I will never... ever...EVER run for public office. I don't have the tact or wherewithal to play politics, or the knack for compromising what I believe to make incremental changes. Therefor it would seem counter-intuitive to present a list of issues and where I stand on them, but I do so in the off chance that you, the reader, also believe such things and find it comforting to engage in meaningful, rational debate.
Gay Rights: Humanity is not bound to a polarized sexual preference. Despite what popular opinion would have you believe, there is no black and white, no on and off, no gay or straight. In reality humans exhibit a wide spectrum of sexual attraction, which is as normal as breathing. That is to say, I see no difference between a man who's preferred mate is male and a man who's preferred mate is female; both are welcomed expressions of affection, which have only shown to have positive consequences. I have no problem with gay teachers in public schools, gay soldiers in our military, or gay politicians in office and to legislate against another individuals sexual preference is outlandish, and frankly non of a government's business. We are social creatures, who crave companionship and inherently "couple" ourselves because it is simply easier to weather the trials of life with personal support. Just because you find someone else's bedroom practices unorthodox is no grounds to limit their legal benefits of sharing their home, finances, and name with another individual.
Women's Rights and Abortion: Not owning a uterus I feel I have very little right to be making any claims on this topic. The very idea that a government would purport to tell a woman what she can and can't do to her body is ludicrous, it is even more so to deny her medical treatment from a licensed professional that could in some instances save her life. I'm tired of saggy old men making legally binding decisions on something they know very little about. No one is pro abortion. There is no one arguing a universal termination of pregnancy. We need greater education in schools that teaches a curriculum of responsible sexual activity to lower the number of unwanted pregnancies in the first place. We need to provide our young people with the tools they need to navigate the quagmire of puberty and adolescence and instill the reality, that bringing another individual into the world is a matter of gravest responsibility, which should not be entered into without the expressed expectation of giving that new child every opportunity.
Education: Education is one of the untouchable pieces of sacred ground. The budget for education should never ever decrease. Public schools need funding, they need incentives to attract more talented teachers, and programs that reward effective teachers. Schools need music and art, speech and theatre, as much as they need football and track and field. Our nations schools should be well defended bastions of enlightenment, serving to take impressionable young minds and turn them into productive, well-rounded, free-thinking citizens. Institutions of learning are literally the first and most helpful method to achieve a better, more functional society. Higher education rates have been shown to decrease violent crime, decrease theft, improve the workforce, cultivate a greater understanding about life, and dramatically decrease the instances of unplanned teenage pregnancy. There is NO downside from further educating a nation's people. (Although some might argue that a learned individual will question what they are told and not be so easily lulled by inflated rhetoric. I am not entirely convinced this is a downside at all, come to think of it.)
Burning the Flag and Freedom of Speech: I'm a fan of free speech, as are we all; but more often then not when making this argument people seem to forget that freedom of speech does not come without consequence. Actions have consequences; words have consequences. It's the role of the people and not the government to regulate these consequences. We have to handle our personal freedoms with a modicum of respect and common sense. Do I think it should be illegal to burn an American flag in this country? No. Do I think it is incredibly disrespectful? Yes. But to make it illegal, would be to make disagreeing with the government illegal. That's the double edged sword of the first amendment. People are allowed to say things you disagree with, even things that anger you; and you are allowed to say things that anger them; no matter how rude it may be. So we go about our lives knowing that we can protest our government without fear of incarceration, (an ability we so often take for granted) and we don't need the government to step in like an annoyed parent every time our feelings are hurt.
Freedom of the Press: The press, despite their freedoms, should hold themselves accountable to a standard of journalistic integrity. Media organizations that report the news should be non-profit.
Campaign Finance Reform: Yes, and yes. There should be a monetary cap on all campaign spending, both on money spent in contribution to candidates and money spent by candidates. Corporations should be able to spend a grand total of ZERO dollars on political campaigns. All funds should be transparent. Super-PACs (Political Action Committees) should be illegal. Money is not synonymous with free speech; money is a physical currency exchange of time and effort. All official meetings of an elected official should be recorded and released to their constituents within 24 hours. Meetings with representatives of special interest groups can only take place in an official capacity. All representatives should have term limits contingent on their performance. Being a career politician is an absurd notion. More money was spent on this last campaign that any in the entire history of the world.
If we must make the entire race about money, lets declare the winner whoever raises the most for education; have each and every campaign contribution funnel directly into the education budget, to put more books in classrooms and pay off student loans. Let that decide who runs the country for four years. We would save a years worth of blowhard, partisan rhetoric, and when we end up with the same outcome our students would be better off.
Gun Control: The purpose of the 2nd Amendment, the right to bear arms, is in order to maintain an organized militia in the event of invasion by a foreign power or suppression by a tyrannical government. The founders feared that the government would castrate the people, reducing their ability to fight back if there truly was a despot in power. This was in 1776, when kings and persecution were real and rampant dangers. There is a huge difference between the real dangers faced in early America, versus my real concerns as a tax paying citizen today. In light of this, I see no practical place for guns in today's urban society. I have faith that our military is made of logical free-thinking individuals who would refuse to shoot and kill innocent citizens of their own country. I also have great faith that our armed forces can effectively defend us against domestic invasion by a foreign power. I also highly doubt my own effectiveness against a trained military incursion in my living room, even with the aide of an assault rifle.
Legalized Marijuana: Marijuana is mostly harmless. The people who love it, use it already. The people who are on the fence have probably tried it, or would try it to no serious effect. Legalize it, regulate it, tax it, and pardon everyone in prison who are there solely for marijuana possession charges.
The Death Penalty: The amount of people we have incarcerated in this country is appalling. We need a serious investigation into solutions to crime which actually facilitate rehabilitation of law-breakers. Locking them up is not working, not to mention expensive. Killing them is irresponsible and criminally negligent. No government should willingly kill any of its own citizens under any circumstance.
Prayer in Schools and the Separation of Church and State: There should be a marked clear delineation between church and state. By not subscribing to a specific religious doctrine, the government inherently preserves the right of the individual to worship them all. This ensures that no religion or viewpoint will ever be forcibly imposed or endorsed by the government. This means no organized prayer in schools, no mention of a specific "God" or any God on our currency, and no Christmas trees in the White House. Government is government, church is church, and ne'er the two shall meet. Churches pay no taxes, and therefore forego the right to dictate policy, sway voters, or endorse candidates. In turn the government resolves to stay out of our living rooms and places of worship, making no regulations or legal limitations upon personal beliefs or practices, providing they do not intend to purposefully harm others. We are not a Christian nation, nor are we a Muslim or Jewish nation, we are a nation of religious freedom and infinite diversity. Lets keep it that way, shall we.
Privacy: Every citizen deserves a right to privacy and should not be subject to, or legislated against their personal beliefs or practices. No corporation reserves the right to record, compile, or document your personal information for the sole purpose of selling you something. The private lives and personal practices of elected officials, cannot dictate discrimination on their suitability for holding public office.
Financial Regulation: Because money has become synonymous with power, and power invariably corrupts, it is the role of the Federal Government to put in place such safeguards and regulations to prevent financial institutions from screwing over the average person. A complete free market does not work, and has shown to inspire remarkable corruption which takes advantage of the working class. Financial institutions live in a world without consequences and that cavalier stance towards corruption has gone on for far too long.