In 2013, I stopped writing here because I no longer had the time. I didn’t have the time to research every detail of every issue to know what people were talking about and I didn’t have time to keep checking for comments and carry on a conversation. Half the comments were from robots anyways. This is why I disabled comments. In 2016, I began writing a little bit, but I’m still not up to checking my responses all the time. I’m not really back. Just in case anyone has something they need to say I will leave the comments open on this post only. I may respond and I may not.
I'm probably not helping matters by calling everyone either evil or idiotic, but I have found in the past that trying to be nice only earns disrespect. I'm frustrated and I just want to be honest about my feelings for a while. Maybe in the future I'll be willing to listen and we can work something out. Below is my story.
By the time I was old enough to vote in 2000, I had studied and learned a great deal more about public policy than the average voter ever does in an entire lifetime. Based on what I truly believed was an unbiased assessment of all the facts, I had become mostly libertarian on economics, somewhat conservative on foreign policy, and a mixed moderate on social issues. I preferred Republicans to Democrats at the time but thought of myself as an independent. Focusing on those few issues of supreme importance, I decided on the following five positions:
Freedom of speech must be protected, because without speech we cannot organize, educate, or advise each other on how to vote on any other issue. In a democracy, it is the voters that are in charge and we need to be able to make informed decisions. To lose speech is to lose it all.
The right to bear arms must be protected, because with no physical means of defense, all our other rights are protected only by the goodwill of the officials currently in charge – goodwill which has already been proven to be in very short supply. To lose our weapons is to lose it all.
Our sovereignty must be protected, because Americans will know better how to regulate Americans than some foreign power we cannot control that does not share our culture, economic interests, or form of government. This also means we need to control our borders and immigration, become energy-independent, and take care that too much foreign trade does not expose us to economic disruption originating outside our jurisdiction where we cannot control. To lose our self-determination is to lose it all.
The environment must be protected, because if the ecology suffers, we lose our food supply, we lose our oxygen supply, erosion increases, and the climate changes. To lose the biosphere is to lose it all.
Finally, I also recognized that without life, there is also no liberty, no pursuit of happiness, no free speech, no right to bear arms, no right to vote, no free health care, no affordable housing, and nothing else. If the government provides anything at all whatsoever, it follows logically that it should first protect us from being killed. Since I recognized that the role of government was to protect the weak and the innocent more than it was to protect the strong and the guilty, and since there exist no citizens more vulnerable or more innocent than those living in the womb, it follows logically that if the government protects the lives of anyone at all, it should first protect the unborn. It’s only fair.
Of course these issues are all much more complex than I have let on, but this is where the story began. These are the issues I’ve struggled with my entire life and that compelled me to take a stance. Looking back, I don’t see how it could have been any other way.
When considering who to vote for, I was quickly able to eliminate anyone who ran as a Democrat. Not only were Democrats for much that I considered evil and harmful, but over and over I would see them twist logic and rhetoric past the breaking point to defend the indefensible. It was blatantly clear from even a cursory review that they had no core convictions and only supported whichever position was popular at the moment. They always stood up for each other even when violating their previously stated values. Whenever Republicans did something stupid (and they did), other Republicans were very quick to distance themselves and make clear that the offender did not represent the party as a whole. Whenever Democrats did something stupid, other Democrats would do whatever they possibly could to defend the offender (mostly by lying about the facts). This not only applies to politicians and professional opinion leaders, but to the majority of those that vote Democrat. People I know personally can be just as dishonest as those on TV.
I also noticed that Democrats often spoke to voters in terms of what benefitted them personally (such as handouts from some program), while Republicans more often spoke in terms of fairness to everybody and what was good for the country as a whole. I remember that labor unions would openly ask for favors in return for the help they had given in getting Democrats elected. This is the very definition of corruption and selfishness, but for Democrats “tit for tat” is simply how statecraft is accomplished. While Republicans can sometimes be just as corrupt, at least they hide it.
