it comes to things political I might be wrong -- but
I doubt it
By David Connell
October 23, 2006 | Having grown up in a staunchly conservative
family, I was raised between Rush Limbaugh episodes
and shooting guns at the gravel pit. (I assume this
is the standard Bible Belt experience.) I was a member
of Young Republicans until the age of 15 and sometime
around then I realized the truth. The plain and simple
fact is, no matter whether you identify yourself as
a liberal, or a conservative, you are a hypocrite.
When my mother and I have political discussions and
I badmouth Republicans she will give me the argument
that no matter how bad a member of the GOP might be,
there are certain Democrats that would slit her throat
if given the chance. I have to question; is this even
a valid argument? I try to rationalize it by thinking
to myself that she's just been watching too much Fox
News. But maybe it's because I haven't become entrenched
in any one way of thinking. We excuse our political
leaders' mistakes by throwing stones at the other guy.
Shouldn't we expect more from our leaders? If everyone
demanded more from them, maybe they wouldn't get away
with things they do.
The latest news of Sen. Harry Reid's (D-Nevada) shady
real estate dealing isn't surprising in the least. It's
become par for the course in nearly every level of government.
Archetypal conservatives generally support the death
penalty but feel that right-to-die statutes and abortion
are mortal sins. Conventional liberals choose to protect
the life of trees over that of unborn children, and
it seems those who value freedom the most, are the least
willing to defend it.
Lately, with the development of 24-hour news channels,
some conservative-leaning, others left-leaning, has
put spin control within the reaches of both parties
all day long. And it's dumbed the argument down to divisive
talking heads on "news shows" spewing venom at one another.
Everyone is able to find a source of media that reinforces
exactly what they already know, or already think they
know. It's sad. Ensuring that that all opinions are
heard and considered is important to the ability of
an informed electorate to make democracy work.
Too many people have so much invested in their political
position that they are unable to rationalize what should
be simple issues. For example, look at global warming:
Republicans still question whether it is caused by emission
of fossil fuels. Or rather, that "the science isn't
there." It's like having a buddy who loves his girlfriend
so much that he can't even imagine that his girl is
cheating on him. When you finally tell your buddy that
his girl is cheating, he becomes mad at you for saying
such a thing. Somewhere down the line your friend buys
you a beer and apologizes. I suppose we all have to
hope he realizes the truth and apologizes before polar
ice caps melt. Er, wait.
Conservatives are notoriously better than liberals
at holding the line. Wonder why the political scene
has gone so far the right in last few decades? Political
tactics aside, it's because conservatives will defend
their own, never admitting fault on their side of the
aisle. There are still people who are waiting for the
weapons of mass destruction to be found in Iraq, believe
me, I lived with them. When Nixon ran in 1968 his platform
was education, health care and ending the war in Vietnam.
He might as well have been a communist, and he was the
Republican. If Nixon would have run in 2004, he would
have been John Kerry.
Another thing you'll never see is a Republican support
a Democrat. However, it's fairly common to see Democrats
support Republicans. There are what are known as "Blue
Dogs," Democrats who regularly vote with the Republicans
in the House of Representatives and Senate. More visible
examples of this phenomenon are John McCain, Rudy Giuliani,
and Mitt Romney all of whom are relatively popular among
left-leaning individuals. And to be honest I would probably
vote for them, unless John F. Kennedy has a son I don't
The biggest way to sling some mud is a nice raunchy
sex scandal. I know sex is still a hang-up for most
Americans and I suppose I can understand it, but it's
still seems stupid to me. People have sex. They always
have. That's how we were created. (My apologies to those
who support abstinence-only education.) But why are
we as Americans never able to respect anyone's privacy?
If Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) stunk up the Senate
bathrooms everyday after his morning cup of coffee and
denied it while testifying before Congress, would anyone
care? It would be highest of high comedy but, I don't
think so. (Imagine the headlines though: "Senator Embattled
in Horrible Defecation Scandal") We're all human. Some
people even break wind. (Not me.) In retrospect Bill
Clinton should have declared his sex life a matter of
national security and he could have spent his time finding
Bin Laden. (That, or just been faithful to his wife.
One of the two.)
I voted for Bush in 2000, by 2004 I'd realized he
was an idiot and wore my flip-flops for Kerry. If you
can say one thing for Kerry, he certainly wasn't Bush.
But folks, don't worry; there is no shame in changing
your mind. And it's OK (Read: Better) to make up your
mind after hearing all the sides of an argument. Politicians
aren't going to change the games they play until people
stop turning a blind eye to their shenanigans.
So open your ears. And would it kill you to turn off
the TV and read a little? Even if it's just to give
you a little historical perspective. Reserve your judgment,
and become informed. It will help us all down the road.