Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Make Arguments For The Right, Because They Don't Seem Able To

I'm so frustrated watching the Republican National Convention it makes my head hurt.  The purposeful disregard for reason and truth they are slinging is so deep that it's preventing them from even being able to make arguments for their views that make sense.  It really seems like they can't be bothered to build the case for their own side, much less launch a cogent counter-argument to the policy ideas of their opponent.

So I'll do it for them.  Understand that what follows does not represent my views, but is simply an exercise in showing that reason can be applied to support the current Republican platform.  They just aren't doing it.

ABORTION - If you believe that life begins at conception then abortion is murder, plain and simple.  That means that even having exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother should be unacceptable.  You do not make a horrific crime better by committing another crime.  The circumstances of conception matter a great deal, but they cannot be an excuse for murder.

DEATH PENALTY - There's no conflict between being pro-life and pro-capital punishment.  An unborn child is innocent.  But once a person has had the chance to make choices about the path of their life, they are responsible for the consequences of those actions.  Some actions are such an extreme departure from the demands of civilization that society cannot risk the perpetrator ever being released.

TAXES - We need to learn to spend within our means, so that we don't feel the need to put an undue responsibility of financial citizenship on the wealthy.  There is no reason to have different tax responsibilities based on income.  A fair, across the board tax rate, with certain breaks given to the lowest earners is the fairest, most sensible approach.  We need to stop being the teenager who asks dad for more money because we already spent our allowance.

SPENDING - We need to put our collective wallet back in our pocket.  Entitlement programs are a mistake.  Not because they lack honorable goals, but because the Federal Gov't is too big and unwieldy to effectively deal with the specific issues of local communities.  Money should be left in those communities, through tax breaks, to allow those on the ground, the ones who know best, to determine what is most efficient for their locale.

DEFENSE SPENDING - In a perfect world we would not need to spend a penny on defense.  But we don't live in a perfect world.  Defense spending has gotten out of control, and we need to take a hard look at what we're getting for the money we spend from defense contractors.  But we cannot cut current spending without a specific plan that protects all the current and former members of our armed forces.  Disrespecting their sacrifices for our country is too great a cost to pay, no matter the financial benefit.

EDUCATION - Teachers should be as responsible for their effectiveness as any other professional.  A base achievement measure is unworkable because different populations of students have different ability levels coming in to each grade, but expecting to see a set percentage improvement in student ability from the beginning to the end of the school year is not only reasonable, but necessary.  And the ultimate goal should always be to direct all students to a standard level of excellence.

GAY MARRIAGE - Marriage is a cornerstone of the strength of our society.  It creates stability, support, and a sense of responsibility to the community and the country at large.  It is already at its weakest point ever, with divorce rates reaching 50%.  Trying to redefine it at its most challenging time threatens to weaken it even further, which in turn weakens the Nation.

ABSTINENCE PROGRAMS - We need to stop acting like it is ok for children to have sex.  Of course we will be there to support them through the consequences if they make that mistake, but it is absolutely not acceptable for children to get the message that they do not have the ability to control their sexual urges.  It is our responsibility to teach them that sense of self-respect and discipline.

GAYS/WOMEN IN THE MILITARY - The reality of close infantry training is that it is not like normal society.  If there is a person you are uncomfortable with for whatever reason in everyday life, you can avoid them, get used to them, what have you.  But close infantry training requires a certain homogeneity because anything that serves as a distraction from the mission and the training is a danger both to the soldiers involved and the country.

RELIGION IN POLITICS - Thomas Jefferson's separation of church and state idea was to prevent the establishment of a state sponsored religion.  All in this country are free to worship, or not worship as they wish.  But the idea that somehow a politician cannot be guided by their religious morals is both an overreach on Jefferson's intent, and a foolish goal.  Being guided by one's deeply held religious beliefs is not only unavoidable, it is absolutely necessary.

IMMIGRATION - There is no doubt that many illegal immigrants are decent, hard-working people at heart.  But being an overall good person does not excuse committing a crime.  We can understand it, but cannot support it.  Illegal immigration is not OK, and giving a pass to those who came into our country illegally sends the message that the crime doesn't really matter.  That's a dangerous message to send in an era when border security and immigration controls are hugely important to the safety of our nation.

So to clarify once again, these are not my views, but I'd rather make arguments for the Republicans than listen to them continue to lie and distort for no better apparent reason than it's easy to do.  I don't see myself revisiting this, but if you have any Republican positions that you'd like to see what my take would be if I was a speechwriter or policy maker for them, let me know.  Maybe I'll put a sequel together.