Thursday, November 1, 2018

I’m Voting in 2018 and You Should Too, Because We Need More Love in the World.

The future of the country matters to me. The world has taken steps backward before, and it will again, but I’d like for it to head in the direction of loving your neighbor. Laws exist, in my mind, because of the hard heartedness of humans, and the lack of love that we show each other. If people always forgave other people, there might not be any murders. If people didn’t covet other people’s bodies, there might not be any rapes. In other words, I vote so that there might be less hate in the world, more working together, and better long term solutions. 

Some history, in 2004 I voted straight party ticket Republican. In 2006 and 2008 I didn't vote. In 2010 and since then I have voted a mixed ticket, mostly Democrat, but with Republicans and independents or third parties too. I won’t go into the past today, but simply talk about the future. I am registered as an unaffiliated voter, and I like it that way because I don’t want to be told by some group of people how I should vote or what I should support. Additionally, I’m a Christian and I try to let my values guide my votes. Plus, I can compromise, and both sides seem unwilling to do that in 2018. I even went through a phase where I trusted God so much that I didn't feel the need to vote because God will do what we need regardless of how I vote. I could very well go through that phase again in the future, who knows. I've changed since then and so, in 2018 I can’t vote for any Republican.

Why can’t I vote for any Republicans in 2018?
  1. Poverty, Republicans do not seem to care about the lower 90% of the country or anyone in the rest of the world. To go into more detail:
  1. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was an insult to anyone making less than $75,000 a year and indifferent to people making less than $150,000 a year. To big businesses and people that own big businesses (i.e. have large amounts of stock), it was great! It does almost nothing for people making the median income in this country or less than the median while enriching corporations and those with millions of dollars. I got a raise out of the law, but people like me don’t need a raise! At a time when the economy has around 4% unemployment, raising the deficit just does not make sense! I’m all for economic stimuli, but I’m also very much a budget conscious person, and it would be great, at least once every decade to have a balanced budget or even a surplus. We haven’t had one since 2000, and the only way ours is going to go down is with a surplus, or high inflation.
  2. Immigration is a good thing. The birth rate for Hispanic women in the United States recently dropped below 2.1 births per woman for the first time. For non-Hispanic women it’s even lower, at 1.7. Immigrants typically work hard, and their children often work very hard too, having grown up with stories of how difficult it was in the old country. By the third generation the kids are quite assimilated and the guilt of the first generation’s sacrifices or the experience in the old country have diminished. In short, the grandkids are lazy. For example, I only work one job and I rarely work overtime. Instead I think about retiring in my 30s, at a time when engineers are in high demand.
  3. Guaranteed if the Republicans are still the majority in both houses of congress they will cut benefits like health care and other social programs that help the least fortunate in the country, like the people renting my house in Kansas right now. I don’t want my renters to get a benefit cut, because that could mean they might not be able to afford rent.
  1. Climate change is real. I had to explain to my recently graduated 22 year old coworker a couple weeks ago that category 3 and 4 and nearly 5 hurricane hitting the USA multiple times per season is not normal. In his short memory, post Katrina 2005, it is normal. Before that storm, before hurricane Sandy, before Houston had three 1 in 500 year floods three years in a row, this type of flooding and wind event was not common. Sure there were hurricanes, they just were not this common or severe. The longer people in power deny climate change, the worse it will be in the long run. 
  1. Equality matters to me. This is a delicate subject and it doesn’t mean the same thing to me that it means to most liberals or conservatives. When I see black men getting shot and killed by police in situations that don’t seem very threatening on video, my heart goes out to them. Yet I’ve been part of the problem before, stepping off the sidewalk as a black man approaches while I don’t commonly do that for white people. Secondly, the Kavanaugh hearing was a spectacle that was an embarrassment. If anyone acted that way in any other job interview, they would not get the job, and would have to “settle” for his previous $200,000 per year job. What I got out of that spectacle was women’s voices, and lives, really don’t matter to Republican senators. What’s next, will we take away the right to vote from women?
There are other issues that I care about. Issues that at one time made me a one issue voter. However as I have matured and seen the world I am struck by Jesus’s words from Matthew 22:39, “…you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” So I look for our laws, and the cultures I am part of, to reflect that commandment as much as possible, and more so than the ten commandments. I am against the death penalty because I think we can still extend love to those criminals. I am against abortion because I think we should love those unborn little humans. Similarly, I think we should still love those women who have had abortions because we live in a society where there is so little support and so much fear for many women to have a child. How can we love women and children so much that no woman considers having an abortion? I don’t know, but it’s not by making it illegal. Probably by paying for all medical costs related to having a baby, and subsequent medical expenses the first year of the child's life. Additionally, why don't we just give new mothers a blanket year of paid maternity leave? Say $3,000 per month for a year, just as a thank you for having new little human. That's extending love to expecting mothers.

I am against child marriage, because the outcomes are statistically so bad, especially for women. How is this still legal in the United States!? I am against speed limits on interstates outside of cities, because after driving 142 mph on the Autobahn, it would be so much fun to do that here! I am for net neutrality, because without it we could much more easily slip into fascism. I am for legalizing psilocybin (magic mushrooms) because the data on addiction, overdose, and treating depression are way way better than alcohol or tobacco. Full disclaimer, I’ve never tried them, because I don’t like breaking laws, even when laws make no statistical sense. I am fine with firearms, but I would like universal background checks, red flag laws, and mandatory national insurance for every firearm that would vary according to the likelihood and severity of that being used in a violent crime. In other words, a .410 shotgun would cost maybe $5 a year, and an AR-15 would cost maybe $150 a year, and when someone was a gunshot victim, they would get a payout from the insurance fund. Own as many guns as you want, you just have to afford the annual insurance for each one, and pass the background checks. Insurance is a requirement for a car in most places, why not for a gun?

I hope in the future the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower can show love and draw me back to their platform. 

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