Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Sharp, Windy, Wobbly Turn to the Left

I'm often asked by people who knew me before I became a bleeding-heart Liberal why I now, as my mother puts it, follow the dark side?  Well, there are many answers to that question.  But first, let me tell you about how I used to think before 2012.

I was a fledgling academic.  I studied, I worked, I passed my classes most of the time, and I debated fervently with Liberals who could engage me in an academic fight.  Once it started getting name-cally, that was the end of my discussion with people.  At that point, an argument has reached critical mass and only explodes after that point.  I was a firm believer, which also was motivated by my evangelical upbringing in-part, that you got what you deserved because you likely did something wrong in the past to bring about a poor future for yourself, and it wasn't the government's job to help you clean up your personal mess.  Now, to be clear, that doesn't necessarily mean I was against government assistance to people who "truly" needed it.  People like the disabled and the elderly who clearly are unable to work in any fashion or with very limited capacities did indeed deserve government assistance to maintain a reasonable standard of living.

There were, however, people I felt who were literally leeching off the public teet and felt that was immoral because as someone who does work for what he has everyone should work to have anything.  I argued against public institutions for everything.  Healthcare especially was one that I argued against for most of the years that I was Republican.  I believed that any attempt to socialize the system would result in it's collapse...especially after looking at Canada's health system and seeing the upward trend of health care spending.  I felt that while socialized health care was a noble idea, it was unattainable in our country because of how the current system was structured.  I also felt that if such a system were to be implemented, it would need to be radically altered from the current system to a controlled system, which I also didn't favor.  I felt that the more eggs we put into the government basket, the higher risk we are at severely damaging society if we ever collapsed as a nation.

For economics, I believed, as many Republicans do, that wealth flows from the top down.  While I understand the reasoning and it seems to make sense in some re
spect that flow of wealth only depended on the benevolence of business.  At the time, this to me seemed reasonable.  You play by the rules, work hard, do your job, and do it well, and you earn rewards and promotions.  It also meant that you moved up the ladder, gained influence, and your word carried more weight.  The system is deeply dependent on powerful people being generous to those beneath them.  It was also a valu
e that I connected with because I was taught, as a brought-up evangelical, that you reap what you sew, but that also people in power have an obligation to be just and generous and pay those who work what they're owed.

When regarding taxes, I was more moderate.  I hated greed, even as a Republican because I felt that greed was one of those things that ruined, what would be, a reasonably well-working economic system.  I defined greed as the unreasonable or irrational need to accumulate wealth at any cost, including risking injury to others or by way of immoral or unethical means of acquisition.  While I never agreed (and still don't even as a Democrat) agree with using the IRS as a wealth redistribution medium, I understood that tax policy can be used to motivate behavior such as preventing certain immoral practices.  As a Republican, I had written a tax structure which punished greed by taxing those gains.  Dissuading greed was a means for that wealth to flow down to those generating that wealth.  But for the greedy, it's never enough.  It's a disease like alcoholism or drug abuse or sexual addiction.  It's the thrill of seeing your influence and power increase exponentially or even geometrically without any end that is so exciting.  I understood that excitement.  But I reasoned that truly just and fair wealthy people would never pay unjust wages to employees, even when the market forces that press down on wages warrant it.

While I conceded that the wealthy worked for what they had, I also understood that many people start getting hurt when wages are stifled and ability for advancement is blocked.  Also as someone who did indeed work for a living, that wages should reflect more than just productivity, but should reflect loyalty and seniority as well.  I seldom saw these reflected in wage offers.  When for example I went to work as a delivery driver at a Pizza Hut in Moscow, ID.  I was appalled that I was to be paid $5.15/hr for delivering pizza and only $0.50 per delivery which didn't even pay for the gas being used.  I had at least two years experience, and knew every job in that Pizza Hut from my previous Pizza Huts that I had worked at.  And while it wasn't a glamorous job, I felt that my experience warranted more than $5.15/hr.  Or a Walmart I worked at where pay USED to reflect past experience, but doesn't any more.  Walmart used to take all your previous experience, total it up on a chart, and that is how much more per hour you would earn starting, then still you would get at least a small raise after 90 days.  For the m
ost profitable company in the world, that's now gone away.  It's standardized based on what the company wants to pay and doesn't leave any room for wage growth at all.  For two generations, wages were based on four different factors: Unionization, demand, quality and seniority.  The wages today are not nearly as competitive because unionization has been squashed.  Too many times as a Republican did I defend the anti-labor policies believing genuinely that those that had much would help those who had little.  There was little evidence of such actual provision then, and there is certainly a lack of it now more so than before.  Faith in those who had an abundance, who were trusted with much...seldom give to those who have little.  Whether that's starting a plant in a small town to employ that town, or declining cheap labor abroad to provide a living for our citizens here.  The axiom that we've all heard constantly rings in my head and it was just as asinine as it is now..."It's just business."  That is a lazy and empty statement...which to me, demonstrates the lack of heart for others beneath you.  Again, a view that my evangelical principles taught me fervently: compassion and charity.

