Up until this point in my life & career, for the most part, I had kept my political views to myself. After all, there is no quicker way to create controversy and isolate friends & family. I am not quite sure what changed . . . perhaps my beliefs are finding their way and getting stronger or perhaps I am less worried about what those who disagree with them might think. After all, everyone is entitled to an opinion, so there is certainly nothing wrong with me having my own.
Fortunately, our political system provides an avenue for those with strong opinions to make meaningful strides towards building a world that they believe in. What is somewhat unfortunate about our political system is that it generally appears there are simply two choices . . . Republicans/Conservatives and Democrats/Liberals. In reality, the majority of peoples' political views lie somewhere inbetween, and I am no exception to this. I could sum up my view as follows (although there's a lot inbetween that should be explained):
Based on that, there are clearly politicians that I support, some I do not, a party I choose to vote for, and one I do not. I have been a Life Member of the Republican National Comittee (RNC) since 2008. Of course, this does not mean I align myself 100% with every decision the RNC makes (as I mentioned above), but it is the party of the two that I am more closely aligned with.
In addition to making contributions at the national party level, I have contributed to those running in State and Local races that I feel would be an asset to the community or net positive choice over their opponent for the people in their constituency. So far, it happens that this is generally the candidate running under the Republican ticket.
For me personally, this is the most important voting criteria. Just like running a household with negative income will not work for very long, neither will running a government as such. Just as businesses need to tighten their belts and reduce costs when things are out of whack, so should governments. Of course, I do not think anyone disputes this. I think that many people vote Republican on this principle (even though some Republican candidates as of recently have not adhered to such fiscal conservatism), and those who vote Democrat (in my opinion), most likely do so because of strong feelings about social issues. I have never heard anyone say, "I am fiscally liberal," as it would certainly sound foolish and shortsighted.
Further, what made this country great is the opportunity it provided for entrepreneurs and people who were so driven to work hard and achieve the American Dream. They buy equipment, put other Americans to work, earn returns on invested capital, and more. Extreme government spending, for which the bill will come due someday, destroys this opportunity. It creates the need for significantly higher taxes (thus lower returns on capital that is put at risk to fund businesses). Even if people choose to just "tax the rich," they often forget that this includes small businesses like Subchapter-S Corporations. No matter where you draw the line . . . whether it is $250K, $500K, or wherever, there are Subchapter-S Corporations (like the one I run, Texas ProFab Corporation) that will pay the price, thus discouraging owners from putting their secure capital at risk to invest more in the business, jobs they create, and more. Drastically tilting the risk/return equation against the entrepreneur is the wrong way to encourage the innovation that made our country great.
The way to remedy this is for government to stop spending like an irresponsible teenager who was given a credit card for the first time. Everytime I watch the news, it seems like they are thinking, "It's taxpayer money, it's free!" I wish the government would take greater care of how they spend the money we give them. In fact, in my opinion, I believe that every person elected to Congress should be willing to support a Balanced Budget Amendment that requires a Balanced Budget (even with emergency provisions to deviate in wartime and other catastrophic circumstances).
With social issues, people have very strong opinions and feelings about each individual issue. There are many for whom a specific one or two of social issues matter so much that it will dictate their vote come election day. With social issues, change happens very slowly and can be destroyed very quickly . . . so, I understand and respect those who vote solely on these issues, and I find it relatively fruitless for individuals who disagree on social issues to debate or even discuss it. It's simply how people feel, and those who are very passionate are unlikely to change their view.
For this reason, at least for the time being, I choose not to discuss my social political views.
Perhaps later in my life, I will have the time and financial resources to pursue a life of public service. If and when I make that decision, I will make all of my political views much more clear and unambiguous so that those who I would represent would know up front what they are voting for.