Self Reflection Challenge Day 3

Prompt: What are your political views and why?

My political views, like many other things about me, are all over the spectrum.

First and foremost, I believe in the value, dignity, and importance of human life. No, that does not mean I am pro-life. As someone familiar with the human nervous system, I do not believe that a fetus possess brain functioning sufficient to qualify it as a human life.

It does mean, however, that I am a pacifist. I do not believe in violence except where there truly is no other option. As reported by the New York Times, there were at least 108 million casualties of war in the 21st century. That number represents almost one-third of the current population of the United States. It is impossible to fathom the collective trauma that our world has endured as a result of these losses. I am by no means an expert in foreign policy, but as a principle I believe that violence should only be used in the rarest and most dire of circumstances.

For this same reason, I am a strong supporter of sweeping police reform. A just government should not rule by intimidation or threat of force. Poor people, and especially minorities, have come to be viewed as less than human. How many times a day do we walk by a homeless person in the street and avert our eyes? Or even worse, call the police? There is a fundamental lack of empathy in our nation. This phenomenon has many causes, including the ever-expanding presence and importance of social media in our society. But at least part of the issue is how we treat the poor, the downtrodden, and yes, the criminals, in our society. Our government should work to build up and inspire its citizenry, to provide its people with the resources needed to flourish. Compassion, empathy, and passion are the answer. Cruelty, violence, and control are not.

I also believe that billionaires, millionaires, and probably the upper-middle class should be paying more in taxes. Our corporate overlords, and the managerial class eagerly riding their coattails to scoop up the crumbs, rely on the American people and its institutions to accumulate their wealth. Without our laws, government, and infrastructure, corporations could not function. Without our citizens and the government education they receive, corporations would not have workers. It is inexcusable and frankly shameful that there are people in our nation who are homeless or saddled with medical debt while the 1%, and especially the .001%, lead lives of the utmost frivolity and luxury.

But Kyle, what about all of the hard work that corporate executives, lawyers, and upper managers put in to achieve their wealth? Shouldn’t they be rewarded? My answer is a simple and resounding no.

For starters, we must ask: should we actually be valuing the work being performed by these people as much as we do? By and large, the most highly paid positions in our economy serve only to increase corporate wealth and do not provide true and meaningful value to the average American. Is Bobby from Sparks, NV really better off because Brad from NYC is getting paid $100k a year to come up with a new marketing campaign for cellulite-masking yoga leggings? By increasing taxes high earners, our country can realign our priorities and incentivize the workforce to pursue jobs that are both truly productive to our nation as well as personally satisfying.

Finally, I believe in the value of personal freedom and autonomy. Although the last section likely painted me as strongly pro-government, I am actually much more of a libertarian when it comes to social matters. I support the legalization or decriminalization of most, if not all drugs. As we have seen, inserting the government into this matter has lead to an explosion in cartel violence but has not created a meaningful reduction in drug use.

I also believe that the government should not be giving out welfare and other forms of “free money” out as much as it currently does. Much better, in my mind, would be a system of work programs similar to what existed as part of the New Deal. We should not be fostering dependence on the government and its money. Instead, we should be investing in our people, providing them with tools to grow and thrive.

Although my political views do not neatly align with one party or another, they do share a common thread. Our government should serve the people, inspire them, and promote their path to self-actualization. We should prioritize peace and stability over dividends and stock prices. And most importantly, we should unite as one until such goals are achieved.

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