Darrell Berkheimer: Am I a conservative or a liberal?
At times I refer to myself as a liberal on social issues and conservative on fiscal issues.
But I don’t like labels like that. I believe most people will be conservative on some issues and liberal on others, depending on the issue.
Am I a conservative or liberal, if I want affordable health care for all our citizens — like the healthcare provided for our federal employees, elected politicians, military and veterans?
If I want equal education opportunities for our children?
If I want our public schools financed more equitably — rather than by property taxes that vary to extremes, according to whether our children live in poor or rich school districts?
If I want millions and billions of waste eliminated from our government agencies – especially our Defense Department?
If I want our country to stop political and corporate meddling in the internal affairs of other nations?
If I want our country to stop trying to be the world’s policeman — and to stop sending so many of our young men and women to places where they can be killed or maimed?
Am I a conservative or liberal if I want easy ways for our citizens to vote without having to travel distances or stand in long lines?
If I want many of our Congress members to stop thinking more of themselves rather than the needs of our citizens?
If I agree to the cutting corporate taxes, but only after unneeded loopholes, deductions and credits are eliminated?
If I believe our national forests, parks and BLM lands belong to all our people, including me, and not just the states where they are located?
If I believe we need to stop those actions that are causing irreparable damage to our planet?
If I believe we must end environmental practices that are causing various species to go extinct?
Am I a conservative or liberal if I believe in conservation?
If I believe in requiring balanced budgets?
If I believe we need to make post-high school education and/or training affordable for all?
If I want the maximum deduction limit eliminated on the FICA payroll tax — as long as there is no limit on income for those who can collect Social Security and Medicare?
If I want limits on the percent of profit pharmaceutical companies can make on doctor-prescribed drugs?
If I want our federal government to stop allowing our U.S. companies to sell military weapons to other nations who are committing genocide?
If I want stricter controls and penalties on those members of the media, including the internet, who knowingly broadcast and publish lies and fake news stories?
If I want labels, warnings and taxes on products that cause cancer and other serious health problems, raising healthcare costs for those of us who are non-users?
Am I a conservative or liberal if I want our courts to be just as tough on corporate criminals as they are in blue collar crime? (I’m thinking especially of the bankers and Wall Street traders who caused our 2008-09 recession. Do you see any of them in prison?)
But I’m sure you get my point. It is the issues that matter, not the label.
And in reading the commentary last week by Todd Juvinall, I noted that he and I can agree on some issues, too. He says: We need to overhaul the Civil Service system; I agree. That we need to eliminate frivolous lawsuits; I agree. That the corporate elite and politicians should be required to live under the same laws as the rest of us; I agree.
I also agree it is good that the voices of rural folks, who have been left behind, have now been heard. They are the ones most responsible for the shift from the predicted election results.
But what I don’t agree with is using labels like “snowflakes,” and demeaning President Obama just because we disagree with him. I think we need to stick to issues, and not get personal.
And I disagree with the use of the term “rioting” after the election. Simple protests are not rioting. Nearly all of the damage that occurred was caused by the anarchists who were unwanted participants in the Portland protests. The Portland news media can document the history of anarchists taking similar actions in the past.
But again, it is the issues that are important, the results that we seek — and then working together to bring about needed changes — rather than attacking one another with labels.
If I am going to be labeled, I guess I prefer “Progressive.” And Todd Juvinall also could be labeled a Progressive on some issues over which we agree. But the label is neither necessary nor important.
Labels simply cause divisiveness, and impede our ability to resolve many issues.
Darrell Berkheimer, who lives in Grass Valley, writes a biweekly column published Saturdays by The Union. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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