I am an Independent and have voted for Democrats, Republicans, Independents and members of various third party movements over the past forty years. As I look back on those voting choices some were statements against choosing the lesser of two evils, some were good choices and a couple of them were, in retrospect, pretty bad choices.
For me personally those voting choices are not what define me as an independent, but rather the fact that I am quite conservative on some issues, fairly liberal on some issues and somewhere between left of center and right of center on other issues.
Many of friends are ideologically zealous than I am, possessing incontrovertible positions issues and dependable as straight ticket voters year in and year out. Amazingly enough we find a way to remain friends, while we argue about political issues as a form of recreation it seems; seldom changing the mind of the other but always trying.
I believe in individual rights and freedoms, but do not believe that those rights are unlimited or absolute.
I believe in the freedom of speech and expression, but I do not believe that “hate speech” should be protected whether aimed at an ethnic group, non-Americans or political opponents.
I support the right of the people to freely assemble and seek redress of their grievances from their elected officials, but that right of assembly should not deny other citizens the right access and use public spaces, nor should it create a health or public safety hazard.
I believe in the existence of a free and uncensored press, but believe the cost of that right should be unbiased reporting of the news, presenting facts for public consumption rather than serving as a communications outlet for or against a political ideology.
I believe in free and unfettered participation of a knowledgeable and motivated population in the electoral process of our representative democracy, but think that the overwhelming presence of “personal” money has perverted the election process in the U.S.; no citizen or organization should be able to donate more that $100 to any political cause or candidate during an election cycle and political advertising, except when the candidate is speaking to issues personally, should be banned.
I am a person of faith and believe in the freedom to practice my religion without restraint or restrictions from the government, but also believe that I have no right to impose my beliefs on any other citizen and that religion has no place in government or governing. Churches and other religious organizations that choose to be politically active should not be afforded tax exempt status by the IRS.
I personally hate the very idea of abortion, but understand that is it not my place to make decisions for women who find themselves in situations that may or may not be any fault of their own. I support a woman’s right to choose and while personally hoping that they choose to raise the child whenever possible, see this as a personal issue for the woman rather than the political football it has become.
I am a gun owner and a believer in the rights granted citizens by the 2nd amendment as being just as certain and inviolate as those granted by the 1st amendment. I also believe that restrictions can and should be placed on the type of weapon, the size of magazines that citizens can legally possess and that a background check before purchasing a firearm is not an infringement of our 2nd amendment rights.
I am for a strong Immigration Policy, which includes secured borders but must also provide a path to citizenship for aliens who entered the U.S> illegally but have become productive, law-abiding members of our society over the years. I do not support outright amnesty without restrictions and a process to be followed.
I was raised to live by the Golden Rule, which has served me well for a little over 6 decades. All citizens should enjoy the same rights, privileges and opportunities regardless of race, color, ethnicity, age, religion (or lack of religion), gender or sexual orientation. I oppose Affirmative Action as the proper route to equality as it can be seen as discrimination in reverse.
Like I said in the beginning, I am an Independent, but that does not mean that I do not have strong convictions on the political issues of the day. In a subsequent article, I will talk about my positions and views on the issues facing the economy, including jobs, education, taxes, regulations and globalization.
Thanks to www.act.mtv.com and google images for the graphic