Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Listen, Dumb Mass...
The title, of course, is not universally applicable. But if the foo--ahem--wear it.
Y'know, I really do pity some people. They think they live in a world where Republicans routinely champion big business and Democrats routinely favor the little guy. They think that Republicans are warmongers and Democrats are peacemakers. They think that Republicans are censorious and Democrats favor freedom of expression.
The reality is considerably more complex.
I'd love to say that there is such a thing as a "pure" conservative or a "pure" liberal. It'd sure as thunder make political blogging a lot simpler. But there probably hasn't been a "pure" conservative since Edmund Burke, and even he might not qualify by some people's definitions, and when you have the likes of flaming, hell-bent-for-leather, far left Ted Rall screaming that Barack Obama is just another right wing warmonger, it ought to be getting clear to you that finding a "pure" liberal isn't easy, either.
Shoot. I'm tired tonight. But let me spell it out for you, ye who see no further than Democrats good, Republicans bad. I'll try to use small words.
In the real world, all political parties, especially the big ones, and most especially the main two, the Republicans and the Democrats, are simply coalitions of people with widely--widely!--disparate interests. They band together to promote candidates and policies, and all those candidates and policies are, at best, compromises between those disparate interests, with the end result being that the candidates each party runs are often only mildly less repugnant to any given party member than the candidates the opposition runs.
No Republican represents the thinking or behavior of all Republicans. It can't be done.
No Democrat represents the thinking or behavior of all Democrats. It can't be done.
What do you do with the guy who's into Far Eastern martial disciplines and is moving steadily toward growing more vegetables, learning about canning, drying, and preserving nutrient-dense whole, traditional foods--and is simultaneously a Southern Baptist, free-market, anti-free-trade, Constitutional constructionist?
What do you do with a different guy, another one who's into Far Eastern martial disciplines, likes guns, thinks his oncologist son-in-law deserves to make potloads of money, and favors universal health care?
What do you do with the conservatives that are anti-war, America-firsters?
What do you do with the liberals and neocons that are agitating for war--or at least a show of force--vis-a-vis North Korea?
What about the pro-free-market, pro-choice Republicans?
What about the Pink Pistols?
What about the Log Cabin Republicans?
What about the anti-illegal-immigration union members?
What about the--admittedly rare--pro-life Democrats? What about pro-life, pro-universal-health-care Democrats?
What about the big agribusinesses that actually welcome increased regulatory burdens because they have the effect of killing off smaller competitors--competitors that, incidentally, are often responsible for a lot of the locally-grown, naturally-raised foods that--allegedly--more liberal types favor? Lord have mercy, there are people in this world simple enough to believe that a vote against more government regulation of the food business is necessarily a vote against food safety.
What about the likes of Monsanto? Have you heard or read about them and soybeans? If not, google it--and then ask yourself whether being against that sort of thing is being anti-big-business or pro-free-market-competition.
Have you ever heard of veggie libel laws? If not, google that--and then ask yourself whether such things are anti-libel or anti-First Amendment.
What about homeschoolers? Are they Christian zealots or are they just trying to avoid being indoctrinated by "the man?"
God knows--only God knows--what the modern Democratic Party would do with the likes of Andrew Jackson. Only God knows what the modern Republican Party would do with the likes of Abraham Lincoln.
It is a darn weird world when Blacks persistently vote against the party that was anti-slavery, and when the party that tolerated "Sheets" Byrd for decades lambasts its opposition as "racist."
There are conservatives who think they're libertarians, libertarians who claim to be conservatives, FDR-style-big-government Republicans who publicly profess an attachment to small government, socially-conservative union activists, and so forth. The reality is that the political world is one heckuva lot more complex than Democrats good, Republicans bad (or vice versa), and to my mind, one of the hallmarks, one of the distinguishing characteristics, of the true Dumb Mass is the persistent attempt to paint it more simply than it really is.