in which Amanda scratches the surface of her thoughts on politics

I am a political misfit.

I am conservative, defined by me as preferring an emphasis on government that skews toward less federal, more local. I am in favor of a government treating its budget the way a smart manager or individual would treat their business or personal budgets -- i.e., your expenses should not exceed your income. I'm in favor of low taxes and less regulation.

BUT

I believe in social justice. I believe in being compassionate to the ill, poor, homeless, widowed, orphaned and truly marginilized. I believe that if you are an employer, you have a responsibility to treat your employees with respect, to provide a safe workplace, to provide a living wage, and to compensate them based on work done, not on age, size, race, gender or any other irrelevant factor. I have no problem with a CEO or business owner making more money than one of his employees -- I do have a problem with greed, and I have a problem if a CEO sits comfortably in a billion dollar home while her employee can't afford to pay rent and buy groceries at the same time, despite a job well done.

BUT

I believe in personal agency. On my own, I may not have much, but I have free will. Give me room to make my own choices and experience the consequences. Give me room to improve myself and my future...or to choose to be comfortable where I'm at. Allow me the freedom to extend my own hand to the homeless with a sack of groceries and a smile, to give and serve and love my neighbor.

Legislating morality doesn't work...not in the long run. (for a great example, see the Bible. Old law vs. new law). Forcing me to be kind, compassionate, and ethical will eventually make me resentful and mean and petty. Don't get me wrong, I still have a choice. But that can be a tough internal battle. In addition, when the government takes over my job (as a human being) of taking care of my fellow human, then I'm likely to stop seeing my fellow human altogether. Why should I care about that orphan over there? The govenment will take care of him. I need to take care of myself. Why should I give to this charity? Don't I already pay half my income in taxes to take care of that? I'm going to think about me again. And then everyone's thinking that....and no one is thinking about the single mother, or the poor student, or lonely elderly person with no family. Because we're all too busy thinking about ourselves.

Gross.

I believe in being responsible with my resources -- and that includes the physical world in which I live in. I don't litter, I try not to be wasteful, and I'm a big fan of green and growing things. There's a lot of people on this planet, and we're all consumers. We need to be careful of what we have and treat it with gratitude -- because life on this earth and everything in it is a gift.

BUT

Remember that whole personal agency thing? Yeah, it applies here too. How about more rational dialog and conversation and less fingers-in-the-ears-nah-nah-I-can't-hear-you.

If you're politically liberal -- just because I'm fiscally conservative and pro-small government, don't assume that I'm heartless, cold, uncaring and greedy.

If you're politically conservative -- just because I like reusable grocery bags, like giving people a helping hand, and believe in equality and safety in the workplace, don't assume that I'm unintelligent, or out to get your money.

And hey, while you're at it, why not extend that same non-assumption courtesy to other people. How about we have more conversation and less fighting. How about we blur the lines a bit more and stop further entrenching our extremely polarized political system. Who thinks a two-party system is a good idea, anyway?

Less hating. More partying.