My General Political Philosophy

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Ethics

In gen­er­al I sup­port can­di­dates, leg­is­la­tion, and civil be­hav­iors that most close­ly meet my eth­i­cal and moral stan­dards. The dis­cern­ment process be­comes pro­gres­sive­ly more re­fined as nec­es­sary, which, it turns out, isn’t very of­ten. I was raised Catholic, so my moral and eth­i­cal foun­da­tions are Judeo-Christian. Core tenets:

…Thou shalt love thy neigh­bour as thy­self. There is none oth­er com­mand­ment greater than the­se.
Mark 12:31

But he, will­ing to jus­ti­fy him­self, said un­to Jesus, And who is my neigh­bour? And Jesus an­swer­ing said, A cer­tain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his rai­ment, and wound­ed him, and de­part­ed, leav­ing him half dead. And by chance there came down a cer­tain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the oth­er side. And like­wise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the oth­er side. But a cer­tain Samaritan, as he jour­neyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had com­pas­sion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pour­ing in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the mor­row when he de­part­ed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said un­to him, Take care of him; and what­so­ev­er thou spendest more, when I come again, I will re­pay thee. Which now of the­se three, thinkest thou, was neigh­bour un­to him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mer­cy on him. Then said Jesus un­to him, Go, and do thou like­wise.
Luke 10:29 – 37

And the King shall an­swer and say un­to them, Verily I say un­to you, Inasmuch as ye have done it un­to one of the least of the­se my brethren, ye have done it un­to me.
Matthew 25:40

Reiterating: Meet those stan­dards and get my sup­port. Oppose them and I’m an op­po­nent.

Reason

I sup­port can­di­dates and leg­is­la­tion that make the cor­rect moral, eth­i­cal, and rea­son­able de­ci­sions, even when they are dif­fi­cult. Policies and po­si­tions based on sci­ence, em­pir­i­cal re­search, and long-term vi­a­bil­i­ty get my sup­port. I don’t be­lieve in quick fix­es. Government works best when it is evo­lu­tion­ary — a se­ries of very grad­u­al changes we can be­lieve in. If a leg­is­la­tor or piece of leg­is­la­tion does not meet or im­pedes the pro­gress of cor­rect moral, eth­i­cal, or ra­tio­nal de­ci­sion-mak­ing, I op­pose.

Anti-in­cum­ben­cy, Complacency, & Overton Windows

Barring dis­qual­i­fy­ing ide­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences, if a can­di­date or par­ty has been in of­fice or in pow­er in an area for a long time, I’m prob­a­bly go­ing to vote for their op­po­nent, es­pe­cial­ly in a pri­ma­ry. I blame this on 30 years of hear­ing the same names on the night­ly news. A Bush has been ei­ther President or Vice-President for 20 years of my life. Clintons have been in the spot­light for the same amount of time. The same names have been around in Cleveland for as long as I’ve been here. I’m not in­to dy­nas­ties — fa­mil­ial, eth­nic, or oth­er­wise. I thought it was hi­lar­i­ous that the best the Ohio Democratic Party could come up with for Senate this year was Ted Strickland, & the best they could do for the last Governor run was Ed Fitzgerald. Reheated, thin gru­el. Yum! ← This, by the way, is how I feel about most ma­jor can­di­dates that run for of­fice.

I al­so think that the longer a can­di­date is in­cum­bent — the longer they have to be­come com­fort­able, com­pla­cent, and like­ly to ig­nore their con­stituen­cy. You keep a knife sharp by hon­ing it. The same prin­ci­ple ap­plies to peo­ple. Comfortable peo­ple are dull. I think every in­cum­bent should be chal­lenged in a pri­ma­ry when up for re-elec­tion. No free pass­es.

I al­so vote to shift the Overton Window closer to­ward the Judeo-Christian ethic il­lus­trat­ed above.

Hoosier Libertarianism

I don’t want leg­is­la­tors or leg­is­la­tion to dic­tate to me or oth­ers how and in what way our pri­vate, per­son­al busi­ness is han­dled. All y’all de­serve the pro­tec­tions enu­mer­at­ed in our con­sti­tu­tion. And by all y’all I mean all y’all.

Whatever Remains

I re­al­ize that this de­scrip­tion of my po­lit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy isn’t nailed down to the last shin­gle, but I don’t think it needs to be. That or­tho­doxy re­sults in the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate we cur­rent­ly loathe. When there were grey ar­eas to be had in a pol­i­tics, I wel­comed the chance to dis­cuss them, learn, and pos­si­bly have my mind changed. Those days seem to be long past, and not re­turn­ing any time soon.