There are many other things that turned me off to Democrats early on. When Republicans disagree with government policies, they blame the Democrats in government and run against them. When Democrats disagree with government policies, they blame America as a whole and some take to burning the flag. When Republicans encounter a voter who is undecided and has tough questions, the Republicans will invite them to join the party and say anything they need to in order to win them over (including lying and making promises they can’t or won’t keep). When Democrats encounter a voter who is undecided and has tough questions, the Democrats will call them a racist or a corporate shill and reject them as a lost cause. Republicans write books, blogs, and host radio or television shows that “connect the dots” and explain why they think the way they do. When Democrats write or host shows, they ramble chaotically about how evil Republicans are without even trying to support their accusations. What turned me off the most was how they would repeat the same outright lies over and over many years after the truth had been established. I still hear about “tax cuts for the rich,” about the Supreme Court stealing the 2000 election for Bush, about Bush “going it alone” into Iraq, about global warming being an imminent threat, and about there not being even a smidgeon of corruption at the IRS. These are all lies of which the truth has been known for a very long time. Who do they think they’re fooling?
One should not judge an entire group based on the actions of a few, but there is a difference between an organization with bad people in it and a bad organization. For example, the Tea Party might have racists in it, but it is not a racist group, whereas for the KKK racism is fundamentally what they are about. It was clear to me that while the Republican Party had much corruption in it, it was the Democratic Party that was fundamentally a corrupt organization. Even the way they nominate candidates thwarts the will of their own people because of the superdelegates. Democrats are fundamentally anti-democratic.
Although I registered as an independent, for years I voted exclusively for Republicans. I knew they weren’t perfect, but the Democrats were too dangerously evil to allow them to win any offices. Gradually, the Republicans grew worse and today are very nearly as bad as the Democrats. It gets harder every day to see any difference in virtue between the parties. During the Bush years, the Republicans in Congress greatly increased spending – and not only on national security. No matter which party wins more seats, spending and borrowing only goes up. It may rise faster under the Democrats, but even under the GOP we will eventually reach the point that it will become impossible for America to ever pay off her debt no matter how many programs we cut, no matter how high we raise taxes, and even if the economy grows at its maximum rate. The experts disagree on exactly where that point is, but I’d be more comfortable if we didn’t keep tempting fate. Around the same time, many prominent Republicans came out as believers in global warming – just as I was concluding the theory to be in its final death throes based on the ridiculously tortured explanations I was reading in the science magazines. In this way, they showed themselves as scientifically illiterate as the Democrats are. Later, the Republicans joined the Democrats in supporting a bailout of large banks without doing a thing to fix the problems that led to the crisis in the first place (the Democrats later “fixed” the problems by making them bigger). Even later during the Obama years, when it came out that the Democrat-run executive branch was spying on our phone records (in clear violation of the fourth amendment), many Republicans joined in support of the program, and those Republicans somehow continued to get elected, proving that the corruption in the GOP was widespread.
Sometimes the GOP would agree to bad compromises with the Democrats, other times they would propose bad ideas themselves, and other times they would simply give in and give up. Twice during the Obama years the Democrats shut down the government and blamed the Republicans for it (yet more Democrat lies still repeated today). The Republicans tried over and over to suggest compromises but each was rejected. Only when the Republicans caved and gave the Democrats 100% of what they asked for did the Democrats allow the government to reopen. What is the point of voting Republican if once elected they do whatever the Democrats tell them to do anyways? Why does the Republican Party even exist? Why don’t the parties just merge and become the Republicrats? That the Republicans gave in so easily emboldens the Democrats to use the same tactics again, knowing they can always get their way if they hold the government hostage. What is the point of voting Republican if they just give up every time the Democrats hold the government hostage?
Mit Romney’s candidacy really brought it home for me how disgusting the Republicans had become. That he of all people won the nomination is inconceivable to me. That countless commentators and researchers I had learned to trust started to use faulty reasoning to make excuses for him, while characterizing his opponents as things they were not, really floored me. I had no source I could trust. I had no way to verify or falsify any claim. The entire party had gone batty.
