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The Politics of Exclusion: Why I Have No Political Party

Updated on May 24, 2014
According to the Political Compass, I am a Liberal Libertarian.
According to the Political Compass, I am a Liberal Libertarian. | Source

Take The Test

Go to The Political Compass and take the test. Which quadrant were you in?

See results

Political Labels

I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I am not a Libertarian, Progressive, Tea Party member, or a member of any organized political movement. To some degree, all of them — in one way, shape, or form — are insane. This is not to imply that all of them are insane to the same degree; far from it. The Tea Party Wing of the Republican Party started as a grass-roots movement angered at fiscal irresponsibility in Washington, D.C. and on Wall Street. It quickly became something sinister; something I want no part of.

I am a fiscal conservative, social moderate.

That is the way I have described myself for years. Unfortunately, the right in this country have moved so far to the extreme edges of the political spectrum, that my centrist social views have become liberal — even extreme — in the eyes of some. So be it. I will not shift my opinions based on their desire. Prove to me you have the right idea or the correct solution and I will listen. Tell me I am some kind of un-American, brainless, leftist, commie based solely on the fact that I disagree with your assessment of a given issue and well... I couldn't care less.

The idea of the one-dimensional political spectrum is dead — or should be. We cannot afford to look at the world through this sort of narrow-minded vision any longer. In an attempt to explain and understand our varying points of view, some have adopted a two-axis model.

The Political Compass attempts to rectify this by treating the traditional Left ←→ Right axis as an economic indicator ranging from communism on the far left to the purist's ideal of the free market on the far right. To this, the Political Compass adds an Up ←→ Down axis for social issues ranging from pure anarchy at the bottom to authoritarian state control at the top. This is but one model. There are others all over the internet to select from. Some include a centrist box in the middle of their model; others do not.

Most of these models come with an online test you can take to measure your tendencies on their scale. Most of the tests are flawed with poorly worded questions, oddly weighted and configured tools for calculating the distance from center —and even some disagreements on exactly where center would be located. For example, according to the Political Compass, President Barack Obama is staunchly conservative and authoritarian. I certainly do not think so, but I did not make this scale.

And this is the problem with such scales. With one dimension, we can point to our current two party system and say...

Democrats on the left; Republicans on the right

...and be done. Fox News can say the Republicans believe {this} and the Democrats are wrong. MSNBC can say the Democrats believe {this} and the Republicans are wrong. It's easy. It does not matter than this dynamic offers false dichotomies and creates the illusion that we all believe in all of the planks of one party's platform while discounting all of the planks in the other. It does not matter that the knee-jerk reaction to immediately denigrate the opinions of the opposition result in self-contradictory platforms. None of it matters because the alternative it to discuss the issues themselves, dig into the core of these topics, and deliver something far more important than a sound bite. "If we do that," say the news moguls, "we might lose viewers. And that would be the end of the world."

Coherency in Contradition
Coherency in Contradition | Source

Contradictory Platforms

As I stated above, the knee-jerk reaction to be on the opposing side of whatever the other guy says has lead to contradictions in the platforms of the major parties. Consider for example the two ways we can legally kill someone in this country: abortion and the death penalty.

  • The Democrats stand on the right to end life when it comes to the unborn. Killing a convicted murderer would be immoral.
  • The Republicans stand on the right of the State to force a young woman to go to term against her will, but will gladly kill the individual for her once it reaches the age of majority.

I still am baffled by this. My own view is this: no woman should be forced to carry a child to term against her will; the state has the moral obligation to remove some people from society.

Modified from online graphic
Modified from online graphic | Source

Abortion and Contraception

I am pro-choice. This was not always the case. It took a lot of soul-searching to come to the conclusion that this is the only reasonable and rational stance for the State. This is not a religious issue; this is not even really a political issue. It is an issue of women's health.

The right, especially the religious right, want to ensure that health care remains in the hands of private enterprise. They say this is a point of liberty: get the government out of my healthcare. That is, unless we are discussing women's health. The right, especially the religious right, want to ensure that the government is fully aware of, and dictating terms to, women and their healthcare choices.

Planned Parenthood has been under attack for a long time. This organization is vital to many women, who have this organization and nobody else they can turn to. According to their web-page:

  • 71% of their clients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancy. These services prevent 486,000 unintended pregnancies annually.
  • They provide 585,000 PAP tests each year.
  • They provide 640,000 breast exams each year.
  • They provide 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections each year.
  • 3% of all Planned Parenthood services are related to abortion.

97% of all services provided by Planned Parenthood have nothing to do with Abortion. Yet, to read the headlines since the Affordable Care Act was introduced, you would think that Planned Parenthood was performing a dozen abortions an hour or something.

But the right is not just wrong on abortion, they are deathly wrong on contraception. Recently, many right-wing commentators have lambasted the mandate to cover contraception. They have given all sorts of reasons for their outrage. This includes the fact that they would be forced to pay (through their taxes) for women's sexual habits.

Really?

Where was this outrage when medicare started covering things like Viagra? Penis pumps? Penile implants? Vasectomies? Circumcision? It would appear that only women's sexual health is something the government should not pay for. Men can get all of the free sexual healthcare they want. But the federal dollars need to be cut off before they reach Planned Parenthood or women who need help.

