One Progressive’s View: What is the Conservative’s Mindset? (01/07/2012)
I continue to wonder why two people basically raised in the same environment and culture, yet have stark differences in ideology. These stark differences identify one as either progressive or conservative. The conflict between the two is tearing the nation apart. I guess that I have always wanted to acquire a better understanding of the “other side”.
I had a revelation last evening while listening to National Public Radio (NPR). They are featuring a series that focuses on individual families accounts of economic survival after the great recession and how they have fared after losing employment. They were following along with these six families over a year period to ascertain their progress in returning to work and documenting the challenges each faced in the meantime. Well, there was this one gentleman, who was white, upper middle class, earning just over a six figure income within the banking industry.
He was a solid Republican, following their standard line of ineffective stimulus and overwhelming deficits, etc He was staunchly against extending unemployment benefits to those that needed them as “Them” were lazy and taking advantage of the system. After all, according to him, if you just had the proper work ethic anybody could find a job. Of course, he had the proper work ethic, which explained how he obtained relative comfort within the economy. One day as he passed by the water cooler the boss called him in to his office. There he was told that there was a reshuffling at his institution due to change of ownership.
The new owners were interested in streamlining and rightsizing its labor force and as a result there was no longer a place for him. How could this happen to me, the banker said to himself. I was always hard working and a staunch member of the “US” crowd, there had to be a place for me. So is “US” representing racial, cultural background or political beliefs? I guess ‘Them” were the minority groups, structurally poor, uneducated, etc. He was an “US”, his life paths could not possibly intersect with those of the “Them” crowd. But, as of his boss’ announcement, he was now, officially, a “Them”.
During his ordeal, he was unable to find a job that paid anywhere near what he earned previously. He was forced to set his eyes on an ever lowering standard. After all, he was among the “US” crowd, how could this be happening to him? He ended up working for $10.00/hr at a retail outlet. Perhaps, somewhere in the back of his mind it might have occurred to him that many of the “Them” out there were at one time “US”, who may have well suffered the same misfortune. At the end, he was still a staunch Republican, but he said that he now supports extension of unemployment benefits, based on his reasoning that people have to live on something. Is that so?
These people believe that they are entitled due to their hard work and belief in the ‘system’. But under many circumstances, anyone of us could find ourselves out on the street. What this fellow once thought was impossible, became possible, probable and actually occurred. We build our lives up and accumulate things, ignoring the fact that in our economic system, most of us are expendable in the interests of bottom line. It has to be a source of great anxiety to arise each day wondering if you, too, could become a “Them” with the next pink slip.
I have included this George Carlin clip to graphically emphasize my position on the true nature of our economy, and how the “man in the street’ fits in. I will have to give honorable mention to my fellow hubber, d.william, who in one of his articles
featured the clip. George Carlin is in his prime here, funny and so “appropo”. But, be warned, adult themes and strong language awaits once you click your mouse.
First Lady Michelle Obama
When Michelle Obama commented during Senator Obama’s campaign about her being as a “first in her lifetime proud of her country”, that got so much ire from the conservatives. From their perspective, I guess America is all good. Michelle should have bowed down and did due deference in acknowledgment. From her perspective and that of many of us, America is not the absolute good, it is not perfect, but is a continuing work in progress. It is still home and while it is not perfect, it is good to be here. Whatever it is that we (Blacks) currently enjoy in society has come at great cost to everyone, but mostly Black people.
You have to be a black woman or black person, generally to appreciate and understand what she had said. To think that you know more about that then someone who has worn the shoes is arrogance to the extreme. What irritates me about the conservative mindset is this blackhat-whitehat view of the world. They envision a world having clear definitions of good and evil. But most of the time, the truth always lies somewhere in the middle.
Then, there was the lady from whom we purchased our dog food for our three pedigree golden retrievers. She operated a small pet food outlet. We always went there because of great prices and selection. Not more than a month after President Obama was sworn in, she got postal. Every time I went in for a purchase, she was deriding President Obama as a socialist and usurper. How smart is it to mix politics with business?
She seemed mesmerized by the rightwing propaganda machine. I mean, I am African-American and most are aware that 95% percent of our group supported Obama, the odds are pretty good that I did as well. I just wanted a bag of dog food, not Cokie Roberts, for heaven’s sake. Well one day, enough was enough, I confronted her and her comments and asked, what are your sources to support the claim you have that Obama is not an American citizen? How is it possible that through all the vetting during the campaign and exacting procedures and investigations performed at the highest levels of our government, you and your rightwing website found something that everybody seemed to have missed?
She said, that she just knew and that the liberal media is distorting everything and fooling everybody. I asked her what evidence do you have to speak to the veracity and reliability of your source, besides you’re just saying so? Oh, by the way, I don’t want to receive any more rightwing propaganda via my e-mail service. Now that I know, what is behind her views, I asked her to stick with the dog food and spare me her political commentary. It appears that it is based upon absolutely nothing. If you do not like Obama, that is fine and is your right, but if you want to convince me of anything, provide impartial, indisputable evidence.
That is the only information I am interested in, as after all, I did not just fall from the turnip truck. Yes, I was never particularly fond of George Bush, but I certainly did use a little more discretion about the things I believed and said about him, to at least be sure that my statements had a rational basis in fact.