Political Thoughts, Part 1 — How I Think, 2016 Version

(Oh, my poor neglected little blog, it’s sad that it took this to bring me back to you. But social media doesn’t provide the space I need for these thoughts.)

A couple of weeks ago, one of my former students openly challenged me, not once but twice, on my posting of numerous anti-Trump/anti-conservative-agenda memes via Facebook while not posting any anti-Clinton/anti-liberal-agenda ones. Aside from the obvious retort that it’s my damn Facebook timeline and I’ll post what I want (as opposed to what others might prefer to see), I thought it was worth clarifying how I think this year.

First of all, I tend to be somewhat apolitical, more out of disgust than apathy. Both major political parties annoy me on a quite regular basis. From my perspective, there is more than enough cronyism, self-serving dealings, lack of transparency, and downright corruption to go around at federal, state, and local levels. The current election cycle has forced me to take a good, hard look at candidates and platforms, though, because I believe this cycle to be critical.

I am registered to vote, but not as a member of either political party. I usually vote in Republican primaries because, given where I live, in the second belt-hole of the Bible Belt, that’s where I can make a difference. If there were one thing I could enact to improve our political system, it would be Congressional term limits with NO cushy K Street lobbyist jobs afterwards. Back to the Real World with you!! If I could have a second thing, it would be to repeal Citizens United — a nasty, disgusting little piece of work if I ever saw one.

I have long considered myself fiscally conservative — spend money where it needs to be spent, spend it wisely, and don’t waste it — and socially liberal — if nobody’s being hurt by it, it’s not a problem. I don’t see a lot of today’s issues as black or white. They are gray, gray, many shades of gray. I also believe in personal responsibility above almost everything else, which makes things interesting. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from the consequences of that speech. Freedom of religion doesn’t mean the freedom to impose that religion on others. I could go on, and maybe I will at some point, but you’re probably getting the idea.

This year’s presidential race is contentious, controversial, and potentially catastrophic. Of course I have thoughts on both Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald Trump; in fact I’m going to give each of them their own blog post over the next couple of days.