Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Democrat or a Republican?



WARNING: This blog entry may seem narcissistic which I vowed not to do. So please forgive me. Wow, that seems narcissistic even to think that people would be thinking I'm a narcissist. Irony at its best.

After hours of an agonizing debate with myself, I decided to publish my current political beliefs. My reasoning behind this decision is to inform readers that I am yet to have firm and solid beliefs on many issues. This inability to commit could be compared to a religious investigator struggling to receive an answer or confirmation that the Protestant, Catholic or Methodist religion is their one and only way to salvation. Even though my opinion may sway at times, I still remain relatively steadfast on my religious beliefs, which of course impact my political positions. Consequently, it may seem appropriate that I would favor to a right-winged, conservative stance, when in reality I consider myself a "moderate".

What exactly is a conservative? Well, I looked up the definition to find that a conservative is "disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc. or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change". So I asked the question, "Do I believe in tradition, the status quo, and keeping things the way they are?" My answer was "sometimes". Ambiguous you say? When it comes to more social, religiously affected issues I tend to sway right.

Liberal. So many connotations come with that word as well as conservative. So what exactly is a liberal? A liberal is "favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs." Political reform. Hmmm. Without political reform or progress, women wouldn't be able to vote today. Without political reform there would be racial segregation, we would be part of the British parliament, and slave trades would be the weekend extravaganza. So do we need political reform and progress? Of course. But where do we draw the line? When does modern tolerance and equality become an enemy to our moral structure and belief system? For me, reform can be counterintuitive when my morals and values are in question. On the contrary, I must remember that the American population may not share my morals and values. So do I vote for a candidate or a bill to appease myself or do I vote for the good of the people, regardless of my value system? That answer is yet to be determined. Again, it goes back to the struggle to find my "confirmation" or "answer" of certain social issues.

In the 1920's women's suffrage was assuredly against the moral belief system of the traditional family. Women were the homemakers, the submissive and subservient housewives that stayed at home to care for the children. So would it have been against my religious and moral upbringing to support women's suffrage? Possibly. Am I grateful for the "radical" liberals back in the 1920's? Absolutely. Who's to say people 100 years from now won't be grateful for radical movements trying to be implemented in our time. But then the question of morality and tradition comes to the surface. When does too much of a good thing become a bad thing?

There you have it. I'm moderate in that I try to hold strong to my beliefs but yet I understand that reform is necessary. Some people may argue that being moderate is cowardly and not standing firm behind your religious fibers is supporting the adversary. I however, feel that moderation is a healthy and wise way to live your life.

8 comments:

Laura said...

You are the Carrie Bradshaw of politics. Great post. As a registered Democrat, but a self-described "moderate," I agree a lot with what you had to say. I personally think being moderate is far from "cowardly" but I could also say the same thing about someone who swings so far right or left without being open-minded to the fact that sometimes we need to adjust our vote for what is best for our country and our future. I think we should get rid of political parties all together and just focus on the issues. Or maybe you should just run for president. Just an idea.

Engars said...

fart.

Colby said...

I agree with Tyler's comment. I will really try and refrain from leaving comments that are too controversial. I'll just make one comment about your post: You ask the question, "do I vote for the good of the people, regardless of my value system? ... answer yet to be determined." If your value system is based off of the beliefs that I am pretty sure you have, then the ultimate "good of the people" would be following your value system regardless of what people in society do or say. That reminds me of the old adage, "if all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?"

Ashley Engar said...

Well that's why I compared that decision to women's rights back in the 1920's. It probably was against conservative belief back then to be an advocate for women's rights. Get my drift???

Engars said...

Women’s suffrage was not necessarily driven by a group of progressives in the sense that gay marriage is today. States like Utah and Wyoming were some of the first to pass legislation that gave women equal voting rights. Furthermore, President Wilson, although a Democrat, was not exactly a progressive. He urged the passage of the 19th Amendment, which passed through the House on the first try, but not the Senate. The House, in my opinion, better represents the vote of the people. Because only men were allowed to vote at that time, it is a fair assumption that women’s suffrage had fair popular support, not just among progressive or liberals.

Ashley Engar said...

That is a great argument indeed Tyler. I did assume that advocating women's rights would've been against conservative belief at the time. But if it didn't pass through the senate then it wasn't exactly a popular amendment, it was more controversial, which was exactly my point.

Engars said...

My argument is that it was more popular an amendment than some may think. The House is a better metric of the popular vote than the Senate. There are two senators from each state. Whereas, the House is comprised of a great number of representatives of the states, based largely on population.

N8 and JBo said...

I LOVE this post. It drives me crazy when people talk about politics and I ask them why they feel that way... and they don't know! We need more people who take this approach to finding out "where they stand" rather than just listening to their parents, the biased media or anyone else.