitude. That has created some throny questions about policies — how we should make things work better.

And labels like "liberal" or "conservative" don't help.

I opposed the Iraq war from the beginning because I believe that attacking a nation that has not attacked us violates a fundamental principle of the Republic. I believe in the American Republic, not in an American Empire. But I'm no pacifist. Sometimes, we have to fight and I believe in being good at it. Liberal? Conservative?

I believe strongly in public education. A well-educated and engaged public is the safeguard of the Republic. We should pay teachers enough to attract the best into the field. But I also believe that we need to inject more accountability and competition into the system. Liberal? Conservative?

I believe in universal healthcare. Every person in the richest nation in the world should have access to quality healthcare that doesn't break the bank. But I don't much like the idea of subsidizing people who eat McDonald's three meals a day and smoke three packs a day. Liberal? Conservative?

The labels are useless. We've got a lot of work to do and if the rednecks and the bluenecks don't quit calling each other names and get down to it, it'll never get done.

Jim Cornelius, Editor

1 comment:

  1. Nobody really cares about the labels, it's your ideas that are misplaced.

    We didn't attck Iraq, we liberated it. The tyranny is gone and they are on the road to recovery as a country, despite the negativity of the American Media.

    Everybody believes in strong public education. The real question is, why send all of our money to Washington to have them fund it? Why don't we decentralize the money (and the waste) and use those same tax dollars right here in Sisters?

    Regarding Universal Healthcare: It doesn't work. Replace the title "Universal" with "Socialist" and then you can get a better idea of what to expect if it is ever enacted and we let the government run things. Why not just let poor people have free healthcare and let people who can afford it choose to see which doctor they want?

    The fact is, no matter what labels are applied, ideas can be placed in a "smart idea" category or a "dumb idea" category.

    It's time to get back to what this country was founded on, which is freedom to do what you wish, and a small/limited government. Having a huge government that extracts huge amounts of money and runs health care, education, and limits our freedoms is not what this is all about.


    Michael Preedin