While the Republicans became worse by becoming more like the Democrats, they also became worse by becoming less like them. When an already-existing mosque near (but not at) the site of the world trade tower collapse sought city approval to expand the facility, thousands of Republicans marched in protest, including a former VP candidate and a former House Speaker. They disregarded both the property rights and first-amendment religious freedom rights of Muslims simply because the ones who brought the towers down also happened to claim to be Muslim. This somehow lead the protesters to think that expanding a mosque in the area was in poor taste. These are not simply the attitudes of a fringe minority. Even people I know personally believe the Muslims should not build in New York, believe it a good idea to round up eleven million illegal immigrants (including those who came here as children), believe it a good idea to torture suspected terrorists for information (whether they call it torture or not), and believe that the solution to stagnant wages is for workers to get more education. Even if everyone in the country earned a PHD (which many people are not good at, even if they are fully capable of working both smarter and harder than anyone else), I would still need somebody to make me an iced coffee. They prejudicially blame individuals for situations better understood as the results of large-scale social and economic phenomena. They callously tell the homeless to “get a job,” not realizing how hard it is to get and keep a job when homeless. Whenever any Republican takes a moderate position on any of these issues, the others attack them and call them a RINO (Republican In Name Only).
More and more it became clear to me that Republicans were blind to the suffering of millions of people. This disturbing trend finally culminated in the nomination of Donald Trump, one of the most needlessly divisive and mean-spirited politicians I have ever seen. Before Trump, it was Democrats that held that title (e.g. Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi). That of all people eligible to run it would be the worst of the worst that kept rising to the top in both parties proved to me that both parties were completely controlled by evil.
The more I learned, the more I found wrong. Members of both parties vote to exempt themselves from the laws they pass, members of both parties are up to their eyeballs in insider trading, and members of both parties get very cozy with lobbyists. With everything that is widely known to be wrong with both parties, anyone that endorses either of them by running as either a Republican or a Democrat tarnishes their own reputation. A decent person would not wish to support either party in any way, therefore anyone who supports either party cannot be decent. I can no longer in good conscience vote for any individual running under the Republicrat banner, even if I know of nothing wrong with them individually.
I need another party – but which one? The Reform Party of Ross Perot caught my attention in my childhood, but it pretty much disintegrated by the time I reached adulthood. From what little I know about the Greens, they tend to favor socialistic and intrusive economic policies. They seem to attract the same people that are attracted to Democrats. I never had much interest in them. The Libertarians currently comprise the third largest party in the country and they tend to agree with my values more often than not. The biggest problem with the Libertarians is that they tend to be too extreme. I value compromise and pragmatism almost as much as I value liberty, but the Libertarians seem unlikely to ever compromise and they are far from pragmatic. I get the impression that many would wish to simply abolish unconstitutional programs such as social security and welfare overnight, forgetting that many people have become dependent on them. Furthermore, many Libertarians believe in completely free trade and open borders, but these would damage our national security. If there is no border there is no country. Many (not all) are also inconsistent in how they apply the principles of liberty, wanting to force states to extend benefits to homosexual unions meant to be reserved for traditional marriages and refusing to protect the life (and therefore liberty) of the unborn when it would compromise in a much lesser way the liberty of the mother. I don’t like Libertarians. I once came across the blog of an ex-Libertarian who proposed forming what he called an “upper-left” party, meant to tap into what he believed was the largest unrepresented opinion group in the country. The party would be essentially libertarian, but moderate. It would reign in not only the government, but the large corporations that are nearly as controlling. It would also protect nature. Unfortunately, his idea has not yet caught on and shows no sign of catching on any time soon.
Even when one is unconvinced by the usually stated reasons supporting a new controversial measure, it does not mean that such measures are no good.
For example, I understand that many people who understand marriage to be by its very nature heterosexual do not agree with extending the legal benefits of marriage to homosexual unions simply because the homosexuals claim a right to “equality.” Nevertheless, at least some of the benefits do make sense (at least to me) to extend to others. It would be of great benefit to anybody to be able to designate another individual to have power to make medical decisions should they be incapacitated, someone to visit them in the hospital, someone to inherit their pension and home since they might have given up making income in order to take care of the house, and more. This would be of great benefit to the elderly whose spouses have died and to those who have yet to find someone to marry. It’s not just about gays and lesbians. We could call these contracts civil unions and extend the same tax benefits and insurance benefits that marriage has. Why not?
Another example has to do with unisex bathrooms. Recently, transsexuals have started a new fight over which bathroom to use. Many people do not consider them to have a legitimate case. Why can’t they just use the same bathroom they grew up using? However, it isn’t just about them. What about parents with young children of the opposite sex? What about disabled persons with caregivers of the opposite sex? It seems that it would be beneficial to many people to have a unisex option.
