As I have often said, the labeling names referring to “Liberals” or “Conservatives” can be the “Logical Argumentative” pitfall of a “Generalized Statement” much like using, “Those People,” because there is no defining what the words mean. The words are as different in meaning as there are people’s perspectives to their meanings. This is where the discourse begins…..basic NAME CALLING!!
My loyal readers also know I have also stated, “We are the sum of our life’s experiences,” and for the Baby Boomers growing up in the turmoil years of the 1950’s and 1960’s, which had the large influences of whom we are today and how we view, perceive, and handle current events.
Jonathan Haidt is the author of the forthcoming book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, to be published in March 2012. His current research focuses on the moral foundations of politics and on ways liberals and conservatives can move beyond the culture wars and engage in more civil forms of politics and discourse. In the book, Haidt explains the evolution of morality, how we evolved to have different morals, and how these differences can bind us together into groups that seek victory, not truth, and blind us to our own predispositions. In an era of increasing political polarization, he strives to strengthen understanding and dialogue rather than falling back on the usual partisan accusations much like Rush Limbaugh’s statements of, “You just don’t get it!”…as if the person making the statement truly does.
Our country is more politically polarized than ever. Is it possible to agree to disagree and still move on to solve our massive problems, or are the blind leading the blind over the cliff? It is our current contentious culture, why we can’t trust our own opinions, and the demonizing of our adversaries. Haidt states, “When it gets so that your opponents are not just people you disagree with, but the mental state in which I am fighting for good, and you are fighting for evil, it’s very difficult to compromise. Compromise becomes a dirty word.”
Haidt goes on to say those coming of age during the 1930’s “Great Depression” and later WWII could disagree politically but still had embedded into them that everyone was in this together for the betterment of the country and were able to move forward through compromise. I give you the example in the 1980’s of Tip O’Neil and Ronald Reagan were still able to work together to compromise on issues that they were on opposite viewpoints, because “it was for the good of the country.”
But the “Baby Boomers” grew up in their early years with the damaging extremism of Joseph McCarthy’s making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. Then in the 1960’s we had the riots in the streets with the mentality of “US” against “THEM,” “GOOD” verses “EVIL,” “LIGHT” against “DARKNESS.” Whether it was fighting to keep the Southern “Status Quo” or “Breaking the Shackles” of Racial Inequalities; everyone lined up with regards to their personal perspective. I might add that both sides stated that “GOD” was on their side with this debated issue.
The “My Country Right or Wrong, or “Hell No We Won’t Go” Viet Nam War divisions also moved into the streets of our large cities across the nation. Of course what also came from these years were women demanding their voice of “Equal Rights of Employment and Pay,” social advancements, proper application of medical health treatments, etc. and those who wanted to squelch these issues keeping women subversive because it would destroy the “Fabric of the Family Unit.”
So in summation, are the two divisions today going to be able to get past the differences, work together, compromise, and progress forward for the betterment of the country and the citizens of the nation, or are we going to continue to hunker down and block progress with enough contention that the country as a whole will suffer? If the latter is the case, I know what side I was on with the issues mentioned above and will be very comfortable with the progressive viewpoints I have today….because as the progressive viewpoints won out then, they will eventually win out once again and I am not afraid of the fight needed to get there.
Being Progressive is why they call it Progress.