Thursday, March 19, 2015

"Liberal" v. "Conservative"

"Jane, you ignorant slut!" (for all those who remember Saturday Night Live in the early days, or who saw this clip on their anniversary show).

Recently I discovered in my mailbox, ensconced inside my copy of "Liberal Opinion" Week newspaper/magazine, a copy of a similar publication called "Conservative Chronicle" which was supposed to have been separately mailed to a resident of a nearby county in Georgia. Somewhat curious, I read some of the articles from the old reliable conservative pundits (George Will, Thomas Sowell, Rich Lowry, Michelle Malkin, Phyllis Schlafly, Cal Thomas, and so forth). What I found was what might be expected: they shed more heat than light on the subjects. The value of the Liberal Opinion Week, in my mind, is that there aren't any knee jerk apologists on the so called left (what used to be the center) who will ignore or spin facts to fit their predisposed viewpoint or agenda. In other words: I can get valuable information and insight that might conflict with my current views on a subject and might change my mind. Conservative minds don't work that way: they want an echo chamber that will give them what they already perceive as reality, and won't rock their boats. In other words, we don't have two equal and opposite sides in the debates between self styled "conservatives" -- who, in my opinion, don't want to conserve anything except wealth in the hands that already have it- and so called "liberals," who are more attuned to reality and who can change their minds when the facts warrant it.

But that's just my opinion. Feel free to challenge it. With facts and examples.

Here's the letter I wrote when I sent Mr. XXXX his copies of the Conservative Chronicle:

Dear Mr. XXXX:

Enclosed are two copies of “Conservative Chronicle” which were inadvertently mailed to my address along with my copies of “Liberal Opinion.” I apologize for the delay in sending these to you, as I wanted to take the opportunity to read what the commentators who label themselves as “conservative” had to say on the same topics as the pundits who are published in the Liberal Opinion.

I have to admit that I was hoping for some perspective. What I found was that the Conservative Chronicle published stories which were neither fair nor balanced, but rather than providing information or insight they pandered to the predispositions of their readers.

For your edification I’m enclosing a copy of the Liberal Opinion which contained some of the commentators’ responses to the Rudy Guliani’s remarks that President Obama does not “love America” and “... wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.” The commentators in the Liberal Opinion were more focused on what prompted the comments by Guliana (not what was in President Obama’s background, but what was Guliani’s problem that he felt impelled to make these comments that didn’t appear to be related to any recent conduct or act of the President, but were more designed to get him back into the spotlight). They also focused on the fact that there is a group of Americans who want to divide this country- what Sarah Palin was trying to do when she referred to in the 2008 campaign to “real America” versus the rest of us.

The divide may be racial, religious, and or ethnic (White, Anglo-Saxon heterosexual Protestants are obviously their preferred group), and their ability to stoke the fires of bigotry, fear, and hatred is what makes the political climate in this country so inhospitable to reasoned political discourse. The so called “conservative” commentators appeared to be focused on President Obama’s background- a subject that was thoroughly aired 7 years ago during the primaries and general election. Old news, in other words. I didn’t see any of them who appeared to realize that the whole idea of condemning a person who is critical of his country as being unpatriotic is itself unpatriotic- that the famous quote “my country, right or wrong,” was only part of the quote, as the entire quote puts it in proper context: “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

I hope that you can gain some perspective from the commentators who have what I perceive as open minds, the ability to receive facts that conflict with their opinions without discarding, ignoring, or disbelieving them, and that this will enable you to be better informed as to current events and the politics surrounding them.

If you ever find yourself in Albany, feel free to call and I’ll be happy to treat you to lunch and to listen to your opinions on the matters of the day.