Friday, November 05, 2004

It seems the Democratic Party is in some deep trouble
After the 2000 election, many pundits theorized that the Democratic Party was going to either totally collapse, or something like it. The theory was, that after losing first the House, and in 2000 both the Senate and the presidency, and having no comprehension of the reasons, they would have to fight amongst themselves until a viable, new-looking party emerged. Well, they didn't do that, and they're in much deeper trouble now.

The evidence is everywhere. Keith points to it here and here, my editor told me that she received my column along with two others on the same topic, Glenn Reynolds has been mentioning it all day, and my brother mentioned today that he and Jake had a conversation on this topic last night.

The problem is, liberals do not get conservatives. As The Backseat Philosopher points out: "Many Democrats think that our patience and understanding are our weakness...Actually, no. Our error is that we Democrats are far less understanding than we think we are. Our version of understanding the other side is to look at them from a psychological point of view while being completely unwilling to take their arguments seriously. "Well, he can't help himself, he's a right-wing religious zealot, so of course he's going to think like that." "Republicans who never served in war are hypocrites to send young men to die. " "Republicans are homophobes, probably because they can't deal with their secret desires." Anything but actually listening and responding to the arguments being made."

And he's absolutely right. What other conclusion is there to make from a poster that says "F*ck Middle America," or, "I'm Ashamed to be an American," makes me sad. (And no, it doesn't make me ashamed to be an American -- nothing could ever do that.) It shows a complete lack of tolerance and understanding. These people have convinced themselves that they are compassionate, caring about those less fortunate than themselves, and that their political beliefs are therefore more valuable than anyone else's. They never consider the fact that maybe I do care about the poor, or those who are discriminated against. My opposition to federal education spending, for example, is not because I don't care about those who haven't had the benefits I have -- it's because I think education should stay entirely on the local and possibly state levels. I don't want Roe v. Wade overturned because I'm sexist and don't care about women's rights -- I want it overturned because I belief that abortion is murder, if I can't get it banned I want it decided state-by-state, and because I think Roe v. Wade is a bad decision constitutionally speaking. I don't want taxes cut because I'm selfish, or because I'm trying to grind the poor and unemployed into the dirt -- I want lower taxes because I think big government is inefficient, and leads to restraints on liberty, and because more money in the hands of individuals leads to a stronger economy and higher employment. And so on.

But if I discuss these ideas with liberals here at Yale, with a very few exceptions, I'm constantly told how awful it is of me to feel that way, how I must have been brainwashed by someone, or that I'm just hiding my real agenda with those explanations. It's amazing how often someone tells me "I don't get it. You're such a nice guy, and yet you're a Republican." At some point, this type of liberal will be forced to come to grips with the fact that a large portion of us are good people -- just as many as can be found among Democrats.

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