October 29, 2006

"People just assume you’re a Democrat, and turn and look at you and say, 'Can you believe what this nut in the White House is doing?'"

"And then you can say, 'I voted for him twice,' or you can nod and move along."

Here's an article about how people have trouble talking or even thinking about politics without getting mad at anybody on the other side.
Jim Coffman, 40, a Democrat in Chicago, said he and his wife have not pursued a friendship with another couple whose three children are the same ages as theirs after seeing photographs of President Bush on the other couple’s refrigerator. He said they have discussed with other friends “being so amazed that we could have so much in common, and yet be so diametrically opposed” when it comes to politics.
Photographs of President Bush on the refrigerator? Well, I'd wonder about anybody who had a picture of any politician on the refrigerator....

But, anyway, it's a long American tradition to fight about politics and to view people on the other side as depraved. I think the greatest danger is that the people who are passionate about politics make a lot of other people not want to talk or even think about politics at all. Saying anything might make people not like you. That's enough to make most people avoid the subject... or to play the chameleon and seem to have whatever political opinions the other people have. Maybe you don't even know what you really think.

And why not worry about all the other things that will make people cross you off their list? Maybe the cute animal picture on your refrigerator will cause that otherwise compatible couple to deem you unworthy. You're probably wearing the wrong shoes and listening to the wrong music. And remember that time I made an allusion to a movie and you said you hated it? There are so many pitfalls!

144 comments:

Baggi said...

That's funny about the picture of Bush on the fridge. We gave a donation to the NRSC earlier this year and in response they sent us a photo of President Bush. I noticed about a month ago that it was on the side of our fridge, my wife must have put it there.

I guess we are the sort of folks Wisconsin university professors wonder about.

Edward said...

Real friendship should transcend politics. Every mature, intelligent person should be willing to have a friend with different political views, if there are other good reasons for them to be friends.

When meeting someone for the first time, however, you may no choice but to form quick opinions based on things like refrigerator magnets.

The only magnet on my fridge is for State Farm Insurance.

Maybe everyone here should reveal what magnets they have on their fridge.

Gerry said...

None of Bush, but back in the day my folks did have a pic of Reagan among the many of kids and friends on the fridge.

While partisan rancor is nothing new, I do think that we are in a period where it is worse than it has been in several decades. I have become estranged from at least one friend, who has become increasingly radicalized. That would not really bother me, but he is particularly verbose and insistent on pushing his case. The last time a group of us got together, I asked him if we could change the topic (after he went on and on for quite a while), and this just provoked more digging from him. Then two or three others also told him that he was making them uncomfortable. He eventually stopped-- until the next time I spoke with him.

It's sad. I miss my old friend. It seems he is gone, though.

Steve said...

My two favorite topics are religion and politics... I have no friends.

Goatwhacker said...

Jim Coffman, 40, a Democrat in Chicago, said he and his wife have not pursued a friendship with another couple whose three children are the same ages as theirs after seeing photographs of President Bush on the other couple’s refrigerator.

The couple with the pictures of Bush got the better end of this deal. Coffman sounds like a shallow jerk.

Ann Althouse said...

I couldn't put a magnet on my refrigerator door if I wanted to. It's made of wood. And I'm sure some people will shun me for having a wooden refrigerator door.

Ann Althouse said...

Frankly, I find it ridiculous myself at this point...

Editor Theorist said...

A shrewd insight from AA about this partisanship making people reluctant to discuss politics; the other side of the coin is that the only people who _do_ discuss politics tend to be extreme partisans.

Maybe this is why we so often get surprised by how people vote in elections? Because the swing voters are those who keep quiet about their views.

Derve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Derve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gahrie said...

Thumbtacks Ann, thumbtacks.......

Pogo said...

I live in a state that mostly votes for Democrats (we gave Mondale his only electoral votes). And despite what you'd guess about people in my field (medicine), my workplace is largely Democrat as well.

I tried to do the chameleon thing, but once you refuse to put up a lawn sign or attend a fundraiser, you're outed. And I went one worse, and published a paper opposing single payer systems. I was astounded at the negative reception. You'd think I had advocated eating babies. I even got yelled at (for 15 minutes!) by the editor of JAMA (a single payer high priestess).

Oh well, there's always misanthropy.

P.S. Derve's judgement is magnificently bad, all bile and no style.

PPS. A wooden door? Do you mean you have a cellar?
I kid.

Gahrie said...

derve:

You seem to be exactly the type of asshole producing the current political climate.

I am quite vocal and open about my political views at work and with my friends. I also happen to be a teacher. Almost all of the other teachers willing to openly discuss politics are quite liberal. I happen to be a conservative. I cannot tell you the number of times teachers have come up to me quitely to tell me they agree with me and my positions, but are unwilling to discuss them openly because of the reaction/tactics of those on the left.

I think you'll find that it is almost exclusively those on the left who are boorish and unwilling to tolerate dissent/opposing views.

Gahrie said...

quietly

AllenS said...

Well, I have two refrigerator magnets, and I'm damn proud of them. They say:

Leinie's
Original
Famous
Since 1867

For you lesser people who do not reside in Wisconsin, Leinenkugel's is made in Chippewa Falls, WI. On each and every can is a picture of a young Indian maiden. Sometimes, the beer is affectionately called "squaw piss". It's my favorite beer. But, then, I'm an Ojibwa.

Derve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Derve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gahrie said...

derve:

How many Right/conservative sites have troll rating systems, regularly delete dissenting comments and regularly ban posters?

How many Republicans incumbents have been denied support, and actively undermined for not having ideological purity? I will note that even Jeffords was re-elected as a Republican before he betrayed his supporters. Chafee is currently receiving money and support from the Republicans.

How many Democratic party vans have had their tires slashed by Republican party workers?

Who is more likely to have his lawn sign stolen and his car keyed, a Republican or a Democrat?

Edward said...

Ooooo, Ann probably has an “upscale” fridge with wooden doors. She wouldn’t dare put a thumbtack into such a fancy appliance.

Scotch tape is always a possibility, though, but that would look tacky with such elegant d├ęcor.

So what brand is it, Ann – Sub-zero?

Juliet said...

As a parent, I'd ask myself:
is it just a magnet, or do these parents vocally support Bush's policies?


Or you could ask them.

Chris said...

Well, Derve, I see you decided to take your asshole pill today when you decided to come out and call the Rethuglicans a gaggle of opinionated assholes, in so many words.

Projection is a funny thing. Oh, and nobody is afraid of an election. It's how constitutional republics work.

Sadly, it has been my experience that conservatives tend to stay quiet and reserved while liberals believe that, in the words of David Brinkley, everyone has a right to their opinion. Ann is merly pointing out one of the features of the difficulties of socializing in this time of extreme, and quite shallow, partisan rancor.

Why Derve decided to spittle all over the keyboard and scream "hypocrisy" remains a mystery. Ann was being as non-partisan as a conservative writer could be.

What do you want her to do, Derve? Write about "Runway" episodes all the time? Get a freaking grip. Not everyone wants to impeach Bush.

tjl said...

Derve's posts above are perfect little examples of what this thread is about.

If you happen to move in urban profesional circles, most of your peers simply assume you're a Democrat and speak accordingly. It's usually inoffensive, just a social reflex that you can tune out in the same way as any other conversational filler.

But there is a subset of strident Kos types who can't converse on any topic without venting their Bush Derangement Syndrome. The worst of all fates is to be seated next to someone like Derve at a dinner party. Out of politeness to your hosts, you have to sit there and take it, as all attempts at normal conversation are preempted by the ideologue at the table.

This happens all the time, and you never see comparable behavior from someone on the Right. Suggestions, everybody, on coping strategies that won't embarrass the innocent bystanders?

Ann Althouse said...

Please be aware that I am deleting all of Derve's comments. (She needs to find something else to do with her time.) I apologize to those who have written responses to her that are now orphaned.

Edward said...

Lighten up on Derve, everybody!

Can’t you see that that you badly outnumber him in this little thread? Strictly in terms of numbers, it’s not a fair fight.

What he said was a bit extreme, but it wasn't as obnoxious as some of the replies that he’s received.

Let me add that I’m a Democrat just like he is.

Derve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
altoids1306 said...

Yet another non-story from the NYT.

Many, if not most of my friends and coworkers are liberal - and most if not all of them accept my conservatism as a interesting quirk. Some of my closest and most liberal friends view me as a rehabilitation project, even giving me a free subscription to TimesSelect.

I think the key is to never be the first to bring up politics. Only after someone else has spoken their piece do I speak up.

It's a cliche, but it's true: Republicans consider Democrats stupid, Democrats consider Republicans evil. That creates significant differences in how one side regards the other.

Old Dad said...

Ann,

If you've got s Subzero, your door is merely paneled. There's metal underneath, more than enough to attract a half decent refrigerator magnet. I don't recommend it, but we do have the technology.

I have many mid to far left friends. I like and respect them because they are good folks. We can talk politics, but rarely do. We'd rather just have a few laughs, talk about the kids, what ever. I wouldn't hesitate to let my kids spend the night and vice versa--and often have. There homes aren't gulags for crissakes.

I've found that a little social sense, common sense, and good manners will suffice with most folks. As for the rest, I doubt we're missing much.