7 Years of Political Silence

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

I stopped writ­ing about & voic­ing my po­lit­i­cal opin­ions back in 2008 or 2009 af­ter J. Kevin Kelley & Kevin Payne got bust­ed by the FBI for their cor­rup­tion. At the time I tweet­ed some­thing along the lines of “I can’t be­lieve I worked on a project with the­se scum­bags.” That project be­ing a re­design of the County Engineer’s web­site that had lan­guished for over a year, com­plete, but with­out sign-off to go live. The next day I got called in­to the Director’s of­fice with my boss and syn­tax was struc­tured that tan­gen­tial­ly im­plied that fur­ther pub­lic com­men­tary from me on any­thing job-re­lat­ed would af­fect my em­ploy­ment. That Director, Dan Weaver, lat­er got sen­tenced to 3 years in pris­on as part of the same gi­ant pile of cor­rup­tion that in­fect­ed the man­age­ment of the en­tire County. I think the FBI stopped fish­ing soon af­ter be­cause every­thing left was small fry.

They scared me. I had a brand new in­fant, a mort­gage, there were no job prospects in Cleveland, so I delet­ed the afore­men­tioned tweet and kept my head down for an­oth­er 5 years. The FBI burst in to my of­fice be­cause the­se crim­i­nals spat up­on the same civil re­spon­si­bil­i­ty that I was hon­ored to con­tribute to. Everyone at the County was im­pli­cat­ed. I know how louche it is to voice per­son­al opin­ions re­gard­ing one’s pro­fes­sion­al po­si­tion, but some shit needs to be un­equiv­o­cal­ly re­pu­di­at­ed. The fol­low­ing tweet is, as far as I can tell, the on­ly one left stand­ing from that time:

I’ve spent 7 years with my lips zipped — which is not an easy thing for me to do. I’ve tried to be as non-par­ti­san as pos­si­ble in my deal­ings with every­one. Going along to get along. I’ve avoid­ed en­gag­ing in any­thing that might be politi­cized, but what isn’t the­se days? Ain’t no­body play­ing for low stakes.

I can con­tin­ue to kib­itz, or I can throw my two cents on the pile & see if any­thing shifts.

Mainly, though, I’m tired of keep­ing my mouth shut.

Lifetime Learning

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The boy and I went to a Frontiers of Astronomy lec­ture at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History tonight to learn about grav­i­ta­tion­al waves from Dr. Kelly Holley-Bockelmann. Here’s a sim­i­lar ver­sion of her talk:

For a quick run-down about the im­por­tance of grav­i­ta­tion­al waves: Top 5 Targets of a Gravity Wave Observatory.

I’d for­got­ten how much I missed hang­ing around a cam­pus and go­ing to ran­dom lec­tures and learn­ing new things straight from the ex­perts. That was one of the high­light of at­tend­ing a uni­ver­si­ty. Plus the snacks af­ter!

It was my son’s idea to at­tend, and even though it was way past his bed­time, he learned a bunch, and even asked the as­tro­physi­cist an in­tel­li­gent ques­tion about the “pres­sure” of grav­i­ta­tion­al waves that she was able to ex­plain to a 3rd grader. It was def­i­nite­ly a more in­tel­li­gent ques­tion than the one about time trav­el. I’m su­per proud of him for hav­ing the gump­tion to ask a ques­tion when he was the youngest in a room with hun­dreds of peo­ple in it.

After the lec­ture we went up to the ob­ser­va­to­ry and got to take a gan­der at the moon. It was a first for both of us, and amaz­ing! Then we had the afore­men­tioned snacks, head­ed home, and he passed out in the car. I need to start loop­ing my­self in to the lo­cal lec­ture cir­cuit. There are too many col­leges around for me to con­tin­ue ig­nor­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties they provide.

I might even be able to haul along my son, since he seems to be in­to the sci­ence-re­lat­ed ones at least. I guess that runs in the fam­i­ly too.

Petty Theft Runs in the Family

Saturday, 5 November 2016

When I was 7 or 8 I stole a pack­et of erasers from Mace’s Supermarket in Connersville, Indiana. I knew it was wrong, but I did it any­way. I got caught. I do not re­call the ex­act chain of events that there­by tran­spired, but I got hollered at by my mom, went to my dad’s work­place and got hollered at by him, was re­turned to Mace’s where I got hollered at by the store man­ager. I do not re­call if the po­lice were called, but I do re­mem­ber that the threat was there. I learned a lesson.

Today, my son took two pack­ets of Tic-Tacs from Giant Eagle. When I dis­cov­ered this, I felt tri­fur­cat­ed; like I was that lit­tle boy again, and like my mom must have felt deal­ing with that lit­tle boy’s malfea­sance, and al­so as my­self, at 35, be­ing both of those at the same time. We re­turned to the store, and I made him go to the ser­vice desk and ask to speak to the man­ager, and I made him fess up to the man­ager when he ar­rived. He got a lec­ture that I very much re­mem­ber get­ting.

