Conservatism My Way

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In an era when democrats are calling Trump and his followers conservatives, I felt it necessary to define what conservatism means to me, and it is nearly the polar opposite of Trumpkins. Not every conservative thinks alike and there are many varieties, but true conservatives will probably agree with the majority of my points. If you can agree with most of them, then feel free to share this; what the heck, share it anyways. Start a converstion!

Conservative Principles & Traits

1. Constitutional Conservative. Believes in and supports the United States Constitution and all of its amendments, even when it is inconvenient. Our founding framework for freedom is amendable, so if there is something you don’t like or think is outdated, fix it. Yes, it is a high hurdle to amend the Constitution, and it should be! Protect our bill of rights and freedom that our founders and creator gave us and countless service members have sacrificed to maintain. Don’t give them away!

2. Pro-Life. Abortion should not be an accepted form of birth control. Late-term abortion is clearly reprehensible and murder in my view. I am pro-life also when it comes to capital punishment. We have the capability to put murderers behind bars for life and the fact that human beings, including juries and prosecutors, make mistakes all the time warrants prison instead of death. You cannot undo lethal injection once it did its job. I only believe in killing for self and national defense. Many conservatives will not agree with me on the death penalty, but I hope they come around.

3. Border & Immigration Security. We are a sovereign nation and should keep it that way. Terrorism and migration of undesirables are valid reasons to secure our borders and reform legal immigration policy. However, we should not violate our Constitution as we beef up our security. Calling for the deportation of American citizens for their religious beliefs is a violation of our key founding principle. We should build walls, fences, and electronic security on our borders. We should also cease any policy that encourages people to illegally enter our country, such as the social programs the Obama admin has been offering them, and sanctuary cities that protect them from our laws. We should also modify our legal immigration policy to profile – yes PROFILE – potential immigrants and properly vet them to assure they are not terrorists or criminals or sympathizers of the same. We should be seeking people that will contribute to our nation and assimilate with our culture. If they want to come to America to form a mini version of the country and culture they are leaving, we don’t need them. We are a passionate and humane nation and we can accept certain refugees from persecution. But we are not a stupid or crazy people. Don’t try to make us into Europe where Islamic radicals are transforming their society. Not here!

4. Crime Does Not Pay. We should make that phrase applicable again. If you commit a crime you will have to pay a specific debt to society. Violent criminals should definitely spend a long time in a cell. If you purposely take a life and it is not self defense you forfeit your freedom forever. Here is where some conservatives will disagree with me. The War on Drugs was never waged to win. Drug and alcohol abuse are involved in some way to a majority of crimes in America. Home invasions, theft, assault, and murder usually involve drug and/or alcohol abuse. The trend is to de-criminalize and legalize drugs. This is a big mistake. Instead, we should treat drug dealers like murderers, because in many cases, that is what they are. It is not just the addicted person whose life is ruined, but entire families. Treatment should be offered to addicts, but in many cases harsher measures must be taken to break the cycle. Today, we tend to keep addicts addicted by providing them with never-ending access to methadone or other type clinics. This prevents them from ever contributing to families and society. Limit the treatment. Design a program that works. If that includes incarceration, so be it.

5. Limited Government, Fiscal Responsibility. What happened to the Republican Party’s mantra of small government? The federal government has ballooned under democrat and republican administrations and congress. Along with that is a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money and infringement of Liberty. All levels of government can be significantly trimmed. Politicians and judges have used creative license to interpret the Constitution’s definition of federal government role to include everything under the sun. This cannot continue. Get back to basics!

6. Strong Defense. If we allow our military to decline in funding and number any further, we will not be able to perform the basic function of federal government that the Constitution demands. Security of our nation from enemies, which we have many, is crucial. At the same time, we should adopt former Secretry of Defence Cap Weinberger’s rules for when it is appropriate to put military members in harm’s way. Google it. The United States is not a colonial empire and we should not always be the world’s policeman. We should always put U.S. national security interests above all, as well as honor our treaties with allies.  

