(If you’re patient, this will eventually discuss the VA Accountability Act of 2015 which is IMPORTANT and not getting much attention so stick around if you can.)
I have a theory.
See – I have a LOT of moderate friends. I have Christian friends who vote Republican but support marriage equality and are a little fiscally liberal as they support programs like Free Lunch and WIC. I have friends who vote Democrat but are a little fiscally conservative as they’re not necessarily on board with TANF or Section 8 housing. I have staunchly Republican friends who support gun control or are Pro Choice. I have Christian friends who vote Democrat but are strongly Pro Life. Basically, 80% of my friends would fall into the “moderate” camp – EVEN IF they vote for the same party at every election.
They are not the extremes of their voting block, is what I’m saying. And people who always vote along party lines can still be moderates on a lot of issues.
But man – they don’t feel comfortable chiming in on anything political because it seems that unless you are the extreme on one side or another – there is no place for you in the conversation.
I don’t think it’s natural for ANY of us to side with one party or another 100% of the time. And that’s because – if we really look at it pragmatically – the parties are much more divided by big business and lobbyists than actual principles. So I don’t think anyone would side with their political party 100% of the time unless they were a political candidate in that party. AND EVEN THEN – many vote differently on issues because the constituents in their area may be a little different.
It is my theory that if you can’t think of ONE thing President Obama has done in 7 years that you AGREED with…AND…DISAGREED with, then you need to try to vary up your sources of news. If you can’t think of one thing GOOD and one thing BAD that he’s done then your news sources are either too liberal or too conservative.
What do you think? Don’t you think that’s a decent theory?
It’s been on my mind recently when President Obama said he’d veto the VA Accountability Act of 2015 if it crossed his desk. Y’all – the VA Accountability Act is not perfect but it is SOMETHING and if you know anything about the terrible backlog and waitlists of the VA then you know we need to do something, like, 10 years ago.
But here’s the thing – my favorite super liberal media sources? Aren’t talking about it. BUT! The IAVA is and I keep up with all of their press releases and follow Paul Reickoff on Twitter. (I’m telling you – Twitter, if curated properly, is an EXCELLENT source of news.) So – I’ve been hearing about the Democrats and Obama worried too much about protecting government unions than about actually doing something about the situation at the VA.
Here’s another good bit about an interesting provision in the VA Accountability act here:
Last week’s House action giving the government more power to fire poor performers at the Department of Veterans Affairs was poisonous for federal employee unions and Democrats. But the bill, rejected by most Democrats, contains a little-noticed change that lawmakers in both parties have clamored for, particularly after last year’s coverup of long wait times for veterans needing medical care.
Even for Lefty McLiberal me who always votes Democrat, I side with the GOP on this bill. AND I WANTED A SINGLE PAYER HEALTHCARE SYSTEM…I’m a stupid liberal so siding with the conservatives is not something I do often.
What I’m saying is that if the girl with a Rubbermaid container full of OBAMA memorabilia from the 2008 and 2012 election can openly disagree with the President on a piece of legislation, then everyone should be able to find one thing PRO and one thing CON since he’s been, president.
I really think this Political Dichotomy is hurting our country more than anyone cares to admit. Two big issues are examples: Guns and Abortion. The sad thing is, people on both sides of the issues actually want the SAME THING. Fewer Abortions, Less Gun Violence. If we want the same thing why do we HAVE to break it down constantly to black-and-white, Us v/s Them debates? If birth control was more accessible (and didn’t require a damn annual exam which has been disputed as not being necessary) for women, we would have fewer abortions. PERIOD. I’m not as fluent in the gun control debate, but I’m betting there are methods that schools, colleges or offices can implement, that could assist with increasing security and hopefully prevent incidents like a shooting from happening. Whether it is getting in touch with an online pedestrian turnstile supplier, for example, to increase the security in a school or banning the use of guns, these steps could improve the safety of residents and leave a lot fewer people potentially fearing for their lives.
We could take that both sides would agree would reduce gun violence if we didn’t pose one side to look like they hate the 2nd amendment and the other side to look like they want to give out guns in candy machines freely.
I just feel like we miss out on a lot of possible good action because we’re too busy choosing sides. And I blame this a lot on our biased media. I love MSNBC and Maddow (and she’s harder on Obama re: Veteran’s issues than some are) and Chris Hayes – LOVE THEM. But I recognize they are biased and if they were my only source of news I would probably think all Republicans were women-hating, war-loving racists. I actually stopped watching their nightly shows because I could feel it setting me up as “ANTI-REPUBLICAN” which is a stupid stance to take. That’s not even a stance! Being against a political party does NO good as a badge to wear. Being against a piece of legislation? Yes. Being pro your candidate? Yes. But hating an entire party just as a stance? Was not something I felt was productive. So, now I watch certain reports, but I don’t make them a daily source of news like they were before.
And on the other side – people who only get their news from nightly FOX NEWS exposure think Obama is the WORST PRESIDENT IN THE WORLD and they HATE EVERYTHING THE DEMOCRATS DO and I’m all like, “Dude. He signed the Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill, can we give him a little credit?
I just think if we’d all vary our news sources – or maybe try to keep up with sources that try to be un-biased and fact-based, then maybe we will stop looking at every news story has having two sides only.
This two-party, black-and-white, the-other-side-is-stupid-and-wrong mentality that seems to be ever-present is something that is counterproductive to ANYTHING that ANY side actually wants to accomplish. I’m pretty sure most of us want:
1) Less unnecessary war
2) Less poverty
3) Less violence
4) Less sickness
Right? But jeez, the second anyone on any side tries to accomplish something that might lessen one of those things, everyone immediately decides: WHICH SIDE AM I ON? And once the teams are divided, we accomplish very little.
And I think if we all started with trying to vary our news sources and being open to ideas the “other” side has, and then TELLING OUR FRIENDS about those ideas so that we create more of a safe space form moderates, then we’d have much better conversations. Without our moderate voices, we are just two groups yelling at each other and this political climate is just going to be more and more hateful. Let’s look at issues one move at a time and not fret about what “side” the solutions come from. Let’s have our favorite news sources that come from the side we prefer, but let’s recognize those sources are biased and make sure we pepper our exposure with voices from other sides. I’m not saying Republicans should watch Maddow and Democrats should watch Fox News, I’m just saying they shouldn’t ONLY watch one or the other. There are a lot other sources in the middle (might I suggest Al Jazeera – America it’s one of my favorites) that we can also use as a resource.
Let’s be okay with discussing our disagreements with those people on the side we vote on, and let’s be okay recognizing things we support from the other side. Let’s create a better atmosphere for moderates and let’s try to make the extreme voices just that – EXTREME VOICES – and let’s listen more to the ones that speak about issues and not about political party or sides.
Also? Let’s talk about gourmet popsicles. I’m totally on board with this new trend.
3 thoughts on “We Do Not Naturally Separate Into A Stark Political Dichotomy.”
Whats that saying – the perfect is the enemy of the good? Something like that?
Obama admits that the Iranian deal isn’t perfect, but it is a start. It is something and something is needed.
Seems like maybe he should apply that thinking to the VA situation.
Oh, and I voted for Obama both times.
I’m pretty Liberal too, and I used to work with a VERY conservative Republican who was pretty extreme. I liked to point out to that person that if you stripped away the talking points and spin from both sides, often you find that the basic want or desire is the same.
Like you, I wish more people would realize that.
I’m gonna marinate on your post for a while because there is some really good stuff in there! I do have a question for you though – you’ve mentioned twice recently that Twitter if curated properly can be a good news source. So…what does that mean? I very rarely use Twitter but you’ve got me curious. And I really have no idea how to curate my feed or (um, embarrassingly) don’t exactly know what that means.