Wednesday, March 14, 2012
How to talk to a liberal
I know I stole the title from the controversial Ann Coulter's book “How to speak to a liberal if you must" I never read the book so that's the only thing I stole from her.
I'm not going to make the mistake of implying that I speak for those who take a left of center position. Recent polls state that only 21% of Americans identify themselves as being liberal. As I've said before, conservatives have always used the word liberal in a pejorative way and it worked. I still remember President George H.W. Bush looking over at his opponent, Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts, and saying “He’s a liberal." I think it was from then on, that liberals stayed away from the word. Within the last 10 years the democrats have picked up the label, “progressive” to identify themselves. They even have a progressive caucus. The people left of center still don't use labels as much as conservatives do, to identify themselves. Most conservatives think the conservative label is like a religious bond that is superior to anything out there.In Texas, many like to call themselves Conservative Democrats because they believe in republican fiscal policies but not always with their social ones. It doesn't matter whether it's a fiscal or social conservative, the word conservative remains supreme in their mind. That’s why they tend to use the word "We “as if they are speaking for a solid majority.Actually only 40% claim that conservative label. According to a book I’m reading “The Reactionary Mind" many libertarians have crossed over and are now calling themselves conservatives because not that many people identify with libertarians.That’s the reason for the GOP’s sudden shift to the extreme right. If Romney wins the election, the party will come back to where it was four years ago.
I'm like an old pooch, I'll answer to anything, just as long as it's a gateway to the issues. There are extremists on both sides but a lot of people on the right think that liberals are the 1960 hippies or the Code Pink, PETA, and the radical environmentalists (tree huggers) but that's the extreme side. Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, and Dick Durbin are notable liberals. They are judged by their voting patterns. President Obama and Hillary Clinton are considered centrist because they are about compromising to move the agenda.If you think Obama is a liberal, it’s because you one of those conservatives that think the word liberal is a cuss word.Look at his voting record and the things he has placed as his priorities.
Now that you have background, I'm going to describe what some on the left have told me that they want in a discussion. We agreed that we want substantiated facts, as opposed to hearsay, plus we want our questions answered and we will do likewise. I don't think name calling adds any value to a discussion but it doesn't annoy me that much; I’m amused. I want my opponent to come prepared to have a good discussion with points and counterpoints. For example we had a good discussion going about the flags flying at half mast for a celebrity. Sugar Magnolia, posted the code which everyone agreed with. I'd dug a little deeper without dismissing the code and found that since there was no real enforcements, governors often got around the code by using their discretion. That would have been a good discussion until some people came in with name -calling and took the topic in a different direction.
My conservative opponents like to put me in a box and tell me what I think but when I turn the tables on them, they get annoyed. I don't argue with ideologues because it's a losing proposition and a waste of time. I can't hide from my positions of the past, nor do I want to, because it's who I am and I left a record. I can argue the merits of a tax abatement, and joint venture because there are examples where they have worked, I can't argue a philosophy that not based on actual facts. My conservative friends like to tell me that the private sector and charities will take care of poor, if not for the government but they can't give me proof based on 21st century information. We all want smaller government but we disagree on what programs to cut, how much and how fast to cut. The libertarian/ conservatives want a very tiny government but most Americans want a responsible government because they want services. We want public schools, public libraries, trained police officers and firemen, the FDA, EPA and, IRS, CIA, Social Security and Medicare.
This country is smack dab in the middle and extremists from both sides are having trouble getting people to listen to them. The only difference is the extremist on the right actually think only their views are what’s best for this country. It's amazing how a pundit can tell the republican legislator that the polls are against you and the lawmaker will just ignore them and move on to their talking points. Persistence is something that democrats lack. I use myself as an example; I will not try to convert anyone. “To each their own” is my motto.
There you have it, if the subjects are questionable (most are) bring some evidence to support to support your claim. Tell me something I don’t know and don’t get angry if I disagree because I may have misunderstood the point you were trying to make.