One of the hardest parts about working in politics is the polarization. Since the vast majority of operatives work solely for one side it becomes very easy to stereotype the entire opposing party. We forget that the vast majority of people on either side are simply hard working men and women who want to live their lives and provide for their families with the right balance between government protection and personal freedom. When you put aside the rhetoric we really just differ on what the best balance is. Sadly it took a friend of mine sending me this pompous op-ed piece from the Washington Post to make me think about it this way.
I’ve covered in a previous piece about how gerrymandered districts and primary-voting ideologues are driving much of the crazier legislation currently moving through the NCGA. So in the myopia developed from years of political work, I hadn’t thought about the average Republican voter’s feelings about what’s going on. I can tell you from years of doorstep, field political work that I’m pretty sure that they aren’t crazy about having their children in with classrooms with forty other kids, and only one teacher’s assistant per grade (And that’s only for K-3, sorry fourth graders). I know for a fact that the NC Sherriff’s Association opposes the current gun bill that allows guns on school campuses and eliminates handgun permits, and they’re not exactly a bunch of tree-hugging liberals.
So I’d like to make an appeal to all of the frustrated Republicans out there just trying to get by. Call your legislators and voice your opinion. Ask then what they’re doing to help your County specifically, and if you don’t like the answers you’re getting, get out and vote in the primary. Find someone who cares more about local jobs than corporate tax breaks and vote for them.
If that’s not enough reason for you, how about pragmatism; in 2010 it wasn’t Tea Party activists that brought the Republican Party to power, it was angry independents. Those independents are currently pretty upset about what’s going on in Raleigh. Combine that with a Democratic Party that seems to be getting its act together, and 2014 could be just as ugly for Republicans as 2010 was for Democrats.
Hey Charles, thanks for the comment, but I have to disagree with you. I think its partially because to some degree I was that guy in college.
I had two groups of friends, my bohemian friends who I hung out with most of the time, and my freshmen hall buddies who went into greek life. We still hung out, and my frat friends went to my parties and I went to theirs, and since we were good friends everybody was pretty respectful when going to the other’s parties, and we all ended up with college experiences we wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Maybe that’s why I’ll always try to reach out and see the other side’s perspective and try to engage them, because it if you try to paint everyone with the same brush, you miss out on meeting people that can broaden your worldview.
I used to wholeheartedly embrace this kind of outreach, using much the same language. I felt bad for reasonable Republican voters and politicians who had to deal with an out of control wing of their party, be they “grass roots activists” with witch doctor signs on the mall, or crazed pundits mumbling “skewed polls” over and over again last fall.
Here’s the problem, though. Everyone knew that one guy in college that hung out with all the meatheads and cavemen, and you always wondered “what’s that guy doing with them? He seems cooler than that.” You were never really friends with him, and when it came time to decide whether to invite him to the off-campus party you were throwing, you had to take into account that he’d bring all his meathead, visor-wearing friends with him.
That kid grew up to be “the reasonable Republican.” When reasonable Republicans get elected, they bring all their crazy friends with them in the clown car, and they have to make excuses for them being jerks to the girls, saying stupid crap, and, oh… cutting $250 billion from SNAP and trying to criminalize miscarriage.
So no thanks. Let them go over the cliff. It’s not worth the baggage.
On conservative post there is room for opposition. I have tried to put in an opposing view & it is always deleted. What is the problem????