7. Civil Liberties. This is a complicated one. When it comes to marriage, religion, and morality, social conservatives often conflict with fiscal conservatives. Gay marriage, transgendered rights, and the list goes on. I lean libertarian and am torn on this issue. In my opinion, marriage is a religious institution dating back far before The Declaration of Independence. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion. I had hoped civil unions for gays would have been sufficient as long as they had the same privileges and benefits of married couples. But the Supreme Court has ruled and it is now the law that gays can be married. Now ‘transgendered’ and people who self-identify as something other than themselves want all sorts of rights and special privileges. The result is that a small minority get to impose their wills on the majority, and religous and other freedoms are infringed upon others. For instance, a Christian baker family has lost their religious freedom in order to satisfy a gay couple who could’ve ordered a wedding cake from numerous other bakers, but insisted on making a case against the Christians. This is rediculous! Our system of government is designed to protect minorities, as it should be. But no where in the Constitution does it say minority rules, or a minority’s civil rights outweigh the majority’s rights. No more! On morality, whether you are religious or not, as a conservative you most certainly believe that a nation and its people must have a moral compass to keep them from abusing power. There IS a right and wrong. Without a moral center, many wrongs and atrocities are possible. This is my biggest concern with Mr. Donald Trump and his followers. They either don’t have or don’t care about morality.

8. Free-Market Capitalism. We did not become the greatest nation on planet Earth using socialism or communism as our economic system. We used a reasonably regulated free enterprise system where individuals and companies make profit by providing products and services to others. If you want to reap the benefits of socialism, move  to Venezuela. 

9. Fact over Fiction. Whether it be within our government, schools, media, or elsewhere, conservatives prefer dealing with fact and evidence instead of rumor, myth, or lies. Unless we are reading a novel for entertainment we like the truth, even when it hurts. To those who say there is no such thing as truth: Be Gone! Yes, there are gray areas here and there, but most things can be boiled down to true or false. Schools should stop revising history (and math) and teach the truth. There is good and bad in our history. The kids can handle it. But stop being political. They will form their own political beliefs as adults. Teachers or government don’t need to brainwash them. The media has First Amendment rights, but I implore them to stop trying to affect American politics and instead impartially report on it. This election cycle has demonstrated how corrupt both our government and media have become. The American people themselves have to become more responsible and stop spreading myth and rumor on social media. It is fairly easy to fact-check using the Internet or library. 

10. Freedom. If America can exemplify one concept, it is freedom. It is why we were founded, and what we grew and nurtured through the generations. Not everyone enjoyed freedom equally at the beginning, but like any infant, we grew and learned and are now the beacon of hope and liberty to oppressed people everywhere on the globe. Let’s keep it that way. Our founders insisted on a Bill of Rights before they approved the Constitution because they knew in order to keep our government from becoming just another dictatorship, we needed guaranteed individual freedoms. These liberties are now under constant attack by politicians, radical judges, and groups who really want to make a more powerful central government. We will no longer be America if we allow this to continue.

11. My Eleventh Commandmant! Elected officials affect our lives in many ways. Our liberty, our money, our future depend on electing people who exhibit high levels of integrity, character, honor, and conviction. Does this mean they should be rigid and inflexible? No. But they should be honest, principled, and courageous. Voters can put these type of people in office, or as has been trending, they can put waffling, unethical, power-hungry people in office. We get what we deserve!

Engage or Withdraw? That is the American Question

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Nations have long engaged in political maneuvering and diplomatic endeavors and even waged wars in order to reap the rewards of international trade and the acquisition of resources. This has been going on well before there was ever a United States of America. Countries that excel with this active engagement in world trade have happier citizens because of the abundance and variety of goods made available to them, often at excellent prices. For more than a century, perhaps even longer, America has done exceptionally well for its populace in this regard. The past few decades have been particularly successful and Americans have become accustomed to cheap prices and many product choices. Granted, trade policies and diplomacy are not the only factors that are in play, but they are major players.

We may be at a crossroads now where all of that could change. Many Americans are fed up with the amount of financial aid given to foreign governments. Others call for our country’s leaders to reign in our military, bring them home from overseas and let the rest of the world fend for themselves. Shifting economic and military powers are also becoming obvious, especially throughout Asia. Americans better choose which road they will follow, soon, or the choice will be made for them.

