Politically opinionated

I don’t like to share my political opinions because so many of them require explanation and some also require a prior understanding. Those with neither think I don’t have either. It also requires a willingness to understand, which a lot of my critics simply do not have. Sadly too many people, both on the left and on the right are only interested in tearing into each other over any perceived difference they can demonize. That’s how the country became so divided, and we’re going to have to find a way to get over that–or it is only going to get worse.

I recently pointed out that Trump was the only candidate of the four remaining on election day who actually promised to ruin things for several different groups of people, though of course he didn’t realize that’s what he was saying. Just pushing and rushing the pipelines through North Dakota would do that, and that’s just one of many phenomenally bad ideas he’s doing anyway against wiser council. I said that at least I didn’t want to ruin EVERYthing for EVERYone, and someone called me a radical leftist just over that. So how much more radically left is it when I don’t want to ruin ANYthing for ANYone? We’re talking about people’s lives and livelihoods here, as well as a shared global environment and limited resources for now and forever. That means we should employ careful consideration. Denying there is even a problem is not a solution.

Some of my political positions don’t even count as opinions because they’re not that rigid. That’s just how I see things right now. I’m always open to improve my understanding in any area of interest, and I freely admit I have room for that in this area.  So if you disagree with my position, say so: give me your reason why and I’ll listen before I decide whether I agree. But judging me over it with generalizing pejoratives is not a counter argument, and has no ability to convince any reasonable person to change their mind. Don’t justify doing that to me by asserting that the other side [of whatever position] does it worse than you do. Even if that we true, that wouldn’t justify you doing it.

They say haters gonna hate, and I’ve seen a lot of comments from people who are either dismissive without reason or seemingly determined to find where they think I’ve contradicted myself. But I really haven’t. I don’t think I said anything here that is unreasonable or not supported by mainstream data. But I have been accused of making up all these headlines, graphs, charts and political commentary–as if this is what I want everything to imply. Really I’m just citing the data I’ve seen. I can’t argue against the facts that I’m already aware of, but some of my critics will.

Somehow a lot of people missed the point of this video entirely. I’m trying to get people to understand that there are more than two extremes. But many of my critics seem unwilling or unable to understand nuance. Instead everything is hyperbole. Oh you don’t like Trump? That means you love Hillary! You’re not in the exact same position as me on every issue? Then I’m way away from you, and you’re all the way on the other side from me–on this and every other issue too. It’s a false dichotomy. That’s how we stay divided. We’re going to have to apply some thought to our politics and stop our Pavlovian knee-jerk reactions whenever we hear certain labels or concepts.

If I’m talking about religion with someone who doesn’t agree with or understand my position, (usually the same thing) then they say I’m lying. If I’m talking about politics with someone who doesn’t understand or agree with my position, they say I’m biased (which is never the case) or that I’m ignorant. I think I’m justified in objecting to that because so many of the criticisms against me were already addressed in the video or post that they’re are complaining about. So it usually isn’t me who missed the important information. For example, I didn’t make up the charts showing Obama and Hillary on the right wing of the political spectrum. I’m just citing a consensus of sources who all put them on that side, in the absence of any reliable source to indicate otherwise.

Yes, I called Trump a fascist. There are several mainstream media sources and prominent political voices saying so too. But more important than anyone’s opinion is that is that there are also criteria to determine that classification, and he seems to meet them. So I think that label is a fair one. Obviously a lot of other people do too–even in Germany. I probably still wouldn’t have called him that here except that Dennis Prager says he’s against fascists, and he somehow thinks they’re on the left that he hates so much. There’s an appreciable irony in that he seems to have voted for a fascist out of his own ill-informed assumptions and irrational prejudice.

That’s what this post is trying to address, the irrational prejudice. I always wondered as a boy why it was that we weren’t supposed to talk about religion or politics, that such discussions were automatically ruled impolite no matter the intent or tactic even before we begin: as if there is no way to have a respectful or courteous discussion on either topic. Now of course I see that the problem is that politics is often just as irrational as religion is. But it is not that way for me.

