Common Sense Has Become Uncommon

America’s political landscape has become a place of extremes. The common sense middle ground, where answers are found and problems are solved, is a deserted wasteland. Extremists from both sides of the political fence have come to define the political debates while those who seek to actually resolve those debates no longer have a voice in Washington. Each side blames the other for our nation’s woes while most of them are fully aware they are the cause, not the solution of our many problems. It’s all about party politics and each side will tell whatever lies are necessary to stay in power. The only thing they agree on is the need to have problems, real or imagined, to blame each other for. Not to solve, but to place blame. Because the worse you can make the “other guys” look, the better your chances of gaining / keeping power.

The far left seems to have lost all sense of the fact that free market capitalism is the primary reason America still has such a powerful economic engine. They constantly seek ways to sabotage that engine in the interest of some far-fetched notion of fairness. But true fairness is not defined by outcome. It is defined by the opportunity to create an outcome. The far left has never embraced this simple truth. They seem to believe that a minimum outcome should be somehow guaranteed to each person. Sorry, but reality doesn’t work that way.

Meanwhile, most on the far right firmly believe in earning one’s way in the world. And that’s a good thing. But they have a maddening tendency to embrace ignorance. To many of them science is some sort of liberal conspiracy. They continue to cling to long-debunked ancient myths full of repression and misogyny. They dogmatically reject any new knowledge that conflicts with their antiquated preconceptions about “how things ought to be.” The world tries to pass them by, but the drag they place on progress is costly both in money and lives. Their rejection of sensible precautions regarding Covid-19 is a prime example. How many people died because the far right claimed it was all a conspiracy? Too many.

Meanwhile, the “elites” on both sides live in squeaky-clean gated communities far removed from the consequences of their greed and poor leadership. They’ll tell us about our nasty carbon footprints while cruising at 30,000 feet in their pollution-belching private jets or cruising about town in their huge SUVs

Neither side realizes (or just doesn’t care) that what we need is common sense regulation so that capitalism can thrive, and allow all Americans an opportunity to thrive along with it. And many on the left refuse to accept that in many cases deregulation is what’s needed. Contrary to the blather of the far left, the accumulation of personal wealth – as long as it’s earned honestly – is a good thing. And I for one would love to see a prosperous America where even the least-advantaged of us lives with reasonable comfort and security. I’ll also say here that such advantage must be earned, not given. If you’re able to work for it, then it should be expected that you do so. The fewer people that are allowed to game the system, the more resources become available to those who truly need our help.

We have reached a point where choosing which political party to support comes down to a choice of what you’re willing to lose as opposed to what you might gain. Let’s use an issue near and dear to me personally as a real-world example:

I for one favor 100% legalization of marijuana. No drug tests, no penalties, and complete expungement for all non-violent offenders. I should be able to grow my own weed in my back yard and smoke myself into sweet oblivion if I choose to do so. And I should be able to do it on my front porch without worrying about some redneck cop slapping the cuffs on me. Big Pharma should be barred from locking out smaller operators from producing medicinal products. The advantages of legalization are almost without limit as science continues to find new and beneficial uses for marijuana. To me, there is nothing “extreme” about my stance on the issue. It’s simply a freedom that both parties once denied us. But now Democrats (who generally are the first to accept new science) have come to see these advantages along with (or perhaps because of) the political gains to be made.

Republicans predictably have been horrifically slow to admit to such benefits because their constituency tends toward the deeply religious, anti-science conspiracy theory crowd. Marijuana is to them the “Devil’s Weed” and many of them remain determined to keep it illegal. Indeed, the most dangerous thing about marijuana is getting caught with it in the wrong state. Some properly formulated edibles would do much to alleviate my arthritis without the health hazards of opiates. But the frequency of random drug tests in my industry (trucking) prohibit me from seeking such relief. I want the freedom to use it responsibly to ease the pain I deal with each and every day. But dogmatic, uninformed conservatives are determined to deny me that relief. They’re slowly losing the battle, but far too slowly.


Smith & Wesson .460 Magnum

On the other hand, I’m a firm supporter of our Second Amendment rights. And in that regard most Republicans are reliably on my side. Democrats on the other hand seem determined to make gun ownership such a pain in the ass as to make it impossible. So… do I vote against my right to go out to the shooting range on the weekend, or do I vote against my right to enjoy the benefits of marijuana on that same weekend? Why should I have to choose? I want both and that is not an unreasonable desire. Oh and by the way I have in fact been on many weekend camping trips with friends where we had both guns and weed. We’re alive and unscathed so don’t try to compare “weed and guns” to “booze and guns.” They are not the same. Not even close.

Moving along…

The recent SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is just the latest development in a long ideological war. To me, while I regard the fetus as a person I also recognize that the rights of the mother must be respected as well. Once the baby’s brain is developed to a point that it can feel fear and pain then abortion for non-medical reasons should be off the table. If on the other hand the mother’s health / life is credibly threatened by the pregnancy then she absolutely should have the right to protect herself, no restrictions. As technology advances we are better able to preserve a viable child’s life outside the womb. If we can, we should. Abortion should not be an automatic death sentence for the baby.

