Saturday, February 24, 2007

WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT AIN'T

Some folks have come to this blog expecting to find a Pro-Republican or Democrat site. They are puzzled and perplexed when I have something positive (negative) to say about the other side. Well, it’s neither. There’s a disclaimer right at the top on the header which says this blog is a personal and independent commentary by yours truly. As Glenn Beck (one of my favorite TV/radio personalities along with Lou Dobbs and Bill O’Reilly) says, I am not a professional journalist. I am merely offering my opinions and insights. This isn’t a news or policy research blog, though you will find some of each, depending on the topics offered. I believe both political parties have consistently failed the American People, and like our Founding Fathers, who largely distrusted and opposed partisan politics, I have chosen to blaze my own independent trail through the political landscape. I invite my readers to come along and take with them what they will from it. So, if you’re offended that this isn’t a Republican or Democrat blog, sorry. I suggest you go elsewhere. There’s a lot of really good (and not so good) party-oriented blogs out there to revalidate your opinions.

Now, as to what this blog is. Another Opinion is a reflection of my observations, which is as it should be don’t you think? I dislike labels, but I consider myself to be an open minded and slightly right leaning moderate. I admit some might see me as an ultra conservative, or even liberal in some ways, and I suppose that’s true. But, I think that’s indicative of most people. Few of us leans totally one way or another, and polls repeatedly show Americans in general to be moderately conservative, so I guess I’m a fair representative of most Americans in that regard. This blog focuses on what’s best for the people, not for big business, and certainly not for political parties, their cronies, or the special interests groups they’re so often beholden to. I must point out that it is strongly pro-labor, both union and non-union, and the continuation of the small businesses, the so-called “Mom and Pop” companies so endangered by the mega-corporations like Wal-Mart.

This blog reflects my support of strong immigration laws and stiff penalties for companies (and individuals) who hire illegal immigrants. Dry up demand, and supply will follow. There are ways to bring those who want to work temporarily into this country legally. I think too that unions are missing a great opportunity by not sponsoring some of these individuals, and not just helping them find their temp work, but teaching them about unions and showing them how to organize. These same “guest workers” could return to their home countries and organize others there, and thus improving the work environment south of the border. This could have a positive effect in developing their middle class, raising wages and benefits, and reducing the need to work here illegally. And while we’re at it, I vigorously support making English the official language of this country and mandating it all public schools. All immigrants must have a basic mastery of English to apply for citizenship (and I still refuse to “press 1 for English”). Language is the thread that holds the fabric of a nation together. Without it, we’ll unravel into a Balkanized country. In short, we will become strangers in our own land.

Another Opinion will look at ways to protect American jobs because I believe “Free Trade” isn’t fair trade for our working men and women, and I also believe in putting America first. This blog will promote the rights of individuals over corporations, and emphasize corporate responsibility to the “public good”, which includes the environment, even if it means increased regulation of some industries (or, in worse case abuses of public interests, nationalization). There is more at stake these days than appeasing the stockholders and making a buck. (And while we’re on the subject of corporations, I would like to see American businesses adopt the European mode of corporate governance by allowing 1/3 of the board membership to be employee representatives—union or non-union as the case may be).

I believe in workplace equality. You get the job because you’re most qualified for it and you lose it because you didn’t do your job. Age, religion, orientation, race, national origin or gender, etc. shouldn’t matter (and there’s no excuse for women being paid less than men for doing the same job). Like Teddy Roosevelt, I believe that if you were born here or became a naturalized citizen, you’re an American, not a hyphenated American regardless of where your ancestors came from or how they got here. Period. Its fine to be proud of your heritage (I’m of solid German ancestry) and celebrate it, but you’re loyalty is to America first, or at least it should be.

The current tax structures, at the local, state, and federal levels are in need of a complete overhaul. Doesn’t anyone remember that this nation came about as the result of a tax revolt? I believe we need term limits and/or serious campaign finance reform to attempt to reduce the corruption which comes being in power to long (one could add arrogance to that list too). The trouble is not necessarily the complexity, but the mechanism(s) to do it. Right now, the wolves are guarding the sheep. I think if the Founding Fathers could see us now, they would have opted to pay the tea tax and kept their mouths shut. I think when a politican messes up, you should know about it, and when they do good you should know about that too (especially since it is so rare these days) regardless of political party. Afterall, it's your tax dollar, not theirs.

