I joined the ACLU tonight. It was something I had thought about doing for a long time, but actually donating to them and putting my money where my mouth has been seems like a demarcation line. What pushed me over the edge to go from supporter to member was their decision to sue if/when President Bush signs the domestic spying bill that gives amnesty to the phone companies for their role in abusing our Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure.
I guess I can’t really hold this debate with myself for your enjoyment without at least giving my views on key issues. I’m not a big fan of blogs that have posts that reach epic proportions, so I’ll be brief.
Abortion: This is tough. I do believe a man should have some kind of say on the issue. It seems patently unfair that a man’s rights/choice ends with the decision whether or not to use a condom or believe the lady is on the pill. In a fair world the man would have equal say, but biologically that’s not possible, yet. And courts have laughed men outta there when they have challenged with the “we agreed not to have children- now she’s pregnant- we’re not together- and you’ll force me to pay child support soon even though we agreed to have an abortion if this ever happened” defense. In essence their take is they had unprotected sex based on an oral agreement (nice pun) that a child would not be bore even if the seed took. So that aside, it is hard for me to legally force women to engage in an activity that can bring death. Yes, thousands of women in the USA die every year having children. In a country without abortion do these women’s family get to sue for wrongful deaths?
What would happen if it was illegal? Would women use unsanctioned doctors/back alley butchers? Is it worth that? So I am in the “safe, legal and rare” camp. Abortion is a medical issue and should be deliberated in the doctor’s & pastor’s office, not the halls of congress that is mostly filled with lawyers. Not to mention, it goes against my principal of wanting government out of my life. It’s simply not their decision to make- nor is it yours or mine. It is solely the decision of the couple or lady to make. These women know that the religious right believes they are going to hell, so spare me that argument. Hell, Jesus decended to hell, so they’ll be in good company if that whole christian-myth thing turns out to be true.
First Amendment/Free Speech: It’s damn near absolute. Conservatives often pick on the ACLU for defending opposite interests. But that’s the point of free speech. To truly be a backer of the first amendment you have to defend both the nazis and their right to talk their bullshit and the Jewish Defense Organization who say things like “death to nazis”. I know the whole “fire in a theater” concept, but the bar to arrest someone for something they say must be set very, very high and the evidence must be overwhelming- anything short of that invites a chipping away of this right.
First Amendment/Religion: We have the right to freely worship just about anything or nothing at all. No tax payer money should be spent on religious activity. Ever.
Guns: I am pro-gun rights. I own and have owned guns for a very long time. I haven’t hunted in a long time, but I highly doubt I’d have a problem dispatching some asshole trying to break into my crib. It’s the sanctuary for my wife, son and myself. Anyone trying to disturb that should first count the cost. Sometimes ignorance can be painful.
Education: I support free education for all citizens. We keep hearing that America is falling behind other countries in science and math. Well maybe the government should start a scholarship fund for those things. Let people that major in math and science get free education up through their PhD. It makes sense. Some people claim that education isn’t a right and should not be funded by the government, but think about our world without it. You know how it pisses you off when a cashier cannot count worth a damn? Imagine if they couldn’t count at all! We’re a first world country because of education and for us to discontinue that would be disasterous for our countries morale, micro and macro-economies and our competitiveness in the world in just about everything. If anything we should increase spending on academia and decrease spending on sports.
Immigration: I want better public services for our citizens, but we cannot achieve that if we continue to allow undocumented people to stream across the border. My main concern with them is their lack of paying taxes while soaking up benefits like health care, education and jobs. People who have gone through the gauntlet of legally immigrating here deserve those things. If I ran across the border into any country on earth I would not expect that country to take me in and give me and my child all the services provided to their citizens all the while not paying taxes. If you want the benefits of citizenry in our country then you have to become a member by paying the dues. Membership has its privileges.
The War on Drugs: A huge waste of money. No one wants to see children on dope. But I also don’t care if the guy in my local convenience store tokes up after work. I certainly don’t want him put in jail for the offense. I’d much rather they took a small percentage of the *B*illions of dollars they have wasted on fighting drugs and sunk it into more education programs. But not just the “don’t say no” type of things. I want REAL drug education. I was taught that cocaine was likely to kill me the first time I tried it- then I did. It felt good. I didn’t die and had a good time. I would never condone cocaine usage and stopped long ago before I “reach bottom” or any such thing. I just knew it was not something that would help me achieve my goals. I rationally decided to stop using drugs and many people do. Yet our drug programs often stress that something terrible has to happen before the user stops- it’s total bullshit. Also, there are some studies that marijuana can help people. It is a mild pain reliever, creates appetite and helps people sleep. When my grandfather was going through kemo guess what he had trouble with? The pain, loss of appetite and an inability to sleep. If you cannot eat or sleep you cannot fight off most diseases, especially cancer. It needs to be legalized ASAP. At least for medical purposes. And when we do legalize it, it needs to have the ever-loving shit taxed out of it. Maybe it will lower my taxes?
Ok, I’m still under 1200 words. Now you get a little insight into why I am registered as an independent and have a hard time voting. Neither major party represents me.