Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hi!, I'm Tim...

  About a year ago, I “met” Bill Corfield through a mutual online friend. Shortly thereafter, I started seeing Bill’s political posts on Facebook and found the Reasonable Conversation blog.  

  Reasonable Conversation’s approach immediately struck a personal chord: there is an acceptance of legitimate positions on issues regardless of ideology, the use of logic and facts to back opinions, and avoiding the robotic rhetoric of party lines. This contributed to a deeper personal involvement in following and discussing politics than I had practiced for some time and, to cut to the chase, here I am. I’m happy to introduce myself with this article, and provide some context for what might follow later.

  Politically, I describe myself as a moderate who leans to the right. I do not ascribe to either party, but in the past if someone held a gun to my head and forced me to commit to one I would have claimed to be a Republican. Now I’d tell them to shoot. It’s not that my positions have changed radically, but that the right has moved farther away from center. However, my biggest concern with the Republicans is the unwillingness to work for the good of the country within the framework of government. But this will ultimately change, and hopefully we’re seeing signs of it already. While acknowledging the frequent inefficiency and ineptitude of government bureaucracy, I’m not quite ready to abandon the current system.

  As far as Democrats go, while I share positions with some, but don’t expect to ever join that club. Besides, my wonderful wife of 29 years is a liberal Democrat, and that is plenty for one household in the conservative hotbed that we live in. 

  Generally, my point of view is pragmatic: I try judge a position on its own merits, not on who came up with it; am less concerned about ideology than effectiveness; and expect that no one person or group has all of the correct answers. There is rarely only one way to accomplish a goal, and it is better to accomplish something using a less preferred method than to not accomplish it at all. Still, there should be an inherent caution for any governmental action and expansion. First, this requires money out of my pocket and yours – which is exactly where it should stay unless there is an overriding reason to require it. Second, legislation almost always has unexpected side effects and negative consequences. We should make sure that it is the right thing to do when the government acts. 

  Bill and I disagree with some frequency – for one thing, he has a higher opinion of the President than I do – but he is a good person to disagree with: respectful and informative. You can disagree for a long time if you criticize ideas and not people, and avoid being judgmental. 

  As for personal details, I’ll be 54 years old for a short time longer and have somehow managed to live in the Atlanta, Georgia area for all of that time. I attended public schools, and have BS / MS degrees in Industrial Management from Georgia Tech. I’ve spent my career working in software development, and currently manage projects for a small software company. My interests, besides politics, include sports (I try to play golf every weekend that I can), music (just listening, I envy Bill’s talent), and reading (lately with a focus on American history).

  During the previous year, when many online political discussions were openly hostile, I could usually expect to find an informative, and, well, reasonable approach in this blog and its ensuing discussions. I look forward to being a regular contributor and continuing in this tradition. 

Tim Dickinson