We all like to believe that we're on the right side of an argument. We get riled up and say things we don't mean and make attacks we regret.
Regardless of what side of an argument you're on, someone's bound to call you a purist. Or even worse, a "purity troll". From my own observations and experiences here on DailyKos, those of us with opinions that are beyond center-left get accused of purity. I would say that purity can go with any ideology. You can be a conservative purist, a liberal purist, or even a LaRouche purist. The sky is the limit! Those of you who are diehard Democrats are purist in your own right too.
I'm guilty as charged for starting flamewars over different issues. I'm adamantly anti-war, so I've butted heads with Kossacks who are realists and militarists alike. I've even butted heads with fellow anti-war believers.
Below the fold, I'll share my beliefs with you. You'll see for yourselves how I'm a purist. You'll see why I get so strung out over foreign policy and other pertinent issues of our day.
I'll also explain more or less why I come here.
I'm not far-left nor am I center-left. I fall into a category called "left-libertarian". I'm a civil libertarian and social liberal who deeply believes in an open society. Economically I'm what you'd call a mutualist, however I'll settle for social democracy and/or democratic socialism as alternatives.
In regards to foreign policy, I'm an anti-interventionist. I'm all for (fair) trade, diplomacy and non-military humanitarian aid between the world's nations. I support the United Nations and believe in world citizenship. I have no issues with our country going into treatries or whatnot. I do sincerely believe that our military should only be used to repel invasions or help out in a worse case scenarios such as World War II or if another nation legitimately requests our military and not invite ourselves in.
My Pet Peeve
This is one issue I'm guaranteed to flame up over. Perhaps the only three wars in American history that I can work up support for were the American Revolution, the Civil War and World War II. Even then I don't view WWII as a wholesome good war like I used to, yet I see its necessity.
I used to believe in "humanitarian interventionism". I felt that our country should go into places like Iraq and Afghanistan, do regime change, democratize those nations and restore human rights. Oh how naive I was! I was in high school too by the way when I believed this.
Since I grew up with the military (my dad was a Marine for 27 years), I had this notion that the U.S. military was a force of good, could do no wrong, and its wars were always justified. I was modestly patriotic: in my view back then, this country was the best hope for the world and the most progressive force for change ever.
Several things changed my point of view: I started reading Noam Chomsky (uh-oh!); I finally did some serious reading about U.S. military history, particularly about the Vietnam War; and eventually the Iraq War happened. I also got more involved in the anti-war movement.
As the years went by, and as I learned more about U.S. military history and world history, I saw that world events were more complicated than what I had previously thought. I had no idea, for instance, that Afghanistan has been in an ongoing 30 year civil war. It's also not the first foreign civil war that the United States has tried to meddle in. Nor is the United States the only nation that has done meddling of that sort.
Basically, I looked past one brand of purism and developed my own. Granted I see that our nation is part of a world community, but I feel our use of military action should be serverely limited. Peace and diplomacy should be our priorities. The U.S. military can't nor should it try to fix the rest of the world's problems. We're not the global babysitters or world police nor should we ever be those. Military action should be a last resort.
Additionally I think we need to start up that peace dividend again. We need to close overseas military bases, cut military spending and invest in health care, education, infrastructure and so on. That's the gist of my opinion on that.
Dedication and Commitment
I've made it clear countless times before that I hate chickenhawks. I used to be one myself. If you believe in war as a solution, and supposedly love the military, and you're capable of serving with no legitimate excuses, then you should enlist. To do otherwise makes you a hypocrite and a coward. The same goes for other causes too: if you believe in humanitarianism, then go be an aid worker. If you hate war, go help the anti-war movement.
Realistically problems such as age, health, money, relationships, etc. keep us from devoting all our time to causes we believe in. I accept that. Sometimes we're reduced to being spectators who vote and make donations or write letters. We all have downtimes. I'm in a downtime of my own. However I used to be involved in the anti-war movement and health care reform. I also used to volunteer at my local library. I simply feel that if you have no good reasons for avoiding activism or service, then you should feel very ashamed.
When I get out of debt and earn my M.L.S., I plan on getting active again. I'll gladly support the anti-war movement with the same gusto as before. I'll campaign for single-payer health care. Indeed, I want to get out of my slump and help make this nation a better place and by extention the whole world too.
Differences of Opinion
I could divulge into more of my opinions, but I won't. Rather I feel we should discuss flamewars. As I stated in my intro, I'm guilty as charged. Generally, if you're a liberal Democrat or center-left Democrat, then I'm your ally. If you're conservative or centrist, then I will have some tension with you.
However, there's no excuse for me or anyone else to start up flamewars. I hate the fact that I've started plenty here. Yes, I want peace and diplomacy, but I don't have to personally attack anyone. I hate Rush Limbaugh, but I have no right to insult those who understandably wish good health for the man.
