Living with a ‘liberal’ label


All the negative comments I’ve seen this past week from right wing extremists about my personal opinion of Rush Limbaugh — mainly by anonymous Internet users who have no idea who I am as a person — started me thinking about where I do shake out politically.

I know I am neither Democrat nor Republican although I do typically vote in Republican primaries because that is oftentimes the deciding race in local politics.

Over the years, I’ve been called a liberal more times than I can count (I would never venture to guess how many times former Logan County Sheriff Michael Henry asked, “How’s my favorite liberal reporter today?”)

Although I’ve usually just let those comments slide, I’ve never considered myself all that liberal, however.

And when it gets down to brass tacks, I’m finding I may be a lot more conservativethan most people  who know me may realize — at least on the economic issues. I even voted for Ron Paul in the last two presidential primaries.

So I’m going to tell you what I do believe and let you decide what you think.

First and foremost, I believe in fiscal conservatism at all levels of government. Wasteful spending is the root of economic downfall.

I believe the two-party political system we have come to accept limits our nation’s ability to grow intellectually and prevents those with a genuine desire to affect change from realistically achieving any meaningful ends.

I believe Congress as it is organized under the Constitution (i.e. both houses being elected on solely geographic criteria) is no longer the best-suited body to represent the diversity of people in the United States.

I believe in a limited military capable of protecting our homeland and a strong citizenry with the right to bear arms that would assist the armed forces against any effort to invade our nation. Let other countries deal with their own issues and wage international warfare only when there is a serious cry for help or blatant human rights violation.

I believe in severely cutting regulatory government but, at the same time, I believe government-run social programs such as public education, public roads and transportation and even a well-run public health care program that provides free basic preventive and emergency medicine are essential to a healthy society based on equality.

I believe in limiting welfare and disability programs to only the most severe cases.

I do not believe the government should step in and tell individuals or businesses they must buy health insurance, eat broccoli or not drink super-sized sodas.

I also don’t believe the state should force religious or other groups to hand out free birth control. Leave that up to the free public clinics.

I do believe in fostering ideas throughout our society now regarding population control, primarily by giving up the senseless debates on assisted suicide, pulling the plug on coma patients or a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

I am not a Christian although I do respect the beliefs of Christians and recognize the importance of the social programs churches provide. But I do not view the afterlife in the way most Christians do. Instead, I tend to believe in a form of reincarnation and karma that determines our reward or punishment in the next life.

Thus, I believe in the summary execution of convicted murderers and repeat violent offenders and the physical castration of violent rapists, which would in turn reduce government spending on prisons.

I believe all naturally-occurring, non-processed substances currently classified as drugs should be decriminalized. On the flip side of that coin, I believe the production of processed chemicals, including prescription pain relievers and other pharmaceuticals should be slashed and violators (including major pharmaceutical companies) should be held accountable and dealt with as criminal offenders.

I believe in personal responsibility for one’s own actions and a genuine compassion for other human beings.

And although I may not have stated it quite this succinctly in my previous column, I believe this is what motivated West Liberty-Salem runner Meghan Vogel to carry another runner over the finish line and not — as Limbaugh told his listeners — a lack of competitive spirit that indicates a decline in American drive to succeed.

So this is what I believe. Call it what you will.

That being said, I still believe the Rush Limbaughs, Bill Mahers and all those purported journalists whose sole purpose in their professional careers is to help one party control the presidency and Congress are not worth a hill of beans.

Reuben Mees is an Examiner staff writer who would like to thank the many local residents — both Democrat and Republican — who expressed both their favor and disfavor for the previous column in rational terms. He can be reached at rmees@examiner.org.

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