Had a picture of W on my Subzero in both 2000 and 2004. My leftry friends just laughed and rolled their eyes. They often do that around me, but for different reasons I offered to make copies, too.

A Menken Moment said...

I happened to be the only libertarian among a group of long-time acquaintances who were social democrats. We would discuss politics; two of us even exchanged short papers, mine on Hayek, his on an introduction to Marx. A studied veneer of politeness kept us together, but it was obvious that tensions were straining underneath the surface. Years later I became more conservative than libertarian and for the first time voted Republican in 2000, the spectre of Gore and his Chinese donations from 1996 making a third-party choice untenable. It was not too long after that the most valued friendship I had among those folks, one that had lasted fifteen years, broke. I heard later from a mutual friend that the person had become even more vituperous as Nov., 2004 was approaching.

As to the refrigerator: no Bush, but a Zahal (IDF) and a Support Our Troops. Those would be enough to pop lefty skulls, but I can't grieve much.

David said...

Nut In The White House!?

The measure of success in Iraq is the growing number of cell phones in use, growing number of satelite dishes, no pipelines blown up recently, Sadr looking over his shoulder, utilities improving, and the boring list of success goes on.

As bad as car bombs and the death of civilians is, in a country of 22.2 million people the vast majority go about their daily lives with much more freedom than they had under Hussein.

If I was an Iraqi I would be pointing to the number of deaths in the U.S. every day from gangland shootings that leave innocents dead and maimed. Throw in a few beheadings in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the killing of Police Chiefs in Nuevo Laredo, murders in Tijuana, Juarez, etc., and who are we to focus on Iraq when our borders are chaotic.

How about a refrigerator magnet from NOW condemning the Australian Mullah who proclaims that women who display skin deserve to be raped? Now there is a topic for polite conversation. I only hear the sound of crickets from the Harvard faculty.

al said...

My favorite fridge magnet right now says "I'd give up chocolate - but I'm no quitter".

My daughters confirmation was yesterday and we had lots of friends and family over. The two signs in my yard right now are for conservative republicans and they started a lot of conversations. People on both sides of several issues but all the talk was polite. People gave their views and others were given time to argue against them. No yelling, no swearing - just good conversation. This is the way things should be.

My oldest sister and I differ on many things politically but it never gets in the way. Same with my son's godparents. Only insecure people would let that happen.

As for the other magnets - NASCAR and Punxatawney Phil are there right now.

Derve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Richard Fagin said...

I am reminded of Janes and John Lovell, son and father, and, respectively, usher and master of the Boston Latin School at the onset of the Revolutionary War. James was a patriot and John was a loyalist. When the Brits left Boston for Halifax on MArch 1776, the Lovells sailed off with Gen.Howe to Halifax, John went as the General's guest, and James as his prisoner.

So there!

Knemon said...

This is just sad.

We'll be spending election night in a group of 4 or 5 couples, pretty much split down the middle between Republicans and Democrats, and that's just how we like it.

Does that make us better than other people? Why, yes. Yes it does.

SteveSC said...

We have wooden doors on the refrigerator too. It's not a Sub-Zero, just a Sub-Zero wannabe that allows you to put in wooden inserts to match the cabinets. I thought it was a waste of money, but it does keep the refrigerator clean of junk (on the outside) because the only metal exposed is the handles, and no one wants to block quick access ;-)

IMHO 90%+ of politicians are the same--they will say and do anything they believe will get them (re)elected. After they have been sucked up to by enough people for long enough they start believing they are truly elite and will do stupid things (like Foley), and probably get away with them for a while.

What would really motivate me to vote is a "None of the above" option that would make everyone in that race cool their heels until the next election.

TMink said...

I am a psychologist, and the job affects you. It has made me much more straightforward. I temper that with kindness, but if asked, I state my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I do so even when I am not asked!

One thing I have noticed is that it has pruned my social life in a wonderful fashion. I have so few friends who engage in drama, it is a joy! I have plenty of friends who disagree with me or tease me about being a conservative evangelical Christian, but I no longer have any friends who cannot deal with it. They left, and my life is the better for it. They took their drama with them. So my liberal friends now tease, argue, and even occasionaly pester me with liberal emails or ideas. And we all have a good laugh about it.

Trey

Knemon said...

"and you never see comparable behavior from someone on the Right."

I've seen it. Much less often, but I've seen it.

Dave said...

A good friend of mine, who is essentially a tree-hugging granola crunchy dressed up in urban sophistication, has a picture of herself with Slick Willie.

I can't get over (1) the fact that she lionizes a philandering cheat, or (2) the fact that he has any inherent worth. I think to myself "she has a degree from Hahvahd and NYU Law and she idolizes this moron?"

There's no accounting for taste any more.

Knemon said...

"has a picture of herself with Slick Willie."

Democrats don't have much of a choice, when shopping for hero-pictures.

Clinton's the only Democrat to win re-election since FDR. I suppose they could go for pictures/magnets of Carter, but ... that's just sad.

charlotte said...

Where I live in the South, Republicans are more willing to be friends with Democrats than the other way around, but we have to stay quiet about politics when with them because we're so wrong and heartless and all.

The only pictures that look good on fridges are kids' art. In the front hall I've got a pic of Congressman GHW Bush and me as an eight year-old, but it's neighbor-safe because his face is fading out and no one recognizes him. Btw, this was back in the day when the corrupt, conservative Dem machine ruled Texas and Bush was a moderate by comparison.

Derve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JSF said...

Heck, I work in an Ad agency in Los Angeles. There are islands of Red in a sea of Blue out here. I even debated with a partisan dem in my office (who is also a friend). I don't expect people in the entertainment business to have the same views, but if they accept me, they might be open to my views. Most Dems on the Dem Underground and DailyKos do not believe in the two party system. That is why there is a breakdown in communication.

PatCA said...

My mother taught me never to discuss politics or religion at a social gathering. Would that more people listened to their mothers!

bearbee said...

In another thread someone commented as to whether something they had viewed was bigoted and decided it was not because it met their personal standard of accceptability.
Most people seem to limit bigotry to offensive ethnic/racial/religious attitudes but the "Random House Dictionary of the English Language" defines bigotry as such:

"1) stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own. (2) actions, beliefs, prejudices, of a bigot. (3) to be so emotionally or subjectively attached to one's own beliefs as to be unthinkably hostile to all others who disagree."

Do we no longer believe in "I may disagree with what you say but I will defend to death your right to say it"?

Bissage said...

PatCA said: "My mother taught me never to discuss politics or religion at a social gathering."

Linus Van Pelt would add a third topic to the list. It's at 1:20.

NSC said...

My boss is a liberal and occasionally that slips out in conversations with the guys who work for him - mostly conservatives. Not wanting to rock any boats we all just ignore his comments or nod as if in agreement. He is a fair guy and a good boss, but who wants to take the chance. It's easier to just let him think you agree with him.

Self-preservations is powerful motivation - who needs to invite trouble.

That's why the voting booth is private.

Bruce Hayden said...

As a conservative / libertarian, I have come to the point where the only liberals in my life who cannot logically argue their side are in my family. If someone's idea of a political debate is "Bush is stupid, and here is an example of his inability to speak well", then either they, or I run the other way.

One pretty much sure fire way is to start citing facts, etc. For example, when someone asks me how I can support a president who so blatently infringes our civil rights by tapping our phones without a warrant, etc., I respond by pointing out that the problem is that technology has moved international electronic surveilance from 50 USC 1801(f)(1) to (f)(2). And when they mention 72 hours, I respond that the Emergency Orders provision in 1805(f) still requires the minimization of 1804(h). (Of course, you have to be able to do this in whatever area you are debating - my liberal friends are always trying to find a topical area in which they know more than I do).

And it works. If they want to debate politics by name calling or throwing out liberal talking points, I have my facts ready, and they had better have theirs. But if they don't want to, and they can put politics on the side, then so can I.

So, of all my liberal friends any more, either: a) they love debating these issues and have facts to back up their arguments, or b) they don't talk politics around me. Either works just fine.

But I do think that a couple of potentially budding romances may have been sidetracked by this - one woman from Boulder and one school teacher, both of whom most likely live in liberal cocoons, which is why this sort of response probably scared them away.

Ann Althouse said...

And then there are the kind of people who hang around after you've made it absolutely clear that you need them to leave. Some are even former students of the hostess who you would think would have some sense about when they are embarrassing themselves.

Get a life. You are not interesting. You are not funny. You are a big nuisance. Get your own blog if you need to talk so much. Find your own readers. Mine are sick of you.

JSF said...

Derve, if most Dems are part of DKos and DU, then you're party is not inhabited by adults. Growing up in NYC in the '70's, you see a layer of Adults who are almost gone now. They accepted people who had different ideals then their own world. Children cannot accept differing ideas. If most modern dems cannot accept that, then the Dems do not deserve new voters.

Ann Althouse said...

Blogger is having trouble today. The front page won't update. Here's a new post you might want to read and comment on. It will eventually show up on the front page.

Right now, I think, a million bloggers are obsessively republishing, overtaxing the system, so it's going to be hard for it to recover... on a Sunday. Maybe Daylight readjustment confused things.

JorgXMcKie said...