I’ve said on stage that people make a mistake when they vote for someone who is strong in their convictions or firm their beliefs. Because being unreasonably opinionated is exactly why you should NOT vote for that person. Because it means they’ve already decided your fate and aren’t going to pay attention to anything or anyone that says they’re wrong . If someone is going to rule over or judge other people, you want that person to be someone who can be reasoned with, who will question their own initial assumptions, and even change their minds in light of new information–vetted for reliability of course. We see very little of this in American politics. That’s another reason why I chose to run for Texas State Senate.

We know the religious right got where they are by electing their own at every level of government, often voting however their church told them to–even though that is a violation of their tax-exemption status. Reasonable people need to run too and replace the incumbents already holding every seat of power. We have to do this against all odds, or else our current degradation will be a perpetual situation and never improve.

left-versus-right-infographic
It’s a big image. Click to see it at full size.

So I have to object to this demonization of the left. There are two halves of this country; not just one. The United States can’t be exclusively right wing, where it is all about the power of corporations and influence of the super rich. We have social programs we need to work on too, education, roads, regulatory agencies, etc. We can’t go the route of privatizing schools and prisons. It is all too obvious where that will lead.

Being in the political quadrant that I am, opposite that of every president we’ve had over the last few decades really means that I’m looking out for the little guy while keeping an eye on the big guys. The Authoritarian Right, it seems, just wants to allow the big guys to do whatever they want–even if that means the destruction of the middle class and everything that gave the United States the highest standard of living once upon a time. Preserving or restoring that should be our goal, and most of the solutions there are to do the very opposite of everything the GOP has been doing and wants to keep doing.

I was actually hopeful a year ago–when I voted for Bernie in the primaries. I thought we were finally going to start putting the brakes on our fossil fuel emissions, finally going to invest in cleaner greener energy. And we were finally going to have health care I could actually afford. By raising taxes slightly but cutting out the gouged insurance premiums altogether, we’d all actually be paying less than we are now, and our prescriptions would cost less too–just like every other developed nation. Imagine how disappointed I am now, where instead of putting on the brakes, we’re stepping on the gas and sailing right over that precipice.

So if I were to change my script at all, I should have extended my rant against what the right have been doing in recent years. There’s lots more significant complaints I could have listed about that. Yes, I know the extreme left has some problems too. Those should be addressed as well, and that should best be done from within, I think. But they are nothing compared to the threat that the right has been in recent years and all the permanent damage they’re doing now. Things, (and by that I mean virtually everything) are going to get a lot worse before this next election. The chances are slim that it will ever get any better after that, but it will take a concentrated effort if that is ever to happen.

This is where Democrats disappoint me too. I have never identified as a Democrat, but I’m running as one because there is no hope of me winning anything on a third party ticket. I blame the DNC more than anyone for electing Trump. They should have learned a painful lesson, and their party should be in shambles awaiting anyone to take it over. But those in charge are resisting reformation. They’re certainly not “the Resistance” they promised to be–not after so many Democrats voted to confirm all of Trump’s appointees. I can’t believe they confirmed DeVos for education today, despite her incompetence in incapacity and her admission that she will neither conform to or enforce the rules of that position.

I’ve said many times that I don’t agree with anyone about everything, and it would be unreasonable to expect any two people to agree on everything. But they don’t have to, and they don’t have to hate each other over it either. There are usually ways to negotiate or otherwise work a way through that. For example, one of my oldest friends is a Republican party delegate who may also be running in this next election, albeit in a different district. I asked him to help me build a campaign that won’t be as polarized or divisive as my critics on the interwebs tend to be. One of the few things he and I still agree on are that the establishment of both parties need to be replaced and the parties themselves need to be reformed. It’s a strange alliance, but whether he and I are elected or not, we’ll both be working together on that. Because what we’ve seen on either side recently is myopic madness.

 

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