You May Call Me a Dreamer, But I’m Not the Only One

imagineI’ve had this crazy idea for some time that one of the reasons women claim they’re not really “political” is because all the air has been sucked out of any space that even tries to see more than one side of an issue.

Cable news shows tend to focus on just one side of the political spectrum.  On shows that try to present more than one viewpoint, so much yelling and disrespect and contentiousness abounds that I often can’t be bothered because no one is listening to what anyone else is saying — it’s just about who can be the loudest or most obnoxious when making their shouting points.

There’s enough yelling and discord in my house already when it comes to homework, play dates and green vegetables — who has time or energy trying to talk with someone else who will never listen?  I know lots of people who feel that way, but there seems to be a trend appearing that makes me nervous and has me wondering where we’re headed if we all don’t try to insist on a new approach.  Things like:

– The recently proposed GOP “purity” pledge.  (Of course, maybe they’ll have one of those “purity” balls to go with it)!  If you’re a Republican and you can’t double pinkie promise that you’ll never deviate from these principles, the party doesn’t want you.

– The New York 23rd Congrssional District race where the likes of Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh railroaded the Republican candidate out of the race because she was too moderate and helped install an uber-conservative candidate they liked better (he was so much more “pure”), even though he didn’t live in the district.  Fortunately, their efforts were thwarted when the spurned Republican endorsed the Democrat, helping him win the seat.

– The recent failed recall effort of a California Assemblyman who dared to cast one vote against his party and felt immediate conservative wrath.  Anthony Adams voted with Governor Schwarzenegger for a budget increase because  to do so meant that many who were owed money by the state would get “paid”  with IOUs indefinitely and more services would be cut statewide.  His decision brought an immediate recall effort, though it failed when a judge ruled that there were too many invalid signatures on the recall petitions.

Adams was viewed as a conservative renegade because he deviated from the Republican playbook one time.  Adams remarked in the a Washington Post article about his saga:

“This Taliban mentality: it’s trying to get rid of people in our party. It makes it impossible to grow the party.”

So when I’m feeling the way I know others feel — worn down by the political propaganda that tries to pass for political discourse — I think there’s got to be a better way.

Some other people I know feel the same way. Others think I’m a little out of my mind to believe we can ever get to a place where politics can ever really be a discussion.  Either way, I feel like if we don’t try, the so-called purists may start to gain some traction.  When a political party isn’t open to having members who can respectfully disagree on some things and don’t have to be in ideological lockstep, the hairs on the back of my neck go up.  When words like “purity” and “loyalty” start getting tossed about in connection with intolerance for those who don’t do as they are asked (or told) on the political stage, I start feeling a little queasy.

Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I have a vision that there are some of us who can cultivate something better than flame-throwing, name-calling politi-hate that passes for debate today.  I bet if a few Democrats, and maybe even a few more unafraid Republicans, came out and openly supported what California Assemblyman Anthony Adams had the nerve and the courage to do — voting his conscience rather than his party’s dictates — we could find more people out there who share my dream.

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8 Responses to “You May Call Me a Dreamer, But I’m Not the Only One”

  1. Chris Wysocki Says:

    Ask Joe Lieberman about ideological purity!

  2. PunditMom Says:

    ACK! Don’t me started on Lieberman! I just wish true compromise was possible these days, as opposed to the kind of faux compromise Lieberman is after. Also, regardless of party affiliation, any lawmaker who holds something hostage, as Lieberman has done, for their own self-promotion should be voted out of office.

  3. Wendy Says:

    Joe “Whichever Way the Wind Blows” Leiberman has to go! Watching him switch sides so often is like being in the cheap seats at a tennis match!

    Anyway, weren’t these leaders (on both sides) elected to act on behalf of their constituents – not of their party or of multi-national corporations?? We as voters have allowed them to get away with it. Something’s gotta change!!

  4. PunditMom Says:

    That would be refreshing, wouldn’t it? But as long as these guys (and women) get elected because of corporate lobbyists, they’ll take their side over ours. Is it a coincidence that Lieberman is from a state with tons of insurance companies and he doesn’t want to agree to any legislation that would hurt them?

  5. Debbie Owensby Moore Says:

    That’s why I believe lack of effective campaign finance reform is the true root of most problems in Washington.

  6. Lisse Says:

    When I first started getting into politics and political commentary, my motto was “elevate the debate.” I’ve kind of given up on that, because the democrats have generally played nice and too often get trampled on for it.

    It’s been entertaining to watch the Grand Outrage Party implode in recent months. Obama’s election facilitated the collapse of their “Big Tent” illusion once and for all. With the “purity test” it’s official, they’re eating their young. Now Mitt Romney would likely pass that purity test (such a loaded choice of words, isn’t it?), but will the religious extremists of the party run him out on a rail for being a Mormon, again?

    The nastier and more exclusive they get, the more it makes Democrats look like the moderate alternative, and that’s just fine with me.

  7. Kristen Says:

    I keep hearing about the Great Outrage Party imploding in the last 9 months and it is always with glee. Pundits are quick to point out that only 20 percent of America now associates itself with the Republican Party. The joy in their voice is always evident. Funny thing is, with all the Republican flight, the numbers of those associating themselves with the Democratic party hasn’t risen.

    What’s the reason for the flight? Call me crazy, but the flight is happening because “Republicans” feel their party isn’t standing up to the egregious spending and is actually part of the problem. Were it so simple that the CA Republican was voting to make sure that old bills got paid.

    If your representative you voted into office voted against one of your core values, you would be angry. They aren’t in office to do what they think is right. They are there to do what their constituents wanted them to do. If they do not, what is wrong with their constituents turning on them? Who cares if the Republican Party gets all up in arms about how one party member votes because absolutely no one is listening to them right now anyway. Democrats are fools to think otherwise.

    You wrote a perfectly valid post arguing for discourse and you made it null-and-void with not-so-subtle references to Hitler in reference to the Republican Party. In one single line you made the argument emotional rather than factual. And unfortunately, that makes someone react like you would. I turn off the t.v.

  8. PunditMom Says:

    The Hitler/Taliban reference was far from emotional. There is definitely a vocal handful of conservatives who are stridently in favor of political purity and loyalty. Such talk can only make me think of people like Hitler who demanded the same. It’s a very slippery slope. I am certainly not comparing the entire GOP and many in the GOP have spoken out against this. But when you have a few people who are so extremely intolerant, and they start to get some traction and some followers, we know from history it’s a dangerous path. Just ask people who used to live in the large cities in Afghanistan.

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