I suspect we're finally in the run-up to the political re-alignment that has been predicted since the 1960s. In all the previous (acknowledged) re-alignments the years preceding the actual 'critical election' have been very vituperous and angry. 1800, 1824/28, 1860, 1896, 1932 all had strife, stress, and a certain amount of violence.

One could argue, and I have, the successful Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1960s *was* the re-alignment but without a critical election to seal the event. Not many actually disagree today with the Civil Rights Movement, they disagree on how to properly implement it. Affirmative action, voting rights, equal pay, abortion rights, gay rights and all such are just parts of the Civil Rights movement and we are still debating (well, when both sides are allowed to be heard) just how to implement the policies.

In fact, I believe that this point is at the heart of a great deal of the present animosity.

One side, mostly the Left, believes that they won a great victory in the 60s and that it has be ratified and sealed in their favor, and that therefore, no more debated is needed. Thus, any attempts at debate are seen as illegitimate attempts at a 'counter-revolution' which is always anathema to the Left.

The other side, mostly the Right, agrees that a Civil Rights revolution occurred and that certain goals were ratified, but that the implementation measures are still open to debate. They also believe that long-standing cultural considerations should be taken into account when these measures are applied so as to make the process both work and be acceptable to large majorities, not narrow majorities or minorities, of the American people.

The Left recognizes the danger in this debate and attempts to stifle it whenever possible (such as the current PC codes in so many universities), ignore it as pointless where possible, or denigrate it at every turn without engaging in debate when the expression of opposition is unavoidable.

Thus, anyone who opposes any measure embraced by the Leftists is vilified rather that debated. You're against an increase in the minimum wage? You're heartless and hate the poor. Are you against gay marriage? You're a gay hater and possibly a self-hating gay. You believe that it is important to fight terror with military action in various places? You must be a warmonger and probably are a chickenhawk.

Rarely do those on the far Left really attempt to engage in debate. It may be that they're afraid they'll lose, but it seems more like a question of faith. Once you have to defend faith, it hardly seems the same, does it?

At any rate, those not on the Left (and this includes many who are not on the Right) have spent a good many decades debating a great many policy choices. They are used to it. Those on the Left who are descendants of the hard Left in the US are totally unused to debating because they have Faith. They know they're right.

Sad, and looks to be inevitably aiming toward a nasty confrontation. This election or the next may well be the one.

Bruce Hayden said...

My parents' fridge has a fairly thick wood veneer on the front, and no magnet works there. But, they just spent the cost of a new one getting this 25 year old one to work. Yes, it looks great, with the refrigerator matching the cabinets, but those panels don't work on anything newer than about 20 years old.

I recently discovered that you can buy magnets that are the size of business cards, and that have a removable sticky back to them. The intent is that you can turn your business cards into magnets for your clients (and, no, I don't think that would work for me as a patent attorney. But for plumbers, etc., it is a great idea). But you can also print up your own business cards now on your printer. So, combining the two, it is now fairly simple to put whatever you want on magnets

Indeed, I did this first in order to have a way to communicate the status of a diswasher. I created a magnet that has CLean on one side, and Dirty on the other. This solved a 20 year old running war with one of my brothers. Of course, that wouldn't work at my parents' house, because their diswasher also has those matching wood panels (and, besides, who wants tacky magnets on that wood front anyway?)

Freder Frederson said...

"and you never see comparable behavior from someone on the Right."

Oh give me a freaking break. Demagogary (sp?) and intolerance is just as bad and prevalent on the right as it is on the left. If you don't see it, it is just because you are probably think you are so certain you are right you view disagreement with your views as being "boorish and intolerant" while those who agree with you are merely stating their views forcefully but in a tolerant and respectful manner.

Heck, look at the realm of punditry out their. Rightwing intolerant boors outnumber leftwing ones by about five to one, probably more. They've even got an entire Cable News Network to themselves (except for the lump Colmes)

JorgXMcKie said...

Well, freder, it's certainly sad that the Left demagogues have to put with only having ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and so on with which to vent their views.

Competition sucks when you're not used to it, doesn't it?

Palladian said...

Ha! If you think a George W. Bush refrigerator magnet might send a bad message to your guests, imagine what guests to my house think when they see the one and only magnet on the side of my fridge.

Edward said...

Jorgxmckie might be interested in reading this article if he thinks conservatives today are so terrific in debates. The article, from a conservative magazine, makes the opposite case.

Bruce Hayden said...

JorgXMcKie has an interesting theory. I enjoy debating politics, etc. But most often it seems that debate there is a matter of ad hominum attacks, whether they be name calling, or trying to tie 200+ Congressional Republicans to the dirty IMs of one, now former, Republican Congressman.

I think that the natural assumption has been that as long as saying "Bush is Stupid" is considered good political debating in their circules, then why change? Many have called this the liberal echo chamber.

But JorgXMcKie may be onto something here. If liberal orthodoxy is faith, then logic has nothing to do with it. And trying to intrude facts into such a debate is only going to make all the true believers uncomfortable - something akin to the effect that one former Jewish girlfriend would get whenever religion came up, by suggesting that at that time in Jewish history, Jesus was most likely married, in an arranged marriage, as the (legally) eldest son of a skilled tradesman.

I would then think that the reason that logic and facts are rejected so emotionally in the case of liberal orthodoxy would be the cognitive dissonance between faith and facts.

Fenrisulven said...

But, anyway, it's a long American tradition to fight about politics and to view people on the other side as depraved.

I have to disagree. It hasn't always been this bad. Looking back, I think it became different after the 2000 elections and Florida mess.

And I don't think its both sides. Republicans have not changed. Sure, we used to go 10 rounds with our Dem friends in the past, but I never lost any friends or family over politics before 2000. This is different. There is a facist element of the Left that ostracizes you for your political beliefs. Its why many Dems have left their party.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'm a financial advisor and in the course of explaining economics, how the markets react and what factors cause these fluctuations, why oil is priced as it is and other things that affect people's portfolios and investment choices, I find that I have to walk a minefield, particularly when dealing with people who turn out to be of the "liberal" persuasion. (Scare quotes because I find "liberals" to be any thing but liberal and possibly the most bigoted and close minded people I have met.)

My job is to help people manage their money, create wealth and plan for their futures. Sometimes it is very difficult when people want to high center on political animus and reject reality. I do NOT attempt to discuss politics with these people but instead try to get them to refocus on the matter at hand. Change the subject and get away from the personal and often irrational feelings that clutter up their ability to make a sensible decision. "Ummm... Ok so you hate George Bush....let's take a look at this investment and how it will fit into your portfolio....Ok I get it you hate Bushilter... this stock has a history of rising dividends and is considered a defensive stock....sigh..... You know...it might be that you would do better with another advisor." Translation, you're fired. I don't have time or energy to argue with you.

I live in a very very red county in a blue state so the conflicts on a personal level are not very often. Most people in my locality tend to not discuss politics or if the topic comes up try to gracefully change the subject. I find that when I am visiting with my family who are mostly liberal I and my husband are subjected to lengthy diatribes about how stupid Republicans are (and therefore we must be too....nice) because they don't believe exactly the same things they do. The spittle was literally flying out of some people's mouths. On a previous visit with family we indicated we would not come back again unless they refrained from discussing politics. The next visit we all tried very hard, but I could see it was a struggle for them.

Stainless steel refrigerator. I don't like clutter, so no magnets ever.

Bruce Hayden said...

Freder Frederson

When you aren't being emotional, as your last post was, you make a lot of good points, mostly from the left. But from my experience, you are a rarity, someone who appears to me to be fairly liberal, who is willing and able to debate issues on the merits.

I say this knowing a number of very highly intelligent people, many with doctorate degrees, whose method of debating politics is to tell another "Bush is Stupid" story.

You may run in circles where the liberals make the good, cogent, arguments, and the conservatives jsut cite talking points and slogans. But that is not my experience - even here.

TMink said...

Jorg wrote: "One could argue, and I have, the successful Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1960s *was* the re-alignment but without a critical election to seal the event. Not many actually disagree today with the Civil Rights Movement, they disagree on how to properly implement it. Affirmative action, voting rights, equal pay, abortion rights, gay rights and all such are just parts of the Civil Rights movement and we are still debating (well, when both sides are allowed to be heard) just how to implement the policies.

Sorry for the long quote, but your point is so damn good. I do have a few thoughts. First, the Civil Rights Movement victory was not a left vs. the right issue, it was a wrong vs. right issue. Some on the left saw it as a way to begin the communist revolution, some on the right saw it as justice and supported it. Johnson turned to Republicans to pass it after all! It was the (sadly) Southern Democrats like Gore Senior who opposed it. So, I think it was COMPLICATED.

Secondly, I agree about our country still debating (when such a thing is allowed) the implications of the Civil Rights movement. I often wonder what Dr. King would think about the current issues. Reparations such as affirmative action (code for racial favoritism) were necessary to undue decades of Jim Crow and slavery. But all reparations need to have a statute of limitations. Otherwise we exchange Jim Crow for Jim Seagull. The question in that case is "When has enough, or all that can be accomplished in this manner, been done."

There is a small but growing voice in the minority communities that states that the majority has done all it can and it is now time for self help. People who espouse this philosophy are often comdemned as Uncle Toms. Witness one of my long time heros, Bill Cosby.

Trey

Trey

Fenrisulven said...

I think its very telling that conservatives/moderates from all over the country have similar experiences of being ostracized from friends/family/co-workers because of their beliefs.