For personal issues, obviously I ignored a huge part of myself when it came to Marriage equality and gay rights.  I was in deep denial about it for a long time...and in many ways it injured me and others as a result.  Often, I think back to high school and ask myself..."should I have just been more bold and said "Yes, I'm gay, get over it." and just carry on like nothing's different?"  To me for a long time, gay marriage was a form of special right or privilege.  I endorsed the idea of "separate but equal", calling civil unions an institution that was entirely equal to marriage in every legal respect.  However, at the time, even as someone who is Gay himself, failed to recognize that there was indeed a social stigmata that came with being "civilly unioned" vs. "Married".  As I listened to arguments on both sides of this specific issue with great interest...my viewpoint steadily shifted towards the vi
ew that all the arguments against equal marriage were indeed religious based.  And that if I endorse the idea of Church and State being separate as institutions, then religious arguments are insufficient to deny such rights to LGBT couples.  While I was ready to concede that point, the peacemaker in me wante
d to try to find middle ground which both sides might consent to.  But again, my interactions with conservatives on this issue always resulted in the same arguments against it.  Arguments like "It's against natural law" or "It's a perversion of God's plan" or the classic "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" and so on and so forth.  No argument could be presented to me that was scientific or justified which would warrant codifying a prohibition for two people to engage in a legal contract.  I remember during my time at Evergreen getting into a border-line shouting match about the position with another classmate of mine who was herself a lesbian.  We were both very passionate about our viewpoints and so finally we had to take a step back and relax.  I pondered more about the issue, and realized "wait, marriage is a religious term, and this wouldn't have happened had the government upheld properly the separation of Church and State's institutions.

Or how about abortion where my genuine concern was indeed for the unborn child.  I wasn't unsympathetic to mothers who had unwanted pregnancies...but I was also of the mind that you don't have a right to discard your responsibility by getting an abortion.  My opinions about this issue used to be particularly harsh and unsympathetic.  It was easy to blend my personal religious attitudes about abortion with my political views on the subject.  The easy way of reconciling the issue is to just dig your feet in the ground and go "A life is a life and it's not yours to end."  This "principled" stand is usually the one that I see in most pro-life contenders.  Even as a Republican though, my views started shifting towards a more libertarian viewpoint that...the moral issues aside, a mother has a right to end a pregnancy if she wants to because it's her body which is usually the standard for most Libertarian-minded people.  If there is a moral issue to be settled, let her settle it with her god, her doctor, her family, and herself.  The government has no right to legislate what grows in a person's body.  As I've articulated before in previous blog posts and comments, I personally wouldn't have an abortion if I could have a child, but that doesn't mean I'm ready to use the law to force women to have children they don't want or didn't intend to have.  I would not entertain the government imprisoning and forcing a woman to complete her pregnancy.  Such a practice would be inhuman and deeply demeaning to women everywhere.  Nothing in my moral compass allows me to endorse laws that force women to do anything, let alone reproduce.  Again before I was pro-choice, I reasoned that "God intends every child to exist, and therefore I find it immoral to interfere with that divine incarnation that is reproduction.
If that baby was conceived, that baby is meant to be...and to do anything else except in rape or incest is deeply morally objectionable."  The problem with this point of view is that it results in a status where women are being held hostage by the state in their own bodies, and subjected to unfair levels of legal scrutiny.  The abortion issue is one that many of us understand is NOT a black and white issue...as much as conservatives would prefer it to be.  After all, black and white issues are much easier to justify because they don't require deeper thinking and reasoning skills.  I would always hope, however, when I was a conservative that, that the prolife groups would start housing and pregnancy centers that empowered women with tools and skills and assistance to carry healthy and wanted pregnancies.  However I seldom hear of such facilities being opened by prolife groups.  Most of the propaganda from prolife groups were that of broad condemnation of individual choice.  Some even going so far as to state that a woman's place is literally a barefooted, silent baby incubator.  As someone who was raised evangelical, I strongly objected to such rhetoric.  And I equally objected to rhetoric that tried to marginalize the responsibilities that men have to the abortion issue as well.  It takes two people to tango.  In an ideal world...women seeking abortions would consult with their partner and mutually decide what's best for them on an equal basis.  However, in our world...things are far from equal.  Usually it's women being pressured by their husbands to keep children or prolifers engaging in deeply deceptive and harmful pseudo-science to justify their erroneous positions about the procedure.  I'm all for life and life is indeed precious.  And I do agree with Vice President Joe Biden where he states:

