The Pragmatic Democrat

Update: 6/07- I am now an INDEPENDENT...but most everything I say here...I still believe.

By Larry John

As a society most of us have agreed that we need some form of GOVERNMENT in order to be civilized.

If we are going to have government (and as I said, most of us believe we need some degree of government in a civilized world), we must decide PERSONALLY what kind of government we think is best for us, our families, our communities, and our nation.

This is an individual choice. Getting two people to agree on anything is hard. Getting a nation to agree may be impossible.

For that reason I have decided the following for ME, personally, in relation to my ideas, ideologies, concepts, and political views and my position on how that relates to government’s role in my life.

Based on this foundation of thought I can “think” more clearly about government’s direction, policies, party platforms, laws, elected officials, how I vote, and what’s important to me….personally.

Here is MY pragmatic political position:

  1. I choose to label myself as a “Pragmatic Democrat” striving to be as progressive in my thinking as possible and trying to see issues and ideologies as practically as I can. I think government should be fiscally and socially responsible; looking closely at each issue, concern, question, ideology, etc. on its own merit and not seeing issues as conservative or liberal, republican or democrat, but just issues that must be addressed for our nation to continue in greatness.
  2. I believe a Democracy is a good form of government. I do not believe that it is the only true form of government. A benevolent dictatorship could work with the right benevolent dictator. But there are very few, if any, “right” benevolent dictators such as: Buddha or Jesus … so a democracy will do. A Parliamentary form of government works. Many Monarchies work. But Democracy in my opinion, and in most cases, is a good form of government.
  3. I believe the Constitution of the United States can work if people try to work together and not change it to the advantage of their own special interests.
  4. I believe in our “RIGHT TO CHOOSE” over all other rights, privileges, and opportunities.
  5. I believe that all men may have been created equally, but because of the fact that people are people, equality among men is very seldom achieved.
  6. I believe that people can always rationalize their point of view. Having the right to THINK AS WE MAY is a must as long as we can ALL THINK AS WE MAY!
  7. I believe that a Representative Democracy is actually better than a Democracy in that normal people are in general uninformed and ignorant by their own choice.
  8. I believe that politicians are only as good as their personal special interests. Greed and the fact that politicians need to get elected and re-elected makes it hard for a politician to become a statesman.
  9.  I believe that there are some things in life best served, provided for, and cared for by the Private sector (i.e.: business). 
  10.  I believe that there are some things in life best served, provided for, and cared for by government (i.e.: roads and highways). 
  11.  I believe that there are many things in life that must be protected by the government, some of which are: life, liberty, happiness, property, civil rights, equal opportunity, the environment, protection from within and from without, etc. And most of these things in life can ONLY be protected by government.
  12.  I believe that government is OURS….by the people and for the people….and NOT visa versa.
  13.  I am a secularist. I believe that religion should not be involved with the ordinary social and political activities of a country
  14.  I believe that government must always be allowed to evolve based on the times and specific situations of ALL people, but not on the whims of a special few among us.
  15.  I believe that RELIGION has no role in government. Using “religious influence” to control governments, laws, and politics went out with the Crusades.
  16.  I believe we should withdraw all support for Israel over Palestine. This senseless alliance is at the root of all our problems in the Middle East.
  17. I believe in protecting our homes, communities, and our nation with force if need be, but I do not believe in WAR for reasons of retaliation, revenge, or an eye for an eye mentality.
  18.  Protection and Aggression are not interchangeable in relation to military action. Aggression is wrong. I see all military action outside the borders of our nation as acts of aggression.
  19.  I believe that going to another sovereign nation to war is wrong. The “war” stops at our borders. We must protect our land, not destroy other sovereign nations by causing more and more war. Killing doesn’t stop others from killing….it just fuels more killing. War breeds more war! I am a pacifist! We must encourage discussion, compromise, negotiation, talking, and alliances rather than WAR!
  20. I believe that we must sometimes be “more fair” with some races and people who did not receive equality in the past because of their race, creed, color of skin, etc. Many times we need to do this because we need to encourage rapid societal change. For this reason I am in favor of Affirmative Action.
  21.  I don’t believe in capital punishment. Killing the killers makes killers of us all. You can’t separate yourself from killing by allowing others to kill for you.
  22.  I don’t think that all laws are fair, but if we are going to live in a civilized society, we must have laws. And it is our duty to make them as fair as humanly possible by the election process or by lobbying for change.
  23.  I believe that we must strive to be an ally to all countries of the world.  I believe that if our allies are attacked we are responsible for aiding them in the defense of their country, in their country for protection alone ….I do not believe we have the right to invade sovereign countries and kill their people regardless of the anger we may feel or the retribution we think we deserve.
  24.  I believe that we need to take an active role in government such as being active in a political party or as activists for a cause. Participation starts with the individual and expands out to a person’s center of influence. One person can influence many to take action.
  25. I vote for the individual and/or party that shares my personal views and ideologies first… making sure that individual and/or party which shares my ideas still has a chance of winning the election i.e.: Democratic Party vs. the Green Party. In other words, should the Green Party with which I share most of my ideals or ideology ever have a chance of winning an election, I would vote for the Green Party Candidate as long as the candidate represents the view of the party….until then….most of my views are better represented by the platform of the Democratic Party and, hopefully, most of their candidates.
