As I'm involved in debate after debate with those on the right, there is a question that keeps popping up in my head that I think I have to come out and ask. That question is "what is it that you want?" By that I mean, what do you want to be the goal of your political activism? What is your "dream"? (ala MLK Jr.s dream). By "you", I mean primarily those on the right.
We certainly hear various talking points from the right - lower taxes, smaller government, less regulation. Of course each of those are vague terms. But what would be the endgame? 0% tax rate? Unbridled capitalism? No government at all? I have to ask because it sometimes seems like folks don't think through what they are asking for or step back to realize that their path is one leading to a very destructive sequence of events, not unknown in our history ("those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it").
I once was myself "conservative" (I was young, and foolish - that's what I was, not saying anyone who is conservative is) and as I reflect back on those days I can't actually remember what it was that I wanted, except whatever the issue was, my view was colored by my own prejudices (and as well meaning as I thought they were, they were prejudices).
If you ask me that question now I can certainly answer it. And since I am asking it of you, it is only fair that I answer it myself.
I want a society that is fair and just with adequate opportunities for all. By fair and just, I mean fair and just to EVERYONE (not just straight people or white people or rich people or poor people or black people or ...)
I want a government that protects and serves the interests of ALL people, not just the small minority with the most money.
I want a regulatory system in place that protects the small from the big (ordinary workers from big companies, small companies from big companies), the environment from exploitation (no more oil spills!)
I want an educational system that promotes exceptional-ism, and I don't mean just Math and Science - I mean whatever type of intelligence (ala multiple intelligences) that a person may possess.
I want a criminal justice system that is not a for-profit enterprise truly aimed at rehabilitation where necessary and punishment where applicable (I am usually a liberal on most things, but in this area, I do believe some people deserve to die!)
I want smarter drug laws, with a lot of liberalization.
I want a country where people are free to practice their religious beliefs OR lack of beliefs without either side encroaching on the others.
I want a responsible foreign policy, with a smaller focus on American Imperialism, wars and promoting the Military Industrial Complex, and a greater focus on diplomacy and peace. This foreign policy should be an extension of domestic policy, thus not favoring one group of people over the other necessarily. This extends into trading policies.
I want smarter gun laws. We are not allowed to own nuclear weapons despite our "right to bear arms", and I also feel the same way about high powered automatic weapons. They should be removed from commercial production IMHO.
I want a progressive immigration policy that recognizes the necessity of immigrants to our economy and discourages illegal immigration (e.g. by making it easier to come over legally, stay legally if you already came over illegally, or helping make it not necessary by helping develop where they come from) instead of these futile attempts to stop it.
I may have missed a few points I'm sure (and am certainly open to compromise on those listed) and I'll add them as comments as they come to me, but what's written above is a good start on where I stand.
Needless to say I have my assumptions about the general direction or position the right takes on all those issues I've mentioned, but I'm going to resist the urge to spell them out.
The other question I'd ask is, what do you think society would look like if you got what you wanted?