There are often (at least) two sides to every story. Even though I no longer pay close attention to politics they way I used to because of my other interests, I still find that more often than not I know more than the average person. Most people only know one side of any given story. Over and over I find myself in the middle where I can sympathize with both sides. Since neither side wants anything to do with the other, everyone treats me as an enemy. There are two issues that have caught my attention in the past couple of years that I thought I would throw my two cents in on.
On the one hand, I don’t care who I share the locker room or the restroom with, and I think it would be healthier for society if everyone else got over it. At the same time, I have adapted to the rules of society very easily and I wonder why there are those that can’t. There are biological males who feel most comfortable identifying as women are often very uncomfortable using a restroom or shower with other males present. They prefer to use the women’s room. I can sympathize with that. The problem is that allowing them to do so also necessarily allows other uncomfortable biological males to use the women’s room with them, recreating the very problem that they meant to avoid. Nothing is solved.
Furthermore, it also tends to make any biological females present uncomfortable as well, creating many new problems. If I consider the discomfort of “normal” people to be illegitimate, I must in fairness consider the discomfort of transsexuals illegitimate as well. If on the other hand I consider the discomfort of transsexuals to be legitimate, then so must be the discomfort of “normal” people, whose concerns outnumber those of transsexuals perhaps a thousand to one. This is only logic.
While I do not see that the transsexuals have a case here, at the same time I think it would be a mistake to enact laws to regulate restroom policy. There have already been reported cases of biological women dressed in somewhat traditionally masculine outfits being harassed for entering the women’s room – the room they are supposed to use. Who decides whether someone is masculine or feminine enough? We do not want the police to also become the fashion police. We also do not want to have our genitals or chromosomes inspected just to enter the restroom (among other problems, this would be very expensive).
On the one hand it seems that transsexuals and their allies are troublemakers, but on the other hand enforcing the rules will do more harm than simply letting people do what they want. There is danger in all directions and intense hate on both sides. Not wanting any part of it, I don’t fit in very well. I don’t claim to know what should be done, but I know that everything I have so far heard is wrong. My best idea is for everyone to just get over it and accept males and females sharing the same spaces, including showering together. Of course, once this is accepted it is only a matter of time before we will have common nudity on the beach, at the park, at the bank, and in the grocery store. Maybe there is nothing wrong with that, but suggesting there might be nothing wrong with that means I really don’t fit in.
I know that we have a government problem in this country. When the Congress can mandate people buy health insurance, the IRS can confiscate the entire content of one’s bank account merely because of what they perceive as suspicious behavior, and the state can snatch your kids away on hearsay, you know the government is out of control. Being the enforcers of law for the government, the police are part of the problem. When a cop feels justified in shooting you for reaching for your ID – because he told you to get your ID – because you might have been reaching for a gun – you know the police are out of control. I have heard of the police escalating situations by attacking first instead of first inviting the suspect to come willingly, creating shootouts in the middle of high-traffic areas that would likely not have otherwise happened. In some cases, those attacked did not know they were being attacked by real cops, and in some cases, the police had the wrong person. Everyone I know that has had dealings with the police has found them extremely rude and intimidating. It isn’t just a few bad apples either; police have been caught covering for each other, prosecutors have been caught withholding evidence, and the former attorney general of the United States was more than once caught covering up scandals. The corruption goes all the way to the top and down to the core. There was even a small town in Texas that would arrest those passing through and confiscate anything of value for “evidence.” The entire town was in on it. The policing problem and the larger government problem of which it is a part affects blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, Muslims, Jews, men, women, children, gays, straights, immigrants, rich, and poor alike. Because police tend to focus their efforts on high-crime areas, since more crime occurs in poorer neighborhoods, and since blacks are disproportionately poor, it makes sense that blacks might face a disproportionate share of the abuse, but because everyone is affected it would be a mistake to make this a racial issue.
This is where Black Lives Matters comes in, but to understand them one must first go back to the beginning. I grew up in an era of political correctness. Comments clearly made in innocence were attacked by busybodies casting the comments in racial terms and pretending to be offended in order to score political points. I remember during the Olympics that immediately after a black woman had done gymnastics they went to commercial and the commercial that played featured a chimpanzee doing gymnastics (it was an ad for the Olympics). Because I am not a racist and do not think in terms of race, I never made any connection. Chimps share much DNA with humans, but white people are just as human as blacks. Only a racist would have noticed any connection and only a racist would have thought the advertisers were comparing chimps and blacks. Of course, this is exactly what the racists did. They made a big deal of it and accused the advertisers of racism.
