All stereotypes unfair to everyone
“You, sir, are a Republican jackass.”
My, my, this was certainly going to be an entertaining family dinner.
“And just what,” I inquired, “has you assuming I am a Republican?”
It was a local eatery, weekend crowd, complete with plenty of Friday Afternoon Amateur Club members, one of whom was accosting me in the entryway.
“Cuz of all that conservative crap you’ve been writing “bout lately. It’s obvious.”
“What is obvious?”
“That you’re a Republican!”
“No, I am not a Republican, but I play one on TV,” I responded while turning away and following my wife and kids into the restaurant.
And that, my friends and enemies alike, is what’s wrong with stereotyping and gross generalizations when it comes to politics.
No, I don’t mean the apparent over consumption of alcohol by FAAC members possessing ideologies based upon the size of ones blood-alcohol content (and I forgave the oxymoronic content of his opening line), but the discriminating mental representations applied with a broad brush to those willing to share opinions.
On top of that, it just ain’t fair.
All conservatives do not vote Republican any more than all liberals vote Democrat or all snowboarders say “Duuuude!” However, to hear either side tell the truth as they see it in Delusionville, we have the following:
All Republicans are bigots, racists, sexists, anti-semitic, homophobic, narrow-minded, greedy, wealthy, evil; full of ignorance, hate, rage, frustration, blame; and lacking responsibility, intelligence, justice, understanding and compassion.
They want to destroy our form of government and our environment, oppress our people, force old people to die quicker, welfare recipients to rot sooner, school lunches to be taken away from hungry children and medicines away from sick seniors, to be mean and nasty to minorities and women, destroy our national parks, plot to establish a New World Order dictatorship, trade American lives for oil in the Middle East and establish concentrations camps for those who disagree.
All Democrats are atheists, socialists, constantly ill-informed, impractical, hate things like logic and intellect, think free speech only applies to those who agree with them, are baby killers who want to steal government money to afford fancy private schools for their own, purchase senior votes by making promises they can never keep, want to keep minorities dependent on government in some warped sense of fairness, want to crush individual initiatives, let terrorists run free and can’t wait until all countries, not just all Arab nations, have nukes.
They do not understand the true nature of any terrorist threat, and are more preoccupied with rights for illegal aliens than homeland defense for their own children while their dark, socialistic hearts have switched the concepts of “right vs. wrong” and “good vs. evil” from the realm of religion to the playground of politics.
They yearn for government to replace the church as the main institution of charity and good-deeds, therefore anyone who opposes the use of government to enact whatever the latest and greatest feel-good idea to help the weak and the meek must, by nature, be evil.
Aside from that, they are well-intentioned but naive.
Come on, folks, we need to accept the fact that some liberals simply hate all conservatives and some conservatives simply hate all liberals, but neither group should be so simply defined by its extremes as listed above. Nor should either side be pigeon-holed as a guaranteed vote for any political party, candidate or issue.
Very few truly believe any of those shouting extreme nonsense like “King Bush: Jail to the Thief” or “Ketchup Kerry: The slowest drip money can buy.” Just because some conservatives support the death penalty but oppose abortion does not make all conservatives hypocrites; but yes, some of them are. Just because some liberals demean the death of an American soldier does not mean that all liberals want America to be punished in the eyes of the world; but yes, some do.
Accept the view that extremism will never completely disappear. In fact, sometimes it is the very first step toward progress. But a firm grasp of moderation when it comes to the rhetoric of political discourse can hold the rest of us securely on terra firma for a long time to come.
Vote however you see fit, remembering that true Americans are held together by shared ideas and ideals but most of the time refuse to allow stereotypes to overrule common sense.
Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com