"My religion defines who I am. And I've been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And it has particularly informed my social doctrine. Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who can't take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to abortion, I accept my church's position that life begins at conception. That's the church's judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and--I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman. I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that women can't control their body. It's a decision between them and their doctor, in my view. And the Supreme Court--I'm not going to interfere with that." ~Senator Joe Biden, Vice Presidential Debate 2012

In conclusion, I wish to rehash the basics of what you read above.  Most of my conservative positions I held before "turning to the darkside" were based on my Evangelical upbringing.  But as I learned more about the world around me, and read the scriptures and absorbed the words that Jesus spoke...I came to the conclusion that the beliefs that I had as an evangelical conservative did not honor the rights of the individual...as Jesus taught.  The right to participate in a faith must be one of personal decision.  A forced faith is not faith, but tyranny.  A coerced decision is not a decision, but manipulation.  The viewpoints of evangelicals and conservatives do not foster an economy or society of peaceful coexistence in any form.  It only seeks to promote divisiveness, discrimination, and dark-age conditions.  The positions that conservatives hold do not hold up to scrutiny or science.  They cannot be observed in the modern world as factual.  They worship the god of greed, the god of selfishness, and the god of male chauvinism.  The extol the virtues of ethnocentrism and personify the state as an entity to maintain cultural purity.  None of these values are compatible with American ideals.  

God does not judge this nation by stepping on a town or blowing over a city.  He does not splash the waves of the ocean into coastal communities or set ablaze towns because two men love each other, or because the unfortunate woman got pregnant from her rapist.  My decisions to turn to Left-Liberalism are based on the ideas that man is capable of great things...and that the New Testament gives us the freedom to explore those ideas.  The Jesus of the New Testament never coerced anyone to follow him.  He never forced, he never blackmailed, he never condemned anyone for believing different than him.  He didn't judge others for their alleged social wrongs or improprieties.  He loved...and he showed us examples of that love.  Every person in society has the right to choose his or her path.  He or she has the right to worship who they choose.  Every person has the right to culture, language, faith, and mostly to dignity.  Every person has the right to choose who and what they want to be, and others are born with an insatiable desire to love and be loved.  Every person has the right to the opportunity to advance, grow, and develop as they choose.  To work their passions and their jobs free from discrimination, threats, intimidation, and deserves to be rewarded for their hard work, loyalty, and moral character.  

I'm not a Christian, I'm just a human who loves Jesus, and what he taught everyone else one of many ways to make the world a better place for all.

Friday, April 4, 2014

All My Hopes, My Geeky-Nerdy Hopes

What does it mean to me to be a geek? A nerd? An intellectual? It means many things to me. It means that I love science. It means that I love what-ifs about existential things. I love imagination, discovery, diversity and unity. I love events of which expand the scope of human understanding. I love what such discovery brings to others: hope. Why do I call myself geeky...because I'm not afraid to broaden my horizons and explore new possibilities. To ask questions, get answers. I'm not afraid to make mistakes, though I do fear their consequences sometimes. It means I respect the cost of discovery.