Bruce Hayden said...

Dust Bunny Queen

I can see with a handle like yours, and working as a financial advisor, how you would love the uncluttered stainless steel look. Indeed, that is the love of the uncluttered stainless steel look is probably one of those things that I unconsiously look for in a mate - but I am single and am enjoying my time as a bachelor, where I can put anything I want on my refrigerator. I have no doubt that when I remarry, that will come to a screething halt, since no woman seriously in my life in the last 30 years would think of cluttering up her refrigerator with magnets.

So, I have pictures of my kid on the refrig. I will soon have soming skiing pictures there too. Maybe some mountain scenes in winter. It is great when you can make up your own magnets with which to clutter your appliances, and can then rearrange them when the mood strikes.

Kev said...

Like Gahrie, I'm a teacher, but I don't reveal my political self in public at all--no yard signs, bumper stickers, or any of that. I teach music, so it has no reason to come up during the course of instruction.* Perhaps the fact that, at the public school level, I'm a private instructor as opposed to a classroom one has influenced my position here, because I'd hate to think that some kid's parents would see the "wrong" yard sign out front and pull the kid out of lessons.

On my fridge, the magnets are from one of my middle school bands, a State Farm calendar, a music company I used to work for, a homeless-pets charity I've occasionally supported, a souvenir one from Jacobs Field that my parents got for me on a trip to Cleveland (better than a lousy T-shirt?), a home-warranty company I used to use, and a "Life Is Burritoful" magnet from the Chipotle restaurant chain. (I have a lot of comics pasted to the fridge, so something has to hold them up.)

*The one time that a political figure has ever come up in conversation during lessons is if someone jokes about how awful a saxophone player Bill Clinton is. That seems to be a a farily universal feeling among anyone I've taught who's ever heard him, and since that's my instrument, it has become comment fodder on occasion.

tjl said...

"Demagogary (sp?) and intolerance is just as bad and prevalent on the right as it is on the left."

Of course the Kossites have their counterparts on the Right. There's no shortage of over-the-top Ann Coulters or LGF-type sites. But in ordinary social situations, it's only lefties who think it's their prerogative to seize control of any conversation and turn it into a ranting monologue.

Center-right people have better manners, and more entertaining things to talk about.

Elizabeth said...

Projection is indeed a funny thing. This thread is exactly the kind of nutty echo chamber the commenters pretend to despise.

I'd like to play, too: Thank God and Bush that Iraqis now have cell phones!

cbi said...

I have some relatives who are "Rabid Republicans". As far as they are concerned (from what I can tell) there is no such thing as a moderate.

On the other hand, I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Clearly, I'm a DU plant/Kos-kid trying to corrupt their children, their faith, and their very way of life.

Yeah, it happens on both sides of the aisle.

Kev said...

"I have no doubt that when I remarry, that will come to a screething halt, since no woman seriously in my life in the last 30 years would think of cluttering up her refrigerator with magnets."

I agree, Bruce; whenever Mrs. Kev comes into the picture, I have no doubt that those cartoons on my fridge will be relegated to a scrapbook somewhere.

Rebecca said...

I am tired of the partisan rancor; I am tired of letting other people frame the terms of any issue that is important to me and my friends, irrespective of which approach to government we prefer. I am utterly bored by soundbites.
I assume what I have to say will sound hoakey to some. But I am thankful to have found folks who, while we differ on our politics, leave personal attacks aside, make an effort to find areas of agreement, are able talk about why as a normative matter one approach may 'feel' better and differentiate that from what a government may practically do.
I don't want to leave the impression that we function that this group functions as an "i'm okay, you're okay" circle. We have serious disagreements over the proper role of government and private actions. Our discussions are often spirited. But at least we don't resort to political party talking points. And, thankfully, we remain friends even in this climate.
Peace.

Fenrisulven said...

This thread is exactly the kind of nutty echo chamber the commenters pretend to despise.

Just because we've all shared similar experiences doesn't make it an echo chamber. And I was expecting an emotional "both sides do it" knee-jerk from the other side. Didn't think it would be you...

LuteLib said...

the main thing that prevents me from being friends w/ someone is their complete certitude in their beliefs.

having firm religious beliefs is one thing, but i cannot relate to someone when they refuse to question the world around them -- whether it's the earth liberation front-types or dobson-types.

who said that as you go to the extremes of the right or left, it is actually a circle--the people are generally the same, except for their issue?

... but aren't those people on the fringes the same ones who inspire others to act? you can't really build a social movement if you're introspective.

hmmmm ... i don't know.

Elizabeth said...

Fen, I would have expected you to see the irony in a long partisan rant about how the other side is so damned partisan. Your calling me "emotional" is a great example of the echo chamber at work, as Bruce just recently introduced that old canard that conservatives love so much: liberals are just so emotional! It's a good thing we conservatives are rational and logical!

Derve said...

Do we no longer believe in "I may disagree with what you say but I will defend to death your right to say it"?


No.
We just delete the dissent and mis-represent their views.

Beats honest conversation anyday.

Fenrisulven said...

having firm religious beliefs is one thing, but i cannot relate to someone when they refuse to question the world around them

To follow up Jorg's excellent comments re political "faith", I often wonder how many of those types are faux-atheists, they worship political ideology in place of religious. Politics nows meets their repressed need for spiritual expression.

AJ Lynch said...

Christ, I just agreed with something Elizabeth wrote. She mocked a previous commenter who raved about how good things are going in Iraq because so many Iraqis now have cell phone service.

I generally agree with most of the comments here re Reps vs. Dems in one's community BUT Republican supporters need to get a grip if CELL PHONE SERVICE is the straw they are grasping. IMHO, our troops are not being best served in Iraq and that has to change.

And let me add, I too have a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Bush that I display prominently ONLY when my FAR LEFT Lib relatives visit. The picture drives them nuts, I got it in the mail but they are so certain I must have made a big campaign contribution to get it.

Fenrisulven said...

Your calling me "emotional" is a great example of the echo chamber at work, as Bruce just recently introduced that old canard that conservatives love so much: liberals are just so emotional! It's a good thing we conservatives are rational and logical!

With all due respect Elizabeth, your response was emotional. And defensive. As if our convseration pushed your buttons. Go back and read it again, ask yourself if perhaps you over-reacted?

Elizabeth said...

With respect, Fen, I'll go back to an earlier post here to respond to your comments about being emotional, defensive, and having buttons pushed: projection is indeed a funny thing. And if you perceive emotion in my post, well, humor is an emotion. This thread is pretty funny.

Now, I'm about to get emotional, as the Saints-Ravens game is coming up on kickoff. And our slogan around here these days is "Finally, a Bush we can all agree on!" (That's number 25, Reggie Bush).

LuteLib said...

fen
i think many libs are actually some sort of humanists or unitarian/universalist -- "i'm spiritual but not religious"

i feel like politics give them a way to express their strong urge "to help," which could be seen as misguided and subjective w/o a holy text, or it could be seen as free from its constraints.

Fenrisulven said...

Now, I'm about to get emotional, as the Saints-Ravens game is coming up on kickoff.

I can get emotional about that. Can we at least agree to root for the Ravens?

Kirby Olson said...

Politics is just dodgeball by other means.

Elizabeth said...

Fen, you do know I live in New Orleans, yes? Booooo Ravens. Boooooo.

Elizabeth said...

kirby's onto something. Dodgeball's a great metaphor.

Mr. Forward said...

I have a Carr Valley Cheese magnet on my frig, Carr Valley aged cheddar and Lake Louie Premium Beer in the frig, and the Green Bay Packers on my TV. Since I'm obviously in God's country you can file this under religion, not politics.

Mr. Forward said...

God called and he wanted me to acknowledge it's all God's country. He just comes here for the beer.

Kent said...

I have a large number of magnets on my fridge, ranging from "I Love Robots" to an advertisement for Papa Murphy pizza to an American flag. They're basically whatever has come in the mail, which we have found useful for holding up kid's schedules and artwork.

None of this rancor in politics should surprise us, since group identity seems to be a driving impulse in human behavior:

Oh, the black folks
Hate the white folks
And the white folks
Hate the black folks.
Hating all the right folks
Is American as apple pie ...


Tom Lehrer, of course.

brian said...

I find a pattern running through many commenter's posts - the relative ease of labeling everyone of a political persuasion as the same - quite troubling. I'd expect this from the vitrioloic political blogs, but not here. Statements like "I find liberals to be..." or "Those conservatives are all..." do not show much maturity of thought. Certainly you all know people with significantly different world views that you respect? If not, I think you should get out of your respective bubbles (or alternatively, get off the internet for a moment or two) and explore the "real" world. Of course there are shallow minds on both sides of the political aisle , but lumping all left-leaning people as "Kosians" or all right-leaning people as "Coulteristas" is as reasonable as claiming all men look like Brad Pitt.

Garage Mahal said...

I'm extending an olive branch containing 12 Leinie's Honey Weiss to fellow Wisconsinite, AllenS, in the spirit of bi-partisanship.

Elizabeth said...

GarageM and AllenS, we'll be visiting Milwaukee and Madison sometime next spring; I'll have to try some Leinie's. I'm also told I'll be trying something called "cheese curds," whatever that is. What beer goes well with that?

