When you take time out to really just sit back and look at the sorry assed mess politics has become in this country, the one inescapable fact that’s going to jump right in your face is there are a hell of a lot of Americans out there who are simply mean minded, intolerant people with a different set of standards for everyone else to meet than they would ever think about setting for themselves.
These people can be found at both ends of the political spectrum although this is by no means another one of those “both sides do it” bullpuckey diatribes. Of course there are “extreme” liberals, just as there are “extreme” conservatives if we accept the general definition of conservatism in use today. The main difference is in the numbers. There aren’t enough true liberals left to make a significant difference themselves and as the Democrats have moved farther to the right over the past couple of decades, those that do exist are pretty much forced to go with far less than liberal candidates and issues or simply cede the office or question in contention to the Republicans.
This is one of the main reasons people like myself… an independent tending toward not conservatism or liberalism but toward what I call “Humanism”… tend to dismiss conservative claims of a “liberal” media or a “liberal” conspiracy or a liberal this or that or whatever. We’ve reached the point at which Democrats occupy roughly the position that the GOP did back in the 60s and 70s while the GOP has shuffled off toward the end of the scale.
The Republicans on the other hand have been pretty much jammed into the far right end of the spectrum by the advent of the “Tea Party”, a group that tends to deal more in false bravado, personalities and outlandish gestures than in any substantive attempt to actually govern based on anything resembling actual issues as witnessed by today’s 32nd “symbolic” vote to repeal the ACA in which symbolism once again takes precedence over governance.
Unlike the situation with true liberals, there are more than enough extremists in the Republican party to affect the policies and the agenda of the GOP and to force the more moderate elements of the party to go along with them. Even people like Pat Buchanan and George Will, a couple of the founding fathers of the modern Conservative movement back in the 60s have adopted some increasingly radical positions although Buchanan was always a bunch too damned racist, or at least bigoted, for my taste, even when I was a Republican.
In other words, we no longer have left/right but right/righter and the right really needs to find some new labels for people they want to demonize. “Liberal” and “Lefty” are so 1980s that they’re totally obsolete, especially when you consider that virtually our entire economy is invested in the largest Socialist country in the world. Not sure that Republicans are ever going to be able to go back to system of civil discourse and honest debate again. I cut and pasted a blurb on Facebook a couple of weeks back… all it said was, “Corporate profits were up 8% last year. Did anyone in the working class get an 8% raise?”. The question was did any of it trickle down to the rank and file level. The answer I got from another old coot who worked all his life for wages, just like me? “Hey Tom, if you keep talking like that we may have to start calling you a Liberal.”.
All that tells me is that to him, “liberal” is simply something you call someone when they do or say something you don’t like. From a strictly political standpoint, someone… I forget who… on Twitter put it best: “A Liberal is anyone who wants to spend government money on anything you don’t like“. It’s pretty much used in the same context as “asshole” and more than a few even tend to try to link it to words like “traitor” and phrases like “They hate America”. This is what happens when you abandon logic in favor of a purely visceral response to opposition.
I’ve played that game myself. All you have to do is read back through some of the posts on this blog for my gut feeling over logic responses to various situations that have arisen. It may be a way to vent but at the end of the day doesn’t really accomplish anything no matter who does it. In the overall scheme of things “Mitt’s a $#%#@$%$#ker!” is not going to influence a single vote. Likewise, “I hate Obama!” doesn’t mean a damned thing to anybody and is just empty hype. On the other hand, explaining WHY you think Mitt’s a whatever or WHY you hate Obama, complete with some empirical data or links to information that support the reasons you think someone is worthy or unworthy of consideration for something might have some impact. I know it’s hard for some to grasp but not everyone sees things in the same context you do.
I’m not going to promise I won’t do it again. When I boot up this page it’s usually because I’m angry about something and when I’m angry enough I’m no more apt to be analytical or even logical than the next person and a whole lot less so than many. But I do promise that I’m going to work on the issue and try to provide more actual information in these rants than I have before in many of them. Hate for hate’s sake is simply mean minded and I can’t criticize mean mindedness if I’m being mean minded myself.