Excuse me, is my conservatism showing?

I have a confession: I’m not a Democrat. (Is it that obvious?)

But I’m not a Republican, either. I don’t affiliate myself with any particular political party. Mostly because I want to feel free to examine issues and candidates without the blinders that sometimes accompany partisan platforms and agendas. Instead, I try to use my common sense while researching and forming opinions about politics. I tend to agree with conservatives; that doesn’t mean I’m against change. I am very religious; that doesn’t mean I don’t value science. I believe in capitalism and free enterprise; that doesn’t mean I believe in greed and special interests.

If you want to know what I stand for (and even if you don’t, too bad; it’s my blog), I’m sure the list will sound familiar to some of you: faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, and integrity. It’s a list of principles I’ve heard since I was young. I’ve repeated it countless times without really thinking about what it all meant. As I get older, I realize these values infiltrate every aspect of life. Even politics. I could expound on how each of these builds on the other, how each plays a foundational role in not only living your own life but building a sense of community and making an impact in the world around you.

I think choice and accountability are the two principles that set us apart from other countries, yet are in the greatest danger of becoming extinct.

For example, I was in the car the other day, the radio was on. A teaser for the upcoming news announced, “Americans are constantly complaining about how difficult and how expensive their healthcare system is. So why are they so resistant to change?” I laughed out loud. I, personally, am not resistant to change, and I’m pretty sure 99% of the rest of you aren’t, either. What I’m resistant to is the kind of change the government is currently offering: a take-over of healthcare. I’m resistant to losing my ability to make decisions about my healthcare for myself and instead having to rely on some bureaucrat who thinks he knows better.

And not just in the healthcare arena. Back before the ’08 elections, a friend and I got into a little email conversation about the issues and candidates. Somewhere along the line, the term “socialism” came up and my friend made a comment that still haunts me: “Socialism. Anytime I hear that term, it makes me laugh. Everyone is so afraid of ‘socialism;’ what’s there to be afraid of?” And continued to take the usual stance that we should all provide for the needy, we should all have equal access to goods and services, yada yada yada.

Sure. I can’t argue with that. We should be providing for the needy. We should have equivalent access to goods and services that we need. The big difference is choice. Why should government officials or laws tell me what to do with my money, time, services, possessions, or ideas? Socialist leaders make all the choices for their citizens because they think ordinary folk aren’t capable of thinking for themselves. Socialists think capitalism is evil because (gasp!) individuals come up with ideas on their own and (double gasp!) profit from them. And what good could possibly come from making a better opportunity for yourself?

Gosh, I don’t know; maybe a sense of self-worth, a sense of independence, a sense of accomplishment, value, hard work, accountability for decisions? Wow. Those sound terrible. Completely detrimental to society.

President Obama hasn’t put us on the path to socialism, he’s just taking bigger steps down the path that was laid out for him. Our government has grown and taken over freedoms administration by administration as they pass legislation about issues that should have nothing to do with them.  If anything, the legislation should come from state governments, as outlined in the Constitution. President Bush (43rd) tripled the size of the federal government. And I think it’s high time we started taking it back and holding our leaders accountable before they tell you what kind of car to drive, what temperature your home should be, how many kids to have, or how much you should be earning.

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