Posts Tagged ‘ conservative ’

No, Really: Do You Have ANY Idea What You Are Saying?

I have an old fraternity brother who is politically liberal, and he recently put on his Facebook status, “I still don’t understand how anyone can believe that cutting taxes, especially for the super rich, helps the economy.”

I sent him one comment in response:  “Do you know that it doesn’t from your studies in Economics?”

I personally seem to identify most with the Libertarian party’s values.  I’m a small government kind of guy, not a “small-government-but-let’s-ban-gay-marriage” kind of guy.  Irrespective of my own political views, my comment was designed to point out what we so often forget:  Most of us have absolutely no idea what we are talking about.

Ron paul was booed at one of the Republican debates after he said that he believed we brought 9/11 on ourselves.  It’s obvious why:  Who could possibly think we had any part in that attack?  They hate us for our freedom and prosperity, right?  A laundry list of historical facts supports his belief on that matter (not necessarily my own, BTW), but the crowd did not want to hear it.  For them, it is an open wound, and Paul is a traitor for thinking we, us, America, could be anything but infallible about that whole situation.  They (the voters) are ignorant of the facts, unable to imagine life from another peoples’ perspective, and thinking with their hearts.  Jeff Foxworthy said once about marriage on his comedy album “Totally Committed” (I couldn’t find a link to it online), “If she ain’t happy, you ain’t happy.”  When some guys in the audience proudly booed his opinion, he said simply, “Booin’ it doesn’t make it less true.”

I understand the thinking behind cutting taxes to spur the economy, but I don’t know if it actually works other than in theory.  The thing is, I know that I don’t know.  

Why can’t people admit that things are never as simple as they seem in soundbites, and that voting based on emotion is possibly the most irrational thing they could do?  Recently a long-time acquaintance of mine put on Facebook that he would be voting for Obama after years of voting for Republicans, for no other reason than because Obama had just come out in defense of gay marriage.  He is gay, and so that was his impetus to switch parties.  This is pure lunacy, in my opinion.  Regardless of what President Obama’s opinions on gay marriage are, he has literally no power to do anything about gay marriage’s current state.  It remains a states’ rights issue, and would have to be passed by Congress to become federal law.  He is throwing a vote at one miniscule issue in an election where the economy and our country’s future viability is at stake.  Any port in a storm, I guess.

The fact is, if you want to be someone who has an opinion that people will actually listen to, you need to dig deeper than the talking points you’ve heard on O’Reilly or Rachel Maddow.  Have a little history to back up your stance.  Illustrate why your opinion is correct based on facts, trends, and historical evidence of similar situations.  Don’t be this lady, repeating the mantra of “End the Bush tax cuts” to every single question posed to her, because she has a feeling-based opinion, but no facts to back it up.  (Skip to 48:30 or so to see the point of this link, but watch the rest of it because it’s worth a view.)  You cannot walk up to someone and spout out your view, expecting to change peoples’ minds, with this tactic.

In an actual conversation with someone, you should be open to hearing their point of view–and actually listen to it.  Here’s the secret to why:  No one cares about you in a conversation.  They want to feel like they’ve had a chance to have their side heard.  They want to feel like they have spread their opinion to you.  They want to feel like what they have to say is worth something.  They care about themselves.  It’s the reason why you will make friends by asking them tons of questions about themselves–people love to talk about themselves, and if you give them the opportunity to, they will remember you fondly and have no idea why.

I digress.  The point is to do a little homework before you spread your personal brand of cheer.  It will go a long way to bringing people to your side by way of leadership, not dictatorship.


Activism and the Media

I have been reading various blogs lately which are written by folks who I do not identify with in any way at all.  

Why would I bother, you ask?

I showed up to work yesterday, and mentioned to the (mostly conservative) guys that “CNN really p*ssed me off this morning”–it was relative to a story they “reported” about this idiot homophobe pastor guy–but I didn’t even get that far in the story.  One guy cut me off and said simply, “CNN should p*ss you off every morning.”  I asked him why, and he said something in response along the lines of CNN being a liberal newscast, and rattled off a few conservative talking points.  (This guy also has a tattoo of an eagle which reads, “Never Forget 9/11,” and says openly that he doesn’t like anyone who is Muslim because of the “feeling” he gets from them.)  You see now the kinds of people I work with.

No, the reason I have been watching CNN and MSNBC lately, and reading blogs by people who are focused on spreading feminism, anti Wall Street sentiments, anti [insert race/creed/sexual orientation here] sentiments, or any other activism is simply because I believe it opens doors into empathy for me.  If I have access to an open discussion among a crowd of people who are exploring a topic that I have already formed opinions on, I can begin to see why they do what they do, and how the “cause of their cause” came about.

I do not make a very good conservative.

Is this you?

I think gays should be able to get married, and I feel that way because I really don’t care what they do.  It just doesn’t affect me.  I do not think a woman must subscribe to a particular role in a marriage–I think whatever that role happens to be should be left up to the people in the relationship to figure out on their own.  My wife makes more money than I do, and I have no problem with that.  When folks like feminists discuss among themselves at length just exactly how they are living, and if things are a “feminist” thing to do, I sit in disbelief that someone needs a cause that badly.  My wife would be a really great role model for any feminist, actually–she is stronger than she knows, extremely intelligent, and sticks firmly to her opinions…but she doesn’t go around advertising that she is those things.  She just is those things.  She’s a female version of this.

But I make a terrible liberal, too.

These groups, these causes are a religion, like any other.  They all are.  Ever the activists.  What is the point?  Why do people feel the need to take their collective opinions and literally force others to be exposed to them?  What chemical is released in their head when they get on a soapbox about their cause?  Why can’t they just live how they want to live, and let me live how I see fit for me?

Why do these people think in their heads and in their hearts that making everything “fair” will solve all of our problems?  It makes me *facepalm* my own forehead when I come across people who cannot see past the myopia of their lives and recognize that a rising tide lifts all ships.  When free markets are allowed to work (and the government stays out of them), everyone prospers.  The beauty of this country is that if you are angry that someone is richer than you, you can find a way to change that on your own.  You don’t need permission to do so, either.

I have gained a greater understanding of the way many people think by seeing and reading the things that make me want to throw things at my TV, but I am better off for it.  The more opinions you hear, the better you will be at understanding (and relating) to people.  You may not have a clue how to relate to someone, but I am sure that they have a clue how to relate to you.    You need to get good at it, because soon, those who prefer to stay within their own little tribe and shun the outside community will be the proverbial rock in the river.

The truth is that no matter who the media tells you to be, or how to act, or what to think, you are culpable for yourself.  Killing someone because [insert cause here] told you to doesn’t let you off the hook.  Robbing the rich to pay the poor makes you a thief, no matter how you choose to extrapolate it.

You should ignore the media’s messages, and create one of your own.  Read as much of others’ opinions as you can, and filter them into your view.

I guess, on some level, I am telling you to be a feminist, or a masculinist (is that a word?), or any kind of activist that suits you…just don’t get in my face about it.  Let me choose to find it on my own.  (The irony of my message, and the way in which I am delivering it, by the way, is not lost on me.)


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