Because of ever higher costs of medical care, companies have been forced to reduced or drop their medical coverage. Most individuals can’t afford to pay for it, so they do without. Why? Why, in a country a great as this do we have one the highest infant mortality rates, lowest life expectancy rates, or lower levels of quality of life (especially for our seniors)? Why are we the only (or one of very few) industrialized nation not to have some level of basic national health care? There are even some developing nations with better coverage than available here. Why? Some folks complain that would be another tax. Well, don’t you think we’re already paying for the uninsured through higher premiums? Let government, business, and individuals share a percentage in the coverage so we all can have a minimum level of health care. That’s why this blog will continue to push for some level of national health care. You can expect more on that topic.

I also think we need to desperately improve our education system as mentioned previously in this blog. Students shouldn’t be taught to parrot answers for some test. They should be taught how to think critically, not to mimic. I think education has been “dumbed” down too much. There needs to be more focus on the quality of graduates, not the quantity. I believe our kids need a well rounded education which includes history, literature, art/music, and civics (which an emphasis on voluntarism). Lastly, never should a coach make more than lowest paid full time teacher, instructor, or professor. Require some of the money generated from the athletic department to go to under funded programs like history and arts, academic achievers, or supplement the salaries of instructors of those programs. Academics must come before athletics. That’s why schools and universities are called “academic institutions” and not “sports institutions”. Education is the key to everything. A well educated workforce attracts employers, which in turn both provides jobs and generates taxes to pay for roads, lights, parks, police, EMS, fire services, healthcare, and a better quality of life for all. This in turn makes the community more economically competitive, which attracts even more jobs. It provides self esteem and lessens the likelihood of joining gangs, doing drugs, committing crimes, going to jail, or ending up on a morgue slab with toe tag. Education should be our number 1 domestic national priority.

Some folks have asked me if I had a “secret” or “hidden” agenda since I’ve previously run for office, or if I intend to again. With some amused acknowledgement, I admit to having an agenda, though not especially secret or hidden. I seek knowledge. I am always looking to learn more, and I’m not so arrogant as to assume there’s nothing new to learn. Many of you have been invaluable to me in providing me with new insights, and I’ve changed my perspectives several times (though my core values have never wavered). To quote one of my favorite politicians, Bobby Kennedy, “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not. There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were, and ask 'Why not?” As for running for office again, I have no current plans. So then, why do I do this? I must again turn to Bobby for the answer, when he said, “It is not enough to understand, or to see clearly. The future will be shaped in the arena of human activity, by those willing to commit their minds and their bodies to the task”. I also suggest you read Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena”, and then I think you’ll understand.

As for you, my dear readers, I always welcome your comments. I enjoy hearing what you have to say. Those of you come here regularly know to keep the remarks professional (courteous is greatly appreciated too). Hateful, spiteful, rude, and similar comments (such as to what appeared on my previous post) will not be tolerated and will be deleted.

So, I hope you have a clearer understanding as to what Another Opinion is all about. I don’t know how you want to classify this humble blog—conservative, populist, unionist, nationalist, liberal, or perhaps a little of each. I guess whatever makes you happy. But I do hope you come back often and take from it what you will, even if it’s just a chuckle.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

As usual Paul there are things we both agree on. Education being one and illegal immigration another. I, for one, do plan on running for office again and I hold nothing back in declaring that. Matter of fact I am looking at a potential run next year for my Council seat. Keep up the good work my friend I certainly appreciate your efforts.

Ed Springston

Another Opinion said...

Thanks Ed.

Anonymous said...

I have always been interested in your comments on your blog because I usually agree with you and I told my husband that we should meet you. But..your last blog "rambled" and then I read some of your previous blogs. I guess I am surprised about some comments from readers. I still agree with alot of your views so update me because i am surprised.

Still a fan,
Sandy

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the kind of politician we need. Wanna run for governor or president?

Anonymous said...

You represent the majority of Americans. That's why they're afraid of you.

Anonymous said...

You need to pick a party...and clean house!