We're going to be entering into full campaign mode pretty soon. The primaries are coming up, and then the election, and then in with the new boss, blah blah. One of the things I hate most about American politics, and other countries are guilty of this as well, is the simplicity with which the populous tries to classify people and their convictions.
This person is a LIBERAL. That person is a CONSERVATIVE. In America, those terms border on meaningless since every Tom, Dick, & Harry seem to have their own damned definitions. The media has its own definitions. Religious wackos have theirs. I find myself actually getting pissed off because I will get asked what I "am," and have no reliable way to answer. Could you imagine if our job market worked this way?
Person: So, what do you do?
Me: Oh, I'm a entrepreneur.
Person: Oh, wow. Do you deal directly with the chickens, or do you hire people?
Me: ... what?
It's especially bad among people who are "political." They're actually just uninformed, dogmatic twits, but they care. This applies to any and all political stances. Democrats, Republicans, or Lyndon Larouchites. Most people who "care" willingly and happily pigeonhole themselves for easy self-classification. It allows them to quickly categorize themselves so they know who their "friends" are and who the "enemy" is. This results in the comical spectacle that is American politics. A 24/7 televised gladiatorial battle where the groups who are the most ridiculous get the air time, and the candidate who can best conform to these despicable categories gets elected. Actual problem solving is ignored.
I, for example, am very conservative. I'm obsessed with freedom, think that if the government has big guns, the people should have big guns, and love free markets. And yet, in most arguments I side with the "liberals." Man, I hate these terms. In a recent issue of The Economist, I tried to find it and failed, they discuss international confusion with our use of words. Where we should be using terms like right-wing/left-wing or progressive, we instead use, exclusively, liberal and conservative. Even worse, we take words with relatively simple politcal definitions and wrap them up in a metric ton worth of emotional and dogmatic baggage.
For example, when the hell did "conservative" get wrapped up with "bible-thumping lunatic." Or, more lightly, "religious." How did Washington, a place where everyone and their brother has been trumpeting their belief in some deity or another, get split on religious lines? Or how did it suddenly become "liberal" to care about the environment? I know many people, to whom I lovingly refer as "idiots," who are bible-thumping, gun-toting people who will scream and holler about Republicans being right, but when asked very focused questions without subtle bias, they will answer in a traditionally liberal way a surprising number of times.
I propose we go back to the actual definitions of "liberal" and "conservative." Namely, liberal would mean someone who wants big federal government and conservative means someone who wants small federal government. Hell, let's even stretch it to a difference between big and small government in general. Now, you'll hear boatloads of republicans getting on the air babbling about how they're conservative because they think government should get our of people's way, but they're lying. The Republican party has been more liberal lately than the Democrats have been since the days of the New Deal. Only with these twisted definitions that are used today can the Republican party call itself conservative with a straight face. When they say it, they are lying. Got that? LYING.
I hate to hear it because I am a conservative. A strong one. I'm not on the wild end of the spectrum, I'm certainly not an anarchist. I'm also not a libertarian, in the classic sense. I'm a, um, freedomist! I think there are many things in which the government should get involved. But those decisions must be made very, very carefully. Positions should be well-defined and restricted to GOVERNMENT. Not religion, not video games, and not whether gay people are evil. I want real liberals and real conservatives, and I want to hear their arguments. I want them to create solutions to problems with their political stances uncorrupted.
CNN isn't lying, hearing both sides of an argument is good. Too bad they're just catering to the wrong defitions, as though pitting a preacher and a gay activist against each other on the gay marriage issue is "hearing both sides." Ha. It's bad comedy intended to entertain buffoons. They usually have two people, who are equally ridiculous and equally WRONG, yell at each other in a completely unmediated bitch-fest to fill up three minutes of airtime inbetween videos of Lindsay Lohan crashing another car. Give me real debate! Give me the two sides that are both valid! Let the public know why there is an argument and explain why the two (or three or four) sides are valid. People are very dumb and they need this explanation. News once recognized that public need, and now it's idle comedy.
I think that the wildly inaccurate definitions of liberal and conservative is one of the major problems at the root of this. So please, use the words as they were meant to be used. And just say no to drugs.