But why being a Geek, Nerd, and Intellectual is even more important to me...is because I dream of a unified world. A world where we set aside our petty differences, and unite under one set of values. Where integrity, progress, and tolerance are our most important global values. Where diplomacy reins and war is despised. Where the though of violence and destruction nauseate us all. Where our only limits for human discovery are our self-imposed limits.

I see a future where man is indeed a noble creature. Where our imagination drives our progress, invention, and benevolence. Where no human is condemned for who he or she is, where...dare I say...no alien is condemned for who they are. I am proud to be a geek, nerd, and intellectual. I'm proud to share my hopes for the future with you all. As a geek, I have a special and unique view of the world around us, and it is by geeks' voices, actions, and innovations that our world turns, grows, develops, and eventually matures into the utopia I think we all hope it to become.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Rise of Corporate Fascism

I am very deeply concerned by the events of today in the Supreme Court. I am genuinely worried that corporations will be further anthropormorphized. I cannot see how within the depths of any form of rational level of reason that a person as educated as a court justice can justify the view that a corporation is a person, and endow it with human characteristics. While it is true a person can pour his heart and soul into a business and make it something great...I refuse and fundamentally believe it to be dangerous to state that a man-made institution of people who work as cogs constitutes a person. I am very genuinely concerned as well about what this means for everyone. Would a "christian" company object to laws protecting LGBT persons, or paying women a fair wage, or that women can even talk back to men. How about the right of persons to engage in fornicating activities and using that as justification for terminating their employment? Shall we allow businesses to install cameras in our homes to inspect them at all times. To ensure that their employees are living a "christian" life? While these remarks may sound inflammatory and perhaps even hyperbolic...I believe this could lead us down a very dangerous road for the future.

Corporations are not people, friends.  They are machines.  The people who work for them are people.  Their kids are people and their families are people...but a business is not a person.  A business cannot worship God.  A business cannot, without human actions perform acts of kindness.  A business cannot do unto others unless the person at the head of such a company does said kindness.  This fixation with worshiping corporations as something that is greater than a person disturbs me deeply. Steadily, big business is establishing frameworks that will elevate business above that of the human being.  Business welfare will rule the day, while human welfare will fall by the wayside, regarded as unproductive and irrelevant. We will be truly enslaved to the whims and emotions of people wielding vastly huge amounts of power...and that scares the crap out of me beyond any measure.  I can fire my congressmen or senator or president or governor and so forth...but I can't fire a big business corporation if it wields such vast amounts of influence that he becomes untouchable.  This is exactly what I fear is happening now.  That we as a nation have started down a path to corporate dominance in this country.  A dominance that will lead to corporate fascism of the most heinous degree.  Where my boss and his boss will dominate my behavior, my lifestyle, and with enough power could subjugate me and exclude me from society as an outcast or an "untouchable".  Where women are discarded as substandard, where minorities are regarded with disgust and disdain because they won't conform to a system that is thrust upon them.  

Call me paranoid if you want...but this scenario is far more likely to happen than the government swinging in on their Apaches to steal your guns or whatever nonsense you want to imagine.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

About Fred Phelps Death

Regarding the Fred Phelps issue.  I know that MANY who he hurt want to drag his corpse, lynch it from a tree and set it on fire.  But not me.  I want to approach his death with a sense of forgiveness.  Its true he hurt millions of people with his vitreous and toxic sludge of a mouth.  Me included as a gay man myself.  But I want to extend the olive branch and make the proposition that if his daughter did indeed kick him out for "softening his tone" towards the LGBT community, then...should we consider that perhaps his heart was starting to soften a tad?  Should we not use this opportunity to show that even the most hateful people can change their hearts?  Is it rational that I want to show the least bit of consideration to him and perhaps forgive him of his trespasses against me?  That if he is before God being judged or whatever, that I'd appear as an advocate for him saying "His heart was changing, consider that in favor of him?"  I don't know, I might be off my rocker, but I'd like to think that I could forgive such person.  That my grace is sufficient for even him.  The "good riddance" attitude towards him, I feel, is not constructive towards repairing the hateful divide between reactionaries that hate us with all their hearts, and us who probably despise such reactionaries just as much.

I don't know...