  26.  I know my ideas about government and politics are constantly evolving and I joy in thinking, discussing, evaluating, and judging the wisdom of my beliefs. If I see a better idea, I reserve the right to change my thinking.
  27. I do not believe that the MAJORITY is always right.  I believe that many times we must take up the cause of the MINORITY.
  28. There is NO national religion! We are a nation of many religions worshiping many Gods.  It is not the duty of government to promote or crusade for a specific religion. We must never WAR in the name of OUR God.
  29. I DO NOT believe we need military bases all over the world to protect our business or political interests. We can use the money wiser here in our own country for protection of our homeland.
  30.  I believe that the educational system is bankrupt. The school and educational paradigm has changed and the public school system is a dinosaur.  We must change our system of education to better educate ourselves, our families, and our nation. Technology has drastically changed what, when, where, by whom, and how we learn.
  31.  I believe that TAXES need to be kept to a minimum but that some taxes are important in order to do things that we can’t do as individuals i.e.: roads, protection (police and military), health care, social security, wage protection, civil rights, etc. We must choose our taxation wisely. Never allow government to do what we can do on our own.
  32.  I believe that our dependence on OIL needs immediate reformation. Many of our government’s decisions, allegiances, policies, etc are made because of this dependence. Many of these decisions are not good for our country. There is no independence while we are dependent on OIL that is controlled by other countries. Due to the fact that the OIL reserve is quickly disappearing, we MUST reward research and application of alternative energy sources for our homes, cars, power, etc. We must do this immediately. Time is of the essence.
  33. I know that there will always be poor and needy among us, and it is my duty and many times the duty of government to take care of those less fortunate than we; realizing that some will take advantage of the system. Regardless, we should strive to have no poor and needy among us.
  34. I believe the broadcast airwaves and all frequencies of the TV and Radio stations belong to the PEOPLE and not to private enterprise. Too few companies controlling all the available information is not good for our country. The EQUAL TIME policy or fairness doctrine must be reinstated to protect us as a nation. Stations that are too “right wing” or too “left wing” are dividing us as a nation. We need to hear all points of view.
  35.  I believe in the advancement of science. Our nation should also fund, as richly as possible, scientific discoveries to find cures for diseases and to know more about the universe in general. I choose to believe science over superstition and thus believe it is government’s responsibility to aid private enterprises and individuals in their attempts to fund science.
  36.  I believe that we must protect all life.  Vegetation and animals need to be protected against man’s desire to exploit and destroy the earth for his own selfish concerns regardless of dominion theories and beliefs. I don’t think the world is going to be destroyed unless we destroy it. We must protect the world and all life on it.
  37. I am anti-abortion. If babies are not wanted we must use contraceptives and abstinence as methods to stop all unwanted pregnancies. When the life of the Mother is at risk or pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, the lines gray and the appropriateness of abortion in these instances must be determined on an individual case by case basis. I am, however, pro-choice. Even though I am anti-abortion, I cannot take away the freedom of choice from women, even though I do not agree with their decision to have an abortion. Free agency is more important than “legislating” my morality and enforcing it through government control.
  38. I am anti-drugs and am not in favor of people using drugs including over use of “over the counter” drugs. That said I am in favor of legalizing drugs for many pragmatic reasons including over crowded jails. I do not believe it is the role of government to protect us from ourselves, even when it is for our own good. Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol and it is not working for drugs. Even if drugs are legalized, I will not use them because of my freedom to choose. Our freedom to choose (as long as it does not impede the freedoms of others or hurt others) must be protected even if that allows people the freedom to be stupid, wrong, self destructive, unethical, and immoral. That same freedom of choice allows me to be smart, right, self fulfilling, ethical and moral. You can legally drink alcohol as long as you don’t hurt others…as for me; I choose not to drink most of the time. That’s my freedom of choice!
  39.  I believe our country is great and strong because we have a great and strong middle class. We need to do more to protect the middle class. Right now the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is rapidly disappearing.
  40.  I believe that people of our nation must be rewarded directly by government through laws that encourage paying employees more and giving them better benefits rather than rewarding industry and business in hopes that they will take care of their employees through “filtering down” the riches. The “filter down philosophy” may work in theory, but pragmatically speaking, the riches never filter down to the worker. The national “minimum wage” needs to be more than doubled immediately and then increased as inflation increases.
  41.  American companies and industry in general need to be rewarded for keeping jobs in America. The outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries is hurting the middle class in the United States and the money going to foreign counties is not “filtering down” to the workers of these countries. The rich keep getting richer there, too.
  42.  Protecting our right to choose trumps most other reasons to take away our freedom of choice and free agency.
  43.  I believe that elections are unfair and controlled by the rich and their special interests. We must fight for FAIR ELECTION laws i.e.: funding, spending, budgeting, no PAC money, no special interest money, etc. so “anyone” can run for political office regardless of income or influence. 
  44.  Albert Einstein said,”I believe that Gandhi's views were the most enlightened of all the political men in our time.  We should strive to do things in his spirit not to use violence and fighting for our cause but by nonparticipation in anything you believe is evil." This is my view 100%!

