I feel politically stranded

By Story of America Team

I grew up in rural southeastern Indiana. All in all, it was a good place to grow up. I got to spend my time camping, hunting, fishing, and playing in the woods. I did grow up with parents who never made a ton of money, but I was happy enough when left alone. 

IMG_20140223_062616.jpg Both my parents passed away when I was young. Mostly due to self-inflicted alcohol and drug abuses. I subsequently moved in with my aunt (my mom’s sister) early in high school. She looked after me and made sure I completed high school and continues to look after me to this day. She didn’t have a lot of money either, but made sure to encourage me to go to college.

I studied at Northern Kentucky University double-majoring in political science and international studies. I met my now wife my last year and have been with her for nearly seven years.

From there, I went on to law school at Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law. I opted to work full-time during the days at a law firm while spending my evenings in class to cut down on student loans.

I now spend my time looking after my pregnant wife (due any week) and working as a personal injury attorney to pay the bills including student loans. All in all, it is a pretty decent life for someone who came out of some pretty difficult personal situations when younger. 

In the current state of politics, I find myself without a party or real representation. I feel stranded. I find myself being very fiscally conservative, while being socially very liberal. I am at odds with both major parties. 

Republicans typically eschew me for being socially liberal, and democrats typically do the same because I tend to think that the government should work to be smaller, more agile, and tax as little as possible. I tend to think that people should be entitled to as much money as they can earn, but they shouldn’t be able to co-opt the political process with that money. You can see how these things will put me at odds with both major parties.

The real problem with people in my position is that while I do believe that the government should be much more fiscally conservative, I do not believe that we do that by balancing the budget on the back of public employee pensions, retirees, and poor people. That is not to say I don’t think that we have too much government in some areas, but I think it is despicable and disingenuous to tell public employees who have been working that they now are having their pensions plundered to balance budgets. 

Our country takes in more than enough tax revenue. Almost 27% of our GDP in fact, which is on par with other major developed countries such as Japan and Switzerland. We have more than enough money to take care of those things without raising taxes. When I bring up topics like stopping a ludicrously expensive drug war, discontinuing an overly aggressive foreign policy stance, changing how we imprison people, getting rid of corporate welfare, and rolling back massive domestic surveillance, most “conservatives” are not in favor of ideas like this.

This all boils down to the fact that I am tired of “conservative” being viewed in a negative light, and I am tired of this idea that you cannot be “conservative” unless you follow some moral/religious agenda, or that you must believe that all poor people are lazy or bad. Are there lazy poor people? Sure. Are there hard working poor people? Absolutely. The world is much too complex to paint everyone with one color. While I might think that our social welfare system needs to do a better job of putting people in positions to succeed rather than just support, I would not for a second think that “reform” constitutes cutting funding.

While I will disagree with many things when talking to someone who is more progressive, there are things we can agree on and hopefully bring to fruition. If conservatives want to be taken seriously again in this country, then they need to come into the 21st century and start living up to the term. There are many things that conservatives and progressives can agree on that by definition are conservative and reduce the scope and role of government. Unfortunately, I think that voices like mine are not heard by the rank and file Republicans or Democrats. I am not sure where to go from here, but at least some other people out there might know that there are others who have similar feelings.