Knemon said...

"as reasonable as claiming all men look like Brad Pitt."

We don't?

I've been living a lie.

Brent said...

Bill Cosby was mentioned above as someone willing to take the slings and arrows from the liberal side for strolling off the plantation.

I work in the entertainment industry and have met Cosby twice. I have heard the same stories about him almost a dozen times from people that work with him closely, to wit:

Bill Cosby is not necessarily a disbeliever in Affirmative Action or Democratic causes, per se.

He is most disgusted by two things. First are people who "hang around" him and others who are hard working and leverage that closeness for personal gain that they don't deserve or haven't earned. He is known for even disparaging such people on a set right to their face in front of everyone there.

Second are the hip hop artists and executives that make far more than their talent should logically allow,personnaly enriching themselves while doing lasting damage to American, particularly Black American, society.

LuteLib said...

damage, yes ... but their incomes aren't a result of talent. it's all about entertainment. if you're looking for talent, as with other music, it's not on top-40 radio.

blackalicious, common, roots, talib kweli, mos def, dead prez, atmosphere ... all great artists with positive messages, large audiences but little airplay.

"the whole 'bling-bling' era has gotten out of control ... it's got a hold of these kids and it's rotting their souls" ~ minneapolis' unknown prophets ... good stuff.

Garage Mahal said...

I'm also told I'll be trying something called "cheese curds," whatever that is. What beer goes well with that?

Elizabeth, I assume you mean "squeaky fresh", and not deep-fried. I recommend hitting the local breweries in Madison, like Capital, Angelic, Great Dane, and J.T. Whitney's.

boston70 said...

How many stories like these do readers of the Times or conversative websites need to link to in order to feel some sort of validation?

It is the same thing where the one Hollywood conservative goes on and on about, "I have to tell you about this story when I went to a party and told them I was a republican" blah blah blah. Of course, it is posted to some website and sent around the entire web where conservatives go ballistic.

I really find it quite boring but it is an excellent example of the conservative, yes the conservative, plays the victim because he/she isn't embraced and shunned by evil liberals.

I live in Boston, dominated by liberals, and my boss as well as two of my close peers voted for Bush. We talked about it briefly during the 2004 election and moved on.

I think the examples in the NYT story as well as all of the examples in this thread is lack of maturity by both conservatives and liberals if they are unable to be cordial because of political differences.

But this is story is a great opportunity for conservatives to link it on their websites so conservatives can say, "you think that is bad...this is what happened to me."

Like I said boring.

cardeblu said...

I wonder what they'd think of me. No special magnets, but ones that hold up 3 postcards that my daughter brought back from her HS-Sr NYC/DC trip:

One of GWB superimposed over the WH with the American Flag in the corner, one of JFK's gravesite, and one of Pink Floyd's The Wall UK tour. Are my bases covered?

My sister, who is quite left of me, has very, shall we say, unflattering pics of GWB on her fridge. She used to have Dan Quayle's pic overlying her bathroom light switch with his nose being the switch. I never quite got that one...

MadisonMan said...

Speaking of echo chambers, I'll repeat the recommendation that the cheese curds are fresh. If they don't squeak when you bite them, they're no good.

If you're here in Spring, you can get really good cheese curds at the Farmer's Market on the square. Also try some Spotted Cow -- a pale beer just as good as Leinie's.

Fenrisulven said...

I really find it quite boring but it is an excellent example of the conservative, yes the conservative, plays the victim because he/she isn't embraced and shunned by evil liberals. I live in Boston, dominated by liberals, and my boss as well as two of my close peers voted for Bush. I think the examples in the NYT story as well as all of the examples in this thread is lack of maturity by both conservatives and liberals if they are unable to be cordial because of political differences.

Maturity? Conservatives are forced to self-censor because the Left is intolerant of dissenting opinion. It affects our work environment, our social interactions, whether or not our cars and houses are vandalized, etc. And you want to pretend its a matter of "both sides being cordial"?

johnstodderinexile said...

Brent's post on Bill Cosby is worth focusing on. From his description, Cosby is a liberal/Democrat who has merely raised a few questions about a few bits of received wisdom that die-hard liberals subscribe to.

And, just for that, he is assumed to have become a conservative/Republican, that he has turned his back on his community and has become indistinguishable from Clarence Thomas.

That's really weird.

It's as if by registering with a political party, you give up your right to apply reason to issues one at a time, using your higher brain function. You either have to buy all of it, or it's assumed you're an enemy.

This view was crystallized by that unfortunate comment by Janeane Garafolo, that "being a Republican is a character flaw." I know, she's just a comedian, and not a very funny one at that, but it still disturbs me if she's caused even one Democrat to stop their thinking process out of fear of becoming a despicable character in the eyes of a cool hipster like Ms. Garofalo.

Freder Frederson said...

Maturity? Conservatives are forced to self-censor because the Left is intolerant of dissenting opinion. It affects our work environment, our social interactions, whether or not our cars and houses are vandalized, etc. And you want to pretend its a matter of "both sides being cordial"?

If you really believe this, you must be the most hyper-sensitive, paranoid person on the face of the planet or know the most spiteful, mean Democrats there are.

I had my John Kerry yard sign stolen and had obscenities yelled at me from passing cars as I stood on the corner waving a Kerry sign. Did that put me in fear for my life or make me think that all Republicans are intolerant. No, I passed it off as the acts of a few ignorant assholes.

JorgXMcKie said...

"I think the examples in the NYT story as well as all of the examples in this thread is lack of maturity by both conservatives and liberals if they are unable to be cordial because of political differences."

How about I alter that quote a bit for the late '50s?

"I think the examples in the NYT story as well as all of the examples in this thread is lack of maturity by both (blacks) and (whites) if they are unable to be cordial because of political differences."

There. See. There really was no problem with Jim Crow laws and segregation. Blacks were just imagining it and generalizing from their own anecdotal experience.

And, tmink, I'm sorry if I left the impression that I believed the actual Civil Rights Revolution was a liberal/conservative thing. In point of fact, a Civil Rights Act had been introduced into Congress every year since at least 1948 (perhaps 1946) and bottled up in a House committee by one Southern Democrat chairman for the next 15+ years. He, and others of his ilk were given cover by more liberal Democrats in order to keep their House majority. Sound familiar?

A higher percentage of Republicans in both the House and the Senate voted in favor the the Civil Rights Act than did democrats.

We have a lot of odd magnets on our fridge, but the best thing on it is a picture of a '50s 'Father Knows Best' type mother in an apron showing her daughter a partially open oven door. The caption says, "When your husband comes in and asks 'What's for dinner?' for the sixth time, you slam his lazy, ungrateful fingers in here." It's funnier because I do 95% of our cooking.

JorgXMcKie said...

Yup. freder is right once again. When they're not busy race-baiting and fag-bashing conservatives are just over-sensitive flowers, ready to wilt under the intense glare of the Truth from Lefties. Also, those greedy, grasping capitalist bastards cry too easily.

I guess conservatives shouldn't enter the political arena if they aren't prepared to just shut up and let the Lefties shout the Truth into their faces, the wussies.

boston70 said...

"Maturity? Conservatives are forced to self-censor because the Left is intolerant of dissenting opinion. It affects our work environment, our social interactions, whether or not our cars and houses are vandalized, etc. And you want to pretend its a matter of "both sides being cordial"?"

I don't know where you live but I am scared just reading your post. You are in fear of your car and house being vandalized based of your opinion? And your social and office interactions are being impacted? Where do you live? That is quite remarkable and a little unbelievable.

Elizabeth said...

Fen, I've had political signs stolen from my yard, my door, and bumperstickers for David Duke pasted over my own "No Dukes" sticker on my car. I don't think it was liberals up to all that nasty business.

As for Cosby: And, just for that, he is assumed to have become a conservative/Republican, that he has turned his back on his community and has become indistinguishable from Clarence Thomas.

Assumed by whom? Cosby was just invited here, to speak at to a 100-percent black enrollment New Orleans public school where several teachers and security guards had been attacked by students. He was invited, with open arms, by the school's black, liberal principal and several of the city's black, Democrat elected officials, and his speech was covered enthusiastically by the librul press. He received nothing but respect. What is it with these flights of conservative victim fancy?

Edward said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Edward said...

What I don’t understand is why anyone who is 100% sure of their political opinions on an important issue would be willing to self-censor or -- even worse -- pretend to believe something else just for the sake of a few social interactions.

In the second post of this thread, I wrote that everyone should be willing to have friends across ideological lines.

But such friendship should not come at the expense of always needing to conceal who you are or even denying who you are.

When it becomes truly necessary to stand up for what you believe, then by all means do so. Without ever being boring or preachy, you should always be willing to state what you believe when the time truly calls for that.

I think all these self-pitying conservatives who whine about being oppressed by liberals have doubts deep-down about their own conservative convictions, doubts that they’re not willing to admit. In a strange psychological twist, the only people tormenting them are themselves.

Shanna said...

When I was fresh out of college and living in DC I took a job with the Republican National Committee. I worked there for two years and had a blast and don't regret it at all. However, it is now on my resume, so all potential employers know my political affiliation. I wasn't thinking about this at 22, but now I worry about it being on my resume and maybe affecting my job prospects (especially since I just lost a job that was down to me and another person for suspicious reasons). I don't worry too much, because I can't do much about it (I sure can't leave a 2 year hole on my resume).

