Labels are for boxes

Superman is about to delve into previously unchartered waters…Politics. I briefly touched on it in a piece I did about civil war, inspired by a wonderful post by Bojana about her experience in war-torn former Yugoslavia. It’s amazing by the way check it out. here https://bloggingwithbojana.com/2018/03/07/welcome-to-absurdistan/

I have largely stayed away from politics in my blogs. After 9 months and almost 200 posts I now feel that I have established myself as a reasonable, civil guy and I have a confession to make. I am a Conservative…of sorts and I voted for Donald Trump. I believed in enough of what he wanted to accomplish to give him my vote. Immigration reform, crime reform, smaller government, a balanced budget, a secure border and the future of the Supreme court matter a great deal to me. On those, he secured my vote. Let the unfollowing begin. Or let cooler heads prevail. If you read to the end, you will likely agree that I am not a typical Conservative at all. Here’s the kicker, I’m not looking for your approval I’m just going to stimulate some conversation here.

I know some beautiful, smart and compassionate people that voted for both Donald Trump and Hillary. I love them all and I don’t judge or hate. I am in the minority. Our country is hopelessly divided. We have always had an ideological divide, but it has become intensely personal. If you are on FB you will see nothing but Vitriol spewed on both sides of the spectrum and it is so unhealthy on so many levels. My generation taught me that there are certain subjects never to discuss, but I disagree. Religion, sexuality, and Politics can be discussed if we were also taught the art of rational, intelligent discourse. Repeat after me, “I disagree but I respect your opinion.” Instead, we close our ears and raise our voice. We rear back on our heels and defend, for fear of losing, when instead we should be chin on hands, listening to each other. Tragically, we care more about “our side” than we do about real change.

“My side” is traditional William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan conservatism. I revert to that point in history because if you use the word “Conservative” now you will likely invoke the iconic MAGA hat worn by the “Trump Supporter.” The very words ”Trump Supporter” are hissed by liberals in the same manner that the Pope may utter “Contraception”. The words have become synonymous with Racist, Xenophobe, Nazi, Fascist and Bully. That’s not me, I’m happy to report, but it is a reality that a lot of Trump era conservatives live up to it and it’s a shame. I am tolerant, empathetic, polite and educated enough to agree to disagree with someone without shouting them down, closing my ears when I should be listening, or ignoring or exaggerating “facts” in order to win one for my side.

I am saddened that I have to avoid the subject of politics altogether for fear of being attacked. I’m actually pretty liberal on social matters. I believe in love between two people regardless of gender; I believe in immigration if it is done legally. I believe in law and order but not martial law. I believe in concealed carry but see no reason for anyone to own an AR-15. Go ahead and try to force this square peg into a round hole, you can’t do it. Criticize me, I can handle it. Just do it constructively, don’t shout and pay attention when I speak. I deserve that courtesy.

Roughly 24% of Americans identify as Republicans, approximately 30% identify as Democrats. What is left is the Independent voter. I identify as an Independent, despite the federal govt’s alternate term of “undecided voter”. I share this political distinction with approximately half of the country and I would like to think that we are independent because of our insistence on thinking for ourselves. We reject party politics and hate labels. But labels are all we have now. Whether it is driven by the media, George Soros, Hollywood, a basic lack of education, short attention spans or the absolute lack of critical thinking but we are mired in labels.

Republican, Democrat, Progressive, Liberal, Tea-Party, and Right-winger. Labels, Labels, Labels. Despite the numbers I stated in the previous paragraph, I see 15% of the country at the very far right, 15% at the very far left and 70% right in the middle, forced to pick between two candidates that seem to satisfy enough of us. But the extremes have defined Republicans and Democrats and forced those willing, not me, to be forcefully compartmentalized. Those unfortunate voters are the true Republicans, the true Democrats, and the Independents. The 15% on each side quarrel over extreme ideology and the rest of us vote our conscience and our wallets, the order of those 2 is up to you.