In other words, I've been acting like the people I hate. I loathe Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and similar right-wing ideologues who can't tolerate different opinions.
We do have the right to hold our own opinions, share and express them. For those of you who're pro-war, I wouldn't dream of taking away your right to your own opinions. Moreso, I'm sure you're good people. But I let my own self-righteousness on the issue get in the way.
I'll further admit that sometimes I think that one's opinions can reflect negatively on their moral character. I've met people like that. I once knew this deeply misogynist, pro-war Young Republican named Albert who wanted abortion banned. He strongly supported the Iraq War too.
Was he a bad person for his opinions? In this case, yes. He not only opposed abortion, but genuinely hated women because of a grudge with his mother. What really pissed me off is that he really had no problems with women being raped... In regards to the Iraq War, he had no problems with Iraqi civilan deaths and torture. He also looked down his nose at the troops, seeing them as menial brutes who fight so he could live large.
Sure Albert could have joined the Marines. He was fit and athletic, but he saw military service as below him. My dad was serving in Iraq at the time, during the First Battle of Fallujah, so you better believe I ended up hating this asshole!
Albert was a truly nasty person. With that said, I understand idiots like him are rare. Not every anti-abortion or pro-war person is a racist coward or malignant misogynist.
Albert is an example of a right-wing asshole I encountered. I've also met people on the left-wing who are unbelievable. Let me say that I have the deepest respect for the historical SDS (Students for a Democratic Society). It's the modern one, and my local branch in particular, that I can't stand.
Self-proclaimed anarchists and revolutionaries. They listen to the latest, hippest music, wear fashionable cloths, and are like the jocks of the Evergreen State College. If you don't agree with them, they hate you. If you even have one inkling of doubt about "the revolution", then you're an enemy of the people.
I went to two of their meetings, thinking they were like the historical SDS. What I encountered were a bunch of spoiled trustafarians who have no common sense or grounding in reality.
There were ideas of their's I couldn't bring myself to agree with: they wanted to block off the local port, thinking that the masses would agree with them and that they're promoting peace; they hated the campus cops and school administration, while ignoring local issues; they resorted to bullying (snitches get stitches) and vandalism to get their points across; and despite saying they're anti-war, they believe in violent revolution.
I have witnessed the enority of the far-right, and soon saw the enormity of the far-left. However...
Where I Stand Now
As I stated earlier, I'm not far-left nor am I center-left. I was once a member of the Green Party, but got disillusioned with them due to their incompetence, lack of focus and frequent infighting. I'll never be conservative or right-wing.
In elections, I will typically vote Democratic or for decent Greens or independents. I don't hate the Democratic Party as much as I hate the Republican Party, but I'm wary of it no less.
All I want is what the 2000 Democratic Party Platform once stated: Peace, Progress and Prosperity. I want a world were we've moved beyond bigotry and discrimination. I believe we should all have access to health care, housing, education, infrastructure, security, democracy and so on.
I want a peaceful world with an open society. One that embraces science and technology, yet different cultures, ideas and religions can co-exist. I would like to believe in this country again.
A few years ago, I was hell bent on leaving the United States for good and disowning it. I don't feel that way anymore. I see no greener pastures, but I also acknowledge that no nation is pure. Including and especially our own.
By extension, no one's opinions are pure. I have my views, but they're not absolute. I don't apologize for having my opinions, but I do apologize for the flamewars and self-righteousness that result from my defense of them.
I'm an independent who voted for Obama. I had doubts and I still do. I only want the best. If that's purity, then so be it. I'm a troll for wanting everyone, including stupid Rush Limbaugh, to have equality, liberty and the best quailty of life imaginable.
I spilled my guts in another diary over how I'm a hypocrite. I'm not better than anyone here. While I strongly believe in my opinions, I know they're not perfect. They never will be.
My Last Piece
This is a clunky diary for sure. Sorry about that and thanks for reading it. My overall point is that though I'm a left-leaning independent, I'm no troll. I've never had the intention of trolling here.
I'm aware that this is a Democratic website. I come here because I do find kindred spirits and fellow travelers. I have every right to post here. We have creative differences, but I practically agree with most of what goes on here. If conservatives and centrists are welcomed here, then leftists and independents should be as well. I'd like to give that "Big Tent" ideal another chance, even if it means I have to accept it.
I won't name names, but there have been recents attempts by one user who wants to bully me off this website. I won't leave. I shouldn't start flamewars, but clearly I'm not the only one guilty of beginning them. I try to apologize and make amends. I'll never stalk or harass anyone. I won't link your comments and rarely do I ever block quote or analyze comments.
I'm a bookworm who loves current events. Yet I don't always know what I'm talking about or have my facts together if any.
Peace out and take care.