Source

The Death Penalty

I am for the Death Penalty. Some people are not able to be reached, rehabilitated, or trusted to reenter society. As a fiscal pragmatist, I believe that it is far less draining on society to end the life of such people than it is to house, feed, and protect them for their natural lives. I see no reason the state should spend some $50 billion per year on corrections (in 2010), while trying to cut the $40 billion per year spend to feed poor families (in 2010).

Especially while these poor need the benefits thanks to the market manipulations of a few billionaire hedge fund managers. And this is the issue at hand: I am all for the death penalty — but only if it is to be dealt with in a fair and equitable manor.

  • Murder? Yes. You take a life, I can see the State deciding that yours was forfeit.
  • Rape? Definitely. Certain crimes that do not result in death are more heinous than those that do. Most sexually based offenses (especially those involving children) should result in a very short trip to execution.
  • White? Black? Latino? Other? It should not matter.

But it does. The number of people on death row as of 2013 is 3,095 persons. Of these, 42% (1,291) are African Americans; 43% (1334) are White/Caucasian. The problem? African Americans make up less than 13% of the American population, while White/Caucasians make up 73%.

"In 82% of the studies [reviewed], race of the victim was found to influence the likelihood of being charged with capital murder or receiving the death penalty, i.e., those who murdered whites were found more likely to be sentenced to death than those who murdered blacks." — United States General Accounting Office, Death Penalty Sentencing, February 1990

So... despite my feeling that the Death Penalty is the proper choice from a moral, ethical, and economic standpoint, I can certainly understand why some might disagree.

What political party encompasses your political views?

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We Need A Revolution

We need a revolution. I am not talking about taking to the streets — and don't get me started on gun control. We need a bloodless revolution. The two party system is broken by definition. We have a society that thinks it is alright to have 1% of the population controlling 40% of the wealth.

We need to...

  • ...rethink how we govern
  • ...change how we elect our officials
  • ...restrain the power of government
  • ...align our tax spending to match our values
  • ...redefine what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America
  • ...destroy the current tax system and replace it with something that makes sense
  • ...stop viewing the founding fathers are faultless, perfect men who made no errors

But most of all, we need to rethink who we are as a people — what we see on television cannot be who we are. If it is, we are a dead people just waiting for our existence to fade into antiquity. We are the United States of America. We are better than this.

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    • KDLadage profile image
      Author

      K David Ladage 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Yea... my views on the death penalty often waver... still have some difficulty with it, even if I think it is warranted. But *beyond a reasonable doubt* is not as solid a line as I would hope for.

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 2 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Great article, we are politically aligned, however I do not agree with application of the death penalty for any crime short of 1st degree murder or treason in time of war. It may come down to a matter of opinion, rape should not be a capital offense. I accept the death penalty as a remedy, reluctantly, there have been many people wrongly incarcerated who are later exonerated thru DNA evidence, we cannot exonerate a dead fellow under those circumstances. Better 10 guilty ones live over 1 innocent who is executed.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I thoroughly enjoy your writing, David. It is a real pleasure to read the work of a talented, prolific writer. I'm just sorry that there are only a few of your hubs that pull my interest. Sorry, Boomer Grandmas just aren't into Dungeons & Dragons (except for reading Bedtime Fairy Tales, if that counts!)

      Anyway, I rarely refer to myself with a Political label, simply because since old enough to vote, I have been all over the damned map...and maybe even maps from outer space. "Politics" in general is not one of my favorite topics, although I have some staunch Political opinions. I'm not all all adverse to "argument or debate"....I don't easily back-off, it's just that in all my experiences & observations (and at my stage in life) I choose NOT to waste my precious time fighting with someone on Politics or Religion. IMHO, the ONLY thing that is ever accomplished is 2 people who may have started out on fairly good terms, end up hating each other. In all my years I've yet to hear a Strict Conservative say to a Far left Liberal, "You know what? you're absolutely CORRECT....& you've just changed all that I believed in.!" I sure as heck have never heard that exchange between a Christian and an Atheist either. I really need to know what the "Blank" it's all about!

      Excellent work here, David. I appreciate your wisdom....UP+++

    • profile image

      rabergeronjr 3 years ago from Washington D.C. Metro Area

      Man you have a great piece. I feel the same way. Everything today is being painted with such a broad base. Our entire political system is out of wack. Great Analysis.

    • KDLadage profile image
      Author

      K David Ladage 3 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      0,0 would be a centrist. A centrist would be someone that feels a balance of control/freedom and free market/regulation is needed.

      At least that's my take on the site. As I said, there are other models. Since we cannot really agree on what model to use, we are stuck with sound-bites and a two party system that actively operated against our best interests.

    • FitnezzJim profile image

      FitnezzJim 3 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      Interesting test, what does it mean if your score nearly hits the zero, zero dot? That score sort of makes sense, maybe, since strength of conviction on a wide range of topics usually means you are filtering your input from others in a way that supports what you want to believe anyway. Perhaps that is why so many politicans are so strongly weighted one way or the other? What famous names would go at zero zero, if any?