I enjoy talking about politics, especially with people I disagree with, if they can be civil and have actual arguments. But you have to carefully pick who you speak to. When I first moved to DC, I got dragged into political conversations with people all the time because I was from Arkansas and all people knew about Arkansas was Clinton. So then they might say something nice about Clinton and I would either have to murmur something indistinct or just say, actually I'm not a fan. I remember talking to the lady who was CHECKING MY GROCERIES at Fresh Fields and she was telling me I was one of the good ones (Republicans). Hee. Uh thanks, total stranger. Glad you approve.

Brent said...

Edward,

For once, I agree with much of what you say.

I am not afraid to discuss my convictions in front of others, unless it appears that someone will come unhinged and ruin the occasion - dinner party, et al. I do find however, that many of those who are politically opposite on most but not all issues - read liberals - are unable to engage without afterwards feeling or acting different towards me and others with similar views. Many, though again not all, even drop basic cordiality. I say this as someone who, while making generalizations, will never attack a person's dignity or character directly. I only wish to engage their issue, not their personal motivations.

Questioning liberals' character and motivations - that's what blogs are for!

I think of our American political conversations like being in high school - the popular "positions" were kind of enforced by peer pressure. The popular kids could always find a way to shout down or humiliate the less popular, even the committed. I believe that most of those who take "liberal" positions on most issues are succumbing to peer pressure. If they were the last person standing on earth espousing liberal tenets, they would soon not have the courage of their convictions and there would be no last standing liberal on earth.

But that's just my experience after 35 years of crossing the country while working in 4 different major industries.

tjl said...

"What I don’t understand is why anyone who is 100% sure of their political opinions on an important issue would be willing to self-censor or -- even worse -- pretend to believe something else just for the sake of a few social interactions"

Edward, surely you've been at a party or dinner where the social interactions stopped in their tracks because someone embarked on a loud political rant on the presumption that no disagreement is possible. It's an ordeal for the other guests, even those who agree with the ranter's views, because it's so deadly to the social purpose of the gathering.

This kind of social menace is especially rampant in gay circles -- no doubt you recognize the activist personality type. But it can happen in any urban setting.

Well, do you think the appropriate response is to wait for the first opportunity to break in and try to steer things back to actual conversation? Or is this self-censorship? The other guests would not thank you for launching into a counter-rant in rebuttal.

Elizabeth said...

I believe that most of those who take "liberal" positions on most issues are succumbing to peer pressure. If they were the last person standing on earth espousing liberal tenets, they would soon not have the courage of their convictions and there would be no last standing liberal on earth.

No matter how often I think I've heard it all, something truly ridiculous crops up to astound me. So now, conservatives are principled and liberals are cowards shored up only by the courage of their crowds of popular peers. I'm so impressed by the poor, beseiged conservatives, proudly standing by their principles with only the White House, both houses of Congress, and most of the judiciary to back them up. So lonely, yet so brave!

Edward said...

Having a persecution complex can’t be psychologically healthy.

Fenrisulven said...

Edward: I think all these self-pitying conservatives who whine about being oppressed by liberals have doubts deep-down about their own conservative convictions

Priceless.

I'll save this one for when you "whine" about discrimination against homosexuals.

File under They don't really believe in the things they lecture us about. You don't stand against intolerance unless it directly affects you.

Joan said...

I'm so impressed by the poor, beseiged conservatives, proudly standing by their principles with only the White House, both houses of Congress, and most of the judiciary to back them up. So lonely, yet so brave!

I know you were being sarcastic, Elizabeth -- and doing a great job of it, too -- but there's nothing to be impressed about. The way most Republicans act, you'd never know that we hold both houses of Congress and the White House!

It's stupid for Republicans to whine about being so beseiged when we are, in fact, in power. But it does get very tiresome when every single time you turn on the news or open the newspaper you see yet another story hammering the administration for some supposed flaw. It's obvious that despite the efforts of the "legacy media" that the conservative message is getting through. Stop whining about being disadvantaged, Republicans!

I have coffee about once a month with a group of friends. Two of us are conservative, the rest are as liberal as the day is long. We briefly touch on political topics from time to time, but the liberal women basically leave it alone because my conservative friend and I can run rings around them on the facts -- not that we would ever do it in a nasty way, but it's possible to gently ask, "Well, what do you think about the deficit being halved years ahead of schedule?" Tone of voice goes a long, long way in this kind of conversation. Mostly we just stick to talking about the kids and family stuff.

My refrigerator is a mishmash of photos, letter magnets, and shape magnets that my kindergardener uses to practice his phonics and stuff. There's a picture he drew up there now, too. I don't have a picture of the president but I do have a good half-dozen prayer cards that we have received at various times. They're very pretty (as well as being inspirational) and I like seeing them there.

So far, I haven't had any negative reaction to our obviously Catholic home. Around here, I don't think anyone will blink over the fact that we have religious art up. My neighbor has a big magnet on her fridge saying "Body piercing saved my life," showing a hand and wrist with a nail through it, obviously evocative of Christ. I told her I thought it was cool.

Brent said...

Elizabeth,

I didn't say most of the country. i said most liberals.

Don't be offended. Not every liberal succumbs to peer pressure. There are many who come to their belief system honestly. But - and this is a big "but" - I do not for a minute believe that the majority of "liberals" in this country have given a true moment over to reflection and the real "why" that they believe the way they do. I believe this because I have talked to tens of thousands of people directly over the years about their political thoughts. Are conservatives the same at being non-self-appaising in their belief systems? Yes, but I do not believe to anywhere near the same degree.

I had the privilege of speaking on behalf of a Republican candidate for Congress several years ago on a "debate" panel. The audience numbered about 1600, and it was heavily weighted - judging by the initial applause - towards those favoring the Democratic candidate. The debate never got ugly, and in fact was often full of humor and self-deprecating remarks by the person repping the Democrat. She was certainly my superior at public speaking (which I have taught) and was very enjoyable in the debate.

But at the end of the discussion, the moderator turned the tables on us and read a list of positions that were actual quotes from the two candidates - and asked everyone by a show of applause to pick which candidate was quoted. Loud applause went up at every "liberal associated soundbite" for the Democrat. But, as you guessed, the moderator chose the liberal sounding "compassionate" terms and most of them were actually from the Republican! In my closing statement, I asked for a show of hands for how many would now at least think about reconsidering their position after knee-jerking their applause reaction.

I counted 23 hands. Out of 1600.
Not a lot of guts on the liberal side. That's peer pressure, Elizabeth, and it's the majority position of most liberals in America today. They need to take at least a moment and think for themselves.

Not scientific, Elizabeth, but you get the point, doncha?

Shanna said...

Having a persecution complex can’t be psychologically healthy.
You're not paranoid if they're really out to get you :)

Edward said...

I don’t consider my posts here on gay rights to be “whining.” I and other gay people are simply trying to figure out the most effective way to eliminate the remaining forms of discrimination against us.

It’s not whining. It’s very practical, clear-headed, and strategic. But it’s also respectful of people who disagree.

You can’t change laws and attitudes without engaging in a significant amount of discourse. And that discourse is not always and automatically “whining.”

Whining is inherently pessimistic, but I’m not pessimistic at all.

Whining also involves a fair amount of self-pity, but I definitely don’t feel sorry for myself.

TMink said...

Shanna said: "You're not paranoid if they're really out to get you :)"

Actually, you can be paranoid AND actually have enemies. Paranoia is a persistent, incorrect fear of persecution. One could beparanoid concrening aliens and be persecuted by the FBI.

Trey

Elizabeth said...

Brent, the event in your anecdote clearly meant something big to you, but it doesn't do anything to support your romantic image of principled conservatives amidst a sea of lily-livered liberals. What happened when the moderator spun the liberal debators' positions to sound more conservative? Oh, as we may guess, that didn't happen. Guess we'll just have to assume the conservative audience members remained firm in their principled resolve. All your anecdote shows is there's a lot of crossover in rhetoric, and that people frequently tend to stick to their party.

Freeman Hunt said...

Soon after the 2004 election, I happened to get in touch with someone who'd been one of my best friends back in school. We talked for about forty minutes, and then he asked, just after telling me how much he liked Netflix, "So, who did you vote for?"

Me (trying to keep it light): "You'll get a kick out of this. I'm actually pretty conservative now. I voted for Bush."

Friend: "You voted for Bush?! You do know that he's a LIAR, don't you?!"

Me (desperately trying to move the conversation away from politics): "Oh, I've heard people say that about him. So are you doing a lot of freelance work now?"

Friend: "I cannot believe that you voted for Bush. I think someone's on my other line. I have to go." [click]

Haven't heard from him since. It was a very nice conversation up until that point.

Fenrisulven said...

That's peer pressure... and it's the majority position of most liberals in America today.

Thats been my experience too. I would say about half the libs I meet chose the ideology to appear "hip and cool". When pressed on specific issues, they are ignorant. They've adopted it like a brand label to justify their own failings, along the lines of "Sure, I made a pass at the babysitter, but I believe in World Peace, so I'm not all bad"

[Not all liberals Elizabeth, just a significant minority]

Fenrisulven said...

Edward: I and other gay people are simply trying to figure out the most effective way to eliminate the remaining forms of discrimination against us.

