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20.10.07 0311
The 7 - Current Events & Politics - An apology and a Liberal's plea. Register and log in to post!
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rockstar
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#1 Posted on 13.11.04 0631.23
Reposted on: 13.11.11 0643.52
In the wake of this election, I've noticed what seems to be a disturbing trend coming from the Conservative side of the political fence, a culmination of years of silent fuming on the Right's part as they watched the Liberal Left dismantle everything the Right ostensibly stands for. Slashing the defense budget, increasing the scope of the welfare state, and expanding the rights of gays and the reproductive rights of women in an attempt by Liberals to utterly ruin both the lives of Christians and a once great country.

In his signature, Grimis quotes a piece by Chris Field from Human Events Online, which is a fine example of the trend I've noticed: the demonization of Liberals, particularly with the charge of cultural elitism. As I read the quote, I easily noticed that, by changing a few words here and there from Liberal identifiers to Conservative identifiers, the paragraphs were magically transformed from a narrow, ignorant generalization of the Left to a narrow, ignorant generalization of the Right. I made the changes and put the new quote in my signature.

The crux of the original quote is that Liberals in America have no basis for their viewpoint. The crux of the changed quote becomes that Conservatives in America base their views upon the Christian Bible. This view is the truth. The Religious Right in our country bases their viewpoint in Christian morals; they do not and would not dispute this, I think we can agree.

But to say that Liberals in America have no basis for the views is fundamentally wrong. The Liberal American viewpoint comes from what we believe to be the foundation of our country: the ideal that, in the eyes of the law, every person is equal.

Now, obviously, this view does not account for the Democratic Party platform of less military spending and more spending on social programs. The decreased military spending seems to be a backlash that the Baby Boomer Dems of the party developed during the Vietnam War; they feel we created a war machine that was misused, resulting in the unneccessary, even immoral, deaths of thousands of young Americans and scores more of innocent Vietnamese. On that point I cannot entirely disagree; history seems to have proven them right in that regard. And surely the idea that we Liberals want nothing more than to see the tyrannical strain of fundamental Islam that attacked us on September 11th sweep the United States, replacing the freedoms that our Founding Fathers gave us is mere rhetoric and not a deep belief among Conservatives, because I cannot see anything being farther from the truth.

On the topic of the welfare state, one might argue that this is nothing more than pandering for the votes of the poor. And maybe it is. Or maybe it is the idea that the rich in this country can do without another seasonal vacation home if it means that a few thousand children in this, the richest nation in the history of the known universe, don't go to bed hungry tonight. I certainly won't miss the quarter of a penny that comes out of my paltry paycheck in that endeavor. And it's possible that the last few sentences are merely sentimental dreck; that if we left the wealthy in this country to their hard earned riches they would surely donate charitably to the many private organizations that would do what our abused welfare system tries to do. It's also possible that our cynical, populist opinions that the greed that leads to Enron and Worldcom will be the greed that fails our charity and the welfare of our less fortunate is wrong. But the fear of that cynical, populist opinion being right, as it has been so many times in the past in so many societies, sustains the support of the welfare system.

But to the rights of gays and their marriage or civil unions or whatever words and phrases we assign to that definition, we believe that every person is equal under the laws of our country, set forth in our Constitution, defining the rules of our existance as Americans in these United States. We are not asking that you invite homosexuals into your homes for dinner and to love them unconditionally and share their sexual practices with them; no, we merely ask that, if there will be government recognition of the unions of men and women that come with many priviledges, such as tax breaks and next-of-kin priviledges, guarantees of dependency benefits, etc. then there shall be no exclusion of gays simply because their couplings differ from the norm.

And of women, with respect to reproductive rights, we merely ask for recourse in the events of potentially fatal pregnancies and the delicate situations of pregnancies that are the result of rape.

(I realize that abortion is "topic non grata" in this forum and respectfully ask that if any of this must be deleted, the above sentence and the paragraph following the next be left intact.)

On this topic I would not dare to speak for others, due to its sensitive nature. I personally am not at all pleased with the idea of abortion as an after-the-fact method of birth control, especially at any point after 90 days of gestation and certainly not in the disgusting (and not nearly as widespread as the Right would have you believe) circumstance of partial-birth abortion. These types of abortion show a serious lack of personal responsibility, but I am not entirely certain that personal responsibility is something we need to be legislating. There is also the matter of teen pregnancies and forced "back alley" abortions at the whims of an angry parent, an occurence in the days when abortion was illegal. And while this may have been an event with the rarity of the partial-birth abortion, I still find it to be an undesirable outcome in any event and if the legalization of abortion prevents it then so be it.

