Monday, March 19, 2007

Of Liberals and Conservatives

--cross-posted at my personal blog--

Does this blog title make any sense? Anyhow, for the past few weeks I have spent more time than usual with some Republicans. Though I live in Idaho, most of my friends and acquaintances are Democrats, a few are Socialists, and a few are independents. Unfortunately, this has made it far too easy to demonize Republicans. Without having multiple human faces to attach to the Republican ideology, I've caught myself, far too often, strongly disliking Republicans (except for family members and a few friends who I love and adore). I have forgotten that there are Republicans who care about the poor, who don't advocate torture, who are concerned that the War in Iraq was a big mistake, who aren't happy with George W. Bush, etc...and many of these Republicans I've spent time with even voted for some Democrats in November!

I've been thinking lately about a small transformation that has taken place the last few weeks as I've spent more and more time with some great Republicans. I've found myself less hardened-meaning when someone tells me they are a Republican, I won't automatically write them off as stupid, because many Republicans aren't stupid. Hell, I was a Republican for 21 years and while I feel that I am more informed, more mature, and more educated than I was as a Republican, many Republicans are far more informed than I, their maturity exceeds mine by leaps and bounds, and I can't even begin to approach their intelligence and education.

I guess what I've learned is that it is important that we try to surround ourselves with diversity. Not just a diversity of race/ethnicity, sex and gender, religious preference, sexual orientation, educational levels, socioeconomic status, and anything else we can imagine, but political beliefs.I've found this keeps me more honest, more focused and in a place where I continually analyze what I believe and why I believe it.

So, my Republican friends, I thank you.

"Mankind will endure when the world appreciates the logic of diversity."
Indira Gandhi

23 comments:

Blake Roberts said...

We do our best, even those of us who might not fit your "not all" descriptions.

I would bet that very few Republicans would say that they advocate torture, but their definition is likely very different from yours. By the same token, while many Republicans may complain about Bush, most of them would rather see him in office then Gore or Kerry.

So, out of curiosity, I have a question for you. What is your opinion of the Republicans who feel that Bush is too liberal?

Jessica said...

It depends what they mean by too liberal and whether they are informed about what liberal means.

Do you feel that Bush is too liberal?

Blake Roberts said...

Yes. While I am a Bush supporter, I feel that he is too liberal in several key areas; education, foreign policy, privacy, economics, and Federal Jurisdiction being among them.

Jessica said...

But what do you mean by liberal?

Blake Roberts said...

By liberal I mean that he does not act in a traditionally conservative manner.

For example, the Bush sponsored “No Child Left Behind Act” attempts to strong arm states and local communities into ceding their authority over education to the Federal Government. Traditional conservatives want less government control, and where control is necessary, for that to be maintained at the lowest level as possible. It is big government, which is not a conservative tenet. I thus deem it to be liberal.

Since President Bush favors the neo-con ideology, and since I feel the neo-cons to be more liberal (again defining liberal as not conservative) then more traditional paleocons, I thus say that he is more liberal then I would like. I concede the fact that he is more conservative then his Democratic rivals (and I am glad that he is in office and not them), but he is more liberal then I.

chad reiser said...

hmmm . . . demonize Republicans eh? Some Republicans are smart beacuse they voted against Bush, because they don't favor the war? hmm . . . let me "edumicate" you little one in a formatt that Democrats understand . . . the media . . .
click here : copy and paste the following link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LUQITclntQ

chad reiser said...

oh wait . . . maybe you want someone from CNN to tell you what is what on Iraq ... or how about a Mormon? WAIT! I know! Let's do both!
Copy and past this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqMBUn6E3lo

Republicans stupid? No, the only thing that is stupid is that people like you will sell your soul and your ideals to the left. I'm not sure if you've ever thought through the Dem's proposals on a lot of things . . . but they are the most anti-american people that I know. Weather it's bigger government, ridding the world of sexual inhibitions (which I was shocked to see that you endorse! Can we say expelled from school?) or the destruction of the American Dream, they are trying to turn America into a Socialist country.
Blake, I too agree that Bush is a bit too liberal for my liking. BUT, I support the war on Terror. I support freedom, as I'm sure that you do to.

So Jessica, umm . . . do you support having Soul Force come to our campus? Sounds like you arranged the thing ...

Blake Roberts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blake Roberts said...

Chad,

Jessica is working on her Master's degree at ISU. She was a student here, but since we do not offer graduate courses she has moved on.

Blake Roberts said...

P.S.

I mentioned this in a post a while back, but I will repost it here so that my remarks abot Pres. Bush are not misinterpreted:

"All this being said, I remain a Bush supporter (he’s not my favorite President, but I think that out side of his liberal tendencies, he is an alright guy). If I had been able to vote in either the 2000, or 2004 election, while knowing or feeling what I do now, I would vote for Bush without a second thought. I support the war in Iraq, the surge, and hope that Republicans can retain the Whitehouse in '08. I am a Republican (and more importantly, a paleo-conservative), and will remain such until a better choice comes along."

