Against the Crown
A conversation with an Honest Conservative
Has anyone here had a conversation with an honest conservative? Not those somewhat sane types like Michael Smerconish or Andrew Sullivan that see the president as a centrist and are willing to vote for and support him. But the ones that say: “Of course tax cuts are the least stimulative measure possible, but my family’s rich and we want to keep the money.” The ones that on foreign policy don’t white wash the terrible things that our government has done or claim we are spreading freedom around the globe.
Back in the Corps I frequently discussed politics and ideology with a guy (I’ll call him A-hole) that never bought the bull shit that Frank Luntz repackaged and only supported the republicon party because they had similar goals. One time he told me that he knew that we were fighting on behalf of US corporations during the Banana Wars (The entire conflict is euphemistically referred to as “protecting US interests” in Official Marine History books) and that despite the fact that we caused a lot of problems in the region that still echo to this day- that it was justified because it was in our country’s interest.
He used this same logic for Iraq- actually first dressing down a naïve flag waver who joined in on the conversation. The flag waver dropped the WMD/Freedom Sperm line on me. And A-hole confirmed what I said, saying that “WMDs were BS,” that “we need more oil” and that we should go wherever we could to get it because our military is the biggest and baddest and he believed in the spending so that we could keep it that way.
Of course the freedom sperm guy was dumbfounded and so was I- for different reasons. I had became so accustomed to arguing with the deluded that I was never prepared to hear the argument stripped of its talking points and propaganda, and laid bare. Political discussions with him were refreshing and frightening all at the same time. Refreshing to receive confirmation that the right is deluded and it’s not just a difference of opinion- making the truth lie somewhere in between. But it was frightening to actually hear someone voice their true plans. It always made me wonder what debate would be like in this country if they would voice their true beliefs. The closest is Ron Paul, but he’s a Libertarian Conservative. (And they’re only allies to the authoritarians because they’re greedy)
Think of all the effort wasted on taking down their smears and propaganda by progressive media- and us. And then imagine if the Authoritarian Conservatives told the country what they truly believed. They would be marginalized and finally seen as fringe. Then maybe the serious debate can begin between the left and where the Democratic Party is at now (the center). I believe that, that part of the spectrum is the only range of debate that a country should tolerate. It’s the only range of debate that a country can tolerate before it collapses on its inequitable self. The war for this country’s soul is actually taking place within the Democratic Party and within the Left. Unfortunately both sides are constantly side tracked because they must deal with the republicon media machine that dominates the debate by distracting the unassuming bystanders and entertaining the naïve.
They may never be exposed for their disservice to the American people or ever tell the truth…but imagine if…
Anyway- anybody else have arguments with someone like that? And did it deflate your overall outlook on life?
Last year’s Digg scandal should be an indicator that there are indeed “sock-puppets” influencing debate among us. Since none of us are part of the KKKonservative hydra attack machine, who here really knows exactly how they are trying to undermine us? My assumption is that they would attack us on multiple fronts and calcify any divisions already present. Unless there is a momentous shift of opinion in any one direction this divide could be disastrous for the country.
We should not pollute the waters with suspicion of each other. Eventually the infiltrators will reveal themselves or be rooted out. Our problem is the very real divisions between us. They should be addressed rather than any covert actions to widen them. I originally typed a long analysis about each side of the division, and if it will hurt or help a liberal electoral agenda. But we already know that there is a division between us. It has been perceived as a divide between staunch supporters of the President, and staunch defenders of liberal principles. So obviously what happened is that the President lost us (professional leftist, firebaggers, fauxgressives, f-ing r-tards, etc…) by straying from liberal principles and compromising on every issue that mattered to us. And we nobly placed principles before personality and lambasted the President accordingly. Or something like that.