At the end of the day, it is all bullshit. Neither party of our broken two-party system stand for what they used to, the lines are so blurred and the aisle dividing the houses of Congress is as wide as the ocean and it doesn’t matter because no one is reaching across it. Fulfilling campaign promises and getting reelected take precedent over real legislative accomplishment. There used to be moderates, who believed that there was a compromise to be made for the better of all. They’re either gone or too afraid to stand up for fear of reprisal. If you watched the SOTU you clearly saw that when the President had his applaud moments, entire sides of the rooms respectively stood or sat with their arms crossed. Some Democrats were so resistant to standing for anything the president said they sat even when families of murdered children were honored. It was disgusting, and it said it all. Fear of breaking labels, that’s all it is.

What is a typical Democrat and Republican after all? Where does being a Democrat end and a Progressive begin? Where does a Republican end a Tea-Party Conservative begin?
Democrats, commonly known now as “Liberals” have always considered themselves the party of the working man. They opposed corporate greed and the Industrial Military Complex, and strongly focused on social issues. Today, the Democrats have become the party of bloated government, high taxes, massive regulation, and throwing tremendous amounts of money at problems in hopes that they go away. The focus of some extreme modern democrats on trans-gender bathrooms, abortion, open borders, the suppression of speech that offends their beliefs and the eschewing of religion has earned many to the far-left the label of “Progressive”. A progressive believes in social engineering, “hug-it-out’s” for terrorists, legislating income redistribution and, generally speaking, dwell on utopian ideals. I find great hypocrisy in the Democrats of today. Example, how can you champion yourselves the party of equality, while at the same time propping up Muslims who routinely deny women the most basic of rights, subject underage girls to marriage and stone homosexuals to death?

Republicans were traditionally known as the party of “family values”, believed in a strong military, a market economy, personal accountability, and were strongly aligned with the Evangelical Christians. Republicans are no better than their Democrat peers in their obstructionism, failure to reach across the aisle and to adhere to their core principles. I contend, despite my own identification as a Conservative, that the Republicans have drifted farther off course than the Democrats. Today, the Republicans are completely off message. They are trying to solve the complex problem of immigration through massive arrests. They are as guilty of allowing jobs to flee this country as the Democrats. Their alliance with the extreme-right Evangelicals is shameful. Their refusal to stand up to their major campaign donors, the NRA and the Pharmaceutical industries and their lobbyists have left them ineffective and blatant hypocrites who are blocking even the discussion of real reform on major issues. Also prone to hypocrisy, they lost me when they cut benefits to Veterans while touting themselves as the supporters of the military.

Instead of fixing the problems before them, the powers that be distract us by telling us what to hate and who to blame for it. Hence the labels. I for one am tired of it. I am a Conservative that was forced to vote for Donald Trump. It took every fiber of my body to do it, I almost skipped the vote altogether. I find that he cares about some things that matter to me while Hillary represents nothing I believe in. So I again voted against a candidate and not for one. I am not a Nazi, a Fascist, a Racist or a Sexist. But I stand to be labeled as one.

https://endsandbeginningsblog.wordpress.com/ a blogger I admire, posted recently about a reaction to Conservatives and their bad behavior, in particular, being called a “typical liberal.”
https://endsandbeginningsblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/typical-liberal/
I commented on the post, not realizing that I was having a visceral reaction to the post. I do disagree with a lot of what was said, but I felt like I was being called out. That wasn’t the case and I gave a balanced response along the lines of what I have written here. At the end of the day, I wanted to convey that  I am not a “typical conservative”. Even if that was the case, why do I care?

Because we are living in a fractured, divided culture and we are all on edge. Half the country is yelling at the other half and nothing is being resolved. The big picture is that the division in our society, as manifested in our behavior towards each other is based on all of us feeling that we are not being heard, so we speak louder.

My mother always said, “when you are speaking you are not listening.” I would further extrapolate on that and say if you are shouting you aren’t helping. Step out of your comfort zone, step out of our compartmentalized belief system, question what you’re being fed by the media, embrace another’s opinion. They’re not wrong, they’re just different. No one is smarter and no one is dumber. At least it looks that way until we speak. The way I see it, if we reshape our ways of communicating, it’s possible our leaders will find their lost direction in our new one.

Labels are for envelopes, not for people. We’re better than that. One love, baby.

