In a bid to better understand my politics I been on this independent reflection process. I really want to find the “progressive inside me” but I don’t know. I think if anything it would be great to better define my values, figure out what are the driving principles that play themselves out in my politics. It might seem backwards, well to figure out values you look internally not externally at ideologies. Seems simple, but its not.
I know where my principles come from, I know what I strongly identify with and the way that those things reflect into my identity. But it gets murky with the political manifestations. Islam informs my identity- if you haven’t figured that out, but it isn’t a strict interpretation, or a modern take, nor is it a Shi’ite understanding. I would say I fall within the Orthodox line, with an emphasis on “searching”- seeking out, being on a quest to better understand religious principles. I also strongly adhere to “to each his own” when it comes to orthodoxy I won’t pass judgement. (Maybe this will change? But clearly thats where I am at right now.)
This understanding is coupled with my unique American experience, plus I was raised by immigrant parents in a immigrant community that is from South Asia, more specifically from Pakistan. So my values are very much shaped by the experiences that revolved around that whole situation.
I went from conservative to uber left wing “we are free, doing whatever we want to do” politics. Reigning that in to “Democrat” and later “Independent” status, because of my opposition to the Iraq war and the Democrats lack of opposition to it left me a disillusioned Democrat. Than for some reason I felt strongly about the Democrats, again, “Obama gives me Hope, promises change and has the audacity to inspire.” Sigh. Lets say I am a disappointed “Independent”. But an undercurrent that’s been tugging at me has been whats termed “progressive” political philosophy- Netroots Nation, Center for American Progress, Campus Progressive, DFA to name a few. I went, attended, and participated- but often left feeling like all of it wasn’t settling with me.
That’s where I am at. I don’t know if any political ideology settles with me. Being an independent seems so “lost” and “apathetic.” So I reached out with a tweet-
Describe/Define Progressive, Liberal and Democrat
I got some responses. Interesting, but one that stood out was:
Not Tea Party, Conservative, and Republican
Cute. I have to say, after watching the CNN-Teaparty GOP Debate, I safely can say I am not comfortable with Tea Party politics, ideology or approach. Their anthem shifted from “Drill, Baby drill!” to “Die, Baby die!” and well life is sacred in all forms, that includes our environment, humans and future generations that will inherit this Earth from us. There “value” or expression, or lack there of, is not one I would ever relate to.
But the thing is I can relate to some Republican principles and to some conservative principles. I can find their positions one’s I can work or advance. I fear that the problem though is that what will be the Republican party and where will the Conservative values that I can agree with take us in the future. If, as its being suggested, the current GOP primary process is about the “old guard” versus the “new folks”, i.e. Tea Party or the “anti-Party”, then neither of those will work. Then its not hard where I fall- give me the old guard. But where are the folks from the OLD GOP, the Reganites? Sigh.
As far as I know- Tea Party is opposed to globalization, thats something I see as being critical to our future as a nation, and to be well situated to make use of that development. But I fear the progressive politics aren’t all that well suited for globalization reality either. I am all about empowering and giving voice to the most weak among our society, but I fear the Democrats don’t have what it takes to address significant problems that are facing our nation in coping with the new realities of globalization, primarily social security. I am attracted to the idea of possibly have future choice to invest social security as I see fit- I don’t know, I don’t know enough, but like I said at the face of it I am attracted by the idea. That’s what I know, moving forward I hope to figure it out some more.