But what of a developing child that is determined to have severe deformities? A fatal disease? Are we obligated to force a life of misery upon an innocent child? And what of the hardship forced upon such a child’s parents? Is it not more moral to end the pregnancy and avoid a lifetime of such misery? I think it is.

The religious right will tell you that “all life is a gift from God” and it is not our right to make such a decision. Put charitably, that’s horseshit. Each person is the sole owner of their life once out of the womb. No one owns your life but you. Oh sure the religious right will prattle on about how life begins at conception (I agree in the technical sense but not the philosophical sense). Some others will argue that the Bible says life doesn’t begin until the first breath is taken. This is inaccurate. According to the Bible, upon conception a new soul is created then and there. But who cares? It’s an ancient book of moldy old tales with few if any roots in reality. The Bible is relevant only to those who choose to follow it. Unfortunately, many of those in power follow the Bible and seem determined to foist it’s nonsense on the rest of us.

The far left on the other hand seems to regard abortion as a viable alternative to using a condom. This strikes me as terribly callous and, in my humble opinion, makes a case against casual sex. A child should be conceived in love. It deserves better than to be a cause for alarm. I’m not one who rails against sex outside marriage. But I do believe in taking proper precautions. This is especially true for women. Men are largely pigs. We just wanna get our dicks wet. Women are often left to deal with the consequences. That’s grossly unfair, but that’s just how a lot of guys are (not me sweetheart – I ain’t like all those other guys ).

So again is there a common sense solution? Of course there is. But we won’t see it as long as the Powers That Be keep Americans divided to suit their own desires.

Moving Along Still Further…

The environment is another battlefield. In this particular case I think the Left is much more at fault although the right certainly shares some blame. The whole thing about electric cars is a prime example. The tech is just not ready. The infrastructure isn’t there. But the left continues to tell us we have to go electric to save the planet. But those same liberals are busy attacking the source of the power those electric cars depend upon: fossil fuels. We need oil gas and coal. We need nuclear energy. Wind and solar power are not that dependable nor can they serve as a replacement for fossil fuel powered plants.

It is hypocritical of the environmentalists to tell us to “go electric” when doing so does nothing to protect the environment. The fact that an e-car lacks a tailpipe does not offset the emissions belching out of a coal-fired power plant. There is no easy solution here. Sure we can push for coal-fired plants to run cleaner. But that requires new tech that is less than fully developed. In the meantime I will continue to drive my reliable old Jeep Grand Cherokee. She’s got over 200,000 miles on her and hasn’t failed me yet. Give me an electric vehicle that performs like what I have, and provide the nationwide infrastructure for recharging, AND make it so I can recharge in 2 minutes (just like filling up with gasoline) and maybe I’ll consider it. Doubtful, but maybe. If it saves me money. I’ve sacrificed enough over the years. I won’t budge on this one. And my old Cherokee is really fun to drive.

Saving The Best For Last…

And oh my goodness fucking gracious what is all this nonsense with gender and sexuality?! Why are so many women trying to be men? Why are so many men trying to be women? And whose rainbow is it anyway?

To me the whole transgender thing is just stark raving bug-eyed nuts. But that’s just me. Hey if you want to go through all that abuse to be something you’re not, that’s your choice to make. But be prepared to deal with real-world consequences on the other side of it. To me, having sex-change surgery is just genital mutilation with the assistance of a medical professional. And guys, if you decide to be a woman then fine but keep your hairy ass OUT of women’s sports. You don’t belong there and you know this is true no matter how much you bluster otherwise.

Gays on the other hand are just people. I have zero issues with gays and frankly cannot respect anyone who does. They deserve the same rights as the rest of us. But the far right is working overtime to change that. Emboldened by the right-wing SCOTUS having overturned Roe, they’ll be coming after marriage equality next. Some on the left claim they’ll also go after interracial marriage but I find this doubtful. Don’t forget that ultra-conservative Justice Clarence Thomas is an African-American who’s married to a white woman.

In the matter of gay rights and marriage equality, the left stands head and shoulders above the stodgy, uninformed right. The left has always stood for personal freedoms when it comes to one’s own body. For that I applaud them. The right on the other hand wants to legislate away the hard-won freedoms gays have attained over the years. And why? Because the Bible says gays are “an abomination” and worthy of death. Or something like that. Far be it from the hard right to base anything on reality when they can hide behind scripture.

And finally…
Where does it all end? Is there a cure for the madness? I’m not sure. I’ve seen signs that the Hispanic community is moving towards the middle. I hope that’s true. And religious faith is in a slow decline across the nation, though much slower than most European nations. But it’s all for naught unless Americans by and large can set aside their differences and learn to work together. The common ground between the extremes is the only place workable solutions can be found. I’m standing here waiting. Anyone else?

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