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Monday, November 03, 2008

Why I Am a Moderate

This recent post at The Moderate Voice easily summed up my thinking during this election season. A conservative friend who I trust and respect asked me to share with him some of my thoughts about why I'm a moderate. So here is my response:

I think I'm moderate about a variety of issues, but also moderate in that on some issues I'm conservative while others I may be a bit more liberal. In theory I like the idea of a small government and local control and as a Christian ideally having the church do much of the work that the government is doing. But I don't think that the idea of a free market works anywhere close to 100%. I'm sure you'd agree to some extent that the true laissez faire approach won't work. I think that our Biblical worldview shows us that humans are naturally self-centered and want what is best for ourselves. It is only after we have been redeemed that we can understand unconditional love and sacrifice for others in the purest sense. Therefore I think that if there were no regulations on the marketplace/country in general then all hell would break loose.

I think a pretty easy example of this would be health care. Letting the health insurance companies dictate the rules and regulations has left a lot people un- or under-insured. And like back in the old days when they would just deny all claims as SOP. Insurance companies want to increase their bottom line and will do whatever it takes to make sure their CEO gets a nice little bonus. I won't dive into specific policy details, but simply put everyone should have access to some type of affordable health-care. We are currently paying insurance premiums that go up in part because our neighbors can't afford a doctors visit and go to the local ER instead. This is expensive, partly because ER visits are generally more expensive, but also because many times the illness or injury has taken a severe turn for the worse. A close relative went to several urgent care facilities with stomach pains because she didn't have health insurance. This is a little bit cheaper and more responsible than an ER, but because she was seeing different doctors no one really thought there was a real problem. I think ultimately she caught a good doctor and he realized something bigger was wrong and they found her cancers. But if she hadn't got a good doc? who knows.. At the time she was being treated at Wishard hospital (which is a pretty decent place) but now that she has insurance she can go to IU Med Center (one of the top research facilities in the country). Why the disparity and double standard? Getting the cold or flu treated early can be a lot cheaper than treating pneumonia or something worse. Another major health related issue is prevention. Diabetes is a huge drain on the health-care system and can be prevented or at least have the affects stunted by proper preventative health-care. I could go on but the last point I'll make about health care (I think) is that much $ is spent on CYA testing and procedures because everyone is afraid of getting sued. To an extent this is healthy but what is wrong with some type of tort-reform to prevent frivolous law suits??

I'm a moderate because I think abortion is a heinous act, but should a small government interfere? Or why not actually do something to prevent abortions from occurring?? We've had a pro-life government for at least 4-6 years and what changed? Yes, Chief Justice Roberts is a stalwart pro-life choice, but he also doesn't believe in legislating from the bench so he isn't going to overturn Roe v Wade anytime soon.

I'm moderate because I think peace is a great idea, but sometimes we need to project and act out our power and military might just to remind people that peace takes some work. And maybe we should occasionally live up to our promises and really be a leader (Darfur).

I'm a moderate because I think each individual person has inherent worth and dignity as a child of God and each person should have the equal opportunity to succeed in life. Just because I grew up in a screwed up family doesn't mean I should be forced to live a screwed up life. I was blessed to have people around me who cared and supported me - not everyone has that. A family living in the ghetto struggling to make ends meet needs more than a free lunch at school to ensure educational success. Why can't inner-city schools have the same gorgeous/opulent facilities of a suburban school? Why must the school I work at scrape together every possible resource to make sure our students can pass a test? One of our students saw his mom stab her boyfriend in the eye with a screwdriver and another student saw a man gunned down on the street and those are just two instances that I know of. We have an amazing staff but kids still get lost because of their home and surrounding environment. Why should they pay for their parent's sin?

I'm a moderate because I believe the US is a nation of immigrants, founded and prospered through illegal immigration. Yes we need to do something to insure the physical safety of our country, but immigration is a part of our history and the global economy in which we are a part. If we want to insure national security we need to do more than kick out immigrants and build fences, we need to make sure that our trade policies are a little fairer, we need to make sure that people around the world have a chance at education and maybe a real meal or two a day. Did you know there is enough money in the US alone to (on paper at least) end world hunger? Why should we spend millions of dollars to ship food to Africa on an American flagged vessel, when African farmers produce the same product? If we spent our food aid money on food in Africa, we could help African farmers and their entire country pull themselves out of poverty - which makes our country a little safer.

I'm a moderate because I don't think drilling off-shore is going to produce any long-term benefits to our energy issues. Drilling off-shore will only allow us to keep the status quo a little bit longer. How can all the major auto manufacturers make cars that meet California emission standards or cars that are much more fuel efficient but get shipped overseas - yet claim they can't produce the same car for the US? Did you know for awhile that Honda produced the most fuel efficient vehicle on the market - but it was gas powered? At the time according to Consumer Reports the Honda gas-engine car was overall more fuel efficient than the hybrids being produced? The market dictated more horsepower and said hell to fuel economy, until energy costs sky-rocketed. When I worked at Honda's Accord and Acura plant they switched all kinds of parts around for a European or Asian and even Californian bound car to make them meet the stricter standards. Why shouldn't the government step in and make some minor requests for the long-term benefit of our country.

I guess those are few reasons why I am a moderate... no one party has all the right answers for me.

I look forward to your thoughtful responses...

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