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March 18, 2018

I’m Personally In Favor of a Number of Things – and I Vote that Way

“I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties they lead their country by a short route to chaos,”

I’ve long found inconsistency to reveal ill will or deception. I listen to young people, and they are looking for what’s real, and what’s real is consistent. Many I meet on the street or going door to door, people of all ages and backgrounds, are immediately excited that I’m not a Republican or Democrat (our district has been “safely” Democrat 20+ years). They rarely ask my positions, they are for me just because I’m not taking money, so perhaps they are simply looking to trust someone. When they dig deeper, they agree on most things, and their disagreements are not total, it’s more about degree. More importantly, I’m consistent, I don’t believe in winning “by any means necessary” if it includes lies, bribery, or killing people. Some things really are personal taste: I drink more of a certain soda than I should. Way more. One of my favorite places to eat isn’t going to serve it anymore, and I plan to do zero about that. I’m not going to pass a law to make people drink it, but I’ll admit I like it and I’ll drink it, at least until I decide to give it up for some reason. I think this is reasonable.

But some things are not personal taste. Today, I spoke with a fellow rock climber, he’s retired from the fire department, and we discussed moderate politics, and to some degree, ethics. He told me he doesn’t really believe in right and wrong, he’s in the center, not right or left, really. But I can read people, and he’s better than that. I asked him, “so if you saw some 14-year-old getting beaten up by an older guy, maybe 35, would you just stand there or do something?” Of course he would. So would you, if you were able. Because all of us have some sense of right and wrong as well as gray. None of us would say, “personally, I’m against beating young people, but it’s not my business.” Views on poverty, care for the homeless, guns, racism, and yes, abortion, all come from deep personal beliefs (at least for us common folk, not politicians). We will act on those beliefs, those values, whether it means giving to charity, voting bonds for education, or in my case, pushing for the Dream Act. In this last case, it’s consistent with my personal beliefs, my Catholic Faith, my friendships, the way my mother taught me to treat people, and with the way my head and heart both tell me to go. It’s consistent with the way I treat the undocumented and the way I vote, although I’ve had no opportunity to vote for it because no candidate really stands for it. That’s another topic and you can read elsewhere what I believe is necessary to pass the Dream Act.

No wonder we don’t trust Congress. No wonder most Americans believe Congress is dysfunctional. Would you trust someone who said they personally believe it’s important to be truthful, but that it doesn’t apply in government? That they personally believe it’s wrong to kill children in foreign countries but they are fine with our drone strikes that do exactly that? As a nation, no wonder we are divided: we’ve cultivated this weird situation where we do things most know to be wrong, but we justify it as necessary, even a good thing, and do it anyway.

We have the power of the vote, and we don’t have to keep rewarding politicians for voting one way while they claim to want something else. You know what I’ll do, and it comes from the core of my being. If you like it, I respectfully suggest you either work to get me in office or publicize it enough to attract others with the same consistency.

In closing, there is this from A Man for All Seasons, a favorite play/film of mine: