Liberal Versus Conservative Part I

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Election season is here again and it seems like the whole nation is abuzz with an entire buffet of opinions from the mild to the wild. And much like classic football rivalries, there are basically two types of fans: 1) the ones who root for their team to win and be the best while still holding the foe in their world of respect, care, and concern, and 2) the ones who root for their team to win and be the best while wishing all manner of hatred, humiliation, and zealous disrespect toward the foe.

Inside the world of political debate, where the stakes are arguably more important, the media and the world of entertainment (sounds redundant a bit doesn’t it?) have long found that generating and retaining eyeballs on the screen to sell them beer or pharmaceuticals from their sponsors seems to work “better” if the sensational things take the stage. And thus, honest and robust debate on issues falls below personal attacks, outrageous behavior, and the like from any candidate. It has become a sad farce.

And the divide between “liberals” and “conservatives” gets drawn with bolder and wider black markers. The truth is, even when we disagree vehemently, we still have more in common than any ideology that separates us. When I witness the harshness of opinions that begins to call into question an opponent’s motives, I am saddened. Yes, it is important to have correct policies win out over those that are proven failures, and yes some previous failed ideas might succeed in an altered future, but those who fight for their position gain nothing by impugning the motives of their political foes.

Labels like “liberal” or “conservative” distract from the true aim of trying to discern character and intellectual honesty in a potential candidate or ballot amendment, etc. And to disagree with each other on politics is not something to build walls over.  The quote, ‘Somebody who agrees with me 80 percent of the time is a friend and ally, not a 20 percent traitor.’” has been attributed to President Ronald Reagan and is a good reminder to us all.