In Common With Conservatives
by Robert Winter
SYNOPSIS: In a world where accustomed political categories are losing their relevance, we can probably all benefit from paying a little more attention to what we have in common. In my case, what needs more acknowledgement is the values I share with conservatives.
Try as hard as they may to capture the all-important center, neither of the major political parties seems to be doing all that good a job of addressing the values and concerns of most Americans. When centrists like me take a hard look at either party, we still tend to find significant amounts of objectionable baggage.
Part of the problem, no doubt, is the tendency of both parties to get hijacked by their extremes.
But at a more fundamental level, the whole underlying notion of a left-right divide is coming to seem increasingly arbitrary and artificial. Its almost as if were being asked to make the kind of intense emotional commitment some people form to a particular brand of pickup truck, with generation upon generation staunchly proclaiming itself to be either Ford men or Chevy men--when in actuality, most of us just want to get a good vehicle for the money.
Rather than wait for politicians to try to define some sort of new, better-fitting center for us, it would make more sense to do it ourselves.
Unfortunately, though, when we discuss our political beliefs, too many of us have fallen into the habit of simply assigning one another to the same non-helpful categories that have been handed down to us by the politicians and the media, rather than truly listening to what a person is saying about a particular issue. We have to break this cycle if we want to effectively connect with one another enough to define a newer, more grounded community of interest.
One promising place to start is by simply acknowledging to one another how often our beliefs cross over the accustomed left-right categories.
In my own case, probably the most significant inconsistency is the large number of beliefs and values I hold in common with conservatives.
(c) COPYRIGHT 2002 ROBERT WINTER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
|I think we've taken a moral wrong turn in offering abortion
|I believe that some accommodations to non-mainstream groups
have gone too far.
I consider many "progressive" approaches to education and child rearing to be misguided failures.
|I don't consider the NRA a demonic force.
|I'm not willing to trash America for the sake of the rest of
|I believe opposition to "globalization fever" could be a harbinger of other kinds of non-traditional political alliances.|