Despite the bloody political war that is raging between the right and left, there is a lot we should agree on.
Political warfare is getting extreme. We need not take this a a given. That’s us doing these things, and we can choose differently. As deeply as I believe in what I believe politically, my personal views are no longer as important as just getting a healthy political environment going again. Let me forget my views for a second and you forget yours. Let’s talk solely about what we agree on.
1. Ideally, there wouldn’t be abortions.
Everyone agrees that in the ideal world, no one would need to have an abortion. There is nothing intrinsically good about abortions. Regardless of whether you believe abortion is a sin, a crime or a protected right of a woman, we all agree that abortions are to be avoided. No one wants to have an abortion, per se, except in extreme cases like rape or incest. If we agree that ideally there wouldn’t be abortions, I believe that is a goal we can work toward. Left, Middle and Right can all agree on this goal. If we are rational people we should make the necessary compromises to achieve this goal.
2. Everyone wants more money.
Some people think that the government should be well-funded and do a lot of things for a lot of people. Some people believe that the government should be small and people should have the minimum possible tax burden. Both sides agree that the goal of this is that people have more money. I want to clarify this to say, we’re not necessarily talking about money, we’re talking about value. Both sides agree that what we want from our government is an entity that is efficient and that provides, or stays out of the way of the market providing, the services we need as a nation, state or city in a way that gives us all good value. The Right essentially believes that the big government represents a redistribution of wealth and a fiscally irresponsible approach. The Left believes that a government that helps people that need help (in addition to more mundane governmental matters) will create a larger economy and ultimately benefit everyone. Both of these have one goal — create an environment where people can earn a good standard of living.
3. Our government is and should be supported by taxation.
I’m trying to be non-partisan here, but #3 is a fact and has been a foundation of this country since Day 1. I say this only because conservatives often talk about “redistribution of wealth” in taxation debates. Regardless of what you call it, the America that we love so much is and can only be supported by the efforts (read: dollars) of the citizenry. The taxation debate is a debate of degree. If you disagree with #3 and you live in America, you are living in the wrong country. The US Government is supported by taxes and only taxes. Again, I’m really not trying to make a partisan statement, this is a fact.
4. Taxation of people with no money is not effective.
While again I run the risk of seeming partisan, this again is a fact. It is not effective to tax people with little or no money. The reason America has historically used progressive taxation is because it is the most effective way to gain revenue. I’m not here to argue for progressive taxation but only to state that it is historically what America has used because it is effective. Flat taxation is less effective.
5. War should be a last resort.
Americans are not by nature blood thirsty. The vast majority of us do not employ violence in our everyday lives. Killing people is bad and even in cases of international crisis, war should be used only when all other methods fail. I know we agree on this. Whenever we debate war we should keep in mind that we agree on the fact that war is like abortion and is should not be used unnecessarily.
6. We need the environment to be healthy.
This is a fact. We need this. Everybody wants clean water, clear air, healthy babies and healthy bodies. You don’t piss in the well. This is a no-brainer. Again, this is a debate of degree. How should this fact effect our policy? While we can debate policy we should not debate science. Neither side should doctor the science to support their side. We need good information if we are to make good decisions about the environment.
7. Separation of church and state is a good thing.
This should not be a debate of degree. Either we support the brilliant notion of our forefathers that a state must remain neutral in matters of religion or we are living in the wrong country. Freedom of religion demands this. Especially if you are religious you should support Freedom of Religion. This should not even be debated except by constitutional amendment.
Now here’s the thing. Cross off the ones you don’t agree with. The list is still a start of a thing that can get us out of this political warfare. This stuff is too important to have it undermined by partisan warfare. Let’s work on this list, let’s send it to our representatives, and let’s insist that they put down their arms and work on this stuff.