Tag Archives: conservative

Political perspective: Liberals and Conservatives really ARE different (but maybe not how you thought)

Most people don’t want to talk, or even think about politics. It’s too divisive, and rarely pleasant. Unfortunately, politics is a part of our lives whether we like it or not, and we’re better served to not stick our heads in the sand and hope everything just works out.

That said, I found an article recently that finally seems to bring some clarity to the age-old Liberal vs Conservative debate. I’ve been really into the idea of emotional intelligence lately – understanding someone else’s situation, point of view, why they feel the way they feel. In doing this, it’s easier to relate, empathize, and maybe even work together (compromise), rather than just saying “I don’t agree with you, you’re stupid, I’m going to make your life harder”.

From Vox.com comes “Why Democrats and Republicans don’t understand each other”, and I think it does a good job of explaining some key differences that we hear about, and we perceive ourselves, but they’re finally presented in a more “tangible” way.

First:

Democrats are more focused on making policy to appease their various interest groups and Republicans are more focused on proving their commitment to the small-government philosophy that unites their base.

As Speaker John Boehner put it when he was asked about the slow pace of lawmaking in his House, “we should not be judged on how many new laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal.”

As one example I can think of (though I’m sure there are better ones), I watched a documentary years ago about Ralph Nader called “An Unreasonable Man”. The title is derived from the quote “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself, thus all progress depends on the unreasonable man”. In this documentary, it chronicled how Nader initiated several organizations and committees to protect various groups – workers, consumers, families… and he was making quite a bit of headway, until the next Replublican president was elected and quickly squashed and stagnated his efforts.

This next bit speaks to a point that Chris Rock made in one of his stand up specials, about being liberal on some issues, and conservative on others:

On its face, this presents a puzzle: how can conservatism be the more popular ideology even as the Democrats are the more popular party?

Grossmann and Hopkins disagree. They see this not as a puzzle about American politics but as an explanation for why it works the way it does. They note that 73 percent of Republican voters say they’re conservative but only 42 percent of Democratic voters say they’re liberal. And they note that while voters tend to agree with Republicans on the philosophical questions in American politics (should government be smaller?) they tend to agree with Democrats on the policy questions in American politics (like should Social Security be smaller?).

The Republican Party, in other words, has a very good reason to base itself around philosophical conservatism, while the Democratic Party has a very good reason to base itself around policy deliverables.

This next part is pretty interesting, and gives you an idea of the broader, longer-term implications of this:

The chart above shows the results: Democrats consistently prefer politicians who compromise and Republicans consistently prefer politicians who stick to their principles.

What’s remarkable is that held true even when Republicans controlled the White House. “Though they voiced strong disapproval of Bush, Democrats still expressed a preference for compromise in government — a tendency that has carried over to the Obama era,” write Grossmann and Hopkins. “Republicans have been consistent in their elevation of principle over moderation, regardless of which party is in power.”

That is…extraordinary. Even when a Republican president was facing a Democratic Congress, Republicans did not choose the answer that would have helped their president get more done. And even when a Republican president was facing a Democratic Congress, Democrats did not choose the answer that would have stiffened their party’s spine against passing Bush’s bills. I would have bet money against surveys showing this kind of stability between Democratic and Republican administrations. This is a difference between the two parties that runs deep.

This is something I do tend to find frustrating about more pure conservatives, some might call it “stubbornness”, and it’s important to be able to tell the difference between stubbornness (refusing to budge no matter what) and sticking to principles because you don’t feel you’ve been giving satisfactory reasoning for a change.

“Democrats and liberals are more likely to focus on policymaking because any change that occurs is much more likely to be liberal than conservative. New policies usually expand the scope of government responsibility, funding, or regulation. There are occasional conservative policy successes as well, but they are less frequent and are usually accompanied by expansion of government responsibility in other areas.”

The cleanest way to shrink the size of government is to repeal laws and regulations. But it doesn’t happen very often. In the American political system, Grossmann says, “it’s hard to pass anything, but it’s particularly hard to repeal a law that already exists.” Systematic analyses show it’s rare for laws to be repealed wholesale. “That creates perpetual disappointment among the Republican base,” Grossmann continues. “They correctly perceive that their party does not succeed in enacting their professed ideology.”

But they’re a reminder that American politics is fundamentally rational. Republicans are uncompromising because compromise tends to expand the scope of government. Democrats are willing to make deep concessions because policy moves in a generally liberal direction. Republicans have a clearer message about government because their message about government is fundamentally popular. Democrats talk more about policy because what they have to say about policy is fundamentally popular.

I think that’s a good distinction, and I think if more people were aware of it, it could help grease the gears a bit better and perhaps lead to a little more getting done. I think it suggest that partisanship is at least partially misconceived. Yes some people are truly stubborn and unwavering for personal and/or selfish reasons, but I’m sure that’s actually a minority.

This next bit feels a bit like the whole “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” idea, but applied to politics:

The data also explains why Democratic and Republicans have so much trouble understanding each other. Democrats tend to project their preference for policymaking onto the Republican Party — and then respond with anger and confusion when Republicans don’t seem interested in making a deal. Republicans tend to assume the Democratic Party is more ideological than it is, and so see various policy initiatives as part of an ideological effort to remake America along more socialistic lines.