And thats fine. Problem is that you mock valid complaints of discrimination against conservatives.

Next you'll be saying "Some of my friends are [s]black[/s] conservative."

You still don't get it, do you? You only support tolerance when its to your advantage. In doing so, you discredit your own complaints about homophobia.

Elizabeth said...

Joan, I'm glad to hear you and your more liberal friends have a comfortable, respectful relationship. I suspect maybe they'd have a different answer for why they tend to avoid debates with you, but that's the nature of friendships.

I would hope no one visiting your home would react to your Catholicism. I live in a majority Catholic region, so I don't see much anti-Catholicism. I'm not Catholic, but I keep the prayer cards from funerals I've attended, and from the wonderful Poor Clares in the cloister down the street from my home. I'm grateful that they say a novena for me once a year, year after year, after I bought a few Christmas ornaments from them. They also send out a prayer for peace occasionally; they oppose the war in Iraq, and are busy praying for its end.

The Jerk said...

Problem is that you mock valid complaints of discrimination against conservatives.

Which ones?

Theo Boehm said...

Caution: Unitarian jokes below. Unitarians may return the favor in kind.

I'm one of those odd ducks who are socially conservative and economically...uh..."liberal." You know, the government ought to help make society better and more equitable but not wreck it in the process. The government especially should not be in the business of making life difficult for people of faith and goodwill.

They used to call people like me "Democrats." They still call us "Catholics."

I've found my old-fashioned views out of favor in many places, and have learned to keep my mouth shut. I know a number of local officials, all Democrats, and one of my colleagues at work is from a political family and an active Democratic Party worker in his town. ("Political family?" you may ask. Well, this IS Massachusetts, and if you have to ask, it's like a lot of things around here, I really can't tell you.) Anyway, we all have fairly similar political and social views, but we're mostly middle-aged guys of Irish or Italian descent. We're "regular" Democrats.

Which means I vote Republican when the time comes.

Now I live in a liberal Boston suburb. In fact, we're adjacent to one of the most famous of Boston suburbs, known for a very long time for its liberal and literary tendencies—you know, Louisa May and Henry and Ralph and all. But curiously enough, there are very few "secular progressives" out here. It's a remarkably churched area. There are lots of very liberal Christians and some Jews, but hard-core Cambridge-types are rare. We have Unitarians and Quakers and Jews among our friends, and while we may laughingly disagree about theology and have a little discussion about gay marriage, we always keep it light and social. Our friends know we're Catholics, so our views come pre-screened. And, in my experience, if you have at least something of a sense of the transcendent from religion, even if you're a Unitarian, you tend to know what's important and don't argue about silly things. If someone from Cambridge or Brighton insists on going on about how awful the evil George Bush is, I just sip my Chardonnay, and, if I can get a word in edgewise, remark on how it's a little grassy, but not bad for an Australian wine, and have you tried that new Zin from California over there? It's organic and doesn't have sulfites.

It's always wise to avoid talking politics socially. We've found that life in the suburbs and raising kids gives us both an extended social network and plenty to worry and talk about otherwise. There are also enough local politics to get people angry without bringing George Bush into it. ("Why is there a gay pride flag on the wall at the middle school? Do you think that's appropriate for kids that age?" or, "Why can't the new elementary school be properly maintained? What's the matter with the Finance Committee?" etc., etc.) For us, these sorts of political fights have been much more divisive than anything George Bush could do.

And the dirty little secret is that Unitarians sometimes vote Republican, too.

Brent said...

Lizzy,

I gave the anecdote not as an isolated illustration, but to help you picture a lifetime of experiences. It was not a prooftext, but an illustration among thousands in my lifetime.

The tendency of childishness among liberals is shown in the way that they almost always play the "you do it, too" card. There is always the attempt to "void" the hand in the cookie jar by saying that because 1 guy on the other team did it means it's okay that all 15 members of our team did it. There's no sense of proportion in the equivalence.

If you want to talk about conservative weaknesses Elizabeth, fine. There are many. But - and again this is a big "but" - you cannot disprove my point about the lack of backbone among your average everyday liberal in America by simply saying that there are some conservatives that are the same.

So, Elizabeth, the question is: do you support the taking of political stands because of peer pressure?

If you reject the supposition, then we can play that game, too. Just have the dignity to stop the "everybody does it so it's okay" childishness.

Elizabeth said...

Brennie-poo, my name isn't Lizzy. Please call me by the name you see onscreen here.

I didn't argue that "conservatives do it too"; I responded to your position that conservatives are principled, thoughtful people while liberals are merely responding to peer pressure. Where's even the possibility of arguing parity in response to that? No, I simply called it bullshit, which it is, despite your lofty assertion that literally thousands of experiences have revealed this truth to you in your many travels over this great land. So pervasive is this truth that you need only offer one muddled, useless example.

You've made a silly generalization that paints yourself, and your conservative cohorts, as heroic, principled philosophers, and liberals as a bunch of teenage Heathers giggling and rushing from one position to the other, as their feathery little heads direct them. Pffffft.

Brent said...

Elizabeth,

I will happily address you as asked.

Thank you for the attempt to recharacterize my argument as seeking to define the nobility of conservatives vs. the cowardice of liberals, but anyone reading my posts can see that that is not my issue.

Please find four of your liberal friends that are in the circle just outside your closest friends - aquaintances that you are pretty certain share liberal political beliefs. Ask each of them their views on 2 or 3 issues of the day, and why they take that position. If they are like the majority of liberals in America today, you will find that:

1)they cannot go very deep on facts, mostly hearsay (c'mon Elizabeth, you know how to dig deep)

2) they will almost always, if you challenge them, bring some "authority" figure that supports their view into play. Authority figures are not wrong of themselves, but, they are no substitute for someone having researched the facts.
This is different from conservatives in general, who tend to seek logical, reasonable explanations from facts themselves, and not as often citing "authority" figures. Liberals generally begin to fall apart at the beginning of questioning of the validity of their facts, and very often devolve into name-calling.

Example: the recent Lancet survey saying that the death toll in Iraq is closer to 400,000 - 800,000. I don't argue on things that I haven't researched, so I listened without comment to numerous of my liberal colleagues as they "happily" discussed the "truth" finally being told. After I researched it, I found, among others, a surveyist with more experience than the Lancet study researchers. He via email spoke directly with the Lancet Survey authors. They admitted to him, in emails he reprinted - and they have not denied - that they did not follow even a majority of the generally accepted statistical procedures in this type of survey before coming to their conclusions.

When I entered the conversation with printed evidence, my liberal friends didn't "believe" it. The next day, one of them said he looked up the surveyist that questioned the Lancet Study, and found that he had done surveys for the current Iraqi government, which of course to my liberal friends made him suspect. Never mind that he had done surveys for the UN for over 15 years before that. Despite my "facts of questionable scientific method", only one of my colleagues would even consider that the Lancet Survey was flawed. No one wanted to debate the "methods - they couldn't, because they hadn't researched it. But instead of waiting to resaerch it, they insisted on casting aspersion on the author. They cited their liberal idols in the media who "believed" the Lancet Survey. Of course, the Survey has fallen into disreputation, and has fallen from the news cycle. But my friends still want to believe it, evidence be damned.

That, Elizabeth, is the majority liberal mind in America - unquestioning of its premises, and rarely very deep on facts.

Anecdotal again? Of course.

But you still haven't said one thing that proves me wrong. Am I hitting a little to close to the truth for comfort?

Brent said...

And Elizabeth,

Please let me say first that I have often enjoyed your comments above most on many of Ann's posts. That is not flattery, but sincere admiration for your way with words.

You've made a silly generalization that paints yourself, and your conservative cohorts, as heroic, principled philosophers, and liberals as a bunch of teenage Heathers giggling and rushing from one position to the other, as their feathery little heads direct them. Pffffft.


While I do not at all paint myself and conservatives as heroic, I do enjoy your characterization of liberals as "Heathers".

You do get my point, you do, you really do!

Shanna said...

Actually, you can be paranoid AND actually have enemies.
It was a joke.

Look, I don't think it's being paranoid to saying that sometimes it's an uphill battle to get people reconciled to your being a conservative, although I've never lost any friends over it. I have had to defend myself against charges of racism, sexism, etc..etc..., which if there is anything to the whole "peer pressure" idea, it is this. People feel free to label you all these things and you have to disprove them. There are times when it would be easier not to have to do that.

MadisonMan said...

Brent: I suggest you do the same with your conservative friends. Start by asking them about the size of the deficit, the size of the government, and the future entitlements as they have evolved under Bush.

When I ask my liberal friends about these three topics, they unianimously agree that the outrageous spending of the Bush administration is a looming disaster for our children. And these are liberals in Madison, WI. I can only imagine what true Conservatives will think about it.

In my neighborhood, politics aren't a general topic of discussion anyway. Usually it's (1) the outrageous price paid for someone's house; (2) who are all these little kids in this neighborhood park and why don't I recognize them; (3) Aren't you glad soccer season is over?

It's difficult to talk about the war -- one neighbor has been deployed twice, but is home now. Who knows when he'll go again? Another man with whom I've sung in church has a son 'somewhere in Iraq' as it says in the church bulletin -- what do you say to them? Other than that you're praying for their safety.