It is partly why, but mostly how many have come to different sides of the debate, but I think I can speak for many (I know who the hell am I right?) frequent critics of Obama and say that we feel that the corporatists have led our country to the brink of collapse. And we find President Obama’s incremental (one could say progressive in the literal sense) policies are not enough to strengthen our foundation when it is collapsing so quickly. President Obama could be an outstanding leader if he were President in the 90’s. Instead he may end up being our Gorbachev (Thank you Dan Carlin)- implementing policies that would have averted this disaster 15 years ago.
After 8 years of disastrous Bush policies, many of us were empowered by his calls for fundamental change of our system. We placed great expectations upon him (and he upon himself) because of the looming disaster we faced. Then he won and the euphoria began to fade as he turned to governing. I’m not blind to political and legislative realities and I understand that compromise is necessary to achieve goals and that campaign promises are broken.
But he compromised to achieve moderate reforms to an irreparably broken system - by using the broken system. I believe that there are disastrous consequences ahead as a result of the promises he broke. Primarily because our country is facing a convergence of crises and the implementation of incremental policies to address this convergence. A good analogy is a ship sailing toward an iceberg- As the ship sails closer and closer to the iceberg, the adjustments to avoid it must become more and more bold- radical.
The reality of our situation is that we need bold and radical solutions to address problems that could lead to the collapse of this nation. We face historic inequality, environmental and ecological disaster, paralleled with a decline of our civil liberties and the rise of a proto-fascist movement.
This a perfect recipe for national collapse and the gridlock caused by a fundamentally corrupt media and political establishment), has prevented us from addressing those critical issues (Both parties, although the ReThugs are wholly incorporated in to the Corporate structure).
And our military industrial complex and global empire continue to spiral out of control – depriving us of much needed funds to remedy the issues. The situation is dire and only (what are now considered) radical policies can get us out of it. I don’t hate President Obama and I don’t hate his supporters. I just feel that his policies are inadequate to address the situation.
Which brings me to the toxicity of the online atmosphere. I consider myself fair-minded and thought that perhaps I was too harsh in my assessment of his administration and afraid that maybe I was in an echo chamber of unfair criticism. So I sought good communities with a predominance of viewpoints that were different different from my own. I found one I liked and respectfully engaged members and criticized the president. But the administrator determined that I was a lying firebagging troll and banned me after editing my comments and adding his commentary about how wrong and deluded I was!
I’ve been using the internet since I was 11 and using online forums since I was 13. I have never been banned and only warned once. After a few years of lurking I just started posting here and if anyone has noticed me I don’t think anyone would say that I’ve been rude or disrespectful- let alone a troll.
I’ll admit that I'm mad about the ban and down on the place, but I understand why that community and others like it have taken off. There is a very loud and active contingent at Kos and FDL that harshly criticizes the President and sometimes disgustingly and disrespectfully so. But the answer is not for us to Balkanize and retreat to online echo chambers. My fear is that it will happen here and it may have already started.
If the President is doing something positive I want to know about. If he’s doing something that undermines the left then I want to know about it. And I want to be able to discuss the issues vociferously but respectfully, with sane people (left leaning folk of varying degrees…I don’t argue with Konservatives online because it's futile). I will not spew venom towards militant Democrats (more are needed) or pragmatic progressives. I will save my disgust and derision for the Konservatives whose utopia will lead to a disastrous end for us all.
We’re on the same side and want the same goals, but this problem goes beyond seeking different or more pragmatic paths to achieve those goals. I believe that Liberals and Konservatives have a fundamentally different view of reality. As Steven Colbert says it has a liberal bias.
I don’t believe that our division is that massive, but there is a division between our assessments of the present reality. I think it boils down to the perceived severity of the crises we face. And until we find a consensus on how dire the situation is we will remain divided.
We need to begin to bridge the divide, so I have 3 questions to ask supporters of the President in order to begin a constructive dialog here: Are we on the precipice of collapse? If so can Obama’s progressive policies correct our course?
If not has President Obama’s agenda righted a ship that has blown slightly off course?
I just don’t believe that it is possible to be an enthusiastic supporter of the President and believe that we are about to collapse. But maybe I’m wrong…
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