This question was asked by a MySpace friend. Big Blogger. One who not only happens to be a semi-militant liberal and feminist, but a Cuban-born Harvard-educated attorney and fashion model to boot. In short, she’s a brilliant, beautiful mess.

Well, she went and asked the $64,000 question and my reply, like many of them, ran long enough that I figured I may as well blog it. For some long-time readers, a bit of this will be review, since conversations like this happened during the last presidential election.

Here goes.

My great grandfather was a republican senator and most of my family lean right, although my mother has recently ‘gone to the dark side’. She, in fact, was one of the creators of workfare – a Repulican creation – as head of county welfare for one of the pilot counties in Wisconsin, which was adopted statewide, then subsequently ripped off by Bill Clinton.

Personally, I see myself as an independent constitutionalist. I suppose most might lump me in with the libertarians these days, as the Republican party isn’t what it used to be. I believe in more freedom and responsibility, rather than less freedom and responsibility. I suppose my great grandfather would be my role model.

He started as a teller in a bank. Eventually, he owned that bank and started a phone company. When the Great Depression hit… he didn’t foreclose on one single mortgage: home, business or farm. He said all his money came from those people and he’d carry them til he was as broke as they were if that’s what it took to see them through. Those who could paid in the occasional chicken or pig. Somehow, they all made it through that decade together and in the end, he didn’t go broke. He never got all that money back, but he still owned a bank, phone company and the hearts of thousands of hardworking Minnesotans like himself… and that was more than money could buy.

Too bad there aren’t statesmen like him anymore. Just a bunch of self-serving politicians on both sides of the aisle.

So what do I believe?

I believe in the U.S. Constitution and I don’t believe in messing with it. I believe in fewer laws, rather than more. I believe that for every bill passed into law, 2 laws ought out be reviewed for present validity and possibly struck from the code. I believe that we as humans, through our desire to create, have a way of overcomplicating things and living in excess – an errant notion that more is better – not only when it comes to our personal lives, but in government, too. I also believe that no man should be allowed to make a career out of politics, but rather, to take a limited time away from his or her career to serve his city, county, state or country in office, ambitious to help the best he can, yet anxious to return to his life and community knowing that he represented their will as best he could.

Further, I don’t believe that a corporation – a piece of paper – should have greater rights and privileges than a human being. Ultimately, in our desire to create personal wealth and freedom, we have made America a nation of slaves. Slaves to nonexistent entities which we created in the mistaken belief that they would serve us. Instead, we are all serving them (EVERY American paid $2,500.00 of THEIR money for the Wall St. bailout). I believe that it’s sucking out of us all the very best of what makes us human and it’s hurting humans immensely. Corporations and their lobbying dollars are not only electing the officers of this land now, but telling them how to vote each and every vote… not the cumulative personal opinions of concerned constituents, as was intended. The people no longer have a voice. Only the dollar and dividend have a voice. They have supplanted our freedom and even our spirituality. Money is God now. I believe this will prove to be the downfall of this great nation.

America is greatest when the individual is least encumbered. That’s what made it so great in the first place: INDIVIDUAL rights and freedoms. I believe in individuals and that they can best decide how to take care of themselves and their families. If that makes me a conservative – and by traditional definition, it does – then that is what I am.

[Ed. note: after this last campaign and due to shifts in party lines, I could now be considered an Independent Constitutionalist Libertarian]