Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Why liberals and conservatives are both blind
Not too long ago I wrote an article titled "America needs a bad guy". In it I discussed division in American society as a reflection of our own internal division projected outward. I was trying to explain how because of our on needs we create villains to give ourselves an out for the internal negativity we cant consciously face. Pretty deep,huh? Well I thought so.
But then I got to thinking about society and the current political climate and it dawned on me: Most politicians just aren't that bright. So why do we continue to villianize anyone who's opinion we can readily identify as different than our own? The answer became so obvious I was almost embarrassed I tried to make it such a deep abstract concept to begin with. Politicians keep the division up for the same reasons politicians do anything: power.
You see I realize that it is in the best interest of politicians to create division so they can win elections. Think about it. Why would someone vote for you if you agreed with the person already holding the job? If they are doing such a good job then why would they need you? You could make the argument that you could improve on what they are doing, but that's a hard sell. You know what is much easier? Saying you are doing a BAD job and I could do better.
People in this country are so focused on their side winning they lose focus on the real objective: solving the problem. I never (and I rarely use the word never) see on here somebody saying with what they agree on, when it come to the opposite side. Just whats wrong. All the things that get hype in the media are such small parts of what is really happening we miss progress.
Take the last two spending bills. In the stimulus plan we spent almost a month talking about the 2% of the bill some governors objected to and not the 98% that most felt was needed.
In the recent budget omnibus bill we are debating 1% of the total bill b/c of earmarks from both parties that were in place before the current administration.
Now the flavor of the month is trying to figure which side is to blame on the few millions of dollars going to executives out of the billions of dollars given to the country that many haven't noticed the good news in the stock market's modest upswing.
My criticisms aren't just with the right. The left is just as bad. Bush was heavily invested in Africa, a good thing. And NCLB (while my wife is a teacher and no fan) was a positive step in the right direction but instead of having a tone of what can we do to fix it. We just called the whole thing garbage and touted Bush a failure in education.
The reason we do it is because politicians know they need division to win an election. How do you get in office if you agree the people there are doing a good job? So the goal becomes find something, anything with which to trash your opponent so we can win the next election.
The problem with belonging to an ideology, be it conservative or liberal, is it becomes infallible like a religion. People tend to view everything through the the lens of that ideology and try to make it fit that specific view. It blinds them to the merits of the other side or even considering if that opposite view has any merit at all. They thunk it so it must be wrong.
I refuse to label myself either way because I enjoy the panoramic view I get from the outside. Makes common sense to me.