His pun­ish­ment was los­ing all of his Halloween can­dy — if he feels the need to steal can­dy, he doesn’t de­serve can­dy that was given to him. He was su­per up­set about that and felt more than a bit of re­morse — al­though it took him awhile to get there.

At one point he said that he knows he has “good deep down in­side me” and I told him that it doesn’t need to be deep down in­side, he should let that good fill him and flow out of him, so that he can be a good per­son to every­one.

We’ll see how it goes. Parenting is full of sur­pris­es — and déjà vu, too.

The {foo} Talk

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

So my kid told a cou­ple of oth­er kids (girls) at school that a “male penis” goes in­side a fe­male and re­leas­es sperm and the sperm meets the egg and that is mat­ing. I learned of this when the Assistant Principal gave me a call & was au­di­bly awk­ward about the whole thing. I get that 3rd grade might be a bit too ear­ly for some par­ents to want their kid to know that kind of stuff, but the night is dark and full of ter­rors.

I’m just glad my kid knows the right ter­mi­nol­o­gy and the me­chan­ics of the process & that he’s still in­no­cent on the tech­nique. I gave him the de­tails when he asked. My mom did the same for me when I was nought but a wee bairn.

He knows all of the com­mon curse words. He al­so knows that I know that he knows them. He al­so knows that I know that he knows that I know that he knows not to use those words un­til he’s has a bet­ter ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the tim­ing & ap­pro­pri­ate­ness there­of.

He knows that I fuck up screw up as a dad and a hu­man some­times. He knows that this hap­pens and it’s okay, and that it’s healthy to ad­mit when we do some­thing wrong & that we have to work to­geth­er to be bet­ter peo­ple.

The world is tough to nav­i­gate — I don’t want to make it any hard­er for my kid. I try to give it to him straight.

Weekly Wrap-up — Third Place

Saturday, 17 September 2016

I’m try­ing to write more and be more pos­i­tive. These week­ly wrap-ups will prob­a­bly con­tin­ue. It’s go­ing to be hard to be “plus-side” this week. It has been a very emo­tion­al­ly try­ing one.

I took a walk tonight to get a slaw dog at Steve’s Diner and got to see the amaz­ing har­vest moon. I have en­joyed liv­ing in Old Brooklyn so much more than liv­ing in Tremont.

I am part of a team at work that does drag­on boat­ing as part of the Cleveland Dragon Boating Association. The fes­ti­val was to­day, and we end­ed up com­ing home with third place medal — which we earned. It’s nice to be part of a fo­cused team en­vi­ron­ment that has a clear and eas­i­ly mea­sured goal. So much of mod­ern work (and this is not a com­plaint) re­quires com­plex teams with dif­fer­ing time­li­nes and goals, that when a project is com­plete, it might nev­er re­al­ly feel like it. And it’s even rar­er that you have time to cel­e­brate af­ter.

I’ve been hav­ing more luck with get­ting Abraham to do things that he has, in the past, not been in­clined to do. I think I’ve ei­ther been too sim­ple or too com­plex in my ex­pla­na­tions as to why he should eat broc­coli, for ex­am­ple. I find out what he pre­con­cep­tions are (broc­coli is sog­gy) and then ex­plain that he had ob­vi­ous­ly had over­cooked broc­coli, and that is can be very tasty in oth­er ways. Then I ex­plained the nu­tri­tion­al val­ue and how those vi­t­a­mins & min­er­als af­fect his body. Next thing I know, he’s chomp­ing away. This method has al­so worked a bit with the neat­ness of his school­work.

My friend Amy is a trea­sure. She’s my longest and stead­i­est friend here in Cleveland and if we get to choose friends as a sec­ond fam­i­ly, she’s my first choice for sis­ter.

I went to Sabor Miami for lunch ear­lier this week, and was greet­ed by name, and treat­ed to an amaz­ing­ly de­li­cious lunch. The whole ex­pe­ri­ence bright­ened my day.

My car doesn’t smell much like salt­ed caramel/​vanilla lat­te any­more af­ter an ac­ci­dent I had in it a few weeks ago. Either that or I’ve got ol­fac­to­ry fa­tigue.

Manual

Monday, 12 September 2016

I held 
hurt
birds

I held 
handfuls 
of orphan mice

I held
a lame
rabbit kit
shrilling

I was a small
child
beholding
small things

I was a small
god
holding 
fearful congregations

I keep learning 
that
love cannot
be held

only empty
hands
can do the 
work