33 thoughts on “Labels are for boxes”

  1. good grief stop apologizing for being conservative. do the liberals ever apologize? even when they’re egregiously wrong?

    when enforcing our national borders became a ‘conservative’ idea we were fucked. trump is the only politician willing to voice this.

    Like

  2. I don’t think the choice between those two candidates was ever this bad.

    Trump’s bombastic public statements, embracing uninformed positions that turn into major embarrassments for him, not checking facts or staying informed about serious issues, and racial undertones are nothing but promising.
    On the other hand, Hilary and Democrats have always been too militant for me, supporting having a strong American presence across the world, which has had extremely detrimental consequences over the past several decades.

    I respect your opinion and couldn’t agree more.
    We are often forced to vote for one candidate because we detest the other. A vote against, not for.

    Great post. You should talk about politics more often because you’re doing great.
    I’m glad my post inspired you. I wish it hadn’t. I wished I hadn’t gone through it all but I did, which brings us again to America’s sticking their nose where it shouldn’t. I know ‘Liberals’ well.

    Within a four-month period, the Clinton Administration bombed Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yugoslavia, and waged covert wars in Angola, Mexico, Columbia, and East Timor. So give me a break with your values.

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  3. What you put here is so well stated and does lack the verbal poison. Thank you for touching upon it and calling for more discourse. Billy, you actually sound like a Libertarian. I wonder why you left all 3rd parties out of your incredible post.

    I am a fiscal conservative/social moderate with liberal leanings…

    I live in a state that was going to vote Trump. Period. Red…BLOOD RED!!! I knew all our electoral votes were going that way. I could not, however, vote for either major candidate. I DID vote Libertarian if for no other reason than to add 1 more vote to the “we need more alternatives” bucket. That and my socio-political ideals are much more closely aligned to Libertarian values.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t blame you for voting for Donald, there were no choices in this election. We were literally left with the two worst candidates in American political history and you either (a) held your nose and picked one, or (b) abstained. That’s where we are.

    Like you, I’m an independent. Both parties stink. I am “riding the blue wave” this year, and celebrating every Dem victory, because we elected an unprincipled, authoritarian demagogue and he needs to be stopped. After that we can afford to get back to the business of picking good leaders, in every level of government, wearing whatever label they choose. Like Steve said above, we need better choices. We don’t necessarily need a third party, though I wouldn’t be opposed in principle, we just need to get the loathsome hand of greed out of our political system. Your third party candidate will be beholden to the same big money interests as the other two, in our modern political clime.

    I think this was a marvelous post! Though I lean the other way, I have many great conversations with conservatives who listen. I also have many terrible ones with liberals who yell. And vice versa. I would love to break the labels and just talk, so I look forward to more posts like this, my brother!

    P.S. somewhere around paragraph six you inadvertently missed a set of sentences I think you meant to edit out, as they repeat exactly what you said a few sentences prior. I got your back, Superman!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the awesome feedback Tom. I fixed the error btw. You got my back!
      This post was a big step for me because of how divisive our culture is. I’m glad it came across as I wanted it to.
      Trying to spread civility one post at a time!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. TBR — you wrote: Your third party candidate will be beholden to the same big money interests as the other two, in our modern political clime.

      Have you heard of the Justice Democrats? I think you’ll find they’re not the same-old, same-old third party. Here is the first line on their Platform (https://www.justicedemocrats.com/platform) page:

      “Super PACs should be banned, private donations to politicians and campaigns should be banned, and a clean public financing system should be implemented to end the takeover of our government by corporations and billionaires.”

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I couldn’t bring myself to vote for a morally bankrupt loose cannon, but that is besides the point. Elections aren’t elections anymore, they are auctions that go to the highest bidder. It’s a tragedy that the fringe 15% dictate who the candidates are and what they stand for. I would love to see a bona fide 3rd party that represent to “middle” majority but doubt I will see it in my lifetime. The only thing I can think that could shake politicians to their senses, beside a global catastrophe that I don’t want to consider, is term limits. That way we eliminate tenured positions in Congress. They can then vote their conscience, at least during their final term. Either that or a visit from the little green men from outer space.

