My Political Leanings

Republican or Democrat? Libertarian or Tea-Party?

While the LDS Church does take a stand on certain issues, it does not endorse any political party or candidate. Instead the Church encourages its members to be active politically and be a voice in their states and communities.

As we gear up for the next round of elections, I wanted to take a few minutes and list some of my political thoughts, largely as an exercise for myself. I’m curious to see what comes…

These are not necessarily ordered. I don’t plan in going to any great detail on any of these. Some of them may lead to follow-up posts.

1. I believe in the importance of the traditional family in society. This has been the hot-button issue of the day. I do think that government should be involved in promoting the traditional family by providing reasonable benefits and rights to families.

2. Parents have the right to direct how their children are raised. 20 years ago I didn’t think it was necessary, but now I think we really should consider a parental rights amendment.

3. Religion is important to a moral society (and yes, I do want to live in a moral society). One of the great ideas of this country from the time of some of the first colonies, is the free exercise of religion. That means that religion is not only allowed, but should be encouraged in the public square.

4. I emphatically do not believe in a completely hands-off economy. There are places where the government absolutely needs to provide some regulation.

5. Having said that, I think that currently there is way too much regulation, and a fair amount should be removed, clarified, updated, and condensed. In my mind, this should be the focus of current legislations: rather than adding ever more rules and regulations, we should be reducing and condensing existing laws (perhaps I’m just misunderstanding how bills are done, though).

6. Capitalism is not perfect. No system is. It’s about as good as we’re going to find.

7. I do not believe in a flat tax rate. Again, I would agree that our current tax code is too complex and should be reduced. In general, I would argue that those living below the poverty level should not pay taxes, while those who make over 150,000 should pay a fair amount. Middle class families should not have to pay more than 25%, and even that is really high.

8. The government is severely bloated and needs to be reduced. The 2012 presidential debates were riddled with questions of “what would you cut from the budget?” If it were me, I would have argued that the list of what is not on the table is easier to quantify: veteran’s benefits, social security, soldiers and teachers pay below 100,000. That’s all I can think of offhand.

9. Welfare should not be eliminated, but should be reworked to focus more on helping people to get back on their feet where possible. Again, no system is perfect, and people will take advantage of whatever system is in place. Try to reduce that, but don’t worry about making it perfect. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to perform drug tests.

10. I think immigration should be easy. Really easy. I think work visas, green cards, etc. should be even easier. Let them come. Let them work. Let them contribute to our country. Let them pay taxes. I don’t buy the “taking jobs away from citizens” argument.

11. We need a balanced budget. This is critical. It is unconscionable that we are crippling future generations. In my opinion, a government shutdown may be required to spur us into action. I hope not. It should be avoided. It would be best if a shutdown did not happen. However, it is better to shut down the government than to increase our debt.

12. A balanced budget is only a start. From there I think we need to work on generating a surplus to pay our debt down. Instead of increasing our debt ceiling, I think that Congress should regularly decrease the ceiling.

13. Our military should be reduced. Maybe not a lot, but definitely some. It would be better if our boys were with their families and with jobs that contribute to the economy.

14. I don’t have a big problem with nationally defined education standards. Guidelines on what a 4th grader should know does have value. I have a big problem with national requirements on how those standards are taught. States should have flexibility with those standards. Communities should have the greatest say in how those standards are implemented.

15. Preschool should not be required. Kindergarten should not be all day. A child’s younger years should be spent with their parents.

16. Congress should not be exempt from any law. All citizens should be held to the same law.

17. I am pro-life. The child in the womb has the right to life. Yes, there may be exceptions. They should be rare.

18. We don’t need more gun laws. We do need to enforce the gun laws we have.

19. Obscenity laws should be enforced. Pornography is not harmless and should not be encouraged. Children should be actively shielded from porn.

20. I was very disappointed in the ruling from the Supreme Court on Prop 8. In cases where a governor (or other civic leader) declines to defend a law, proponents of that law should have the right to defend it.

21. Drugs and other harmful substances should not be legalized.

22. And, last, but not least, and as I’ve mentioned once or twice, we all need to be more active in the government. We should be aware of the issues and voice our opinion. We really should hold our representatives accountable for their actions.

Well, I’m sure I forgot some things, but that should give you the basic flavor of my political ideals.

Needles and Haystacks

At work we have a tool that analyzes the code we write. It looks for possible problems and bugs. It’s pretty impressive.

And really prolific.

The problem with it is that it reports literally hundreds of potential problems, when in reality there may only be a few real bugs. So we can spend a lot of time digging through the reports deciding which items are real and which are not.

It’s a lot like looking for a needle in a haystack, and because of that it can be rather frustrating. Especially when you’re not quite sure whether something really is a needle or is just a piece of hay.

But if you think that’s bad, you should check out our legislation sometime.

A recent Ensign article reiterated (again) the prophets’ counsel to be involved in our communities and nations. For myself, I have tried to follow somewhat what my state legislature has been doing. And holy cow. Talk about a lot of static. Between the sheer amount of noise and the regular busy-ness of life my own efforts were a whole lot less than I’d hoped.

But I did do a little. Hopefully I can continue doing at least a little.

There are so many problems and so many issues. There’s so much that needs to be done. It’s more like a stack of needles with maybe a few pieces of hay in it. Everyone is needed. In 2012 I wrote that we all have responsibility for what happens in our communities, states, and nations–good and bad, and I still believe that. They are shaped by our voices. Or by the lack thereof.

So do something. Write in a blog. Post something (worthwhile) on Facebook. Even better, write to your representatives. Let your opinion be known at a city council meeting. Volunteer at a library, homeless shelter or soup kitchen.

Make your voice heard. Maybe only a few people will hear it, but that’s OK. Do what you can. It will make a difference.