There is no monopoly in common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too
I was raised to be a fundiegelical cold warrior, but I was born in 1960 and by the time I was coming of age the Vietnam War was over and the Cold War was winding down so I missed my chance to die gloriously in battle with the commies.
I grew up watching black & white John Wayne movies and television shows like “Combat” and “Twelve O’Clock High” where the good guys and the bad guys were easy to tell apart. When I was in elementary school even the sitcoms were militaristic – we had “Gomer Pyle,” “McHale’s Navy” and “Hogan’s Heroes.” Things got more complicated by the 70’s with shows like “MASH” and movies where the good guys weren’t so good and the bad guys weren’t so bad.
We lived in a medium-small town in a red-neck conservative area of central California (it’s still blue dog country) and attended a pentecostal church. My church didn’t handle snakes or speak in tongues, but we thought the Baptists were having a little too much fun. I began drifting away in my mid-teens and quit attending church completely when I was 17 year old.
All the men in my family joined the military so when I finished high school I enlisted in the army. I was sent to Wurzburg, Germany where I was posted with an Air Defense Artillery unit (Hawk missiles) not far from the border with East Germany. If you paid attention during the Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq you would know that ADA units are the first targets when the shooting starts.
I was still in the army when I cast my first vote for President, choosing Ronnie Raygun over my then-commander-in-chief. I was honorably discharged, married and had two kids when I voted for him again in 1984, but with less enthusiasm. By 1988 I was divorced with three kids and voting Democratic.
That 1985 song by Sting up above had something to do with my ideological change (but not my divorce.) I had been trained to believe that the Soviets were evil, diabolical people who were determined to destroy the American Way of Life and impose godless communism on the world. The song made me think of them as real people instead of as caricatures.
The reason I bring this up was this post by Deacon Blues at The Left Coaster:
David Sirota is only half-right when he suggests that the true face of the teabaggers and the anything-but-Main-Street mobs is a me-first, forget everyone else mentality of right wing victimhood.
I wish that’s all it was, because it’s also racism. What started as phony riots by Capitol Hill staffers masquerading as angry Floridians demanding the installation of George W. Bush during the recount debacle in 2000 has now become the standard tool by a fringe minority to undermine democracy. And that fringe has all one color, and doesn’t want or care to be part of a community with anyone who doesn’t look or sound like them, in a country led by a black man.
Deacon Blues captures the Democratic tribalist mindset perfectly. If you are a loyal Democrat then you MUST believe that Republicans are evil, racist, sexist, homophobic, selfish, greedy, corrupt stupid, ignorant and insane haters who want to destroy the environment, melt the ice caps and blow up the world. Democrats, of course, are virtuous saints whose only flaws are that they act timid and weak and keep falling for the Republicans’ “bipartisanship” routine.
From Arthur Silber’s Observations About Tribal Beliefs and Behavior:
ONE: To the degree that membership in a particular tribe or tribes is important to a person’s sense of identity, that person believes that his own tribe(s) is inherently and uniquely good. To the degree that tribal membership is a critical element of personal identity, all members of all tribes are convinced this is true of those tribes to which they belong.
TWO: Insofar as the tribe’s centrally defining characteristic(s) (race, religion, political beliefs, etc.) are concerned, all other tribes that differ with regard to these characteristics are necessarily inferior and wrong. This has an especially critical implication: at first with regard to these centrally defining characteristics, and inevitably in a more general sense, the individual members of all other tribes are necessarily inferior to and less worthy than the members of one’s own tribe(s).
Maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but ever since the Great Astroturf War of 2009 started you will have a hard time finding anyone on the front page of any lefty blogs besides this one suggesting that there are any redeeming qualities among the Tea Party crowd. That’s nothing new, for years now it has been presumed in Left Blogistan that all Republicans are wrong about everything.
Not only is everything the Republicans say and do wrong, but their motives are wrong too. They either don’t know what they are talking about, are crazy, or know they are wrong but do it anyway because they are bad people. At best they are misguided, at worst they are sociopathic and evil.
The winger blogs express similar ideas about Democrats and us moonbat libruls, except where the left thinks the right is too much the right thinks the left is too little. The left thinks the right is too patriotic (jingoistic and warlike) while the right thinks the left isn’t patriotic enough (unamerican cowards.)
Who benefits from all this? The corporatists. They play both sides against each other so they can loot and pillage unabated. But make no mistake, it’s not like all we have to do is show conservatives the light and they will convert to liberalism.
I was raised to be a conservative and a fundie, I’m still related to quite a few and the place where I live is infested with them. While I don’t agree with them politically I don’t think they are bad people – at least not any worse than our side is. I have given up on prostlytizing them however, because they are as hard headed and stubborn as I am.
Republicans are not stupid or ignorant, they are just as informed and educated as we are. One factoid I picked up in college was that Newt Gingrinch’s home district of Cobb County Georgia has the highest rate of college graduates in the nation. They see the same world with all the same problems that we do, but they draw different conclusions as to the causes and solutions. And yes, they love their children too.
The reason this is important to understand is single payer.
We need single payer health care in this country. In order to get it we have to persuade enough voters to agree with us. F**k the politicians, if we get enough voters to agree we’ll get it, even if we have to vote out every single incumbent in Washington DC and start over.
Right now we are seeing four mistakes being made in trying to sell single payer. First and foremost it isn’t on the table. We can’t sell it if we don’t show it to the customers. Secondly, we can’t sell it to conservatives if we exclude them from the discussion. They need to be engaged in the debate, but that doesn’t mean we need to compromise – we need to convince them to buy.
In order to do this we need to quit thinking of this in terms of left vs. right. We are not trying to convert them to our ideology, we’re just trying to sell them on a new way of paying for health care. The current system of employer-provided health insurance no longer makes sense – it doesn’t cover everyone and it’s way too expensive.
That brings me to the third thing we are doing wrong – we need to quit being so damn condescending to and contemptuous of conservatives. Instead of trying to shove it down their throats with a “STFU and take your medicine” attitude we need to use facts and logic. Single payer makes sense.
The final mistake we keep making is arguing our apples to their oranges. Once we accept that they are intelligent, sane and basically good just like we are, we need to figure out how to overcome their objections. If you’re trying to sell a car to a guy who’s looking for a brand new souped-up Mustang sex machine and you keep showing him a used Geo Metro and emphasizing fuel efficiency you’re not gonna connect with him.
Everyone on both sides of the political spectrum wants affordable, high quality health care that is available to everyone. Right now we are paying more than we should for less than we deserve. Right now the majority of this country wants health care reform.
Right now the people that are benefiting from the status quo are spending millions of dollars to buy off the leaders of both parties and to mislead the voters into thinking they’ll end up with less than they have now.
Right now the Democrats are trying to sell us a used Geo Metro and some people think we should buy it, arguing we can trade it in later for what we really want.
Single payer is the solution – accept no substitutes.
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