    The chances of either happening are probably the same

    Liked by 5 people

  6. One thing I’m learning in life is that, the longer it takes you to explain your justification for something, the less certain you are about it. That’s not a criticism of your choice, just an observation.

    You voted for Trump based on his promises, but one question I always have is how did anyone actually expect a political novice to get it all done?

    For me, Trump is racist, misogynistic, arrogant, a bad businessman and many more things. I wouldn’t put my trust in that.

    During our elections here, I voted for one side because I found the other repulsive. For me politics isn’t about voting for the side that will make the most change, but the one that’ll screw up less, lol. I’m a cynic after all.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m very certain in my choice and of the composition of the post.I am trying to stay above board, be a gentleman and not offend, which seems almost impossible. I voted for him because I hated his opponent and he cares about some issues that I do as well. He is a buffoon, no question.
      And I didn’t take it as a criticism

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Interesting that you’re still certain even now! I’m sure you’re not the only one, even though his ratings are plummeting. Don’t you think that Trump merely ‘cares’ about what he’s been told to care about? The same way most politicians do. Hating Hillary – completely get that. Trump supposedly having common grounds on your interests – that’s where I get lost.

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      2. He’s as close to conservative as I was offered for a choice. I would never vote for Hillary. It’s done. Besides this post was about labels and the infighting of Americans and getting along. If you follow American politics you must have known how opposite the candidates were btw. Not a lot of middle ground or grey area

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      3. Not a lot of middle ground, sure, but there are still some conservative leaning voters who didn’t vote for either candidate.

        Obviously, I am biased because I think Trump is a racist pig and nothing on this earth would make me vote for him, but I suspect I will never understand.

        Well, apart from the fact that the Dems needed a better candidate.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Interesting, interesting. From that viewpoint, I see why you did it, I just don’t ‘get’ it if that makes sense, lol.

        I actually covered Trump’s first 100 days on my other blog and followed it extensively before it got too depressing. At the very least, you can count on Trump and co for some entertainment every now and then.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I find what I really want to do it take apart your post piece by piece and offer an alternative thought……….and know that is not only mean-spirited of me by would also be completely missing the point of the post. We ARE divided..we hear “I voted for joe blow” and want to slap them…we want to rail at them for choosing so poorly..and that is also WRONG. HOW do we meet then? each point, while valid for each side, creates a chasm that may never be crossed and it is painful to think that way. The country I adore is on the verge of yet another civil war if not WWIII and there is no one in the senate or house listening..or even acknowledging it. I have a question, and I sincerely wish to have an answer. Why did you choose “muslim” as the example for hypocrisy? Why not Judiaism? Why not Mormonism? or why not Mennonite or evangelical Christian? ALL can be seen, quite rationally as institutions that hate homosexuality, demean women and subject young girls to marriage, sometimes plural marriages. I was right there with you on almost each and every point till then, and I hate that it is a sticking point for me. But it IS…probably because I AM a woman and I see the great benefits of true Islam (and not some small cultural/ ideological style called Islam) to women.

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    1. I didn’t single it out for any reason. I gave one example for expediency and I am particularly disturbed by tis one example. I find child marriage and sharia law terribly offensive. Sorry that bothered you it was meant to be a fair piece

      Liked by 1 person

      1. sharia law is basically what we have or are getting now..it is religiously based. The word sharia means simply “of the faith”…so the evangelicals imposing their own beliefs on the rest of America by placing all kinds of religious exemptions on the laws that are meant to prevent discrimination can be classified as Sharia. There are 12 and 13 year olds in Appalachia, Oregon, Utah, and a few southern states who are regularly married to adults. Their parents have to sign for them but the laws are still valid here and they are being utilized by the ” religious.”
        I do understand where you were coming from, I just see it as a sort of teaching moment, and not one meant to be obstreperous or argumentative. As for “fair” I would say you hit that criteria well.
        I think one of the biggest problems in trying to reach across a “political” divide is that there are terms on each side that are “inflammatory” and will immediately bring about a visceral reaction.
        I admire the fact you are trying to reach across the divide and come to an understanding with those on opposite shores (so to speak). It is an incredibly difficult thing to do.

        Liked by 3 people

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