My son Thomas, First Class Boy Scout, has been working on his Citizenship of the Nation and Citizenship of the World merit badges. Last night, he struggled with the differences between the duties and obligations of a citizen. The merit badge books describe duties and obligations as derived from citizen rights. For example, the right to vote implies the citizen’s duty to vote and obligates them to become informed of the issues, candidates they are voting on. The nuance is not obvious with other examples, so it was a good conversation that we will continue.

I found it particularly timely as I stepped up to the voting booth this morning. It’s my duty to vote. I want to vote. My obligation to inform my choices based on research and my personal beliefs leaves me frustrated with my options. Do I vote based on who I think is electable? Do I vote for the candidate who most closely shares my beliefs? Are there any?

What are my topical political beliefs as a citizen? I haven’t changed much since the last time I posted on this.

  1. The government still spends too much money.
    • There is no motivation for politicians to spend less. There must be a law requiring a balanced budget. We can not continue to spend more than we take in.
  2. Make taxation simplified and equal.
    • 50% of American’s still pay 100% of the taxes. A smaller number actually pays the majority of taxes. All employed citizens should pay taxes.
    • I don’t know if that means I’m in favor of a flat tax or something similar, but probably.
  3. Make health care affordable, accessible.
    • How do you get there is really the problem. The government can’t require insurance. It’s not like requiring insurance if you own a car.
    • Costs need to drop. Reform malpractice litigation. Train doctors to acknowledge when they made mistakes and apologize. Some hospitals are doing this and their lawsuits have dropped.
  4. Public education needs reforms.
    • From a purely business point of view, the return on investment isn’t there. To make us competitive again, we must find effective ways to educate our youth. Unfortunately, the trends are in shorter school years, less engagement with parents, less homework, more focus on passing standardized tests.
  5. We need to actively pursue cheaper sources of energy.
    • Do not limit this to alternative energy sources. Tactically, we need alternative sources of fossil fuels which should mean opening things up in North America (Look at what’s happened in North Dakota as far as the economy if you question the value). Strategically (on the level of decades), alternative sources of energy make sense, but there’s no demand for it. If we’ve learned anything from the past 3 years, government investing here won’t create demand.
  6. The government should have no say in defining marriage.
    • When I say that, I have friends who get mad at me for not supporting same-sex marriage. That’s not what I’m saying. To me, marriage is a union based on emotion, beliefs and lifestyles. The government has no right to dictate any of this.
    • The government should only legislate civil unions. That is a legal contract.
    • I support any loving couple who wants to get married.
    • I support any religious organization to practice their beliefs on this topic.
  7. Something has to change with immigration.
    • Immigrants built this country. At our foundation, we are a melting pot and that’s what makes us strong. I’ve worked with a number of people who have come to America and worked hard to become a citizen. However, if someone can’t make the effort to legally become a citizen, I don’t want them here. They aren’t contributing to our nation, but creating a drain on government resources.

Ok, I don’t really offer any solutions, but that’s not my job. That’s what I pay elected officials to do. I just wish there were some qualified candidates I could trust to do what they were paid to do.