Yes. I am running for President.
"Bucakroo, the President is on line one."
"President of what?"
"President of the United States."
-The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, Across the Eighth Dimension
And so it begins... the road to the White House. I'm not expecting it to be easy. In fact, I'm rather expecting it to be bumpy and full of potholes, rather like I-95 which, I might add, is the road I take when I do go to Washington, DC, during the summers. Here's the link to my weblog, Syn and Vice in 2016. Just look for entries labeled as "Politics." You should be fine.
Resumé (or, what I've done in my life that makes me think I would make a good President): mown lawns, cleaned gutters, planted gardens, cooked pizzas, stocked grocery shelves, washed dishes, sold records, tapes, and CDs, been a lifeguard, camp counselor, canoeing instructor, college student, SGA President, lead singer for a rock and roll band, author and songwriter, repaired computers, and, what I've done since fall of 1989, middle school teacher (certified English 7-12, Gifted K-12, Teacher Support Specialist, Georgia In-Tech, Literacy, Team Leader for Exploratory Team, probably some other stuff). I've baby-sat, been an uncle, am buying a house, own my own car.
Next, it's a series of campaign graphics and bumper stickers. Use these to print out small promotional flyers or fridge magnets if you like (all negative use is strictly prohibited). If you want larger graphics for use as desktop wallpapers, let me know!
Finally, a series of my political beliefs in mostly alphabetical order:
- Personal Opinions on Any Given Topic: Realize that I do have opnions. Most of my opinions are quite strong. The problem is this: I believe that it is not my opnion that should rule, but the considered opinions of the many people I represent. I have advisors for a reason- I cannot be up to date on every piece of information at any given moment. Yes, I have Google and Yahoo search engines and can find information on any given topic, but that is not the end-all-be-all of any subject. I want my adivisors to be well-informed, and I want them to keep me well-informed. So, in short, it is not my opinion, but the considerations of the law and my advisors and my constituants and the balances of Congress and the Judicial system that should be far more important than my opinions.
- Abortion: I have no right to tell any citizen what she or he can and cannot do within the law. Any law that limits a person's rights within the law, for instance, the right to medical procedures, is wrong and needs to be altered to allow for a person to choose. This labels me "Pro-Choice," but that does not mean "Pro-Abortion." I am in favor of options, and strongly in favor of individual rights, including the rights to medical procedures, whether it is liposuction, stomach stapling, or abortion. What I am not in favor of is abortion as birth control. It is certainly the right of any woman to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, but not as the only form of birth control. I would rather advocate the use of condoms and spermicides, of birth control pills and abstinence before promoting the use of abortion. But anyone who tries to mandate when, or if, a woman can choose to have an abortion is the worst kind of masoginist.
Abortion Update: Some more thoughts on the question of State-abolished abortion:
The State should never interfere with a person’s freedom of choice, particularly when it is a question of that person’s body. The State does not have the right to tell a person that they cannot elect to have this or that surgery performed, whether it is body enhancement or reconstructive. Please realize the scope of this line of thinking- from something as simple as an earlobe piercing to something as technologically amazing as heart surgery and organ replacement. Any deliberate incision into the body that is not a deliberate or unintentional attack can be considered surgery.
Some states already limit the age at which a person may choose to modify their body through piercing of the earlobe. Although this surgery is relatively minor, poorly maintained equipment and poor operating conditions, as well as a total absence of professional aftercare, have led to some horrendous infections. In other extreme cases, heroic citizens, completely ignorant of medical procedure, but trained in emergency first aid, have performed emergency tracheotomies and kept victims alive for the precious minutes they required in order for professional assistance to arrive. Any laws pertaining to any surgical activity would have to apply to these situations, as well as all those other situations we could describe as circumstantial or immediate.
The argument is then made that abortion is the taking of another life, whereas these other procedures are the protection, or modification, of one. I will accept that notion for the moment. In this light, the people fall into six categories.
(1) First, you have men. In this argument, the opinion of men does not matter one whit. They will never be pregnant. Their opinions may matter to the mothers of their children, and, in that respect, there is some weight put on their thoughts on the matter, but until those women respond to their opinions, men's views must be considered suspect.
