principles and politics

On my long-gone blog, Roundrock Journal, I would post some variation of the below each Fourth of July. I came upon this among some files and thought the sentiments still applied

__________

I remember reading some years ago an observation by a political writer that has stayed with me. People who had never before heard of “hanging chads,” he wrote, suddenly found that they had deep and unshakable opinions about them. That one point seems to crystallize so much of what I think is wrong with contemporary politics.

Too many people, I think, base their principles on their politics when I think you really ought to come to your politics based on your principles. This is what I think or believe. This is what I have observed. This is what my heart tells me. Now which political approach seems best in line with what I value and understand?

Long-time readers of this blog know that I don’t make political posts here. This is a natural history and personal discovery blog, and the very few times I have made oblique political jibes or observations have been so subtle that no one has ever seemed to notice them. (Does that make me an excellent writer or a poor one?)

But today I will make an exception. Here are some of the things I think and believe. Here are some of the things my heart tells me.

  • I believe that every time we do something that limits the rights of others, we make it that much easier for someone else to limit our own rights. Therefore, the best way to protect my own rights is for me to fight to protect the rights of others.
  • I believe that if the racial/ethnic/cultural group I happen to be a part of is some day to be a minority, then I ought to do everything I can to treat existing minorities well since my behavior might serve as an example of how I will be treated.
  • I believe that a society is ultimately judged by how it protects its weakest members.
  • I believe that we are all obligated to provide some form of voluntary, long-term service to our communities and that there are many ways that this can be done.
  • I believe that we should vigorously exercise each of our rights, even to voting in the most obscure local elections, so that no one can take away our rights by asserting that we never used them anyway.
  • I believe that while all of us are entitled to the rights and privileges we enjoy as citizens, very few of us have actually earned them and that we only have them by the good luck of having been born here. Therefore, those who suffer and struggle and fight to share in the benefits of our society may be more entitled to them than I am.
  • I believe that we should read banned books.
  • I will support those who seek to expand the rights we all enjoy and not those who find it necessary to restrict our rights. I do not believe that we must destroy the Constitution in order to save it.

These are some of the things I believe, and I will make my political choices based on them.

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One Comment on “principles and politics”

  1. markparis Says:

    Your principles and politics are pragmatic and transactional. I agree with you almost entirely. From way back to my civics class in high school I was a fan of the US Constitution (the document, not the ship). However, these days I think it needs to be seriously revised to make it the democratic ideal I imagined it was.


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