Sometime later I began to hear people tell others to “check their privilege.” I never grew up thinking of my race or even classing people into clearly distinct races. I have worked tirelessly to learn the best policies for this country that will do the greatest good for the greatest number no matter what their ancestry. I could be wrong, but my genuine belief based on all the evidence I am aware of is that capitalism (if properly understood and applied) works better for everybody of all races than socialism. Now I am told that I only think the way I do because I am “white” and therefore “privileged” and have nothing to say worth listening to. Assigning worth to one’s beliefs based on race is the dictionary definition of racism.
For political reasons there are those that want to make a racial issue out of everything. Then Trayvon Martin happened. Only George Zimmermann knows exactly what transpired that day, but all the evidence we have supports his version of events, including an eyewitness that saw Martin on top beating Zimmermann just before the shot. All indications are that Trayvon was a thug who started fights at school while George was only trying to protect his neighborhood from someone engaged in rather suspicious behavior. I saw the entire trial and I can tell you that anyone who tells you something different either didn’t watch the trial or else is lying. The police knew that there was no case against him and that was why they originally chose not to press charges. That’s how these things normally work. Somehow the politically-correct racists picked up on the case, noted the “victim” happened by chance to be black, noted the shooter happened by chance to be not-black (a Hispanic with a dark-skinned mother), and claimed this was yet another example of anti-black racism by whites. The racists took one isolated unfortunate event that happened between two men and made it about all blacks and all whites everywhere. Blacks began to target whites all over that had nothing whatsoever to do with the case – whites that might have not even known of the case and might have even fought in the past to help blacks. The problem was made worse by selective and outright false reporting. MSNBC was caught editing the 911 tape to make Zimmermann sound like a racist. It was out of this environment of falsehood and misdirection that Black Lives Matter was born.
While the high-profile cases against Zimmermann, Officer Wilson, and the Baltimore six quickly fell apart, I could not simply dismiss the concerns of the movement. Other cases still looked as if they might be legitimate. I knew we had a police problem and given our country’s past it would not surprise me much if there was a racial component to it in some states. Just because there are racists in the Black Lives Matter movement, doesn’t make it a racist organization. Even if it is a racist organization, it doesn’t mean they don’t have legitimate grievances. Even if they have no legitimate grievances, that doesn’t mean that black lives don’t matter. There is nothing wrong with speaking the sentence “Black lives matter,” because they do. It doesn’t make one a racist to say so. Some opponents of BLM need to be reminded of this.
On the other hand, it does make one a racist to have a problem with saying “white lives matter” or saying “all lives matter.” This is of course exactly what has happened. When Governor O’Malley attempted to connect with and support BLM by saying “all lives matter,” they booed. To me, they seemed racist. I have since been told that they only saw it as an inappropriate distraction because they were there to talk about the issues facing blacks. The problem with this is that they were the ones that had interrupted the event. Furthermore, Governor O’Malley’s statement did not distract from the issue. Only a moron could think that. It spoke directly to the issue. At TheUnderstandingProject.com, I do my best to understand all sides, giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, but in this case I understand all too well that there is nothing more there to understand. I have absolutely zero doubt whatsoever that BLM is a thoroughly evil, racist organization. At this point, anyone who joins must be aware of what they are like and must be aware that joining essentially endorses them. Most people would not think twice about condemning a member of the NAZI party; they would not question whether the individual might be ignorant of what the NAZIs stood for. They would not accept the explanation that there might be a "few bad apples" in the party, but the NAZIs are overall a force for tolerance. In the same way, I condemn all members of BLM.
The problem I have now is that people I care about and know not to be racists will still happily wave BLM signs, thinking they are somehow doing good (this includes many whites). I can’t bring myself to condemn them. I also know those that seem to think the police can do no wrong. These people fight with each other and they fight with me. This is because most people are not nearly as informed as I am; they have no idea what has been going on. I keep finding myself arguing with everybody and I never fit in.
Hi, I'm Dan. I like chocolate, hiking, and politics.