 Here are my STRONGEST views, ideologies, and beliefs:

  1. We must protect the right of an individual to CHOOSE whether we agree or not.
  2. We must protect the right of an individual to THINK as they may… whether we agree or not.
  3. ALL people must have equal rights and opportunities under the LAW regardless of race, creed, religion, no religion, sex, sexual orientation, color of skin, age, country of birth, etc.
  4. The protection of the environment is one of my most important beliefs. I abhor the pollution of the planet regardless of the economic reasons many use to justify destroying it.
  5. War IS WRONG. I do not believe in war for any reason. There is no such thing as a JUST WAR. We must protect are homes, families, and our nation….but protection stops at OUR borders. Anything else is aggression.
  6. I am willing to sacrifice my personal desires and beliefs for the common good of ALL mankind.
  7. Working for the “good of ALL mankind” is my most important desire and belief.
  8. I strive to work for the good of the “whole” while protecting the rights of ALL individuals.
  9. The civil rights of all mankind must never be denied for any reason. I am most concerned about the rights of women, people of color, gays and lesbians, minorities, the disabled, and all those who need a hero to champion their cause for equal rights and happiness.
  10. I am anti-abortion and pro-choice. Both sides of this discussion can have what they want if we continue to educate. I hope to stop abortions through education without taking away the right of the woman to choose.
  11. It is my goal to strive to improve and better the world. I desire to leave the world better in every way than when I was born.
  12. My children and grandchildren deserve a better quality of life. It all begins with my thinking.