A Menken Moment said...

Put the following image on your refrigerator and watch how many of your guests quietly nod:

Boo!

Knemon said...

"they oppose the war in Iraq, and are busy praying for its end."

Many support the war, and also pray for its end, although their image of that "end" might differ.

"And the dirty little secret is that Unitarians sometimes vote Republican, too."

Shhhhhhh!!!!

Freder Frederson said...

I would like to know how this supposed discrimination against conservatives plays out, especially in the workplace. I thought conservatives were the ones who created all the jobs and owned all the businesses. Unless you are trying to get a job at, or work somewhere, an industry that is bent on destroying the American Family and Values, (e.g., a Hollywood studio, a porn distributor, an abortion clinic, or morning-after pill vending machine manufacturer), how could being a conservative negatively affect your career?

Hey elizabeth, you live in New Orleans? Where? I live in Algiers.

Freder Frederson said...

they will almost always, if you challenge them, bring some "authority" figure that supports their view into play.

And you don't think that conservatives haven't tried to squelch all opposition to this war by implying, if not outright stating, that any opposition to the president's war policies are treason. Or how about all those conservatives who call themselves "dittoheads" and believe any nonsense Rush spews (e.g., the glaciers are actually growing) without question. Name one liberal pundit that has such devoted followers that they actually have a name for themselves.

A Menken Moment said...

Liberals may not be the only people frowning at the Bush sticker on the refrigerator. At least one conservative is critical. Perhaps soon there won't be any stickers left to earn the liberals' frowns.

Shanna said...

all those conservatives who call themselves "dittoheads"… Name one liberal pundit that has such devoted followers that they actually have a name for themselves.
Oh, come on. Is this really relevant? The guy has a radio show, he’s occasionally entertaining…the “dittohead” thing…It’s shtick! It doesn’t mean everyone who listens to him is a mindless drone. I think he’s been a total idiot about this Michael J. Fox thing and I don’t listen to him, but I’m sick of everybody that is mad at Republicans in general bringing up Rush. The vast majority of the media is liberal. By their own admission, by polls, by any metric you can find. And yet, one network dares to show the other side and one guy has a radio show and liberals go nuts. I find that mind-boggling.

Fenrisulven said...

Elizabeth: I've had political signs stolen from my yard, my door, and bumperstickers for David Duke pasted over my own "No Dukes" sticker on my car.

Freder Frederson: I had my John Kerry yard sign stolen and had obscenities yelled at me from passing cars as I stood on the corner waving a Kerry sign

Well gee, I guess you can relate... Try this: make a list of all your friends, now go back and cross every third one out. Why? Because they refuse to remain friends with a liberal. Your invites to holiday parties and social functions? Toss a third out - because you're a liberal. That promotion you've been gunning for? Give it up, because your boss just said "if I'd known you were a liberal I never would have hired you". Your new car with the Kerry sticker on it? Someone threw a cinderblock through the back window [after tearing the sticker in half]. But gee...you've have yard signs stolen, so I guess you can relate.

What I find most interesting is, in a thread with comment after comment from conservatives across the country who've shared similar experiences, you refuse to see what we're talkng about. Some have even mocked the accounts, as if intolerance and discrimination was "funny". Dovetails with Brent's point about liberals abusing peer pressure to enforce groupthink.

Boston70 Where do you live? That is quite remarkable and a little unbelievable.

Maryland. Most of my wife's family is located here. They ostracized my father-in-law [their brother]. They don't speak to him - because he's a conservative who defends the 2nd ammendment.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Shanna said: think he’s been a total idiot about this Michael J. Fox thing and I don’t listen to him, but I’m sick of everybody that is mad at Republicans in general bringing up Rush. The vast majority of the media is liberal. By their own admission, by polls, by any metric you can find. And yet, one network dares to show the other side and one guy has a radio show and liberals go nuts. I find that mind-boggling.

I agree. I don't understand this fascination the liberals have with Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Whenever I bring up a point in a discussion with my family (which is almost never now) or any other person of the "liberal" persuasion, they counter back that I only think that way because I have been brainwashed by Rush.

I don't listen to him because I am WORKING and don't have time to listen to the radio. Just because they can't have a thought that hasn't been planted in their brains by some media figure and gobble up the pablum presented by AP and Reuters, doesn't mean that I can't have ideas that I have formulated by research and reason.

Projection is a serious psychological symptom that the Democrats and liberals are afflicted with.

Abraham said...

The only magnets on my refrigerator are super-strong neodynium rare-earth magents salvaged from malfunctioning hard drives.

Does that say anything about my politics?

boston70 said...

"Boston70 Where do you live? That is quite remarkable and a little unbelievable."

"Maryland. Most of my wife's family is located here. They ostracized my father-in-law [their brother]. They don't speak to him - because he's a conservative who defends the 2nd ammendment."

My comments were more targeted to the person who comments that she feels threatened by possible damage of her home or her car which I think is quite scarey and a little unbelievable.

As far as your father in law being ostracized for his opinions that is quite unfortunate.

I also stated that if either liberals or conversatives are unable to be cordial because of political differences I find that sad and immature.

Elizabeth said...

Brent, yes, I do, I really do get your point. That's why I'm emphatically calling it bullshit.

Your example of the Lancet story is excellent. Most of the people I've talked to about it question its methodology as well, and many of them are, gasp, liberals. They're academics, so they have some understanding of statistics.

dust bunny queen: Just because they can't have a thought that hasn't been planted in their brains by some media figure and gobble up the pablum presented by AP and Reuters, doesn't mean that I can't have ideas that I have formulated by research and reason.

For a minute there, I thought you were replying to Brent!

Fen, someone threw a cinderblock at your car? That's terrible. I can relate to your other travails. I've been the only liberal, not to mention the only queer, in the workplace. I've had my coworker sit down and try to bring me to Jesus, while I tried to get my work done. I've experienced uncomfortable conversations and performance reviews with my boss, a former National Guard colonel, and his boss, a GOP campaign director and GOP local officeholder. That's a small slice. I live in a red state, with a long, ugly political history.

I don't doubt you, and other conservatives, have experienced hostility due to political differences. Who hasn't? We're an often bitterly divided country.

The Jerk said...

Being from a Christmas party invitation isn't discrimination. I haven't carefully reviewed every comment in the thread, but I haven't seen anyone talk about their property being vandalized. Nor have I heard of anyone being passed over for a promotion because they were conservative. We all know that there was some scattered vandalizm before the 2004 election, but do you have any actual accounts from verifiable sources describing the other horribles in this parade, or are these stories apocryphal?

Elizabeth said...

Oh yes, Brent, I forgot to mention my fundamentalist sister who didn't talk to me for 10 years after finding out that I'm gay. She justified it with scripture, confusing family with congregation. It made it very difficult for us all after my mother had to go live with her once she became elderly. I missed out on too many years of family holidays because my sister made it terribly uncomfortable for me. My other siblings are a mix of right and left (my brother, who planned to head to Canada should his Vietnam number come up, suddenly went rightwing under Reagan, about the time he became an alcoholic. I once lived with him for a summer and enjoyed several screenings of "Red Dawn.")

These days we all manage to get along well enough, though I miss the days when my sister and I were loving and close.

Brent said...

Elizabeth,

I am truly sorry for your family situation. I am an evangelical, and therefore am considered to be suspect in my dealings with gays. I accept that, but my wife and I have always been in jobs and social relationships that put us in contact with a higher percentage of gays than the average population. I have commented before, particularly with downtownlad, about my views and associations with those who are gay.

My personal feeling is that family is actually God's design for growing us all up. While it's true that sexuality is one of the "big" issues in Christianity, I do believe that scripture is clear in the admonition to love above all else and, "in so far as possible, seek to live peaceably with all men." That's where family should come in. If there is anywhere acceptance of a person's worth and dignity should be respected and encouraged, it is there.

In otherwords, the original point of this blog should find it's exception in family - the one place we should make every effort to get along and believe the best of one another.

Saint Paul in I Corinthians 13:
"Love believes the best of another".

Great. I guess I blew that one on my earlier postings above . . .

TMink said...

Hey Elizabeth, sorry about your sister abandoning you. That sucks and is unChristian in my book. I will pray for her to find some love and acceptance for her sister.

On another subject, you wrote: "I've had my coworker sit down and try to bring me to Jesus, while I tried to get my work done." That is not in the same league and seems a very small thing. Tell them you worship Gaia and have to leave to go have sex in the woods. That will get them to leave you alone!

Trey

Elizabeth said...

Brent, that's a good verse. Thanks. My sister, to be fair, has a long history of knowing what's best for everyone else. Her move toward fundamentalism went along with a move to the right politically as well, and she became a bit hard to bear for a long time. I'm nicely bolstered by my four brothers, though; I just really miss the wonderful friendship she and I had for so many years before. Here's an irony you'll appreciate: she directs a small theater, and you can assume she just has to know gay men, working in musical theater! Oh well.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the prayers, tmink. I'd like to be closer with her again.

I almost did as you suggested with that coworker (the Gaia thing), but I didn't have the heart. I tried to explain to her that I've long been Christian, but she couldn't wrap her head around that. She was a very bright woman, but tended to believe in conspiracy theories and along with praying for me, urged me to hoard gold. I love the workplace; so many worlds collide amongst the cubicles.