Wednesday, May 25, 2005

There Are Two Kinds... 

I start off from the old joke: "There are two kinds of people. Those who think there are two kinds of people, and those who don't." It's an aphorism worthy of Oscar Wilde for its paradoxical truth.

And there are two kinds of people -- those who think there are two kinds of liberals and conservatives, and those who don't. Ironically, the latter fall into the more extreme of the two kinds of liberals and conservatives.

I have to admit that I do have good friends who are Republicans, and we rarely get into arguments, beyond their blanched expressions when I say something critical of the current administration in my out loud voice. Even then, we're friends, so they don't really say anything, except maybe a muttered defense under their breath. But we don't come to fisticuffs.

Imagine the difference if I found myself in a room full of hardcore fundie wingnuts. I think the cursing and brawling would soon reach drunken sailors on shore leave levels.

That's because I actually like my Republican/Conservative friends -- and I like them because they are not part of the wingnut group. Yes, there are two kinds of conservatives, just like there are two kinds of liberals.

The "good" conservative is really only concerned with two things -- not paying a huge amount of taxes, and keeping government out of their business -- or out of businesses' business. I completely understand that point of view. I don't totally agree with it, but I have no qualms with people whose political outlook is to keep government small and to keep more of their own money. Why? Because, for the most part, they don't give a damn what I do in my own home. They really couldn't give a rat's ass whether gay people can get married or whether women can get abortions or if the local court house displays the ten commandments. But... they see the Democratic party as the tax and spend, super-nanny party, and so they vote R.

The "good" liberal is really only concerned with two things -- protecting the disadvantaged with the power of government, while keeping government out of their personal lives. They have no qualms about government stepping on business, because that's the sort of thing that prevents big companies from, say, dumping mercury into ground water; they do not object to redistribution of wealth because, after doing the math, they still can't figure out why someone making $20 million a year would object to still having $12.4 million after taxes -- especially when those taxes can help feed and educate the inner-city child of a single mother. They also object strenuously to the same government telling people what they can think or say, feeling rather strongly that government has no business saying what consenting adults can do in the privacy of their own homes.

On that latter point, I think that the "good" conservatives and "good" liberals are not so far apart. Screw the "culture wars". There is no culture war between these two groups. I think they'd both agree that the government has no business whatsoever in telling adults what to do, provided that said adults do not harm or coerce other people.

But, to quote a particular politician from the past, "It's the economy, stupid." The good parts of the opposing viewpoints will never get together as long as they have the economic wall between them, with one camp declaring, "You want to steal the fruits of my labor" and the other replying, "You're just a greedy bastard."

I'd argue that there's got to be a very easy way to find an economic middle ground, a tax system that both sides could be happy with. And, through that, I think we could create a viable third party that would marginalize the others -- the Moderate Party. Hey, let's bring back an old name from the early days of the Republic. Let's resurrect the Whigs. Their platform now? Equitable taxation without complicated code, fair help for the needy who don't abuse it, government regulation to protect people from corporations, the end of prohibition for all victimless crimes. And the first thing we do is, kill all the lawyers...

The trouble is, the good conservatives and liberals will never unite because, thanks to all the flak and chatter, all each side ever sees of the other is the dark side. That's right -- we've got a huge contingent of Jedi who is convinced that every member of the opposite party is a Sith Lord.

Why? Because there are two kinds of liberals, two kinds of conservatives. But the good kinds only perceive the other side as the bad kind.

"Bad" Conservatives... think that business should be free to do anything they damn well want to, that it's the government's job to stop abortion and gay marriage and to put the ten commandments and the bible at the center of every part of public discourse; that it was the will of the founding fathers to persecute anyone who wasn't christian, that only judges who are anti-abortion should be confirmed, that creationism should be taught as legitimate science, that it is government's job to stick its nose into your bedroom and up your ass and make sure you aren't having any fun at all, and everyont on the planet should be required to own guns; that "zero tolerance" is a good idea when it comes to weapons, drugs or sexual behavior.

"Bad" Liberals... think that business should be so strapped with rules and regulations that commerce is impossible, that it's government's job to pay for everything that middle class and lower people can't afford, that censorship should only apply if the material in question is christian in nature, that parents should not have the right to determine their children's behavior or education, that common sense does not apply if at least two leftwing pundits say otherwise; that "zero tolerance" is a good idea when it comes to humor, commraderie or fun.

Needless to say, the "Bad" camps all have their heads right up their asses. While I consider myself liberal, I think that there is a solution, something that will save our country, and it falls somewhere outside of the strictly D and R definitions. Yes, I think tax cuts, or tax reductions, are okay -- provided that the rich and the huge corporations pay out the ass to make up the difference. In Bush-land, they don't. But in "good" conservative land, they might. I do think that corporations have to be strictly controlled when it comes to what they do to their people and their environment. And yes, I think that a (high) Federal minimum wage, and overtime rules are very, very necessary.

"Zero Tolerance" needs to be stricken from the language immediately. The end result of this stupid concept is merely to remove all thought and responsibility from school administrators. End it now. Make the fucking principals actually have to think, make a decision and take responsibility for it.

And... etc.

But, there are two kinds of people. Those who think that moderate liberals and conservatives can find a common ground, and knock the nuts off the radicals -- and those who are so far off into (left or right) wingnut land that they can't ever understand the concept of compromise.

Tell you what, moderate Conservatives... I'll let you have tax cuts and deregulation if you let me have same sex marriage and legal drugs. And we'll both agree that the bible was never, ever intended to be the law of the land.

And, together, maybe we can drive our mutual wingnuts away, and can find a sensible compromise, just as fourteen senators did regarding the filibuster -- until Frist went and said "to hell with you all." Arrogant bastard.

End transmission...

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