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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Now I remember How I Used to Talk to A Conservative

A couple of events happened yesterday that made me think of the day’s that I could have a meaningful conversation with my conservative buddies. One had to do with the stoppage of New York’s “Stop and Frisk” policy, and the other had to do with climate change. Hang on a minute, and you’ll see how I tie these two topics together.

This morning Joe Scarborough talked about a liberal he met on the train in New York who was going to vote for Rudy Giuliani for mayor. People like Joe Scarborough wake up and go to sleep every day wearing their conservative label, and they assume that liberals do too. I assume the liberal Joe talked to, liked Rudy Giuliani’s way of crime fighting and the fact that he didn’t come with the extreme social beliefs. Conservatives like to think that they are tough on crime and so a few believe that we cannot give the police too much power. As human beings, we all want the police to keep us safe within the bounds of the United States Constitution.

A Federal judge temporarily stopped New York’s “Stop and Frisk “policy because it was really racial profiling in disguise.

Let’s look at the police’s own statistics that showed that in the period January 2004 until 2012, the city conducted 4.4 million stops but only 6% of those resulted in arrests or summons. Even more staggering, 83% of those stopped were minorities and 90% of those and didn’t get as much as a summons. The policy was meant to get guns off streets but of those stopped, 1.1% of blacks were caught with guns, 1.2% of Hispanics were armed and 1.4% whites were also armed. With stats like these, the judge ruled correctly when it was ruled that the policy needed reform and had to be closely monitored.

Racial profiling is acceptable as long as it’s the other guy getting profiled. I’ve heard stories of young black males having to dress conservatively in order not to arouse suspicion by the police. Middle Eastern people will automatically attract the attention of TSA if they wear traditional clothing. That’s not the America we want. The founders remembered being stopped and frisked by the British soldiers because they were suspected of not being loyal to the crown, so they inserted language into the Bill of Rights and the Constitution to ensure that that will not happen to future Americans.

And now back to the topic of trying to have a meaningful conversation with a conservative.

Last night, Chris Haynes had a very meaningful conversation with Samuel Thernstrom, a conservative expert on climate change. Chris Hayes led off the segment by showing a clip of Dana Rohrabacher, senior member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology calling climate change a fraud, to the delight of a tea party rally. Mr. Thernstrom said that crowd is mostly against government solutions. So if climate change is real, the government would be compelled to do something about it. The environmental expert also said that conservatives don’t like liberal solutions, like a carbon tax or Cap and Trade. Mr. Thernstrom said the base could be sold on private sector innovations that produced zero greenhouse gases. He said that government grants always lead to crony capitalism. That’s a start, at least there’s a consensus that climate-change is indeed happening and that we must take steps to curb greenhouse emissions. I’m not so sure that a carbon tax is a liberal idea and I know that President George Bush senior signed a sulfur dioxide (SO2) cap and trade bill, to curb acid rain. Who wants to quibble about the past if you’re making progress talking about solutions?

Now do you see how the two topics blend together? In both cases, it’s a matter, of “we didn’t say you couldn’t do it but here’s how it could be done with less controversy.”

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