OK, so my experiment of people indicating what they respect, admire or even like about their ideological counterparts was a bit messier than I anticipated. The fact that there was some friction wasn’t surprising, but I had the crazy notion that somehow people would just play along for the hell of it.
The question you might ask is, why? Why did I do this? To increase traffic on the blog? Certainly, I didn’t expect 71 comments. I would have been happy with 10.
Did I want to reach some consensus between both sides of the ideological fence? Yes, sort of, but not as a way of compromising one’s beliefs. My objective was to (hopefully) point out that despite our sometimes bitter differences, most of us are average, decent folks with similar basic human needs: security, freedom, a comfortable living, etc.
Alex thought that my question was too-ideologically centered: Like everybody else, I have “neighbor, co-worker, family member” (s) who hold opposite views than mine, and whom I either admire or respect for traits that are not ideologically-based. I totally agree that there are traits we admire and respect in others that having nothing to do with political parties or “left or right”. But the essence of who were are is based to a large extent on our ideology, whether on the individual or group-level. A properly formed personal ideology is arrived at only after much independent thought and careful consideration. In fact, I would venture to say that’s how most of us came to be liberals, conservatives, libertarians, etc. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having an ideology. That doesn’t mean, however, that we give up on our common sense that we used to arrive at our core set of values. In this polarized day and age, we’ve become too entrenched in our ideologies and have forgotten how to think for ourselves.
Based on the limited sample in the comments, there’s still much bitterness, personal and ideological, to get over on both sides. Despite the near free-for-all that ensued in the comment thread, I was able to get some good stuff, even if I had to dig for it or turn a perceived negative into a positive.
Here’s what Republicans/Conservatives either liked, respected, admired or just plain tolerate about Democrats/Liberals:
- Sensitivity, creativity and artistic talents (great interior designers, make-up artists, choreographers); supportive of helping the less fortunate and rooting out discrimination.
(An aside: I wasn’t going to single anyone’s comment out, but I have to give kudos to Jorge Costales for being the only person to following my desired format and providing the most unbiased and thought-provoking response. The helping the less fortunate and rooting out discrimination comment was his.)
Here’s what Democrats/Liberals either liked, respected, admired or just plain tolerated of their counterparts:
- Personal responsibility, self-sufficiency and perseverance, civic-oriented and willing to help others; fiscal prudence and support of personal freedoms.
To me, the common theme that jumps out is one of helping/assisting others. Not surprising in the least. You could even draw a thread between personal freedom and helping the downtrodden. Or maybe perseverance and being a skilled and successful artist, for example.
A thought crossed my mind while Alex and George were jostling back and forth about the Constitution: did the Founding Father share the same ideology. I’m no expert on the Founding Fathers, but it’s unlikely that a group of highly intelligent men could share the same political and even philosophical thoughts. They did agree on one thing, however. On what the burgeoning Republic needed, not just to survive, but to prosper. Who knows? They may have even tried some version of my exercise. Is there a group of people in the early 21st century that can put aside ideological differences and concentrate on what America needs to continue our unparalleled record of prosperity? I think so, but it’s time for them to make themselves known. Perhaps we can help.