Coming Back Online.

I apologize for it taking so long for an update, and for not following through on my last post’s promise to get my essay out within the week. Part of it has been that life has been busier than anticipated recently, and I haven’t had as much time to spend on this site. Another part is a general lack of direction with it. In a time where reasoned argument and bipartisan compromise is tossed aside, and people instead respond to, and even call for, name calling, foot-dragging, and “alternative facts”…what’s the point? The third reason is that I’ve been experiencing a bit of writer’s block on my gun control article specifically. It’s one of the most polarizing issues in our country and it’s difficult to express in a way that isn’t going to immediately put anyone with opposing views off, and so I’ve decided to put that one on hold for now.

I am picking up the site again now and I’m going to be attempting to write 2-3 updates per week, but I’m going to be focusing on shorter posts responding to more current events. As much as I hope that no reasons for it to happen, if guns come into the news again I’ll attempt to write about it, and it may give me the push I need to bring down the wall blocking me from finishing what I’ve started there. As before, my goal will be to give my real, honest, progressive, liberal, leftist viewpoint on things, calling out the misdirection and misrepresentation of those views being delivered by the anchors and pundits on the right. That’s my agenda, in its entirety. I want to tell you the truth about what I believe, and why I believe it. I’m not going to use lies to try to accomplish that out of some misguided belief that the ends justify the means. I will be as honest as I can, and if you find a mistake in something I tell you, I will more than happily review it and make every effort to correct it for my readers. Just let me know.

I want to spend the rest of this talking about what made me decide to bite the bullet and keep this site going in the face of the second reason I mentioned for why I put things on hold above. What’s the point? For the answer, I have a short story about something I experienced recently.

I have a friend whose parents divorced before I met him, and his mom has remarried. His stepfather is pretty far to the extreme right. He owns his own business and he strongly believes that “the left” is every bit the picture of American Destruction that his favorite politicians and talk show hosts paint us to be. His stepson and I aren’t on “the left” in his eyes. He’s able to separate us from “the left” that he hates because he knows us and believes our motives are good; we just have some misguided beliefs that we’ll grow out of…Sound like anyone you know…?

Anyway, I recently ended up having a few beers with him and a couple of other people while we got some things ready for a surprise party we were having for my friend. I was dreading it. I hadn’t spent much time with him without my equally liberal friend as a buffer; I mean this guy is who you think of when you picture a MAGA hat-wearing, ‘Murica-loving, rural Midwestern Trump voter. As we worked, talk inevitably veered towards politics, and something amazing and completely unexpected happened. We just talked. We talked about welfare and the social safety net. We talked about universal healthcare and universal education. We didn’t always agree, but we both listened to each other, and here’s the craziest thing: We agreed, almost completely, on universal education. I haven’t written much about this before, but I don’t think universal education means everyone goes to a 4-year school for free. A good education system needs paths for that for the students that want it, but it also needs paths for apprenticeships and tax breaks for the business owners providing them. It needs objective performance standards tied to the amount of funding a student gets. It needs a lot of things, and this right-wing, rural man was on board and adding his own ideas for improving mine and I liked them. We ended the afternoon joking about running against Trump in 2020 together.

My “shock” in that story and the way it played out is the teensiest bit facetious, but I was genuinely surprised that I enjoyed the conversation and wasn’t waiting for an opportunity to race out the door. I’m not saying that’s the way it would play out for you if you decide to try to have a conversation with your racist aunt at Thanksgiving, but it did reinvigorate me and it made me believe that this website might convince others on both sides to try it out. It was clear evidence of something that I have believed for a while: the polarization of our country is, for the most part, artificial. Compromise is not only possible, it’s something the majority of us could settle on pretty easily if we could actually have the conversation without screaming at each other, but pundits like to keep us screaming because polarization brings viewers to their shows. Outrage keeps us coming back for more.

The majority of Americans, even those at the opposite ends of the political spectrum, agree on more than we don’t. We all want to make our society as strong and enduring as we can, and we can work together to compromise and make that happens. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to be fast, and though I have been right at the verge a few times in the last couple of years, I’m not quite ready to give up on it yet.

Thanks for stopping by,


Let’s Talk About Taxes

Phew, it took me longer than anticipated to finish this one. I was shooting to have it out on Wednesday, which was the day the Republicans in Congress passed their final tax bill. Both houses were supposed to be in recess by this past Sunday, but they stuck around to get this passed in a vote that shot straight down party lines, which interestingly enough, Senator McConnell doesn’t think should happen when it comes to such important legislation:

The chaos [the Affordable Care Act] has visited on our country isn’t just deeply tragic, it was entirely predictable. And that will always be the case if you approach legislation without regard for the views of the other side. Without some meaningful buy-in, you guarantee a food fight. You guarantee instability and strife. It may very well have been the case that on Obamacare, the will of the country was not to pass the bill at all. That’s what I would have concluded if Republicans couldn’t get a single Democrat vote for legislation of this magnitude. I’d have thought, maybe this isn’t such a great idea.

-Mitch McConnell, January 8, 2014

Tax Forms
Photo by / CC BY 3.0

Ahh, isn’t it great that we live in a time where it’s possible to so easily expect people to meet standards they set for themselves? Anyway, with the tax bill in mind, I had been planning to do a breakdown of taxation, so I thought now was a good time to get it out of my head and post it. I wanted to address what I want in a tax system as a progressive, why I oppose the Republican’s bill, and why I believe I should pay more taxes than those less fortunate than I am and why I have an expectation that people more fortunate than I should pay more, regardless of how they come across their money.

As I dug in, my word count quickly grew, and I ended up splitting this into two posts because I think this is my longest post yet, even after splitting it. This one goes into the first part. It covers my philosophy around taxation. What is the purpose of taxation and why do we need to pay taxes even if some of them go to things we don’t personally like or believe they should? The other one targets the Republican tax bill specifically, and why I don’t support it based on how it was passed and what it ultimately does. The second part isn’t quite finished yet, but I’ll link to it here when it’s up. You can find that post here.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Taxes”