Feb 26 2011

What the Devil really wants

 

Friends, 

Here is a list of (mostly fictitious) articles I will never read:

What Conservatives Really Want
What Liberals Really Want
What Muslims Really Want
What Christians Really Want
What Jews Really Want
What Women Really Want
What Men Really Want
Etc, ad nauseum 

I self-describe as a liberal, but like each of you, I have some opinions that do not fit into a neat little box.  I have many liberal friends, and no two of us think exactly alike on every issue. 

There are, in America, roughly 100 million people (plus or minus 20 million) who would call themselves left of center on the political spectrum.  We are all snowflakes… remarkably similar in most respects, but not exactly identical.  The same numbers apply to those who are right of center and dead center.  How can anyone say that the thoughts and feelings of 100 million people can be distilled into a what-they-really-want format?  It is not worth my time to read such nonsense. 

About 51% of Americans are women, which means about 160 million women and 150 million men.  I believe it is very hard for a man to understand completely what ONE woman wants or thinks or feels, much less to fit all 160 million of them into a neat bundle.  Ditto women understanding men.  Ditto each gender comprehending others of the same gender. 

You get my point, I’m sure. 

Most conservatives I know think of themselves as good people.  They love their families; they are kind to children; they cry at funerals and weddings; they are moved by certain music or movies or books; they obey most laws most of the time.  (The laws they are most likely to break are drug and traffic laws.)  Sadly, too many of them cheat on their spouses, at least once. 

ALL of the above paragraph ALSO APPLIES to liberals and moderates. 

I disagree strongly with the political positions of most conservatives, but I do not think their political positions make them bad people. 

But here’s where things go sour.  In my experience, many conservatives tend to think that MY political positions DO make me a bad person.  They believe I should be tolerant of them, but they do not afford me the same courtesy.  They call me and my fellow liberals terrible names.  They say if I do not love America (loving it, apparently, means doing so in exactly the same manner as them), that I should leave it. 

I have never heard one liberal suggest that conservatives should leave this country.  Never.  Not once. 

Conservatives (no, not all conservatives) say that liberals are not “real Americans.”  Whatever that means.  They say liberals want to drag America down, though they offer no reason why we would want to do that.  They say we hate America.  They say we are communists.  (I am not, but so what if I were?)   

Yes, [Virginia], some liberals use stereotypes and bad names when they talk about conservatives.  I recognize that, and I hate it.  There is no place for name calling or ad hominem attacks.  It undermines any chance at constructive dialogue.  A smart person can espouse a stupid idea.  A moral person can adopt an immoral position.  I try my best to behave morally and intelligently, and fall short far too often. 

Nearly all of us want the same things in life for ourselves.  Nearly all of us want our neighbors to live in safety and comfort.  Nearly all of us want our children and our neighbors’ children to grow up healthy and happy.  We may not agree on how governments should behave, but I cannot for the life of me understand why we must demonize each other when we disagree, whether about politics or religion or culture. 

Jeff Hutchins, ACS ’65

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2011/02/26/what-the-devil-really-wants/

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