We spend more than 21 billion taxpayer dollars every year in non-military aid propping up foreign governments, many of whom are actively opposing us and are clearly more foe than friend. Billions more are given to their armed forces, some being hostile to the U.S. Although I am strongly in favor of reducing and re-prioritizing foreign aid, I am not for the outright elimination of it. In the real world, our leaders need tools in their kits to influence world events in a way that favors America’s national interest. American dollars are a powerful tool in that kit; however, its use should be greatly reduced and limited to areas where it will, indeed, benefit America.

For example, why on earth are we paying Pakistan $1.6 billion a year so that they can actively undermine our efforts in Afghanistan and the region? Pakistan knowingly harbored Osama bin Laden for years. When Navy SEALS snuck in and killed him, Pakistan was outraged and even imprisoned the doctor who helped identify the world’s formerly most wanted terrorist. Pakistan repeatedly “outs” the name of the American station chief in Pakistan, revealing his identity and hampering CIA and U.S. State Department efforts. Is it because of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal that we pay them the annual ransom? Do we really believe that Pakistan’s intelligence agency (ISI), military, or any other radical Islamist agency is going to keep America’s interest in mind concerning its nukes, whether we send money or not? Probably there are many state department officials that would disagree with me, confident that they have paid off the right contacts in the ISI or Pakistan military who will then clue us in when something bad is about to happen. I don’t share that confidence. We appear to be withdrawing from Afghanistan in 2014, so when the last troop leaves and supply routes in Pakistan are no longer needed, not a dollar more should go to Pakistan. Give India free reign to handle their terrorist neighbor.

Speaking of a withdrawing American military, there are some that call for us to bring all American troops home from overseas. They call for closing bases in South Korea, Japan, Europe and elsewhere. After all, it is a tall argument that American troops still need to prevent North Korea from attacking the south some 60 years after the armistice was signed. It has been even longer since the end of WWII, when many of the American bases in Europe and Asia were built. That argument must be made, though, or every American’s life is going to drastically change for the worse! U.S. Military power overseas enhances and secures international trade AND prevents catastrophe here at home. The security reasons for these American bases are still there and very real. Imagine an Asia without the stabilizing presence of U.S. warships and troops all of these years. More than one war would have broken out, perhaps several. The balance of power would not favor America or our allies. The U.S. Navy would not be patrolling the sea lanes and maintaining safe trade routes. China, perhaps our old foe the Soviet Union, and possibly even a rebuilt Japanese empire would be warring and crushing smaller, weaker nations. Trade with the Americas would be non-existent. And then — remember Pearl Harbor?

Look at recent developments in China. The communist nation has just announced that they own and control space that Japan and South Korea also claim, and has ordered all commercial aircraft to honor that claim, or else. What does the Obama administration do in light of China’s bold move? They immediately acquiesce and tell American airlines to comply with Chinese demands. Although, at this hour there are some indications Obama might be changing his stance on that issue after his first knee-jerk appeasement reaction; I hope so. Japan was outraged, and rightly so, concerning Obama’s initial answer to China’s geopolitical move. One wonders if President Obama’s national security team and state department put any thought at all into the blatant power-grabbing moves of other nations.

The United States military standing down overseas would create an enormous danger to our security. Long before that happened, though, American’s wallets would see the impact of such a move. With trade at a standstill, products would be limited and expensive, similar to what our grandparents and great grandparents had for choices. Yes, American manufacturing and mom and pop stores would probably see a rebirth, but not enough to make up for what the past couple of generations have been used to. Perhaps we have been spoiled with the Walmarts and Best Buys. If Americans want to maintain their 21st century lifestyles with innovative, inexpensive products available for purchase, and have the best chance at preventing war on their own homeland, then they should tell their congressional delegations NOW that we might be able to tweak our foreign policy to better represent America’s citizens, but we should not withdraw from the world. America needs to stay engaged and secure the future for the next generation.