Sunday, March 30, 2008


More observations on the absence of nuanced opinions and policies.

Consider an exchange between the hard right and the hard left on the role of the government in assessing and managing the problems of poverty and the under privileged in our society.

Liberals think conservatives think this way:

For the conservatives the problem is the individual; anyone who is willing to work can lift themselves above poverty. All it takes is effort and determination. The good or bad fortunes of birth regarding race, family, and wealth are irrelevant. The opportunities are there for everyone who is willing to “lift themselves up by their bootstraps”. Their iconic villain is the Cadillac driving welfare queen who expects to be cared for by the government.

Conservatives believe liberals think this way:

The liberals sees things differently. For them the issue is opportunity, or the lack thereof for those born into poverty, with or without the support of a strong family unit. They believe that everyone in this impoverished class deserves the governments assistance and that not everyone has the opportunity or the resources to rise above the circumstances of their birth.
The blame everyone but the individuals for their plight.

These generalizations reflect the black and white thinking of the political extremists. The reality lies in the gray between these 2 positions. If you will allow me my own generalizations to make a point...

There are those who have achieved success in their life by hard work and discipline regardless of their circumstances of birth, and those who achieve such success only because of their good fortune to be born into a family with financial and emotional resources.

There are those who turn their back on the opportunities they have, regardless of their background, and achieve little in their lives because of their poor choices and unwillingness to do the necessary work.

There are those who lack both the resources and the opportunities, and can never achieve, or rise above their circumstances despite their willingness to “lift themselves up”.

And then there are those who despite all resources and opportunities, simply do not posses the emotional and intellectual skills to achieve any great success, but are destined, and quite willing, to work at menial or low level jobs.

We cannot paint everyone with one or two brushes. Our society has to recognize and accept the immense heterogeneity of our people and be willing to extend a hand to those who need one. If the conservatives and the liberals would stop their name calling and sit down and talk as reasonable people should, they would see that they both have a claim on the truth, and from there, compromise and progress can evolve.

The Last Stand 24x28 acrylic, shown here in B&W


Terry Banderas said...

Amen to this post. You are right on. Nice definitions of conservatives and liberals. Our politicians do need to stop this "we-they" thing and play politics like it used to be played--sit around the table and come to some agreement--even if it is over a bottle of whisky.

dog face girls said...



Linda said...

Well said!!!