A respected South Carolina GOP strategist and marketer is taking on an admirable and humbling journey into oneself this year. He recently posted this blog update.
Having read it, I find some of its assumptions to be alarmingly indicative of some of the main things I disapprove of and fight against as someone who strives to push people to educate themselves before forming beliefs. His essay does offer one good theme: don’t choose sides just to choose sides; don’t sell your vote without knowing what you’re voting for first. But at root in what follows is the problematic assumption that conservativism allows people to be different while liberals push people to be the same. I’ve posted my reaction to this flawed argument below.
There’s a difference between being a liberal and liberalism. I’d like to think conservatives believe in liberalism as well. A student of history will note that liberalism dates back to the times of John Locke and also serves as the platform for what the US stands for in the world: constitutionalism, democracy, free and fair elections, human rights, capitalism, and the free exercise of religion.
Whether you lean to the left or the right of the American political mold is actually a privilege of the system we’ve created. The author edges on wrong about robot-ism, if you will. Political history has shown that the ideological divide in our country is widening – not shortening. Sure there are yellow-dog D’s and straight-ticket R’s voting party line; but the American ideological strata is growing by decade. Hence the tea party and occupy movements; green party and libertarianism. This is evidence of people straying against their party’s platform.
Indeed, just as the author un-categorized himself as a straight-ticket R voter, there are Democrats who do the same. It’s unfair to presume anything different. So I do join you in not being a robot – but so do many others. I won’t get into the extreme skewing of what being a liberal means (the author perceives it as akin to Communism somehow; ahem, indeed, our very governmental structure and economy prevents that). However, perhaps there exists the potential that Dems think people are born at different starting points or with major disadvantages (e.g. socioeconomic factors or disabilities) and so they promote entitlements to help people who don’t stand on the same ground that you (the author) were born on and walk upon to date. Your assumption that all are created equal is how you are able to espouse that people should “be different.” Maybe, just maybe, they want the opportunities you’ve had, friend.
Whichever reality you see, what we can both agree on, regardless of ideological differences, is having faith that the possibility for parties to represent beliefs exists. A look into other “liberal” nations (in the socio-economic sense of the term) will show that multi-party systems better deter the robotism you’ve noticed (see the UK or Germany), and you’re starting to see that form in the US, at least symbolically and ideologically with the above mentioned ‘new’ movements like the tea party.
Cheers, and thanks for the opportunity to comment,