Am I off base?  Am I behaving irrationally?  Do you think I'm just plain wrong?  Tell me your view, and why.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dalai Lama Opens Senate Session With Prayer

Since the beginning of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the sessions of both houses have opened with a prayer.  Not your typical church prayer, but an varying degree of different denominations and faiths have opened the session with a non-specific religious prayer.  Today (3/6/2014), the Senate of the United States opened the session with his holiness, The Dalai Lama opened the senate with a prayer of his own.  Watch the prayer by clicking on this link.

Dalai Lama Opens Senate With Prayer

"With our thoughts, we make our world," said the Dalai Lama, dressed in gold and red robes. "Our mind is central and precedes our deeds. Speak or act with a pure mind and happiness will follow you like a shadow that never leaves."
"as long as space remains and as long as sentient beings remain, until then may I, too, remain and help dispel the misery of the world."

The Dalai Lama is the leader of Tibetan Buddhists who fled China amid the Communist uprising in 1959 and has since resided in India in exile.  

Naturally many who are less tolerant of other religious took reservation with a non-christian leader opening the Senate with a prayer of goodwill.  But instead of focusing on the remarks of a few people on the outer fringe, let's talk about the prayer itself and why it's so moving a a spoken oration.  

There is no mention in New Testament Scripture about being intolerant to other faith's prayers of goodwill.  Often times, we as Christians will pray for anyone for whatever reason our heart leads us to do.  And as such, we should accept and be blessed by other faiths' prayers to us.  I can think of no finer forum for the Dalai Lama's words than the Seat of US Government.  

"With our thoughts we make our world."  This statement is nothing new in Christian belief.  It's by our actions that we shape the world around us, and we can use those actions to make our world better or worse.

"Our mind is central and precedes our deeds."  We always hope to think and consider counsel before we take actions.  Many scripture references in the Bible have often elevated careful consideration before taking action, such as Proverbs 15:22 "Plans fail for lack of counsel,    but with many advisers they succeed." or Proverbs 11:14 "For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers."  We are asked to consider what we do before we do it.  That careful planning will bring a positive outcome.  

"Speak or act with a pure mind and happiness will follow you like a shadow that never leaves."  People who walk in righteousness, who respect their fellow man as human beings, who do unto others as you would have them do unto you, who love their neighbors and execute their offices with reverence and the prominence of the first servant philosophy serve only to serve, and their service is the greatest satisfaction for true public servants.  (Matt 7:12, Mark 12:31, Matt 22:36-40)

"as long as space remains and as long as sentient beings remain, until then may I, too, remain and help dispel the misery of the world."  This statement by his Holiness is the most interesting to me.  As long as we have the capacity of free will, the ability to act and change the world around us, we are charged with bringing peace and love to the world.  I find no indifference with this statement, as this is the primary charge of being a Christian.  Going unto the world bringing the grace, forgiveness, compassion, charity, and generosity that encompasses being a Christian.  And it's not just Christianity that this is tied to.  Many world religions both minor and major mostly preach and teach a similar position.  Do unto others is not an exclusively Christian teaching  It just got the most press.  (See Matt 7:12, Mark 16:15, 1 Thess 4:7)

Conclusions: Christianity as a whole has no cause to condemn such a beautiful piece of oration.  There is nothing objectionable or controversial that was said by his Holiness, nor was there anything said that indicates praise of another deity.  (not that such a thing would matter to me.)  Our goal when we interact with other faiths should be to find our common grounds, and collude together how we can move the world to a better place using our shared beliefs and shared goals.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Models of Public Healthcare: An Overview

Are you working class but working a job without insurance?  Or perhaps you're barely getting by and have no real spare money for much these days.  Do you avoid the doctor cause of the cost of the office visit plus the cost of the lost pay from work?  There are simpler and more efficient solutions out there in the world about how we deliver healthcare services to our citizens.  So, how would a national single-payer system established in the United States look?

Let's examine a few models for single payer healthcare that we already see in this country.  Let's start with Medicare/Medicaid.  Both programs do the same thing but for different demographics.  If we created a system like Medicare...but for all, the system would create a single base policy that all states would adopt as their state-managed policy.  States then would choose whether to leave that policy intact or to add to it at their expense.  In Medicare, each state manages it's own program, uses it's own employees to enroll people in the program, pay the bills incurred by that state's program participants, and so forth.  It's mandated and paid by the Federal Government, managed by the State government.  Such a relationship would easily work for our nation, because the infrastructure is already in place.

