I started out as a Republican, because my father was a Republican. That’s how a lot of us began our first voting experience, right? Then, as time went on, I began to vote for candidates by the way they looked to me and only vaguely because of their message. Much later, in middle age, I became a Democrat because my second husband was a rabid Democrat, and when I once had said to him, “Well, Gerry, I’m a Republican…,” he roared back at me:
“NO, YOU’RE NOT!!” And so I became a Democrat! I can sort of understand how wishy washy I was about the subject, because in those days, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about politics. It seemed too abstract and far away. Besides, I was busy with my own issues. And then the Gore/Bush debacle happened! Suddenly I took notice and began to study the issues more.
What did it mean to be a Democrat or a Republican? What were the differences between the two? I read the newspapers more closely. I watched the nightly news on television, and over time, began to observe the behavior of these two groups and form some opinions that made me think I was more moderate than either of them.
So finally, at age eighty-five, I’m ready to state what I believe. Out here. On the Internet. For anyone who cares to listen. So, in no particular order:
- Discrimination is wrong. Race, gender, or how you look should not carry labels.
- The global economy needs examination to see what it really means for all of us that there are rich nations and poor nations. How this can be equalized so that we all benefit?
- There needs to be a way to deal with the sociopaths among us, and those people who have a compulsion to prey upon children and teens. What means are available to prevent these individuals from harming others so that society is safe from them and prisons don’t have to be the only answer.
- We need to understand mental illness for what it is: partly a brain thing, partly physiological, partly cultural, partly genetic, and partly lots of other things yet to be discovered. So many human beings need help, and I don’t believe that psychiatrists have the answer.
- Each of us must find a way to live within nature as if we are a genuine part of it, because we are. No more exploitation and depletion of the earth’s resources for personal gain.
- The myriad personalities among us require patience and openness to at least listen to what others have to say. We might learn something about them and about ourselves in agreeing or disagreeing with them.
- Our democracy is not perfect. Hardly. But many are trying to improve the way it works, and I applaud the members of both parties who use common sense in their deliberations.
- Ideology can become fanaticism very quickly whether in politics or religion. We’ve seen that throughout history and we are seeing it today. So it’s essential to retain some skepticism whenever we are told something or read something. Nobody has all the answers (If you believe that someone does, I’ve got a bridge that I’m willing to sell you).
There you have it. I honestly don’t know if that makes me red or blue or something else. That’s just a label anyway. We live in an era when the world is readjusting itself, and we humans play a huge part in what happens next. We’d better get it right!