WHAT I BELIEVE IN
I've had some folks ask me, "Neal, if you were in charge, what would you do?" Well, I've given that much thought. I've come up with a real progressive, populist creedo that, if I were in charge, I would push.
Since I have a captive audience (unless you hit the little "X" in the corner), I thought I would post my political priorities here (Same priorities I would follow if I ever ran for an office).
1) Helping The American Farmer: Since the begining of our nation, farmers have been the backbone of this nation. Big, industrial farms are wiping small farms off the map, and we need to help support the farmers. I come from Southwest Virginia, where we grow burley tobacco, corn, and many other crops, and I know how important the family farm is not only for the product the farmer produces, but the pride in the farmer's heart when he runs his hands through the dirt that will help feed his family. Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and FarmAid have done a lot for the farmers, but the government needs to get involved to help the farms stay on their feet.
2) Embryonic Stem Cell Research: I'm a type I juvenile diabetic, and I have been since I was eight years old. My grandfather is 84, and is suffering from alzheimer's disease, as well as the effects of diabetes. And every family in America is similar. We all know someone who is living with a disease that they will be forced to live with the rest of their life, unless significant progress is made. President Bush calls stem cell research "murder," but I would wonder what President Bush calls it when the unused embryos are destroyed after a period of time. Of course, I am concerned with when life begins, but to paraphrase Arlen Specter (cancer patient), I'm much more concerned with when life ends. The government needs to federally fund and encourage this vital, vital research.
3) Support the American Worker: Many republicans speak of unions as if they were evil, evil entities. I say unions are perhaps the best thing to happen to America's bluecollar workers since the industrial revolution. Without unions, powerhungry businesses would be autocratic mini-governments, firing workers for demanding simple human rights like workplace safety, or reasonable hours and pay. In that vein of thought, we need to raise the minimum wage. In my homestate of Virginia, the minimum wage is $5.15 an hour. That is simply unacceptable. According to my calculations, someone who works forty hours a week, and has a two week vacation during the year, will make $10,300 per year. That's not enough to make house payments or apartment rental payments, car payments, buy food, pay for healthcare, and every other expense I didn't mention. We need to raise the minimum wage to at least $6.75.
4) Find A Middle Ground On Abortion: Abortion is the single most divisive issue in America today. There are many who say abortion is a woman's right, and many say it is murder. I take a middle of the road approach. First of all, partial-birth abortion is murder. End of story. On a different note, I do not know when life begins, and I'll admit it. But, according to the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, abortion is legal, and I believe we need to uphold that law. One can't impose their personal beliefs on everyone just because they think they're right. I believe we need to follow Bill Clinton's lead on this issue, when he declared abortions should be "Safe, legal, and rare."
5) Energy Independence: We're living under Saudi Arabia's thumb. End of story. For far too long, we've catered to the Saudis, the Venezualans, and other oil producing countries to give them what they want so they will sell us what we need. We need to find alternative fuel sources. Solar energy, biodiesel, ethanol, wind power, coal, and hydrogen fuel are all excellent possibilites. Our government needs to form commissions (bipartisan--no oil company sellout committees) to study each possibile energy souce we could utilize. As gas prices climb from $2.20 for standard grade (in my area), to $3, $4, or even higher in the coming years, our economy will be crippled. People simply will not be able to afford to go anywhere. Not Wal-Mart, not McDonald's, not Food City. No where. We have to take action now to combat this frightening scenario.
That's my 5-Point Creedo that I believe in, and that I believe the country needs to accomplish in the very near future. Under our current President and Congress, I doubt that any of what I've proposed could be successful at this time. But we have to make moves now to better our country. I'm a God-fearing, nation-loving, patriotic Democrat. I still believe in America. And I know we need to make this country the best it can be.