American Elephants


Please, Tell Me What You Think: by The Elephant's Child

We have reached an odd place in current affairs. It seems to me that if Republicans said “Up,” Democrats would pronounce “Down.” Although Republicans may think that what the Democrats are doing is wrong, or ill-advised, or mistaken — they understand what Democrats think and are unsurprised.

Democrats, of course, think that what we claim is wrong, they also think we’re lying, our motives are to harm minorities and the poor, our statistics are just plain false and we only like rich people. They really, really hate us, primarily because we have the temerity to disagree with them. They would prefer that we just go away and quit annoying them.

Am I overreaching here? Am I too suspicious? I need a little help.

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5 Comments so far
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You aren’t overreacting. For the most part, liberals believe all conservatives all evil, and conservatives believe all liberals are stupid.

I just wish everyone would shut-up and quit whining. :D

Comment by Alan Ocu

Personally, I think that people who style themselves “conservatives” (as opposed to those who need more terms to describe their views precisely) are as prone to say “down” if the people they style “liberals” say “up” as is the vice-versa case. Most people I know hold complex and not always politically consistent views. I know very few “liberals” who even come close to the straw-man stereotype that most writers on these pages like to knock down.

Among politicians, and political pundits, there is plenty of lying on both sides of the divide. The way that “conservatives” spun the story on Sandra Fluke really opened my eyes to how many of them are more concerned with fitting events to support their standard narrative than with the actual facts. At the same time, I find it harder and harder to argue in favor of some Republican ideas on the economy with Democrat friends who are deeply suspicious of the GOP’s motives.

Unlike some of the writers here, by the way, I do not equate Democrat with “liberal”. The definition of a liberal in most other parts of the world is closer to libertarian — i.e., somebody who values freedom in all walks of life: economic as well as social. I find “liberals” from outside the United States to be more pragmatic than most U.S. libertarians, however. By contrast, many Democrats I know are Democrats because of no better reason than family tradition.

By contrast, most fellow independents I know are so by choice, and are very thoughtful. We yearn for a viable third party. What we don’t like, however, is the intentional polarization and exaggerated characterization of people who are from one of the lead parties. Knock the ideas, but not Democratic (or Republican) voters in general, please.

Comment by Subsidy Eye

Subsidy, I would suggest that if you were as thoughtful as you believe, you would not start out your comments “knocking” conservatives and end them telling others whom not to knock. I would also suggest that if you were as thoughtful as you believe, you would understand that people who are not politically or ideologically consistent do not hold “complex” views at all, but simplistic, and ill-thought out ones — a trait in which you seem to take pride. Lastly, if you were as thoughtful as you believe, you would understand why there have never been and will never be viable third parties in the United States and why that is immensely preferable to the multiparty mess in parliamentary governments. The problem is, you are nowhere near as thoughtful as you believe yourself to be.

Comment by American Elephant

I never said anything about whether I was a thoughtful person or not: that is for other people to judge. Clearly you think I am not in that category, but there is no accounting for taste.

I was talking about the people I know, which include people of all political persuasions. If you want to call their views “simplistic”, then go ahead. And maybe some are. But I respect these persons and so prefer to call their views “complex” or at worst “contradictory”. I offered that observation since you seemed to be perplexed at the state of political discourse in America, which in my view is much less ideologically drawn than your blogs seem to want to prove.

You also seem to have missed that I did not disagree with you regarding your observation that

“It seems to me that if Republicans said “Up,” Democrats would pronounce “Down.”

Rather, I observed that similar behavior can be observed in the opposite direction. That is not “knocking” conservatives, that is saying: look in a mirror, please.

For somebody who claims to be interested in other people’s views, you are showing a degree of intolerance that is unbecoming.

You posed the request, “Tell me what you think!” I did, but your response seems to suggest that actually you were looking only for responses that supported your particular world view.

Comment by Subsidy Eye

Regarding the increasing share of voters yearning for a third way, see the new book from Cato, The Libertarian Vote: Swing Voters, Tea Parties, and the Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal Center.

The dominating theme of political commentary over the past decade has been that we are a nation divided – polarized, red vs. blue, liberal vs. conservative. But millions of American voters don’t fit neatly into liberal and conservative boxes. Squarely in the center of the electorate is a substantial number of voters with the power to decide elections. Who are these voters? What are their beliefs, affiliations and loyalties? The Libertarian Vote: Swing Voters, Tea Parties, and the Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal Center reveals that 10 to 20 percent of Americans are fiscally conservative and socially liberal—libertarian. And over the past decade, unlike loyal Democrats and Republicans, they have been swing voters. They have contributed, for example, to the success of both the tea party and the gay marriage movement.

The Libertarian Vote provides some of the most pertinent and authoritative insights available on this substantial block of voters. As the book demonstrates, the strength of libertarian voters, and their increasingly decisive role at the center of a divided electorate, remain underestimated and only superficially understood by many candidates and journalists. Candidates and political strategists willing to look more carefully at them may very well discover a large group of voters energetically looking for a home.

Comment by Subsidy Eye




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