Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Politics - How do you stand?

So here's the question: why is it that people on both sides of the political fence tend to characterize the other in some kind of negative way. For my environment (Canada, specifically Toronto) I am definitely right of center. This has made me sensitive to the proliferation of terms that equate being on the right with being insane. And the same thing exists the other way. "Conservative Whack-job," "Pinko Liberal," "Right-wing nut," "Bleeding heart liberal."

I'm wondering why it is that we seem to be unable to respect the fact that others have different opinions than us. I have friends who are well left of where I am, but are still intelligent, decent human beings. I may think they are a little naive, or even misguided, but I know them well enough to know that their heart is in the right place. I hope they can have the same opinion about me. The problem is that this polarizing ends up leading to one of the worst things in politics - parties automatically gainsaying what the other person says, regardless of its merit.

For a good example from up here in Canada, some years ago, Pierre Trudeau, then Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal party wanted to introduce Free Trade with the USA. The PC party (Progressive Conservatives, for those not familiar with Canadian political terms) were dead-set against it. Some years later, Brian Mulroney, leader of the PC part proposed... yep. Free Trade with the USA. So, not only was the party that was strongly against something 10 years before now for it, but also, the very party that thought this legislation was the cat's ass a few years ago was up there saying "This is the worst idea in the history of bad ideas."

How can a rational human being trust either of these parties? I mean, what they stand for depends on who is in power, and what that guy stands for, far more than anything they believe for themselves. Note to the parties in question: We're on to you.

But really, is there any topic more divisive, with the possible exception of religion? Next time you read about/talk to someone with a very different viewpoint than you have, stop and think about what they are saying before you dismiss it out of hand because they are a "Whatever-Wing Whatever." Some of the most brilliant people in history have come from both sides of the political spectrum, while at the same time Stalin was an extreme lefty to Mussolini's extreme right.


  • Man, it figures someone with your political orientation would have NO CLUE what they are talking about.



    By Anonymous Jorge, at 12:10 AM  

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