Tonight I was thinking about my journey as an independent thinker. I am 31 years old, almost 32...relatively young according to most people, but it is amazing how much already I have evolved as an independent thinker.
All of us are raised a certain way, with a certain set of values, morals, religion, goal setting, even sports and academic achievement. Now that I have my own family, I realize even more how much influence we have as parents instilling these things in our kids. My parents, I am thankful, did a great job. They guided me toward paths and helped me make decisions...they gave me opportunities to achieve just about everything I set out to achieve. They have always supported me. I love them, and am thankful for them.
Now, there is one area that I will talk about that we laugh about where my "independent" thinking skills have led me. I can blog about it, and we can laugh about it, because we are a family that loves and respects one another. Here goes. I was raised as a democrat. I come from a long-line of such. But, I am a republican. In fact, I'd say that I am "right of conservative"...oh yeah...tea party material. Please don't cry, Momma! :)
So, I want to talk about my journey. It's a journey that had me voting Gore in 2000, and sitting in a roomful of people just last night to listen to our former president, George W. Bush, speak and reminisce about his 8 years as president. One thing that I always remember thinking as I grew up, even as young as when I would ride the bus in elementary school, is that "Democrats are for the little guy and republicans are for the big guy." Truly, that is about as much as I knew, and firmly believed, up until I was about 22 years old. No kidding. And from that single thought, I decided to characterize an entire group of people. Actually, 2 groups of people. It is amazing to me now how powerful that one statement was in shaping my political views early on. From that statement, I truly believed that anyone who wore the label of "republican" was uncaring, greedy, and later, in my college years, pretty stupid. All the while, I had never taken a moment to truly discover what the two labels actually implied! Who is the stupid one there??!
I would say somewhere in the spring of 2002, soon after I had a spiritual awakening, I started rethinking my stance on several moral issues. I say rethinking, when truly the Lord was changing my heart. Politically, I still hadn't quite figured out the differences between D and R, but I had a deep conviction, especially in the area of abortion, that I had to get on the right side of that issue.
In 2003, I got married, and Tim and I had our own small business. This was about the time that hard campaigning started happening for the '04 election. I started paying attention--not only to what the candidates were saying, but I started seeing how our business was being taxed out the wazzoo. I also started learning about the "fair tax" and the "flat tax"...And it was all starting to come together. I started realizing, through my own independent thinking, that I differed in a very fundamental way from a "liberal" school of thought--I think that people who work hard for their money should be able to keep it. I think that we do a better job of spending our money than the government does. I think economic growth occurs when Americans are able to spend their money in the marketplace--not when that money is given to the government (through over-taxation) only to be spent on bailouts for failing, poorly-managed companies.
Lightbulbs were illuminating everywhere in my head around that time. Another thing I started realizing was that the word, "democrat", had really changed meaning in the past 20 years. The democrats that I grew up with were my parents. My parents are nowhere NEAR the crazy liberals that are sitting high up in Washington today. My parents believe in social programs that benefit those less-fortunate. They believe that people should reach out a hand to help their neighbor. They believe in the "good" of government. All of these are very noble things, but also things whose meanings have been skewed over the past 20 years or so.
Our government has taken things that were meant to temporarily get the people of our country back on their feet and turned us into a bunch of whiney babies with a serious entitlement mentality problem. The number $250,000 has become a dreaded number. In fact, if you are so fortunate and so hard-working that you are able to reach that type of (combined) household income, I guarantee you are striving for 249K. It's ironic. You are actually making more money at 249K than you are at 250K. The graduated tax system that our country has is unfair. I don't care how much money someone makes...20K or 5 billion...I don't have a right to any of it. None. It's yours. I don't think that someone who makes more money should be penalized by paying a higher tax rate! I believe in a flat tax rate. No matter what you make. Same percentage. Here is something else that I've learned: Rich people spend money. Money stimulates the economy. Taxes do not. Higher taxes mean less money to be spent by the rich people (and everyone else). Less money being put into the economy. Economics 101.
The last point I'll make in my "journey" post has to do with the overall idea of "more government vs. less government." I really had no idea what that meant when I was in college. I thought ideas like "centralized healthcare" sounded good. Everyone needs healthcare, right? It must be the government's responsibility, right? Wrong-oh. There is a huge difference between "governing" and "controlling". Unfortunately, our government has lost sight of that difference to the point that we are becoming more and more like a socialist government. No, government's job is not to provide healthcare or childcare or unemployment insurance or to tell you what type of car you should drive or what type of fuel you need to put in that car. No, government's role is one of oversight, one of lawmaking...Decisions about our lives are for "We the People" to make. NOT the federal government. In another post, I will write about the Constitution--the founding document of this great nation. If only our politicians would read this document, many for the 1st time. It might transform our government.
What I intended to accomplish with this post is that over the last several years, and still even now, my journey as an independent thinker has transformed so many areas of my life, but one of the most obvious is in my political "leanings"...I hope it's been inspiring to you. :)