Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Last Chance

Recently, after President Obama's State Of The Union speech, I wanted to have a different dialogue with my conservative family over politics. Take Obama's advice, stop the same old arguments and vitriol. Unfortunately, the results were not surprising.

I'll keep it short. It went something like this... Obama didn't inherit any problems from bu$h, and he should have solved the economic crisis facing the U.S. by now. The bu$h "Tax Cuts" for plutocrats have helped the American worker. "The Housing Bubble" was created by Democrats because they wanted everyone to own a home, regardless of the deceptive lending practices. True documented facts aren't history... unless it's the new fake facts, which make it solid conservative history. Why should they pay for the "Health Care Reform", when they have insurance. The old standards still hold true, "Greed is Good" and "Gay Rights" equals tolerance for pedophiles. Abolishing the Fairness Doctrine did not open the door for Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Nullifying the Glass-Steagall Act was good "Free Market" Capitalism. The recent Supreme Court decision favoring corporate contributions still leaves individuals on equal footing. There was no long term conservative agenda or right wing conspiracy stemming from The Powell Memo, (yet, refused to read it). Don't call conservatives racists if they oppose Obama's policies, especially those conservatives who do not confront and protest the creation, spreading and/or laughing at Obama jokes; but it was fine to call Progressives and Liberals traitors when they opposed the Iraq war Americans were lied into by the bu$h administration. And the funniest line of all, conservatives don't watch FOX NEWS.

I honestly tried to start the conversation in a positive manner. I mentioned that we must have some common ground and proceed from there, I even complimented them by saying, "At least conservatives have stuck to a long term agenda for what they think is right for the country." After family values and honesty, we started to move in different directions and the discussion started to fade fast. I gave in on "National Security", but mentioned we spend too much money on it. I agreed on "self-sufficiency" after everyone from all social classes has equal opportunity. One major sticking point on "freedom from too much government", came when I said, "Then you must let the individual decide what is right for themselves, such as a Woman's right to choose." The conversation quickly moved to "Right to Life", and I mentioned it's fine for conservatives to want the baby to be born but don't support government programs for the child when he's growing up. I couldn't get any of them to concede on gun restrictions for inner cities. Since the conversation got tied up with Corporate America's rights, we didn't even get to the environment and climate change.

I will say it started genteel enough, but after awhile it was back to the same old caustic arguments. I now know it is useless to talk to these automatons, even if they are family. They are the most shallow, thick, misinformed, obtuse group of riffraff I have ever known. This was the last chance. I will stop wasting energy and effort reaching out for a middle ground... their thought process is closed off for new ideas, deeply entrenched and rooted in ignorance. I'm proud that I gave an effort but learned Progressives must outlast and persevere. Progressives cannot ever trust conservatives, they are like "The Terminator", and will not ever stop! I know the truth is on our side. Sorry President Obama, nothing has changed the conservative mindset.

cross posted at Left is Right


Anjha said...

Great post SoS.

I have been trying to read it for three days. I just noticed that it was posted the day before yesterday. I thought that I have whatever button checked that was to tell me when there is a new post over here, but I guess I don't. I get comments sent to me, but apparently not notifications of site changes or new posts. Damn.

I am amazed that you got that far, that you were actually able to speak to them for that long (and that respectfully) about so many topics.

My Dad has a "Republican" (how he describes himself) friend who we have tried to have a few conversations with and we never finish even one topic. We usually delve into the intricacies of the one that we started talking about and it usually ends when I get angry and yell out a string of obscenities.

We all hug and make-up and then, when we part ways, we talk amongst ourselves about how we “don’t want Dad hanging out with that guy anymore.” (My Dad is highly susceptible to any influence from anyone who sounds like they know what they are talking about.)

So, I applaud you. That was excellent that you tried to dialogue and got this far.

I am sorry that you feel like you can no longer even attempt conversation. This is how I feel with my Mom.

Mom is especially frustrating to deal with because she used to be really Progressive. Or, Liberal.

She was hip to the women’s movement though she did what she did out of sheer tenacity – not wanting to take any shit from anyone. I do not think that she had future Sisterhood in mind when she fought for women’s rights.

She was first in the environmental movement. We grew our own fruits and vegetables and raised our own beef and eggs. Any other meat that we ate was from friends with farms or hunted or fished. We never purchased meat from grocery stores (or fruits and vegetables, except in the winter or early spring when they were all gone, or ones that we could not grow, like oranges.)

She was fierce on recycling and reusing everything for whatever purpose that it could be used for and we never “got a new one” until the old one was completely un-repairable. This was primarily due to finances (as was the farming) but it was the beginning of the Earth First Movement (the first Earth Day was in April of the year I was born) and Mom was aware of what all of that meant.

I remember her telling me about Jimmy Carter’s energy policies and having her say “The President says ‘put on a sweater’ – don’t turn up the heat. If you’re still cold after you put on a sweater, then do some work, that will warm you up!” (I now repeat the same to my kid.) And, they were both strong supporters of Carter.

She was also very supportive of Immigrant Rights. And, she was/is very socially Liberal. However, about 8 years ago my mother moved to Hickville and started hanging out with all of the old farts at The Eagles and other Taverns and now, even though she still gardens, etc, Mom talks like a Rush Limbaugh listener.

Unfortunately, she might just be listening to Rush because she was always a talk radio junkie. Maybe when she moved to Hickville the only talk radio she could get was Rush, et al?

Good on You, SoS. You did good.

Judith said...

I concur with Anjha. I could never get that far in a conversation with ANY Conservative. At lease you have tried SOS.

Lucky for me, I was raised in a slightly Conservative family, but both parents were open to discussion and the changing of their minds, which they did often when presented with facts and logic.

You all know that my brother is beyond help, and I haven't spoken to him for a couple of years now. I will say he fits the Conservative mold perfectly. That leaves my two Republican friends, I have mentioned often. Their shtick is to get in your face and yell, because yelling can be quite intiminating and one cannot respond when another is in your face yelling. I have tried often to have a conversation with them, but finally gave up. Now I just refuse to take the bait when it is thrown out there, which makes them angry also.