Political Versus Personal

I’m a walking contradiction; a hypocrite to my own values. My personal beliefs are incredibly conservative: abortion is wrong, immigrants who come here through unapproved channels should go back and follow the current rules and I think there are more than a few recipients of public aid who abuse the system.

All that being said, politically I support the candidate who is pro-choice, actively protects “illegal” immigrants and pledges to increase funding for social services.

Why?

That answer is simple for me.  My personal beliefs shouldn’t limit the rights of the person next to me. The word personal is defined by Dictionary.com as:

1. of, pertaining to, or coming as from a particular person; individual; private: a personal opinion.
2. relating to, directed to, or intended for a particular person: a personal favor; one’s personal life; a letter marked “Personal.”
3. intended for use by one person: a personal car.
 
My beliefs are mine.  They do not need to be yours. I don’t believe in abortion; I won’t have one. If you feel you need one, then you should be free to do so. (Disclaimer: I have not been in the situation where I have had to consider one, so I actually only think I know what I’d do.) I don’t understand why the pro-choice versus pro-life is a debate. It’s a personal choice. Our actions are our own, so why do others’ political and religious beliefs need to dictate them?
 

The immigrants I’ve met who came or stayed here using “unapproved” methods– sneaking in, staying after a visa expired– are not here to take advantage of our socials services programs or “take our jobs”.  They would rather live here with the fear of deportation and send whatever money they can back to the family left behind than be subjected to the abject poverty or under the corrupted government of their countries of origin. As a decent human being, I want these people to be safe and have an opportunity for a better life. I worked for an employment agency for over a decade. My geographical reach for employing people was approximately a 50-mile radius. This is what I’ve experienced: Immigrants aren’t “taking job from Americans”.  They are the majority of those applying for low level jobs. They accept them with sheer joy and (most of them) show up every single day. I’ve had a few non-immigrant applicants for these jobs.  Everyone single one of them demanded far above the posted salary without a shred of applicable experience and most would not accept the position with the pay range offered. Some would walk out. Some would begrudgingly accept the job, mutter a sarcastic thanks and then disappear several weeks later. (So raise the salary you say?  I would have loved to– the more money my placements made, the better for me and my employer. Agencies rarely get to dictate the pay. That is a problem that must be fixed within companies. That’s also a much larger discussion for another post.) Every so often I’d get an application from a laid off worker or someone who has experienced another life-changing event who needed something to get back on his or her feet. They would accept whatever I had to offer and commit to the length of the assignment. The long and short of it is, I didn’t see immigrants taking jobs from more qualified non-immigrant applicants.  I saw them take the ones no one else wanted.   Is there a problem in other geographical areas where immigrant workers get jobs because they would work for less money?  Most likely. I cannot speak from direct experience on this, so I will not. As I said, that’s a topic for another post– one that will mention the jobs being sent overseas. (Though, let me say I’d love to see harsher penalties for people who sell forged social security cards, employment authorization cards and permanent resident cards. Most of them are so obviously fake I’ve told the holder to return to the supplier and demand a refund.)

Social services were created because there are people in our society who need help and we’ve moved away from providing help to them on our own. Instead of cutting funding because of the percentage of recipients who abuse it, add to the funding for new case workers who can help properly allocate aid to those in need. We rally and make financial contributions of truly staggering amounts of money for political campaigns and natural disasters, but we can’t deal with losing the few dollars from our paychecks to provide our literal neighbors with heat, food and medical care? 
 
My problem: where is the line between keeping my personal beliefs truly for my own life and saying others should do the same? Is it by saying “this is my opinion” and not force others to believe the same?
 
Freedom of speech means we will not be prosecuted for stating our opinions.  But why force that opinion as law by which others should live? Am I forcing my opinion on anyone when I say “live your life as you see fit and I will live mine as I do”?   How we vote affect other people’s lives; how we feel should affect our own. I hear politicians screaming from the roof tops about morals and family values. Treating others with dignity and respect is moral. Providing us with information so we can make educated decisions for ourselves is moral. Forcing someone to live by another’s will is not moral.
 
So where is the resolution to this?  I know we need some laws that limit our freedoms– taxes being mandatory for running our municipal services, making companies accountable for unfair hiring practices (yes, a company is an entity, but it is run by people), disallowing yelling fire in a crowded theater….  Do we need a few more decades of evolution before we treat each other fairly enough that personal choice of anything isn’t controversial?
 

Before you comment, please, really think about what you are about to say. Your argument against anything in this post may very well prove my point. Giving me “official statistics” of issues I’ve mentioned will not help. Research both conservative and liberal organizations from where the number comes. They range drastically on the bias of what is trying to be proved.

I am struggling to keep religion and spirituality out of this and stick to the basic idea of just being respectful of others.  I know some of you will want to argue a religiously based counter-opinion.  My answer to that is the same: live your life by the laws of your religion and I’ll live by the laws of mine. Let me remind you of statements from four major religions:

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you”

“What is hateful to yourself do not do to your fellow-man.”

“Believers, guard your own souls. The person who has gone astray cannot hurt you if you are rightly guided.”

“An’ it harm none, Do what ye will.”

I started this post by saying I’m a hypocrite of my own values. Through writing and editing, I see I am true to my most important value: live and let live.

Blessed be.

 
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One thought on “Political Versus Personal

  1. That has got to be one of the most thoughtful, reasoned arguments for being yourself and respecting others, that I’ve ever heard. This only one of the reasons why you are my friend. VERY well stated!

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