A conservative is someone who says “Look what I and others have been able to achieve. You can achieve this as well.” A liberal/progressive is someone who says “You can do nothing on your own so we will build a safety net for you and tell you what you can achieve.” It is really that simple.
I stumbled over this post from a ‘Friend’ on Facebook, and I sat there in my big chair in front of the television trying to figure out how best to respond to it. This person is one of many people who have breezed through my world on a past work-project, and had then become an addition to the friend-fold early on after I first joined Facebook. I have over 200 Friends, but I really only see and read posts from about 10 or 15 of them. This person is generally not one of them, so this post caught my eye.
I don’t believe the President’s re-election did anything to suppress the giant chasm that exists between these two aforementioned viewpoints; furthermore, I think the deadly shootings of a week ago only made it worse.
Even my father is in on the act. ”You probably wanted him to win, you and your liberal friends!” He said this to me during a recent visit, on a day in which he clearly wasn’t feeling well. I don’t enjoy seeing him looking fragile and rather ill. But it bothers me even more when he uses some of his discomfort as a way to unleash venom at me, as if I made Obama win. I was getting edgy, and seeing Charles Krauthammer’s face on television wasn’t making things better. I wanted to hurl my car-keys through it. I know I’m my father’s son, but compared to my other siblings, I think he sometimes sees me merely as a left-wing nut-job who sports tattoos while riding his motorcycle, cruising the urban landscape looking for my next socialist handout.
Later in the evening, while thinking about my father, and reading that Facebook post, I turned inward. I felt like an outcast. Was my ‘progressive-ness’ that obvious and terror-inducing? Am I viewed on the same level as a Bolshevik? A hippie-freak from the late 60′s? I mean, what happened to substantive dialogue about the issues, and withholding judgment about someone until all the facts are in?
So I responded:
As a so-called ‘lib/prog’ (although I don’t like to be in a ‘box’, since I’m also pro-life, amongst other things that won’t get mentioned, since they’re ‘not really that simple’), I’ve tried to work really hard, in a really tough economy, to be a successful small-business owner, relying on budget-conscious tailored marketing, experience, and trying to offer quality work at affordable prices, all in the hopes of ‘competing’. Not to mention good old-fashioned ‘work ethic’. I’m not waiting for a handout and I’m not expecting one. And I’m certainly not laying around in anticipation of ANY congress-person to tell me what I can achieve. I’m sure you’ll disagree, but it’s the spirit of that post that defines the gridlock that stretches out far beyond the Beltway. What’s ‘simple’ to understand is that not everything is ‘this’ or ‘that’. There is some ‘gray’, whether you lean ‘left’ or ‘right’. This past election proved that.
I went to bed feeling pretty good about my response. But in light of the shootings in Connecticut, the editorializing in the newspaper and on radio the following morning told me that this Facebook post was, and continues to be, a microcosm of the dialogue, in general. It’s a blurry syllogism that dictates a kind of “well, you believe this, so you must believe that”-rationale. I believe in a 14-day waiting-period before you can purchase a firearm; therefore, I am for the destruction of democracy. While pondering this, I decided to see if anyone responded to my post:
In reading your post, I don’t know how you can value the things you state in it and call yourself a liberal – these are conservative beliefs. Maybe you are “mislabeling” yourself! The liberal/progressives want to take these things away from you.
They do? Really? It’s becoming even more clear to me that my father, the authors of these posts, a few of Donna’s sons, and some other Piper Court readers with whom I’ve corresponded, are firmly convinced that I, and my ilk, want nothing more than to live in communal harmony, spending our days growing organic vegetables together, reading Marxist fairy tales to our children, and sleeping with each others’ wives, while, of course, listening to the whole Jefferson Airplane discography. On vinyl.
Don’t you find it funny that these wackos who have the COEXIST stickers and the PEACE stickers on their car-bumpers always want us to co-exist with them?
I’m sorry, but with whom should we ‘co-exist with, if not you?
Alright, so I’m a ‘progressive’. Fine. So my question is this: for such a small minority of the voting-bloc, what in the hell are the majority-Charles-Krauthammer-Fox-loyalists so afraid of? I fail to understand how two females, who have been in a loving, committed relationship for 20 years, standing on the steps in front of a courthouse in Olympia, Washington hugging with a marriage-certificate in their hands messes up your world? I mean, is it so preposterous for some designated entity to run a thorough background check on someone before they’re entitled to purchase a firearm that spits out 30 rounds at a time? Hell, it took us a month just to get pre-approved to buy a house! It takes longer to transfer the title on a used-car purchase!!
And another thought: what is so damned wrong with ‘co-existing’, anyway? Is it akin to the bubonic plague? Are our children going to be born with some anatomical abnormality because their parents opted not to get upset because a co-worker took Yom Kippur off, and they didn’t? So what if the signs at Lowe’s are in English and Spanish? A quarter of the population is of Hispanic descent. Why moan, since above madera the word ‘lumber’ is clearly visible.
Yep. That “Peace’ stuff. It’s vicious. It must be contained, at all costs. Our children’s future depends on our ability to remove and obliterate all impediments to their growth, the heinous things like ‘balance’ and ‘different viewpoints’ and ‘diversity’. That’s right. Don’t investigate an alternative. Just drill deeper for more of the same thing.
But I decided not to be despondent and depressed. I have faith in humanity. I put down my megaphone and decided that even amidst the standoff in the exchange of ideas, there had to be ‘agreement’ and respect for each other. It had to be there. Surely, somewhere between my father’s right-wing rant and Anonymous, there had to be a gentle meeting-of-the-minds. That faith led to me to log on one last time to Facebook for at least one last glimmer of reason:
Liberals=Malcontents and freaks!