(2) Next, you have the group of women who are not pregnant and do not desire to be pregnant. Laws forbidding abortion do not apply to them- they have no need for an abortion right now. Their state may change, however, in the future. This implies that their views may change. If so, they then move to one of the remaining categories.
(3) Thirdly, there are women who are not pregnant but want to be. Laws forbidding abortion do not apply to this group of women. They have already made their choice- they want to be pregnant for the purpose of carrying the baby full term in order to have a child to raise.
(4) Next, there are those women who are pregnant and want to carry the child to full term. Again, laws concerning abortion do not apply. These women have already made their choice to carry their child to full term. For these women, abortion is not an option.
(5) There is the group of women who are pregnant, but do not want the child, but are willing to carry the child full-term and then place the child up for adoption. Again, abortion laws do not apply.
(6) Finally, there is the group of women who are pregnant and do not want to carry the child full term. This is the group of people against whom this law is made. Remember, I choose my words carefully. These women are pregnant for whatever reason, and, after careful consideration, are willing to abort the pregnancy. Laws prohibiting abortion apply only to this group of people. And they are of such conviction that, laws or not, they will have an abortion.
Laws prohibiting abortion provide for the proliferation of three kinds of thought at this point- use of an illegal abortion clinic, perforce not concerned overly much with either cleanliness or post-surgery care, self-abortions at home, whether with the use of a coat hanger or other implement, or traveling to a locale where abortions are available. Of these three options, I have to adamantly support the last- safe abortions, with proper care and equipment, are preferable to any of the alternatives.
This makes me sound as if I am in favor of abortion. This is not the case. It is not that I am pro-abortion, but pro-choice, the choice of an individual to decide for themselves, rather than having a law decide for them. I am not wanting to make abortion easier than it is, and even that statement is more slippery than it appears. I do not believe that any woman comes to the decision to have an abortion easily. There are too many women out there who can tell you their tearful stories of how heart-wrenching that decision was for them.
So, there you have it. Laws need to apply to all, not just a small percentage. Abortion laws do not apply to everyone. By their very nature, they only apply to a portion of that half of the population that is female, making the laws themselves sexist in nature and thus unconstitutional.
- Marriage: Concerning the legality of marriage:
The State has no right to choose with whom a person falls in love. That is one of the most personal choices a person can make, second only to their personal beliefs, whether those be founded in religion or philosophy or science. With that in mind, let’s address the fact that most states do control with whom we fall in love, sort of.
All states require that a couple getting married obtain a marriage license from the state, essentially controlling to whom a person gets married, regardless of the love between the couple. This license is usually easily obtained, but can involve a blood test, assuring the state that the couple will not, through genetics, give birth to a child with too many genetic or congential deformations or defects, physical or mental. It is, in essence, the state protecting itself from the financial burden of paying for the care of a child with extraordinary medical needs. In the days when intercourse was reserved for the married couple, the marriage license was, in effect, a license to reproduce. The blood test was a protection against defective people, a kind of genetic manipulation, if you will. Since that time, the chronology of intercourse has changed, moving from honeymoon to pre-marriage, so much so that many teens reach their second decades with multiple children. The marriage license is no longer the permission to reporduce it once was- people in love will do what they feel is ready for them, regardless of age, or wisdom.
Which brings us around to the actual question of marriage between people of the same gender. Regarding these laws, people break down into six groups.
(1) ... heterosexuals with no desire to get married. Laws prohibting same-gender marriage does not affect these people at all. Though they may change their minds later in life and thus move from this group to another, at the moment, laws prohibting same-gender marriage does not, in the least, affect their relationships.
(2) ... heterosexuals who want to get married. By definition, these people are not affected by laws controlling same-gender marriages- they will marry a member of the opposite gender.
(3) ... heterosexuals who are in a marriage relationship are already a part of the established licening agency- they obtained their licenses from the state and became legally married. Perhaps they had a church wedding, perhaps not. That is not the realm of the state’s legal reach.
