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Some of my friends have asked whether I'm Democrat or Republican, here is my answer:

( October 3, 2012 - I originally wrote this in 2008, just before the big economic crash and before the war in Afghanistan "surged" but it still accurately reflects my beliefs although I did just make a couple of small edits, such as adding the bit about the new $60 million Allen Texas high school football stadium which absolutely dumfounds me.)

It is now 2008 and I'm both and I'm neither, on some issues I'm conservative on others liberal, some I take a Libertarian stance and others a Centrist.  There are even issues I find myself siding with the Socialists.  I care about people; I care about America and I care about this world of ours to which God has given us stewardship.  Yes, I believe in God, but my God may not be the same as yours, yet I respect your beliefs as I would hope you would respect mine.

I oppose the Iraq War because it was foolish to try to change people's minds at the point of a gun.  Only diplomacy, and love, can bring about change in that region of the world.  Violence begets violence and a government that lies to its people in order to justify an unjustifiable war should be thrown from office no matter what party it represents.  What have we learned?  Only that we have made the world less safe and alienated all of our allies.  It must end and we must have a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq and bring the National Guard troops home where they belong.  Other forces should be deployed where they are truly needed.

The Patriot Act should be stripped of any teeth that erode the liberties and freedoms that my father and others fought to protect.  By taking away freedoms to provide some security we have destroyed that which made America great in the world.  We have trampled on all that so many have fought for since the American Revolution, and we need to throw this out with the trash.

I deplore extremism of any sort, whether left, right, red, blue, whatever.  Extremism gave us Adolph Hitler, Pol Pot, Ida Amin Dada, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Timothy McVey, Juntas, death squads, military tribunals, Guantanamo, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (The School of the Americas), and so much that causes hate and fear in the world.  As with almost everything "truth" usually lies in the middle, not at the extremes. 

I'm a fiscal conservative and continuing to increase the deficit to trillions of dollars that our children and grand-children will have to repay is just plain bad fiscal management.  Spending money we don't have to fight wars that need not be fought, to build pork projects that serve Congresspersons and corporations, and fill the coffers of large corporations such as Halliburton at the expense of the American public is unconscionable.  We must bring back fiscal accountability in our government and hold the President and Congress accountable.

We must find a way to remove "Corporate Personage".  Corporations are NOT persons and the law should not treat them as such.  The fact that they can pour billions of dollars into lobbying and elections is in direct opposition to our constitution and makes them superior to the common person and above the law.  The rich own the government now as they did before the Great Depression.  In 1929 we saw the results of an unregulated economy and the pillaging of the people's right to make a fair living by the captains of industry.  I fear that if we do not re-regulate at least industries such as transportation, power, health care and communications which are necessary for the public good, we will be headed down the road to ruin once again.

Investment in alternative energy must be more than just political fodder and we must put our money into alternative fuels that are credible instead of those which "make good press" or are politically expedient.  This may mean bringing back some nuclear plants and ending investment in scientifically disproved things such as hydrogen powered cars.   Hydrogen is a carrier of electricity and does not produce it so it is not a true alternative power source as some presume it to be.   Maybe 80 years from now that may prove practical but to pour money into it when there are workable alternatives out there now is throwing good money after bad.  Electric power for vehicles will be viable in the next few years, but we do not have the power infrastructure to even begin to supply the power needed if even a few percentages of the cars on the road were so powered.   I believe we'd have to build a huge number of grossly polluting coal-fired plants to power cars which makes them "remote polluting" rather than non-polluting as we've been told by the proponents.  Great amounts of money need to be spent on developing Solar, wind, geo-thermal and wave sources of power. 

Taxes are not always a bad thing and judicious use of them are what built America in the past and could build its future.  Our government forgets that "fees" are also taxes and there are many kinds of taxes that we pay over and over again yet do nothing to further the health, welfare and future of our people.  On the other hand, building bridges in Alaska that go nowhere but cost billions of dollars, or unneeded billion dollar aircraft do more harm to us and our economy than any outside terroristic force.  We need taxes to provide for the basic services that our people need, but we do not need the climate of spend, spend, spend, and corporate welfare that has existed in our state and federal governments for the past 50 years.

All Americans should have a good primary education and health care as guaranteed rights for this country to survive and prosper in the world of today.  We spend more on alcohol in this country than we do on the entire education system.  We spend more on Video Games, Christmas Presents, Gambling, and so many other things than Education.  If we could just cut back 5% on spending on sports we could fund our entire road system, education and still have hundreds of billions  of dollars to spend on other services.  Does anyone see anything wrong with high schools that have $60 million dollar stadiums such as the one recently built in Allen Texas?  Something is drastically wrong here.  The health system is out of control and run by the Insurance and health care industries which are themselves above the law.  Through complete deregulation of so many industries we've literally let the foxes guard the chicken coop and we the people are the ones to suffer.  Those who advocate deregulation or lifting of rules on corporations should remember what happened when this country had the "Robber Barons".  With almost all the wealth in the nation owned by just a small portion of the population the rest have to live in poverty.  Rules and regulations of businesses are there for a purpose:  to protect the citizens from polluted water, polluted air, contaminated food, the greed of the few, and so much more.  Yes, there is always a point of "diminished returns" but in most cases regulations take that into account.  I believe that public health and safety should trump economic concerns almost always. 

Those who cry about "socialism" infecting our nation are hypocrites.  They cry about our "democracy" being turned over to socialists.  Yet they drive on roads that are paid for by taxes fly on airlines that land on tax supported runways, walk the terminals that were paid for by all our taxes, and enjoy so many benefits from things done for our common good.  Even the person who has never flown in an airplane helped pay for those things.  They watch our jobs go overseas because we've stripped regulations that would have protected American jobs.  Firstly we are not a "Democracy".  Our form of government is "Representative Republic".  Haven't they ever wondered why the Pledge of Allegiance says "the republic for which it stands" and not "the democracy"?  We are all in this together and a little bit of "socialism" goes a long way to make this country great, for ALL of its citizens.  It should be the "right" of every citizen of our nation to have health care an a basic education.

I keep hearing programs such as Social Security being called "entitlement programs" as if that is something bad.  I'm sorry but I paid into Social Security for well over 40 years so it is my, and all of our, program so no one in government has the right to divert the funds in it to pay for unjust wars, under ANY circumstances. 

We need to rise above labels, cliques and pigeon holes.  We need to do everything in our power to help the weak, the impoverished, the hungry and the hurting.  We must make every effort to put others above ourselves, to stamp out corporate greed and the lust for power that destroys so much in the world.  We need to have compassion, empathy and show kindness.

Am I "Republican"?  "Democrat"?  Other?   NO!  I am an American.

Sheldon

 

Sheldon's Book of Quotes
Collected over a twenty five years period and were a big part in the shaping of my personal "world view".
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