Another model for care that the US could employ would be complete nationalization of all healthcare resources like that of the VA Healthcare System or the UK National Health Service.  These services are truly a pure socialist system.  In these systems, the primary care providers, ER doctors, surgeons, specialists, and other professionals are "state" employees (State meaning publicly paid federal employees).  In the UK, most hospitals and doctors are public employees which are paid salaries by the state and who centrally manage appointments, doctors, the master policy of the program...the works.  Private healthcare doesn't exist for the most part in these kinds of systems.  The VA system is modeled on the UK system, and for the most part works very well.  The quality of care is great and the attention to the patient's need is paramount.  The focus of the UK and VA healthcare systems is enabling access to all equally with a relatively strong amount of triage being taken into account as well.  Such a system is very effective in the UK and works very well.  The only complaint about such systems are they tend to be a tad backlogged for generic appointments and can result in long queue times.  However, for people who are ill, it's a nice benefit to be able to walk into a doctor's office and be seen when you're ill without any worry about cost to yourself.

Finally, another model which would likely be the model we use could be the Canadian Single Payer model.  This model is essentially each state having it's own healthcare program with a baseline program that the Federal Government creates to make it Universal.  In this arrangement, each state would be responsible for funding and managing it's own health program with transfer payments from the Federal Government to assist...likely based on a "per head" formula.  Some states can compete for which offers the best care by providing access to additional kinds of care like dental or vision services.  Such care would likely be paid for by either a consumption tax or a flat-rate percentage excise tax that all citizens pay equally. Each state would be responsible for determining what funding model to use to pay for their services whether income-based or consumption-based.

All these models are not out of reach for our nation.  Each has a strong history of success and the persistence to provide healthcare for all our citizens.  The Single Payer question has been one about human rights.  Is healthcare a profit-based service or an inalienable right as a member of a nation?  I, personally, believe it's a right for all citizens.  And that the quality of life is paramount to the right to offer for-profit service in this regard, but I also want to be clear...that I believe every person's labor is worth the effort and education and demand that is due, and that no person should be required to "give" their labor away for free.  Individuals who work in such systems get paid, and paid quite well.  Doctors in nations like Canada and England enjoy a posh salary, no worry about malpractice insurance, and the opportunity to help those in need without worrying about insurance companies.  Ultimately, the fabric of our society is what will determine the answer tot his question for the next two generations.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Democrats Are the People's Party, Republicans are the Corporatists Party

I agree with the premise that everyone has the inalienable right to be successful, to start a business, to earn money so long as it doesn't hurt others, to compete in a competitive market, and to strive for efficiency and advancement using economics as a means of doing so. Republicans have no interest in creating a legal framework which allows you as business or individual to challenge corporate power. We see this example where large corporations are now allowed to require you to sign away your rights to enter into a class-action lawsuit against a company...one of the greatest mechanisms that consumers had to fight corporate abuse. Or the abuses by natural or publicly regulated monopolies or privatized public institutions like prisons. Then there's the free trade agreements with various poor nations which allow corporations to send jobs for substandard labor costs at the expense of our own labor force. The Trans Pacific Partnership which would give corporate giants enormous power to override local democracies decisions about food and product regulation. Too much power is being given to corporations at the expense of the citizen and the worker. If you want a competitive society and a world where everyone's opportunity to be successful is tallied by the amount of hard work they put into a goal, then you want to vote for Democrats. Democrats have been fighting for social justice, for policies that create a fair and competitive business environment, and a system of justice that is fair and equitable. A system where corporations don't buy politicians. Where we have a congress that cares that they have a 9% approval rating instead of ignoring it like this congress has. Where people are put first before profits, and where abusers of their power are brought to justice and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law regardless of the cost. Vote for Democrats when you vote this next midterm election and embrace a political party that cares about the little guy as much as the big guy equally. Vote for Democrats if you want a party that puts pragmatism ahead of ideology, and Vote for Democrats if you want a government that doesn't try to shove narrow-minded values down your throat by the way of legislation. Vote Democrat.