Vail Daily column: Uniting against ironic conformity
August 10, 2015
"Just look at what the Republicans have done!"
"I think the Democrats have done more!"
"Yeah? Republicans are responsible for national parks, national monuments and national forests."
"Democrats are responsible for the departments of Energy, Education and Transportation."
"Republicans created the EPA, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act."
"Democrats created the G.I. Bill, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Civil Rights Movement."
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"Liberal is just a code word for socialist!"
"Conservative is just a code word for fascist!"
"You're drinking too much Kool-Aid!"
"No, you are!"
"I know you are but what am I."
Good grief, children. Get a grip.
Why must every single issue affecting Americans today — whether it's lion-killing dentists or a silly flag or a white cop shooting an unarmed black male — be instantaneously defined as a conservative or liberal issue?
We've been led by popular media to believe there is only one room and that it contains exactly two corners. Ignoring the geometric impossibility, we are told that each of us must be either conservative (Republican) or liberal (Democrat), and there is no room available for any other type of individual thought.
Being one or the other is nothing more than a temporary description of an individual based upon a broad brush stroke of emotion towards a particular issue at a particular moment in time.
Many seem to be completely unaware that our brains provide us with the capability of "switching sides" upon the very next issue or at the very least being somewhere in the middle.
Neither side is correct all of the time, especially when it comes to important issues like taxes, the environment, social programs, racism, sexism, patriotism, religion, gay marriage, best football teams and preferred beer choices on a hot summer day.
Besides, anyone with more brains than a Trump supporter knows it's the Broncos, the Cowboys and whichever beer is coldest.
And on a local level, whether or not a conservative is capable of actually conserving anything or a liberal is capable of thinking for themselves is irrelevant.
For all I care you can call yourself a non-theist conservative who is pro-life but loves the death penalty and condemns social programs while promoting free health care for all (sort of an ideological Long Island iced tea).
Everyone has two basic choices from birth all the way to the point the heart stops and life ceases to exist. You can either, one, accept things as they are, or, two, work to change things.
Whether we choose to stand up and fight over any particular issue or lie down in appeasement is completely up to us individually, but either way, failing to do one guarantees the other's inevitability.
The choice is yours, and yours alone, leaving the only honest answer to the question, "Are you a Republican or Democrat" as: "Yes."
You can be both or neither.
I anxiously await your stereotyping condemnations.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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