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Somewhere Left of Bernie

Warning: This is a political post. It reflects my personal viewpoints. It most likely contains some language because that's what politics does to me. You will most likely disagree with some - or all - of this post, and that's okay. We're allowed to disagree. Please don't come looking for a fight though, because I won't engage.

Warning: This post contains language, sorry about that.

Warning: This post talks about my perspective on religion.

My 20’s were an interesting road of self-discovery and de-programming. I spent my childhood having god, guns, country crammed down my throat - and I must admit - I was taken by it. But once I got outside of my small town Ohio bubble I realized how terrible most of the belief systems I was taught really are. I have spent the last decade trying to align my thinking towards a more global-centric view, instead of one that so narrowly focuses on what’s mine.

Where I grew up, there was always this facade of godliness and caring for one another, but once you pulled back the curtain you realized it was all a lie. No one actually cared for anyone other than themselves, they didn’t actually believe the big guy stuff they were professing, and they certainly weren’t patriots. It was all a show. A show built to survive an echo chamber of ultra-right conservativism.

Rather than look outside their small county, they focus on what they know, what they understand, and build up walls around it. True Christians turned to social media Christians after a few generations, they don’t truly live what they say, but they’ll certainly tell you they do, they’ll show you they do - by ensuring their kids make it to Sunday school and Wednesday night youth groups. But at the end of the day, they’re also the same people that are multiple marriages deep and on the precipice of another divorce.

They profess they are Pro-Life, but only as far as that embryo turning into a human. Once it’s been born, it’s on it’s own. Because that baby is no longer an idea, a theory - it’s a real living, breathing thing that needs support, love, and protection. But they don’t actually want to do any of the hard work, they just want to put on a show about what they believe. The ability for a woman to choose is a loss of power for the cis-white men who have grown up believing that women should be sub-servient to men, and they’re bodies are just “vessels”. Truly disgusting belief system. Even more disgusting that it’s being continually ground into more young men and women, year after year.

Turning the page on this belief system has been a long slow process for me. It’s been years of learning about the lives of people that are different from me. Learning to accept people that are different from me for who they are and not trying to press my belief system on them, but instead examining my own beliefs and seeing if I truly believe them - here’s a secret - I didn’t.

  • I don’t believe that women should be sub-servient to men.
  • I don’t believe that some being, some man, is all powerful, omni-present, omniscient
  • I don’t believe that I was put on this planet to worship this being
  • I don’t believe that America should be put first over the rest of the planet
  • I don’t believe that every person should have easy access to guns
  • I don’t believe that my rights should infringe on someone else’s rights

What do I believe?

I believe that all people are created (that Creationism shows up everywhere) equal, no matter their identified gender, their race, orientation, country of origin, country of residence, or their belief system. Even if I don’t agree with your belief systems, you still have the right to believe what you do, so long as it doesn’t effect the health of others around you. You see, you’re not the only one on this planet, and this planet certainly doesn’t exist solely for you and yours. We all are feeling, experiencing, living the things that are happening here - so we should all do what we can to support and protect one another.

I believe that I, and all the other men of the world, have absolutely no business telling a woman what she can or cannot do with her body, or being involved in making legislation about what a woman can or cannot do with her body. Without exception.

I believe that corporations and the ultra-wealthy should carry most of the tax burden placed on this country. If an individual US citizen can be taxed even when living abroad, the same should apply to corporations. If corporations so badly want to be given the same rights as people, then they should be taxed the same. The metric for determining if you’re ultra-wealthy is if Forbes tracks your wealth. From there, moving down the wealth brackets until you hit $120k there should be ever decreasing levels of taxes. Why $120k? Well it’s a hell of a lot higher than our current low bar for taxes and we haven’t adjusted for true inflation and cost of living in a long time.

I believe that our tax code should be much simpler than it is now and look more like a brick wall than swiss cheese. Taxation and Returns should happen automatically at the end of the year, this should not be as hard as it is. I know this will destroy an entire tax preparation industry, but that’s the price of progress. But isn’t that capitalism?

