[EDIT: now updated with my views on education.]
Yesterday someone came up to me gushing about how she was excited that some person or other was going to maybe run for president in 2020, and today I overheard a conversation about “the wall” and didn’t join in, so it’s got me thinking about what my politics actually are right now because I haven’t considered it in a while. So I’ve listed a few big political issues and then tried to succinctly describe my current thinking on each one.
Abortion: I want to be moderate on this because I know humans have been aborting their unborn kids since antiquity, but that doesn’t make it right and I keep coming back to the very real possibility that human life might start from conception so we should err on the side of caution by not condoning abortion. Make it illegal.
Affirmative action: the only real way to stop racism is on an individual basis. Do away with affirmative action.
Death penalty: I’m on the fence on this one, leaning heavily toward being anti-death penalty. In the real world it just soaks up a lot of resources in the form of the appeals process, and as currently implemented the death penalty doesn’t deter crime. Now, maybe there’s a neglected human need to witness public violence from time to time, which beheadings in the town square used to fulfill, but I don’t think we can resurrect that practice and still get the society we want.
Drugs: Legalize them, but find ways to make drug use way more uncool and/or taboo than it is now. Basically you should be perfectly legally allowed to go home, lock your bedroom door, and shoot heroin, but there should be no way any sane person would then admit to doing it.
Education: Schools coddle kids too much. I don’t care if I need to sign a waiver, but my kindergartner should be able to play tag or play in the snow at recess. I would also happily sign something promising that my kids will not be getting cell phones or their own laptops before they are 17, or old enough to get jobs and buy those things for themselves — whichever comes first. I’d like it if K-12 schools offered classes in skilled trades, especially to students who clearly aren’t college material. High schoolers should not be so often pushed straight into college. Schools and universities seem to have a lot of administrative bloat, and in universities especially I suspect this is a big cause of skyrocketing tuition costs — along with our irresponsible attitudes toward the need for every last nitwit to go to college and pay whatever is asked. It should be tougher, academically, to get into college…like, you shouldn’t be able to get into college if you can’t do basic college-level math and write clearly. Also, lending 5- and 6-digit sums to teenagers with little-to-no borrowing history, no careers, and having their parents co-sign just can’t be ethical; it certainly isn’t sustainable. I see no reason why intermural athletics should be a thing; if kids want to play on sports teams that should be completely separate from school. I don’t know what policy suggestions any of this maps to, but those are my thoughts on education anyway.
Foreign policy: The reality is there are lots of people and groups out there who want to do things that put Americans in harm’s way, so some foreign intervention is necessary. Sorry paleocons, but this is a highly connected world and isolationism isn’t a realistic foreign policy.
Gay marriage: Should have been civil unions. Oh well.
Guns: I dunno. Criminals who are intent on getting guns will always be able to get them. Gun control measures are already in place and keep honest people honest. Gun control advocates seem to not understand much of anything about guns or gun culture. On the other hand, I think the gun rights people often misinterpret the 2nd Amendment. Requiring gun owners to demonstrate certain skills every few years might not be a bad idea.
Immigration: We have a really nice country here, so we’re going to always have lots of people trying to get in. Some of them are truly desirable as additions to our populace, some are not, and the rest are “meh.” I don’t know what the ratios are between those groups. I don’t think a wall is a terrible idea, but I also think we need a better immigration system in general so that we can really have control over our borders and who gets in. [Edited to add: Whatever we decide, we should try to make influxes of immigrants as gradual as possible. Huge sudden changes in the makeup of the population are not good.]
Welfare: Working people sometimes fall on bad luck, or even make mistakes, and I think it’s reasonable that their countrymen should provide a safety net to help them out during tough times. I don’t know how welfare can be structured so that it is actually helpful while also encourages people to be rid of it, but that is a fine end goal to have anyway.
There’s probably other issues I could comment on…if I think of any, and care to, I’ll update the post with those.