There’s something in the way politics is discussed on TV, online, and even in person with many people that I find really aggravating. It’s the “left-right” thing.
A little too vague? which left-right thing, Tom??? You’re right. There are thousands of ways that could be taken, but I think this is the Emperor of them all. What I’m talking about is the way that the positioning of a person or an issue on the left-right spectrum completely dominates not only any political discussion on the matter, but that it seems to have taken over many people’s (and the entire media’s) thinking on the person or issue.
People often seem to care not about the workings of an issue, nor the meaning of a politician’s position on an issue, but only where they are told the issue or the person falls on the left-right spectrum.
Sometimes there are direct contradictions in people’s opinions, based on this left-right weirdness. A case in point is Elizabeth Warren. Many conservatives, like most liberals, want Wall Street masterminds held accountable, that is they want them to face criminal charges, for the decisions and actions that led to the decimation of the U.S. economy that started to become apparent in 2007. And yet, even though that is exactly Elizabeth Warren’s mission on this Earth, conservatives show little except hatred for her.
This is because the now well-known conservative “echo-chamber” tells its followers, over and over, that Elizabeth Warren is a “liberal”, and therefore worthy of contempt. The reason that the conservative power structure wants people to have this opinion is clear – they are really afraid of her. That’s okay, but what bothers me is that people are so willing to buy into this line of thinking.
This phenomenon is certainly not limited to the United States, either. Some woman actually phoned in a message of support for the “Crack-Smoking Mayor of Toronto”, Rob Ford, essentially excusing him for whatever he had done because he “deals with those liberals on the city council”. Yikes.
The same kind of thinking leads people to think that Sarah Palin should be president. These people only care that she’s conservative and they don’t care that she’s hardly educated and shows many signs of being an epsilon minus, semi-moron. But then, I suppose it’s not all that different from people supporting Hillary Clinton because they want “a” woman to be president. I wonder if those people would vote for Palin if she ended up being the only woman in the race?
Back to Elizabeth Warren… She is one of my heroes, and I’m not sure why it would be any different for anyone who isn’t the CEO of a Wall Street investment/banking firm. She’s not a hero for what she’s accomplished; she’s a hero for what she fights for. At least find out what she stands for before you go trashing her. Please.
Automatic, robotic thinking won’t get this country anywhere but into a permanent state of recession/depression. These days, there’s no excuse for failing to even do a quick internet search and here’s a hint… you have to go beyond your favorite, partisan site. Find out what the person actually says. Find out what’s actually at stake with an issue. Think. Please.
Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.