I believe that every person inside the US, citizen or not, regardless of income, should have access to free healthcare: preventative and emergent, dental, and optometry too. Healthcare absolutely should not be tied to employment, all this does is stifle entrepreneurial opportunity and put down the marginalized, under-represented, minority, and the poor communities.

I believe that every person inside the US, citizen or not, should have access to equal levels of education, housing, and food. There’s no reason why we should have millions of homeless and food insecure children and adults in this country.

I believe that every person deserves a living wage in the city that they are working. If a worker cannot live within 30 minutes of their place of employment because the cost of living is too high, then I believe their compensation should be adjusted to allow for it.

I believe that there should be a cap on the ratio a CEO can make compared to their lowest level employee. And yes, that includes stock compensation too.

I believe that employers should be banned from blocking and intimidating employees that are attempting to unionize.

I believe that we should have Universal Basic Income in the US, that is not means-tested, rather adjusted on end of year taxes once a person reaches $120k in income.

I believe that we should have clear, expedient ways of immigrating to the US, for refugees or people just seeking to move here.

I believe that for-profit prisons should be outlawed, most drugs de-criminalized at the federal and state level, legally sold & taxed, and low-level drug convictions and mis-demeanors purged from our prisons. Bring back the idea of “Rehabilitation”.

I believe that the death penalty should be outlawed in all states.

I believe that the US does not need to be the global police. We should not be trying to push our way of living on other countries. Yet, we should be intervening when human rights attrocities occur.

I believe that we should redirect a huge part of our defense spending to improve the infrastructure and quality of life in our nation: Roads, Bridges, Climate Disaster, Green Energy, Education, Housing, Healthcare, etc.

I believe that the US has no right to be surveiling it’s own populace, or that of other nations.

I believe that we should be 50x more aggressive on Climate Change than we are. Outlaw coal electricity plants, double down on Wind, Solar, Nuclear, and all other forms of renewable energy. I believe we should encourage and help fund all vehicle manufacturers to increase their development of electric vehicles, batteries, and charging technology. I believe we should increase the pressure on the airline industry to work towards net-zero emissions in the next 10 years.

I believe the FDA should work to approve new products for market, not retroactively remove them after something is found to be wrong. There are thousands of chemicals and toxins that European countries have banned in their products, but in the US we’re too busy touting capitalism first to ban anything, les we slow a company’s path to profit.

I believe that the FCC should stay the hell out of the internet itself and focus on regulating the cellular and broadband industry. They’ve been taking advantage of their customers for far too many years.

I believe that political districts should be determined in an automated fashion based on census and that not a single politician should be able to intervene.

I believe that every single human in the United States should be registered automatically to vote once they turn 18.

I believe that we should be able to vote from our homes, from our phones, wherever we are, without a bunch of roadblocks.

I beleive that politicians who benefit from the results of any vote, have no business regulating how voting happens.

I believe that all corporate funding of elections should be banned and extreme oversight should be given to ensure that dark money and special interest money is removed from our entire political process.

I believe all corporate lobbying should be agressively targeted and banned.

I believe that politicians must be required to live in their districts they represent for more than 51% of the year.

I believe in term limits. Political appointment and representation should not be a lifetime career, but a service.

I believe we have far too many police officers and a tenth the amount of social workers and other mental health professionals that should be involved in most of the police interventions that occur.

I believe our police do not need billions of dollars worth of military hardware, vehicles, and helicopters.

I believe our police should not be terrorizing the citizens they’ve vowed to protect.

I believe that there should be a national registry of police misconduct used to ensure that the “bad apples” are denied future employment.

I believe that there are systemic issues with law enforcement nationwide and that it needs to be majorly overhauled.

So what does this make me?

If you were to ask anyone on the right what they think of what I listed above, they’d immediately balk. But I bet, somewhere deep down inside, they probably agree with a lot of these things. But when you view all of these items in the light of our current political environment, it probably places me somewhere left of Bernie.

10 years ago I wouldn’t believe that this was written by me. Hell, even 4 years ago I would bet that I wouldn’t believe some of these items. But you know what, we need more politicians that fight for these things. We need more politicians that actually represent the people they were elected to represent.

/wes