Of those extreme Leftists that would, without question, refuse to bargain away even partial-birth abortion as a guarantee of access to medically neccessary abortions, I understand their position as there are extreme Righties that would, without question, refuse to bargain away any abortion rights at all, under any circumstances. But such are usually the positions of extremists of all debates. Unmovable and usually untenable.

So please forgive us if we tire of endlessly fighting for stances that we believe to be guarantees of the laws of the land, arguing with people who draw their conclusions from personal beliefs that our Founding Fathers felt had no place in the system of our government. And please forgive us when, in this weariness, agitated by repeated insults of "faggot," "Communist," "whore," and "godless heathen" from the extreme Right, we waver from our path of enlightenment and occasionally join our extremist foes in the sewage of what is increasingly becoming our nation's political discourse and sling barbs of "ignorant hillbilly" and "bigot," "Facist" and "prude" in retaliation.

Because we Liberals truly love this country as much as Conservatives and we too wish to ensure a better future for our children.
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Grimis
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#2 Posted on 13.11.04 0745.26
Reposted on: 13.11.11 0748.19
You and I see the quote through different colored lenses, for I see it as an indictment of not the message, but the messenger.

The quote resonates because some of the most intolerant people I have ever met are Liberal Democrats....ironic only because they preach tolerance about tolerance of anybody but white conservatives. We had a "Diversity Coordinator" in my undergrad who said white males are inherently racist...

Elitist liberals, the ones I have talked to and the ones I have seen on TV, do have this "holier than thou" attitude when talking about politics and social policy. Thomas Sowell accurately referred to it as "The Vision of the Anointed", where the elitists are the anoited ones who are empowered to make decisions that the masses are too dumb to make for theselves.

    Originally posted by rockstar
    The Liberal American viewpoint comes from what we believe to be the foundation of our country: the ideal that, in the eyes of the law, every person is equal.
That is true. But the country was founded the equality of people insofar as the equality of opportunity not the equality of outcome. Everybody should be given a fair shake as far as opportunity goes.

But quotas are not opportunity, but outcome. Welfare is not opportunity, but outcome.


And as a closing note, remember this. A lot of the things you mention in your screed(which was well-written and well thought out) are things that make sense to some Republicans and probably 40-45 percent of the country(the "Moderate Middle"). But marketing is about packaging. And if the packaging is intolerance and hatred of the right, the churchgoing, the moralistic, the conservative, then even the moderates will side with them. They themselves more in line with the traditional values of the right than the venomous on the left.
Roy.
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#3 Posted on 13.11.04 0858.16
Reposted on: 13.11.11 0859.01
    Originally posted by Grimis
    The quote resonates because some of the most intolerant people I have ever met are Liberal Democrats.


It's funny because my experience is just the opposite. Conservatives have called me (a registered Republican, by the way) a sinner, a heathen (really just a Catholic), and I've found that the most intolerant is the far religious right. I've been told to go to confession for voting for Arlen Spector because he's pro-choice.

I can say that my ultra-liberal hippie cousins and I have had the most intelligent, enlightening political conversations I've ever had, while talking with my born again aunt about anything political makes my ears bleed.

Granted, this is mostly from born-again family members and their friends, but I've clearly moved towards the more moderate side of the Republican party (Specter, McCain) because of the intolerance (and general wackiness) I've experienced from the extreme.

I guess that's how real life impacts political views, huh?
BigSteve
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#4 Posted on 13.11.04 1035.50
Reposted on: 13.11.11 1036.41
That was a very well-thought out piece, but it seems to me, since the election, I have heard very few conservatives refer to Liberals as "godless" or "Communists", while I have heard many people from the Left side of the debate attack the morality of both the religious right and the right in general. Not all of them have, but more than once, I have heard Conservatives called "hypocrites" or had their faith attacked as being wrong. I have heard from some that it is wrong to vote on the basis of one's faith. This confuses me very much; that is, whether the people who say that say it intelligently or because of bitterness over the election results. Before I end this, let me remind everyone, that only 22% of people in the country identified "moral values" as their top election issue. Not all of the 51% that voted for George W. Bush; just over a fifth of the country. For further information on the topic that will hopefully prevent more people from making claim that this country will somehow become a theocracy, read this AP story on the issue of moral values in the exit polls. Click Here (baltimoresun.com)
Grimis
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#5 Posted on 13.11.04 1253.03
Reposted on: 13.11.11 1254.28
    Originally posted by Roy.
    It's funny because my experience is just the opposite. Conservatives have called me (a registered Republican, by the way) a sinner, a heathen (really just a Catholic), and I've found that the most intolerant is the far religious right.
No question that it breaks both ways. I know some epublicans that are best classified as fascist too.
rockstar
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#6 Posted on 13.11.04 1522.14
Reposted on: 13.11.11 1524.56
    Originally posted by Grimis
    You and I see the quote through different colored lenses, for I see it as an indictment of not the message, but the messenger.


