Sunday, June 25, 2006

Our very own NRA

It has been obvious to me for some time that the further right and the further left one goes in the political spectrum, the more alike conservatives and liberals become. They don't think the same things, but they begin thinking the same way: rigid, dogmatic and intolerant. They just don't see themselves that way: "You must mean those people."

Got an education in that last night after posting my previous piece on Daily Kos to see what reaction it would get.

It was discouraging, to say the least.

I was tired. Normally, I avoid using pro-life and pro-choice (both loaded terms of spin) in favor of pro-abortion and anti-abortion. Spin it as you will, it's not about choice and it's not about life. It's about abortion. And the thread quickly devolved from the topic of whether Democrats are living up to their rhetoric about welcoming minority viewpoints under the "big tent," to finger pointing over the "intolerance" of the anti-abortion faction.

Many of the commenters in the thread as much as insisted that Democrats are the "pro-choice" party -- like they own it -- and anyone who thinks otherwise can either sit in the back of the bus or find a party they like better. It confirmed the complaints I'd heard earlier from anti-abortion Democrats.

This comment set the tone for the evening:
If you'll admit that a pregnant woman's right to life is always more important than a fetus's "right to life", and you'll follow that principle consistently, you're welcome in the tent.

Otherwise, get the hell away from me, you nutter.
And this:
If you can't acknowledge that your personal answer on this issue is not the only possible legitimate view point you have no business in the Democratic party.
I pointed out that what anti-abortion Democrats had asked for was just that. They asked that the party platform acknowledge that the pro-abortion "answer on this issue is not the only possible legitimate view point."

And this:
Do they believe it is a choice between a woman and her doctor or not?

If they don't, good riddance.
The party of Martin Luther King.

It's like Democrats having their own version of NRA "slippery slope" politics, with lifetime members who never saw a gun they didn't like or a gun law they did. "They can have my choice when they pry it ..."

The further left and the further right you go, the more alike they get.

The encouraging part was seeing comments from people -- call them moderates or progressives or pragmatists -- who saw the need for Democrats to focus on broader themes, and start by listening:
Listening isn't ratifying or legitimizing any perspective they may have, but it respects their dignity as human beings, and their right to have their own opinions. I am not talking about any single issue here, at all. I am just talking about dialogue and respect.
Respect is something you both have to earn and show to enjoy. For now, I choose to believe that the such people will be the ones to save Democrats from the curse of the single-issue groups.

There is much work to do. Note to self: brush up on Aristotle.

1 comment:

Ben said...

You wrote: "It has been obvious to me for some time that the further right and the further left one goes in the political spectrum, the more alike conservatives and liberals become. They don't think the same things, but they begin thinking the same way: rigid, dogmatic and intolerant."

I took part in that conversation. I suspect I am too the left of many of the more rigid parties to that "dialogue," but I am also more pragmatic and more open-minded. I would tend to agree that most extreme right-wingers are rigid, but I would hope that the generalization wouldn't necessarily be true for the left.

I do agree no "party" has a monopoly on rigidity. I do bellieve in showing respect. If I hope to encounter it, showing it seems the right thing to do.

Get back on the horse. ;) You're needed. And not JUST here.

Ben