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Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:11 PM

As I get older, I find myself becoming more conservative. [View all]

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I'm 49. I may act like a kid most times, but there's no denying that I'm officially middle aged now. I have high blood pressure and a receding hairline. And even if I don't shout at them about it, I don't like it when those damned kids are on my lawn.

That's a metaphor, of course. My "those damned kids" I mean Fox News and their Republican muppets. By "my lawn" I mean Medicare and Social Security. By "high blood pressure" I mean "hypertension"--which somehow sounds worse.

But I really am becoming more conservative as I age along. Besides Medicare and Social Security, I also want to conserve the environment, the middle class, and the Bill of Rights. I want to conserve the economic wellspring of I want to conserve the national parks from greedy developers (or "despoilers" as we conservatives call them) who will liberally scatter their pollutants about the ecosystem. In fact, they are "radicals"--literally, as they rip up the ground up by the roots, looking for mineral deposits that should belong to all the people, not just a few hoity toity eastern liberal elites who went to Ivy League schools and now control soulless, and thus unChristian, corporations.

As a conservative, I steep myself in traditional American values and constantly worry that we are losing touch with the things that made America great. I stand up for great conservative institutions that built and empowered America's greatestness: labor unions and civil rights movements and the sanctity of marriage. As a conservative, I wish to see these institutions spread to include all Americans. When we bring all Americans into the mainstream, the waters swell and the lifting tide raises all boats.

I am aging aggressively now and becoming starkly pro-business. When megacorporations drive mom-and-pop shops out of business, I know it weakens America. I support whatever will build new businesses--like extensive investment in the country's physical commercial infrastructure: repair more roads, build more bridges, expand internet connectivity, clean up the cities, shift to renewable, sustainable energy sources, and stamp out poverty. These are the things that built America, from the Erie Canal to the Transcontinental Railroad to the telegraph networks to the interstate highway system. When America builds infrastructure, business flourishes. Do that more, I say.

I stand firmly in favor of the American Work Ethic: hard, honest work is not only pro-family, it is also the best way to instill character-buiding family values in future generations of America. So I support spending more money on education, more money on job training, so that employers can be attracted to a superior American workforce, and more money on OSHA inspections on these new American workplaces--because I want to conserve American fingers and backs and lungs along with the rest of the American things I favor conserving. People who lose their health in an unsafe work environment lose the benefits and joy that comes from an honest day's labor.

I'm particularly conservative on taxes. No more free rides, I say!! Everyone should pay their fair share of taxes. No more deadbeats--I'm looking at you, investor class, who only pay 15% income tax on your incomes because it's all catorized as capital gains. You've been getting more government than you've been paying for--for decades now! The bill is due, maybe overdue judging from the size of the annual deficit. Time to pay the bill and tote your own load, you country club slackers! You tell me being an investment capitalist is a real job? Well, time to pay a real grown-up's tax rate then--or don't you believe in America, capitalism, and honest work? And you other tax slackers, yes, I'm looking at you corporations who pay no taxes at all! Get off the government welfare, Walmart, and quit sucking on Uncle Sam's teat! No more free loaders!!

I am a religious conservative too! I believe in churchin'. I think it's vital for kids to grow up in an enviroment rooted in values and a clear sense of right and wrong. No society in history has been so arrogant and neglectful as to put that burden solely on parents. We need a growth of churches, a swelling of churches, a veritable mushrooming of spirituality in this country. And obviously the more religions the better. Let all stand as equals, for they are created equal (and what is more American than that idea?). Let there be Christian churches and Jewish synagogues and Muslim mosques and Pagan covens and Buddhist temples and Flying Spaggheti bowls and atheist what-ever-ya-wanna-call-ums because enduring family values, by criminey, take a whole village to build and sustain.

And keep 'em all the fuck out of politics.

I am a stallwart economic conservative, an Adam Smith conservative, by damn! Adam Smith's radical insight in the 18th century was the understanding that the source of a nation's wealth is not land, but labor. Else, why would small nations like England and France come to dominate large ones like China and Russia? It is work that makes a nation great, and thus it is work that we must protect. That means bolstering American jobs, expanding American jobs, and when necessary protecting American jobs. Oh, I believe in open and vigorous trade too; I'm no isolationist. But above all else, it is the number of people working profitable, upwardly mobile jobs that will tell us how prosperous America is.

I believe in family values because I believe in the value of all families. It's not just cold economics that makes me feel that way. However I will point out that economic statistics tell us that married couples are better citizens--they commit fewer crimes, own more insurance, raise kids who are more likely to be college-bound, live longer, get sick less, earn more, and are more likely to be homeowners than their unmarried counterparts. So I am pro-traditional marriage and I wish see traditional marriage extended to everyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of it. Also, I'm a small government conservative, so states should quit telling private citizens who they can and can't marry.

But I am also pro-family values because I'm a sentimental conservative. I love a good wedding. They're not just good for business; they're good for the heart. I believe in the enduring family values of America. I believe in infrastructure improvements like George Washington did--I am all but mad for them! I believe in honest work and honesty pay like Abraham Lincoln did--and history shows it is the work of strong labor unions that best secures widespread prosperity to all. I am a "gung ho" American--from the Chinese phrase meaning "pull together"--working as a team we all benefit when the greatest number of us prosper. It makes no conservative sense that each of person is just in it him or herself. History rejects that model. Competition is healthy, but cooperation is vital. I believe in a healthy balance between competition and cooperation: I wish to conserve that from the hateful, organized criminals who plunder companies from Wall Street, destroying the real wealth of work in America and exchanging it for the illusory wealth of electronic capital. They are pirates and there are whole baneful boardrooms full of such criminals who ought to be put behind bars. Cause, yes, I am a law and order conservative too.

Above all else, I believe in that most enduring of American values: progress. I wish to see that conserved most of all. The history of our land, of our people (and as a conservative, I believe we are literally "one people" is a story of expanding rights and expanding inclusion to include the talents and dignity of all of us. We all contribute. We are all stakeholders and this is a land where, as Jefferson and Franklin taught, the few should not prosper at the expense of the many. I believe in values that are deeply rooted in the American dream--that if you work hard, if you play by the rules, and by jingo if you make that 1% play by the ever-lovin' rules too, then we'll all do better. If you look out for the least of us, then, you look out for all of us, because you expand who all we mean when we say "we."

This is the kind of conservative I am. And you are all free now to get off my lawn.

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