This is really why effective communication is so important. If you make assumptions that are wrong, you obviously won’t get the results you expect. As frustrating and broken as the 2 party system often seems, perhaps there is a healthy balance hidden in there.

I’ve been “liberal” and “socialist” for a long time, and used to be much more ideological than I am now. If I was given political power in my 20s, I probably would have made a bunch of laws which were well-meaning, but not fully or properly considered/researched. Now I feel like I would think longer and more carefully before setting a policy for something.

Listen to a Conservative Republican mother tell the story of her transgender daughter

You know, often the most compelling and convincing stories are ones that are truly personal and genuine perspective changes. I’ve been fortunate enough to have several in my life, and when I come across them, I try to share for the benefit of others.

Here’s a really beautiful story from a mother defending critics of her Transgender daughter. Politics be damned, the phrase “unconditional love” comes to mind.

For your convenience, I’ve typed out the transcript as well:

I’m the mom of a little girl called AJ, who was recently profiled in the Kansas City Star. As surprised as I was to find my family in the paper, I’m also incredibly proud.

My daughter is six years old. She transitioned, which means she changed her outward appearance from male to female, and started living full time as her true gender, when she was four.

Until that point, she was quite a rough and tumble little boy with a buzz cut and a shark tooth necklace. But when she was three, she asked her dad and I if we could buy her a princess dress.

We didn’t buy the dress.

We thought she might be going through a stage of liking bright or sparkly things, and didn’t want to waste money on something she would grow bored of in a week. But she kept asking, and I found out that she had a favourite princess dress she wore at daycare.

What the heck we thought, and we took her to the store to pick one up. Things didn’t stop there. Over the next few months she started to wear that dress every single minute that she was at home. And then she asked for more. Dresses, nightgowns, headbands, sparkly pink shoes. And eventually, even girl’s underwear.

We allowed some of those things, but we drew the line at the undies. There were just some things we weren’t comfortable with during this phase.

But then I noticed her pushing down on her genitals a lot, and I asked her what was wrong. Not having those parts, I assumed she might have a rash and was itchy, but her answer shocked me.

She said that they bothered her, and were in the way. She wanted them gone.

Thank god for google, because I immediately jumped on the computer and typed in a search “four year old boy says genitals should be gone”. What came back was a very short list of results, but they all pointed to one thing. My child might be transgender.

I had never even heard the word transgender before and really didn’t know what to think. We made an appointment with our pediatrician. She recommended a child psychologist. But before we could even get an appointment, my daughter, then my four year old son, said these words to me: “Mom, you know I’m really a girl right? I’m a girl on the inside”

That moment changed my life.

In the following months she became more insistent. We saw the psychologist and an endocrinologist just to make sure there wasn’t a hidden medical issue. She became more determined to express herself by wearing those pink sparkly shoes to daycare. She wanted to go out for ice cream in a fairy dress and wings.

Eventually we couldn’t hold her back. She was showing signs of depression and refused to leave the house dressed as a boy. The day I let her go to school in girl clothes she was happier than I had seen in a very long time. The kids were great, and the teachers were awesome.

But then the kids went home and told their parents, and they weren’t so great after that. Adult bigotry had influenced them.

We lost most of our friends and some of our family. We basically went into hiding for about a year while my daughter grew out her hair to look like the girl she is. When we emerged again, it was with a very happy and confident daughter.

When I share our daughter’s story, I hear the same uninformed comments over and over again, so I’d like to address a few of those now.

One. We are liberals pushing a gay agenda.

Nope, sorry, I’m a conservative southern baptist republican from Alabama.

Two. We, or at least I, because they always blame the mom, wanted a girl, she we turned our child into one.

Again no, I desperately wanted boys. The idea of raising a girl in today’s world scares me to death. I’d *much* rather be responsible for raising a good boy who knows how to treat girls well, then to be responsible for raising a girl who might only be interested in dating bad boys.

Three. Kids have no idea what they want or who they are. My kid wants to be a dog, should I let him?

Well, that’s up to you but I wouldn’t. There’s a profound difference between wanting to be something in imaginary play and declaring who you are insistently, consistently and persistently. Those are the three markers that set transgender children apart, and my daughter displayed all of them.

Four. Kids shouldn’t have to learn about sex at such a young age!

Well, I agree, so it’s a good thing that being transgender has nothing to do with sex. Gender identity is strictly how a person views themself on the inside and is completely separate from who we are attracted to.

Five. Transgender people are perverts and shouldn’t be in the bathroom with “normal people”.

I don’t know what you go into the bathroom to do, but I know what my daughter goes in there for and it isn’t to look around. It’s to go into a stall, lock the door, and pee where no one else can see her.

Six. God hates transgender people. They are sinners and going to hell.

My God taught us to love one another. Jesus sought out those who others rejected. Some people choose to embrace biblical verses that appear to say transgender people are being wrong. I choose to focus on verses like verse Samuel 16:7 which 嘉盛集团 says “what the lord said to Samuel, do not consider his appearance or his height for I have rejected him. The lord does not look at the things that people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the lord looks at the heart.

My daughter is a girl in her heart. She knows it. God knows it. And that’s good enough for me.