Blake Roberts said...

Dang it, I knew I should have run that past spell checker.

I await the unyielding horde of remarks about how stupid and uneducated I am to arrive at any moment.

Jessica said...

Chad, and others,

Actually I graduated from Ricks and BYU-Idaho with degrees. So no, I was not kicked out. And if you don't think I should have friends who are gay, then I have to say sorry, I am going to. Love the sinner, hate the sin?

I have no affiliation with Soul Force. I have no problems when people exercise their constitutional rights and I expect that they respect other's constitutional rights, including respecting private property rights.

I hope BYUI students use the opportunity to show Christlike love to Soul Force and I see no problem when LDS students are given a perfect opportunity to do so.

But Chad, thanks for the benefit of the doubt and showing true charity!

P.S.
Your comment flies in the face of everything Merlin Jensen said in his interview given to the SL Tribune that he was told to give by the brethren. But oh well. I guess if you don't mind offending many LDS Democrats, that's your perogative.

Jessica said...

And Chad, if you had spent any time reading what I have written on here, you would know that I have spent 7 years in school, 3 years of which have been spent in graduate coursework in the Sociology and Political Science departments.

I am currently in a Doctoral level policy course, so I think I have a pretty good grasp on what the Democratic Party is all about. I am also President of the College Democrats down here, so again, I think I know what's what in the Democratic Party, but thanks for the concern!

Jessica said...

One last thing, Chad. Do you mean "riding" or "ridding" because ridding would mean "to be free from"?

So thanks for the compliment, but the Democratic Party isn't in the business of ridding the world of sexual inhibitions, that's up to individuals. Republicans are all about individual responsibility, right?

Jessica said...

Ok, I'm not done yet.

Chad, I don't like to be edumicated by Glenn Beck, or any other talking head. I prefer to learn from experts, which Glenn Beck is not.

And Blake, I'm not quite sure how I feel about people who think GWB is too liberal. I would classify him as a neo-conservative.

Anonymous said...

Keep drinking the kool-aid, Chad, it's every bit as good for you as the father figures have assured. Veiled threats, and all.

And oh by the way, "love the sinner, hate the sin" is a complete cop-out. It does no more to make gays and lesbians feel "accepted" than the church's ridiculous policy on the matter.

Blake Roberts said...

It seems that we are once again the target of a "drive-by-flaming". For those unfamiliar with the term, it is one that I am now coining to designate the numerous anonymous postings that this website receives, whose authors seem to prefer name calling and/or antagonizing others. The word "flaming" comes from the internet usage, in which a "flame" is a post designed specifically to insult or provoke argument, with the perpetrator being the "flamer".

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=flame

Mr. Anonymous,

The Church's policies on gay’s and lesbians are not open to debate. The Church is directed by Divine revelation, and its policies are based upon that revelation.

Everyone has certain temptations that they must struggle with in life. They may come in different shapes, sizes, and strengths, but they all share one thing in common: we are expected to resist them, and when we fail to do so, we are expected to come unto Christ in repentance, that He might heal us.

Anyone in the Church who suffers from the temptation of same gender attraction is offered the same love and acceptance that any other member receives. But, like all other members, they are expected to recognize those temptations for what they are: temptations to break the commandments of God. As such, they must realize that like all other sins there are certain consequences that come, both physically and spiritually.

If they do not believe that the policies are inspired by God, and given by revelation to His servants, then quite frankly, they have no business being in this Church. The belief in modern Prophets is essential to our Church's existence, were it not so then there would be no reason to join it; it would be just another protestant wave in a sea of religious confusion.

We cannot change our doctrines to conform to the popular opinion of society; such would be a mockery of the very idea of religion. Nor can we change our doctrines because it makes a select group feel bad. Were that the case then nothing would ever be considered wrong, which would again be a mockery of religion.

There are certain things that I would like to do, I don't because I know they are a sin. I didn't join this Church so it could tell me that what ever I want to do is ok, and to absolve me of any guilt or shame associated with my actions, I joined it to teach me what the Lord wants me to be doing. I cannot pick and chose what things I like and what I dislike.

There are really just two groups within the Church. Those who want the Church's standards to conform to them, and those who want to conform to the Church's standards. The latter are ok in my book, regardless of who they are, because at least they are honest in heart, and are trying. The first group, as far as I'm concerned, needs to reevaluate why they are a member to begin with and either join the second group, or leave us in peace.

Anonymous said...

