Friday, January 22, 2010

The Fenceposter - It's soap box time!

I am a proud Fenceposter. When it comes to deciding which side to choose, I have a very difficult time sticking to one or the other. Not because I am being wishy-washy, or trying to please everyone at once, but because my views are a bit more... inclusive than others seem to be. I am just not one one of those "Fight and Kill to Have it MY Way," kind of people.

This isn't a political statement, it's more a common sense and belief based thing.

For starters (and I doubt this will win me any popularity awards) I can't really declare that I am pro-choice or pro-life. I would have to say I am BOTH pro-life AND pro-choice. Both sides have valid arguments but I think that blowing up abortion clinics or supporting the right for women to an have an abortion for any reason (or no reason) are both wrong. Women should not be forced to continue a pregnancy when the risks outweigh the potential for a positive outcome for both mother and child, but she should be given the opportunity to make that choice herself. It is also very sad to me that one healthy woman would give up the choice to give birth when there are so many families who would love and cherish that same baby with all the ferocity of passion that every baby deserves.

.There are many more thoughts and personal stories I have about this subject, but I will not go into them here. I will just say that there is no reason that anyone on either side of this should be willing to hurt, abuse, or kill, someone else to prove their point. If you don't agree pray for them (or whatever it is you do.)

On another topic, I don't believe that "Big" Government is any better than "Keep Your Nose In Your Own Business" Government. We all pay taxes (well most of us,do) and those taxes should be used to improve our lives in the ways that we would have used that money if we had the power and authority to. If your friend or sister (or mother, or cousin) were poor and had no job, would you give them financial help so that they could buy a suit, take a bus to a job interview, and afford to eat until the paychecks started rolling in? That is what Welfare is all about. If people abuse the system that is a sad thing and they shouldn't do it and they should be penalized for that. Should we throw the whole system out? I don't think so. No one that has ever filed for Unemployment and eventually got back on their feet can reasonably take that position. As some one who also receives Social Security on behalf of my oldest daughter to help out with medical costs, I can't take that position, either.

Neither do I feel that health care should be completely run by the government or that it should be completely left in the hands of medical insurance companies (and more importantly, the pharmaceutical companies.)  Having both worked for a Third Party Insurance Administrator and accepted Medicaid for my oldest daughter who is considered permanently disabled I have a unique perception, I think. Insurance Companies do overcharge and mismanage care quite frequently, but it is not only their fault. Nor is it entirely the fault of the doctors for charging extreme amounts to help allay the cost of malpractice insurance, or the pharmaceutical companies for charging exorbitant prices for pills that cost pennies to produce in order to recoup the cost of the research to discover the medication in the first place. It is a "perfect storm", if you will, of bad and expensive practices creating a downward spiral.

I don't believe the government could do much better if they took it all over though.  The cost for each citizen would be prohibitive and the transition of switching to complete government regulation would be such a mess that I fear how many lives would be lost in the mix up. I have seen what a normal insurance policy looks like on the inside. It isn't pretty. I have also seen the medical bills I did not have to pay for my daughter's three open heart surgeries. Those weren't pretty either, but Medicaid covered what my insurance would not and I am very, very thankful that I was able to receive that help.

I believe there should be an overhaul of the system at the base level. Less red tape and litigation, more care and choice. There should also be an ability to access health care regardless of your work status and/or financial comfort level. How can both of these co-exist? I don't have all the details or all the answers, but I do believe that with research, compromise, and basic common sense, a real solution could be worked out.

Another place that I don't have a cut and dry position on is the topic of Gay Rights. Some of you who know me well will be quite confused at this, but let me explain. I don't think that certain people should be denied anything because of race, creed, color, religion, what their partners look like, or whatever. I know far too many wonderful people who are both Gay and Straight to think, for one minute, that one persuasion is any more or less than another. However, when it comes to the topic of marriage specifically there are really two parts to that should be considered and only half of it is anything the government can or should be involved in.

When you go to a church and are married, the religious official has to say "By the power vested in me by the State of Wherever and by the power of..." This is what makes the legal part of a marriage official. Otherwise, anyone could perform a wedding without any legal authority and that would be just a mess. A marriage can be blessed by your church all that they want to, but the State still has to sign off on it. That's why you get a Marriage License before you can get hitched before said official. Your State isn't in the business of giving permission based on your individual attributes. That is called bigotry and it denounced by our Constitution. On the other hand, every church has different rules and regulations for its congregation in regards to marriage, and they are within their rights as a private or religious organization to enforce them however they see fit. Some churches are more strict than others, and some are not even recognized by others, but all of them have some sort of standard that they hold married couples to.

What I am getting at here is that marriage By The State is only half of the deal in most cases, but the biggest reason against gay marriage has to do with the biblical implications of it. Again, churches are private organizations. In this country a private organization can approve or deny membership or rights in their group to anyone they see fit. If they only want boys with blue eyes and back hair, well they can do it. If they don't want to see girls kissing girls, they can send them out the door if they choose. If you personally don't like it, don't join and don't give them your money. That is why we live in the USA folks. (In the same vein, I can be vehemently opposed to the rules and regulations of an organization, like, say...the BSA... but I can still support their right to make their own membership choices. I don't have to give them my money or my time, but I won't stop DH - who is a 3rd generation scouter - from being a part of it because that is his choice.)

The government on the other hand, is required by law to allow every person to be equal. That means that everyone deserves access to the same rights. The Constitution doesn't say "All men are created equal, unless those men like other men, or like to dress up like women, or if they actually are women, or if they wear funny hats every Tuesday." ALL men are created EQUAL all the time. There isn't a gray area there.

So, here is my compromise. Let the churches and religious officiate decide who they want to bless. They can give their blessing, help, support, or money to whomever they see fit. Aside from that, let the government STOP deciding who can or can't get the financial and legal benefits of marriage. The churches can decide if they really think you are a good fit for each other, or if you really love each other, or whatever regulations they choose to put on these types of unions. The government can stay out of that whole issue. They can, however, allow two people who share homes, finances, possessions, pets, clothes, or whatever, to legally become one household and also share medical insurance, refer to each other as Next of Kin and as Emergency Contacts, and enjoy the same benefits that other couples already do. It shouldn't matter to the government if you love each other. That's not their job to decide that. It is their job to ensure equal rights.  

So, maybe this is a little "out-there" as far as politics go, but it's the best I can do. I didn't get as far as I am today without using my own intelligence, common sense, and compromising just a little here and there.

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