(4) ... heterosexuals who are in a relationship who do not want to marry their partners. Again, these people are not affected by laws prohibiting nonheterosexual marriages. They will live with their loved ones, possibly having children, raising them as parents, just as married couples might.
(5) ... same-sex couples who do not want to get married, despite the legal advantages of the piece of paper, mostly tax-related. These couples will live their lives together, will still walk hand in hand, will still kiss, will still return to their beds at night, but the marriage laws will never apply to them.
(6) ... same-sex couples who do want to get married. These are the people against whom these laws are made. These people have the same feelings for each other as heterosexual couples, the same drives, the same hopes and dreams. Why shouldn't the state offer to them the same legal rights of marriage as offered to their heterosexual counterparts? Since the marriage license is no longer the right to reproduce, the lack of it does not apply to these couples- they cannot reproduce on their own, being of the same gender.
This makes it appear that I am in favor of homosexuality. It is not that simple. I am in favor of the expression of love, since love is the ultimate emotion of which human beings are capable, the penultimate emotion being hate, and, in today’s politcal arena, the two seem to change position rather readily. I am not trying to dictate to the various religions what they can or cannot do. The holy union of marriage is outside the realm of the state, though many people seek it after they attain permission from the state to get married. The state should not delegate who can and cannot get married, though the churches have every right to choose the people they believe should be married under their auspices. I believe it is this distinction that many people overlook, but it is one that they cannot relagate to some lower dungeon of thought. If a couple does not obtain the license from the state to get married, for whatever reason, be it blood type or bad genetics or just the whim of the governor in office, no church service will legitimize the union. It is illegal for the head officer of the church to marry the couple without a marriage license. The state has already taken precedence over the church in this matter. But the church maintains its power within its sphere of influence- even if the couple has attained the required license, the head office of the church can refuse to perform the ceremony. This does not negate the legal marriage, but does withold the holy sanctity of the union.
I do not believe it is holy sanctity that the nonheterosexual couples are hoping for, but, rather, the legal recognition of their rights to love each other, just as heterosexual couples do. The legal marriage license is simply a contract between two parties, A and B, declaring, in essence, “what I have is yours; what you have is mine; I will be loyal to you; you will be loyal to me; should something happen to either of us, our stuff belongs to the other; if one of us breaks this contract, other legal actions might follow.” In all other legal contracts of this nature, at no point does the gender of the two parties act as a deterrent. In some cases, the two parties are not even real people, but the legal entities known as corporations. But nonheterosexual couples are even denied the courtesies extended to these fictional “people.”
- Death Penalty: I am against murder. I don't care if you call it "an eye for an eye" or "the War on Terrorism." However, I am also aware that some people are, indeed, incorrigible and incapable of, or unwilling to, rehabilitate. I also know that our prisons are overcrowded and this tends to make the criminals within their walls more hardened against the society that put them there (deservedly or not). I do believe in alternatives, but there are times when the alternatives are worse than the solutions. So, death penalty? It is not something I advocate, but I will not remove it from the books or take away the States' rights to uphold it.
- Education: Above all else, I am a teacher. I don't mean that people learn from everything I do or say. What I mean is that, right now, I get paid to teach. Students. In school. With other teachers and principals and parents. Talk about the front lines, I am there. Granted, I am not getting shot at (have not been yet, anyway), nor do I have to worry about land mines or grenade lauchers. But other teachers have. Teachers have been the targets of terrorism and threat and violence, moreso in the last century than ever before. So, with this in mind, realize that my opinions on education and how it should work in America are quite strong and, well, opinionated. "No Child Left Behind" means no child advances. It needs to change to something that is not only more realistic, more reasonable, but also more responsible. The secret is not school or teacher accountability, particularly based on the results of standardized tests, but a whole community responsibilty for creating an educational environment everywhere. Parents must also shoulder the respopnsibility and accountability for the education of their own children in the early years and at home when students are out of school. I'll stop here, but I'm pretty sure there will be lots more on this later. You can check my weblog for what I've already written on the subject.