Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Liberal Case For Ron Paul-- Or, What I Learned In High School

It’s been over 25 years since my high school days, but who can forget them? You walk down the hallways trying not to forget where your locker was, trying to keep your books tucked in so they don’t knock into anyone, your eyes scanning the passing groups of people checking for familiar faces.

Sometimes you pass a group you know you fit in with, sometimes a group you would never be seen with. The cliques are maddening, and yet, you too organize who you talk to and where you make eye contact, by your relationship to these cliques.

High school seemed to be the Petri dish where young men and women learned about where they fit in. In many ways it was cruel and vicious. Those with odd noses or weird names and pimples were elbowed out into the fringes.

High school was the place where it was most profoundly obvious that class and status are REAL phenomenon, even in seemingly homogenous neighborhoods. Diversity becomes painfully magnified by the insecurities of the teenage years, making it as memorable and harsh as we’d all like to forget.

The one thing that can be taken from all of this high school angst is the following-- when thrown together, people will tend to coalesce into small and varied groups. It isn’t a polar grouping, as in magnetism, but clotted, like oil floating on water.

So what I wonder then, is why only two political parties? How can it be suggested that humans, once they leave high school and storm the world, become binary? How does it happen that the seemingly unreal number of social groupings found on display in a high school micro-world, gets gathered into just two ways to see governance?

And yet, here we find ourselves, presented with two parties. Here we find ourselves, attempting to group ourselves into less than ideal groupings in order to choose those we would ask to lead our nation.

I lean liberal, but I am in reality a centrist. I believe that no one has the right to tell an Oklahoma farm boy he can’t have guns, but I also believe that cities like New York City have a right to outlaw guns within their limits. I believe in gun control in the same way I believe in speed limits. There are rational laws that we, as a society, can agree upon that better society and still allow for personal protection and hunting and sports shooting and whatnot. In other words, I take the middle road.

I believe in social welfare. But I believe there needs to be a threshold met by recipients that many hard core Socialists might find cruel. I do believe in pooling money to alleviate hunger and suffering, sure. Absolutely. But I think we’ve gone too far with it. We remove incentive and make lazy people lazier. In other words, I take the middle road.I believe in a safety net, but I don’t believe in making it the easiest path.

And I could go right down the list, “issue” after “issue”.

But I won’t.

My political stances are lukewarm like stale bathwater. Here in the middle, I find myself screaming at the ideologues on both ends. I scream just because they scream. But I digress.

What I wanted to tie this all in with is another out-of-character-for-me shill for a candidate. In my neck-broken state, I had some time to look through the arguments people are waging both for and against a Ron Paul presidency. Liberals going at it. Conservatives going at it (and an occasional Libertarian.) What I saw were oil-on-water groupings trying to fit into two political molds. High school cliques in written form, basically. The realistic level of groupings one first became familiar with in high school. And the subtleties remained. People nodding to like-minded thinkers, shunning those not like them, or worse, finding not-so-friendly things to say about the interlopers and their ideas…

I tried to imagine how all of these wide ranging and disparate opinions could possibly find resolution within the framework of a Federal one-size-fits-all regulatory entity. I tried to see it in two-party format and I just couldn’t. I couldn’t see how it was rationally or logically possible to take the diversity and make it binary. There was no way that one central government could possibly please any more than slightly more than half of the population, and that on only a handful of issues. That was the great “government by the people” scenario played out. No wonder so many are discouraged and disappointed! There is no way the math was going to allow for otherwise!

But IF the power for governance was shifted BACK to the states, then regional diversity is accounted for. So are regional mindsets. Regional Environmental concerns. Regional welfare needs. Regional health service needs. There is a far greater chance of pleasing a far greater percentage of people if regionalism mattered. State run health care. State run welfare. State run public services. Paid for and administered by state taxes, that never get sent to the one-size-fits-all Federal slush fund. Ron Paul is right. Diversification of most issues and applying regional accord principles will produce better “self-governance” by “We The People”, just as the founding framers said it would.


Cheesy said...

I don't normally chime in on the political posts but boy howdy you are right on with the high school clique parallel~~

Jeannie said...

The first high school I went to didn't exactly have cliques believe it or not. There were about 1500 students then. There were, of course, the "popular" kids. But for the most part their group was not exclusive. There were no firm boundaries. Popular definitely did not mean snotty. It also did not mean rich. Or even good looking. It did mean they were likable. There were about 4 brown nosers that kept themselves apart from everyone else. Perhaps I was imagining this but I was very insecure yet never ever felt rejected by anyone there. Then we moved to a smaller town/smaller school. Cliques everywhere. And I could not be in any of them.

But good analogy anyway. Perhaps we should be able to vote which party we want in control of which issues. That would make life interesting.

Billy said...

Ron Paul is not my first choice ... but I'd sure as hell vote for him over others. The high school analogy is quite appropriate.

Scott from Oregon said...

Hi billy, others...

It isn't so much the man ROn Paul, that I am in favor of, it is the idea that a retraction of the Federal notion is needed in this country.

For example, let's say I agree socially with Joe Biden on everything he believes, abortion, war issues, what ever, and I vote for him and he wins the presidency by 51%. What I still get is a system that is unresponsive to my needs, even though I got what I wanted. The power structure is too far away, too out of touch with anything I run into in my life. And yet they control my libraries. They control my local Sherriff's funding. They control the forests that surround me. Like Costanza, I'm all about the shrink factor.

CS said...

The only trouble there is the poorer states, with their feeble stae tax incomes, really get the shaft. And I'm in favor of national healthcare anyway, espcially now that I only have the pathetic and over-priced sort of health insurance of the self-employed. I don't know the answer, though - we sure have a mucked-up system as it stands now.

amusing said...

What cs said.... including the self-employed health insurance....

My local library invites you to join, invites you to make donations -- that's funding at a very local level.

When are you going to take on the Electoral College? Cuz who says that 51% actually reflects the will of the people? Just ask Al...