Okay, I'm fairly liberal - so be warned .
- The 2nd amendment.
Has been vastly outstripped from its original intent by technological advances, and now does more harm than good, particularly in urban areas. I'm all for hunting, recreation, etc. - but this is being used as a crutch. Are the Canadians doing so poorly in this respect? Someone said that an armed populace is essential to a free society... numerous free societies (mostly in Europe, and yes, I know about the Swiss) prove this isn't necessarily true. No need to get rid of this amendment, but I'm all for responsible control of guns. Note that the whole problem here is that this is a very different issue, with very different meanings, in urban and rural areas.
- Gay marriage
All for it. Legally, gay people deserve all of the same protections under the law that hetero people have - not "separate but equal" (we've seen how that turns out) - the same. Exactly. This doesn't mean that anyone else (I'm thinking conservative religions, mostly) has to agree or observe it, but under the law, with *all* of the protections provided thereby? Absolutely.
A sad issue. At the risk of inducing ire, I'll paraphrase-quote Bill Clinton... "Abortions should be safe, legal, and as rare as possible". Only because legal abortions are safer than illegal ones.
- Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs
A difficult one for me. I do believe in limits of what should be and shouldn't be legal, but I'm not sure that our current limits are appropriate. I think we've shown over the last 30 years that the "war on drugs" isn't too effective.
- Foreign policy
More in favor of diplomacy and cooperation than our recent endeavors.
- The war on terror
Asinine. I disagree with Peguy on a lot of stuff, but he's exactly right - "terrorism" isn't an enemy to be fought. It's a tactic - and it's being bastardized into meaning "anyone who does stuff we (the administration, pundits, whoever) doesnt' like". Really stopping "terrorism" is impossible... reducing it is more dependent upon addressing *why* people do such things, not just killing them if they do. Making martyrs is *not* stopping terrorism. Also note that although people being hurt and killed by "terrorists" is tragic, the actual danger from "terrorists" absolutely pales in comparison to almost any other danger in our society, and it's utterly trivial compared to the tragedies that come from things like drunk driving. It does, however, make a useful fear-monger manipulative tool - hence, why we hear so much about it.
- The War in Iraq
Obviously based on lies at the beginning, and has only gotten worse. Not sure how we can get out of it now, but we need to look in that direction.
- Corporate tax cuts/Middle class tax cuts
Nobody ever really says this, and I'm surprised. You get what you pay for. I hear, all the time, "we need to lower taxes" - no, we *need* to be fiscally responsible. I'm generally not in favor of cutting taxes at this time (and I'm all for repealing the Bush-era cuts). If anything, we need to focus not on cutting taxes, but on closing loopholes in the tax code that allow (legal and otherwise) tax evasion - offshore accounts, etc. No easy answers there. In general, I'm for higher taxes and better (not simply more bloated) government-run services.
- The financial market bailout
I'm not well educated enough to make a good decision here, but my instinct tells me that if this wasn't an industry so close to politics that they'd have been left to rot. Lots of people made poor or downright deceitful decisions for a quick mega-profit - and now they want someone else to pay for it. That's us.
- Social Security benefits
Headed for trouble. The problem is that you have a very large generation (boomers) who've been paying into the program for years under the (false) assumption that it was some sort of savings program (not everyone, but that's a common perception). Then you have a much smaller generation (mine) who's going to be expected to pay benefits for a much larger one. I don't see how it can stay afloat in the long run, especially as much of the "surplus" paid in by the larger generation of workers has been used for other purposes.
- Public health benefits like a two tier system or other ideas
I'm in favor of a single-payer (government) health system. Works for almost every other industrialized nation. In my mind, every health-care dollar given to "profit" is one that could have been spent helping someone, and I'm most absolutely not convinced that "competition" in the health care arena makes up for in efficiency what it loses in profit. And that's not even going into the disgraceful situation where people can't get coverage, or get dropped as soon as it's determined they might need to use it to protect the profits of the insurance industry.
- Welfare Benefits
Limited but (useful) safety net? Yes.
- Funding for higher education/Funding for K-12 education
I'm pretty comfortable with this being handled at a local/state level, with potential federal grant programs to support very poor areas, etc. to try to make the playing field a bit more equal for anyone who wants to learn. Ax "no child left behind" and similar ilk-programs.
- Programs for children like public pre-K and Head-Start.
No opinion - I just don't have perspective on this one.
- Energy, from solar cells, drill baby drill, to nuclear plants, etc . . .
I'd rather focus on responsible energy independence. Meaning increases in nuclear power (which is basically VERY safe in modern installations - much safer than coal, for instance), and enhanced efforts to develop non-petroleum sources like wind/solar, etc (which now can't provide anywhere near the magnitude of power we need), and yes, especially conservation. But let's face it... it's going to cost more. You get what you pay for - in this case, paying more for power probably needs to happen to offset the externalized costs of environmental degradation, etc.
- Any other topic ...
This has probably already been (way) too long, but the one issue I have is that our society seems to view government as an antagonist, and not something that's responsible to us, for us. Taxes, for instance, should not be considered as "someone taking my money" but an allocation of resources pooled together to support programs (including foreign policy, military, social services, health care) that are more efficiently controlled on a larger scale. Idealistic? Sure. But the propagation of antagonism against the government isn't working for much except to deflect attention from those who take advantage of the situation.