Tuesday, January 29, 2008

An open letter

Fred Thompson is off the chart, and in the '08 Presidential Cycle the pickings are mighty sparse if one is looking for a worthwhile candidate. If one is of a libertarian bent, McCain seems the "least worst", with the rest of the pack (on both sides of the aisle) in a sort of competitive vileness contest.

There really isn't a candidate to vote "for", just a selection to vote against. And it clears the deck for a rather terse note to the leaders of both major political factions.

Dear Party Leadership -

We're tired of only being given a choice of the "least vile" candidate. We'd like someone we can actually believe in and support, and you (on both the Dem and GOP sides of the aisle) have failed us miserably. You have misread our desires, our intents, and our dreams when you have not simply ignored them in favor of the fantasies of the radical wings and policy wonks of each of your respective parties - apparently in the belief we have no place else to go.

Let us correct you in that last delusion. We do have other places to go - the Green Party on the left, and the Libertarian Party on the right spring forth as rather obvious choices as parties already gaining electoral office, and a plethora of smaller parties aspiring to legitimacy are clambering for space in the wings. Pragmatism and sentiment have largely held us back, but as time passes, even those erode.

To our friends leading the GOP, we point out that Huckabee (purely aside from being a failure in his own state, at least as measured in terms of growth of the GOP in his state during his time in office) scares the holy bejeezus out of us.

We have seen the sort of frothing madness and bigotry that comes clothed in "we are a nation" and want no part of it. Huckabee's public predilection for wanting to replace the Constitution with a bible is sufficiently scary as to require drastic measures, such as voting Libertarian, or even Democrat, if it ensures Huckabee is kept far far away from the Presidency.

Huckabee is merely an extreme case in point, however. The vast majority of us believe that politics and religion only intermix to the detriment of both, and the evangelical wing of your party and its constant cries (with varying levels of subtlety) for what, once the candy-coating is stripped away, boils down to a narrow evangelical theocracy with the potential to be every bit as repressive as various of the islamic states operating under sharia law. Again, something we want no part of.

And while we're talking to you, O GOP leaders, keep the noses of yourselves and your followers out of our bedrooms. What goes on, at a sexual level, between consenting adults is truly none of your business and we deeply resent and distrust your nanny-like attempts to deny this fundamental reality. It is even less charming to try and either create or preserve legal discrimination against individuals based upon the supposed "sinfulness" of their actions in an alleged sectarian nation.

And no, greening up or coming late to the debacle of political correctness is not going to sell well to either your demographic base or to those who've already sold their soul to your opponents. It is a clear no win, where you can never do enough to satisfy the already-sold and you can never gain points with your traditional core of voters by such actions.

To our friends leading the Democrats, we also have a few terse words. Let us begin with "leave the guns alone." This has been a third-rail issue for your party for decades, yet you persist in the face of Prof. John Lott's academic studies and the common sense of the vast majority of American voters - it has been a dead stinking albatross hanging about your collective necks for years. It sells well to the true-believer element of the party faithful, but it doesn't play well out in the sticks, and not even especially well in more urban environs.

For a new tack to replace this element of the Democratic Mantra, might we suggest the more populist value of self defense against predatory criminals as a human right?

We don't like paying taxes. We are perfectly happy making our own choices on what charities to support and what percentage of our income we are willing to donate to those causes. We are begrudgingly willing to pay limited taxes to support reality-based programs such as roads, schools, emergency services, and similar items - we range from cranky to fundamentally opposed to having the cost of attempts to reshape the American consciousness or various frivolities extorted from us with all the drear dread power of the State. In short, stop that.

We like our freedom. A lot, in fact. We're willing to tolerate, in exchange, a system of laws that penalize the irresponsible, inept, and the actually malicious or predatory when and only when they commit acts harming real persons and property in the real world - laws and regulations about "what if", not so much.

Further, there is a fine line of enforceability past which point our nations rather rambunctious citizenry will begin to rebel in ways large and small, ranging from simple non-compliance to burgeoning black markets - which both sabotage respect for law generally, and have violent and brutal methods of conflict resolution specifically.

For all the talk of sustainability, if you wish to fund medical care or facilities for the poor or the needy or just the general public - fine and good. But make them foundations or endowment of sufficient fiscal size as to be self-sustaining rather than a consistent drain on public resources.

While you're at it, let us buy the cars we want, not the cars you think are good for us. Let us buy the toilets we want, not the substandard models you tell us are good for us but that fail to flush with sufficient force to drive a load all the way out to the curb sewer line.

In short, treat us as adults capable of making responsible decisions.

To both of you, end the boneheaded "War on Drugs". Admit failure. Prohibition is/was a doomed policy (as demonstrated in the 1920's) good only for producing a large, violent, and thriving black market, and the bipartisan effort to dress it up in drag and re-sell it as a "War on Drugs" is but doing the same thing, expecting a different result. As with many other activities, if while engaged thereupon you end up damp and smelling funny, it's a hint to stop and inquire if liquid biowaste is being directed into the inbound airstream.

Outside of necessary services, mostly emergency services, we have deep reservations about your programs. Think about it. That rumbling you hear may be your replacement.

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