The Only Label That Fits

Sometimes you almost feel sorry for those who can’t exist without putting a label on those who don’t agree with their narrow view of the world.

Almost, but not quite.

In the years since this column started, I’ve been called right-wing, left-wing, Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, libertarian, iconoclastic and communist.

“I used to think you were one of us, a true conservative,” a typical missive began this week, “but now I see you’ve just another liberal from the loony left.”

One of us. Those three words scare the hell out of me. Like everyone has to be part of somebody else’s grand scheme of things. Fellow co-conspirators. Brothers in arms. Kinda goes against the whole concept of individual rights, individual freedoms and the expressed freedom that we are free to be who we want, what we want and believe what we want.

For reasons I don’t quite understand, three writers have turned up in my studio in the past 30 days to profile me for one publication or another. They approached their interviews from different perspectives but all three, at one point in the interviews, asked the same question, or a variation of it:

“What,” they wanted to know, “do you consider yourself politically?”

My answer is always the same. I don’t consider myself politically. I don’t think of myself, my life or my beliefs in political terms. Politics, by its very nature, exists to pigeonhole, to force conformity, to limit freedom of expression and corral individuality.

I support a woman’s right to choose whether or not she has an abortion. It’s her decision, not the government’s.

I support an American’s right to own and bear firearms. I own many, know how to use them, and will use them to defend myself, my family, my property and my liberty.

I believe a person’s home is their castle, be it a rambling 12-room mansion on a rolling estate or a single-wide on a lot. It should not be taxed unfairly or displaced by any government for any reason.

I believe that our way of life, at least the way of life determined by the framers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, is the best way for us in this country but that other nations must determine what is best for them without us forcing our standards, our beliefs or our way of doing things down their throats.

I believe war is a repugnant and barbaric way to settle disputes and should be used only as a last resort in defense of our shores and our existence. I believe we were justified going into Afghanistan to try and track down those responsible for the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I do not, however, believe we had any legitimate reason to invade Iraq and history will prove it to be the biggest FUBAR since Vietnam.

I believe I, and others, should be free to read what we want, watch what we want and say what we want without government approval, review or censorship. Censorship exists in repressive societies. It has no place in a free one.

I’m not a Republican or a Democrat, a liberal or a conservative, from the left or the right.

I’m just an American, nothing more, nothing less. Always have been, always will be. I’m proud to be one and I will do whatever is necessary to stop anyone – I say again anyone – who threatens me, my family, my neighbors or my country.

If you want a label, that’s mine. Learn to live with it.