No, I saw the quote as an indictment of the messenger. And the quote is also clear in stating that Liberals have no basis for their views, which, as I said above, is patently untrue.

    Originally posted by Grimis
    The quote resonates because some of the most intolerant people I have ever met are Liberal Democrats....ironic only because they preach tolerance about tolerance of anybody but white conservatives. We had a "Diversity Coordinator" in my undergrad who said white males are inherently racist...


And I know many people who still think black people are inherently inferior. They're wrong and so is your "Diversity Coordinator." I don't believe in the inherent superiority or inferiority of any one race or races and those who fall between the extremes of both sides usually agree with that sentiment. But part of my point above was that, in my opinion, the "elitism" of extremist Liberals may be a backlash against extremist Righties who are just as intolerant, only in another flavor.

    Originally posted by Grimis
    Elitist liberals, the ones I have talked to and the ones I have seen on TV, do have this "holier than thou" attitude when talking about politics and social policy. Thomas Sowell accurately referred to it as "The Vision of the Anointed", where the elitists are the anoited ones who are empowered to make decisions that the masses are too dumb to make for theselves.


Change the word "liberal" to "conservative" and you have such fine examples of humanity as Jerry Falwell, Jerry Dobson and Bob Jones.

    Originally posted by Grimis
    That is true. But the country was founded the equality of people insofar as the equality of opportunity not the equality of outcome. Everybody should be given a fair shake as far as opportunity goes.


So gays should have the opportunity to participate in legally binding unions on par with marriage and women should have the opportunity to control their own reproductive systems. That's all we're saying.

    Originally posted by Grimis
    But quotas are not opportunity, but outcome. Welfare is not opportunity, but outcome.


I agree and these aren't points that I would argue on the point of our Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

I think a great deal of the problem you and I have with our opponents has a lot to do with where we live. Extremist forms of any belief system generally only survive and grow in areas where moderate forms of that belief are the norm. In the South, the norm is Conservative, therefore the typical extremism is of the Conservative variety. Liberalism is tolerated; spouting extremist, "elitist" Liberalism would be a good way to get yourself hurt. In the Northeast, the norm seems to be Liberal, so the extremism is of that variety. Conservatism is tolerated; spouting extremist, "intolerant" Conservatism is a good way to get ostracized.

I was born and raised and still live in the South. I have very few chances to see the types of Liberals that you see. Liberals down here aren't even close to running the show and live with a daily view of the legacy of intolerance and, as a result, seem to know better than to preach Liberalism as another form of segregational, "elitist" baloney. I do attack, and will continue to attack, extreme Christian Conservatism and what I perceive, from experience, to be their homophobic, misogynistic beliefs at every turn, because I believe it is highly ignorant and truly unAmerican. But I know many moderate, loving Conservative Christians who do not use their beliefs as an excuse to preach hate against those with whom they do not agree and I respect those people a great deal.

The main problem right now is that political discourse is being dominated by the extremists. I know Jerry Falwell doesn't represent Conservatives across the board and you know that Michael Moore doesn't represent Liberals across the board. But as long as they and people like them are the main voices on our televisions and in our newspapers representing their respective sides, their opponents will continue to think they do represent their sides across the board and we're only going to grow farther and farther apart.

(edited by rockstar on 13.11.04 1626)
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#7 Posted on 13.11.04 1611.11
Reposted on: 13.11.11 1611.36
Well said Rockstar. And I am a typical right wing gun nut.
CRZ
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#8 Posted on 13.11.04 1734.24
Reposted on: 13.11.11 1734.43
I'd be happy if BOTH of you zapped your too-long signatures, because nobody has to endure them but registered users, and I'm sure everybody's just skipping over them anyway.
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