Both Chad and the other (excluding myself) "anonymous" are simply pathetic! Props to you Jessica for pursuing your education and not loosing it back at them. Likewise, props to Blake - who always seems to come back quite composed.

I would however, disagree that there is ever a need to "surround ourselves with diversity" in order to accomplish anything positive, unless of course you are in the mode of service and that is where your efforts are most needed.

I feel a major downfall of society is this falsely-proposed 'NEED' to understand/educate on differences. I have never 'needed' to be taught the methods of "safe sex" in school to know that I will abstain completely until married. Regardless how many of my friends who consistently engage in illicit sex, I know its place in God’s eyes and have/will always know abortion to be wrong.

I didn't “need” a lesbian high school teacher to teach the history of the isle of Lesbos and her path to homosexuality to know it was "Adam & Eve- not Adam & Steve!" Regardless my interactions with her, I see the political demands of homosexuals the exact same.

Living next door to a Senator who was eventually arrested after a number of domestic disturbances has done NOTHING to strengthen my personal resolve not to beat my wife, nor has it taught me to have any greater amount of respect for any member of the political party with which he aligned himself.

The list of experiences goes on and on and on!!!

While I quickly admit our experiences in life are what make us who we are. Common sense and rational thought are the result of a simple process of contemplation. We are a result of the choices that we make, not the influence of those around us.

I do believe that it matters who we associate with and I have been quite fortunate to run in some lofty circles of influence thus far in my young life: Lunch with Bill Gates; dinners with both Gray Davis and Arnold; family associates with David Neeleman and Mitt Romney; golf with Tiger and Michael Jordan; dinner with Steve Young and Jerry Rice; Meeting with the founder’s of E-Trade, HP, Apple, IBM; dot-com multi millionaire upon dot-com multi millionaire; and on and on and on. I have been VERY fortunate. But I am no more likely to hit the million dollar mark in assets by the age of thirty than anyone else! Just because I have met seven General Authorities and spent a considerable amount of time with one of them at an athletic event, makes me NO MORE spiritual than if I had never even met one of them!

Quit being a “Product of your environment.”
Have corrective surgery (ultimately becoming attractive to at least somebody other than yourself) and make your own decisions by becoming your own person!!!

Chad Reiser said...

so above anonymous person, yay for the name dropping you self-abosrbed peice of work. And really Jessica, if I cared about spelling things 100% correctly, I wouldn't try. I care much more about fighting for a cause than being "G.C." (grammatically correct).

And I'm not sure if I can be called "anonymous" because I leave both my first name and my last name and if any of you had the genious you would be a be able to know who I am, but I'm not going to lead you in any directions such as google, if you're really that dumb.

And lastly, as a BYU-I student, I think the fact that Jessica is one of the main contributors is just retarted. (Sorry if that hurts you democrats P.C. ears, but then I really don't care) Why are you waisting your time? Shouldn't you be out at some protest yelling "Bush is a war criminal" or "Bush is the devil"? I mean come on, liberals have so many "worthy" causes that you could be helping out, especially with your obvious wealth of knowledge and wisdom . . . wait . . . I take back the previous statement. I thought I could say it sarcastically, but as previously experienced on this blog sarcasim isn't something that dem's understand.

I'm glad that you can find some way to still get your kicks though Jessica. It scares me a little that you don't have enough on your plate, that you can concern yourself with the "politically charged" environment of BYU-Idaho.

And Kudo's on the Flaming comment Blake.

Chad Reiser

JamesP said...

Jessica,

You, and many other people like you, are way too caught up in labels.

The point is not to try and love Republicans despite their party affiliation. The point is to love everyone and quit boxing people in to some moniker to which no one can agree on an adequate definition.

You'd be well-served to strike the words "liberal" and "conservative" completely from your vocabulary and look at the world through those glasses. Who cares what adjective we use to describe GWB or Harry Reid or Dick Cheney or Jerry Brady? What matters are the issues, not the labels. What matters is where you stand, not where someone tells you to stand because of a label.

Blake Roberts said...

Chad,

You gave me kudos for my comment on flaming, but it should be noted that flaming does not have to be anonymous. As such, I find it somewhat funny that you would gives kudos to an article in which I spoke against flaming, but such kudos comes at the end of a flame against Jessica.

I think everyone needs to realize that we can discuss issues, debate topics, and have open dialogue without resorting to insults. Debates are often won not by who has the better points, or by how well spoken they are; but by who keeps their cool, and can express themselves without resorting to name calling or personal attacks.

Jessica said...

Being a poli sci major and a political junkie, I think it would be unwise to strike any popular political words from my vocabulary. But thanks for the advice.

Anonymous said...

Speaking for the BYU-Idaho College Democrats, we do not
believe in or endorse college boys stripping. However, some
are not so sure about the necessity of a constitutional
amendment. The majority of the group does, however, support an amendment.