Silverfiddle authors a blog – Western Hero – which you should really check out…don’t forget the comments section either.
I wrote this over a year ago and forgot about it. I think it still applies today…
I am a conservative with pernicious libertarian tendencies who believes we should examine our politicians and probe their logic, not worship them. We should be skeptical, very skeptical, of everything that proceeds from their loquacious gobs. I also don’t want any of them feeling too comfortable up there in the District of Criminals.
Thomas Jefferson said it best:
When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.–Thomas Jefferson
I think George Bush was no conservative, but I believe he is a sincere and honest man, as politicians go. He is not Hitler, he was not in on any 9/11 conspiracy, and VP Cheney didn’t shoot holes in the New Orleans levees with his Halliburton cannon. If you back me into a corner, I will reluctantly admit that Bill Clinton was a pretty good president, private peccadilloes aside.
I have a grudging respect for Hillary Clinton, although I disagree with her politics. She’s a hard worker and she does her homework.
Conservatives and Liberals will never agree on many subjects, but here are three things I hope we can all agree upon: 1) Make the politicians prove it; 2) Listen to one another; 3) Dial it back.
Make Them Prove It
I will start by pleading guilty to not paying attention as George Bush and the GOP went wilding with our money. My days of not standing up and questioning those I voted for are now over.
We are living in the age of rampant, naive credulity, and it needs to stop. Our default position should be to disbelieve anything a politician says until she can prove it. While we’re at it, let’s make them defend their big ideas in light of the US Constitution.
Taking this hyper-skeptical approach will keep them from tragically wasting our blood and our treasure. There is a selfish partisan interest here as well. By holding our own politicians and candidates’ feet to the fire, and spitting them out when they’re found to be full of crap, we preserve the reputation of our respective parties.
No more letting them lie to us with a wink and a nod just to get elected. The incinerator at the bottom of the memory hole has been extinguished. With the internet, America’s digital memory is now infinite. Lying and political shape-shifting doesn’t work in an age when I can sit in my underwear and research everything a politician has said since he was in grade school.
I share no ideology with Dennis Kucinich or Bernie Sanders, but they are probably two of the most honest politicians in DC, and I can at least admire them for that.
Listen to One Another
Left and right are poles apart, by definition. No one should have to listen to hysterical ideologues screaming insults, but we should lend an ear to reasoned voices on the other side. You don’t have to compromise your principles to do it, and you may learn something.
Wanna know one area where the right has jumped on the lefty bandwagon? Opposition to crony capitalism. Conservative mistrust most likely springs from a different motive, but we’ve seen the light! We agree with you that government should not be in bed with corporations and bankers. No special favors!
Another area where the right has seen the light? The primacy of the US Constitution. A few years ago, only libertarians and liberal social activists referred to that venerable document. Granted, the left narrowly focused in on the bill of rights, usually the 1st, 4th and 5th Amendments, but they could nonetheless claim to be bigger constitutionalists than their ideological adversaries on the right.
No more. Our disillusion with traditional Country Club Republicanism stacked upon our distaste for postmodern liberalism has left us nowhere else to go. So let’s rally ’round the constitution and argue over what those words mean. It is so much more productive than the tired bread and circuses of Republican team versus the Democratic team and “my politician is better than your politician.”
Dial It Back
I have excoriated President Obama. I got so mad once that I put red Mickey Mouse ears on him. He’s the president, so I should have more respect, as I thought the left should have shown President Bush.
I remember thinking at the time that George Bush did not make the case for invading Iraq. But everybody this side of Russ Feingold was too scared to call him on it, so off we went.
I cut him too much slack because I liked him (I still do). I blindly trusted him on everything from the Patriot Act to No Child Left Behind. Some of that stuff needed to be done, but no one on the right seriously questioned him. We did not have a critical debate.
You know what would have made it easier for me to part ways with Bush on some of these issues? If foaming-at-the-mouth leftists had not been jumping all over him like a mob of diseased orangutans, vomiting insults and hysterical rage at him. Had much of that legitimate criticism been well-stated and not couched in ad hominem, I would have found it much easier to jump on board. I was in the military at the time, and it seriously seemed like it was President Bush and us against the world.
We’re All Americans
We will never agree on abortion, gay marriage, or health care, but we should all agree that no politician gets a free pass. We the People can also all agree on a few founding principles like a wall of separation between business and state, and a kick in the bum for crony capitalists and the corrupt political hogs who wallow with them. Maybe we can even be friendly to those on the other side who are not spewing hatred our way.
Am I dreaming? Probably, but I feel compelled to say this in the name of ideological ecumenism.