Pew poll: Polarization highest in recent historyOn Facebook, my political friends are increasingly intolerant of other views. It is best to be neutral and ignore the political, or you risk having to choose sides when neither "side" is of much interest. The hatred, the name calling, the complete intolerance for "them" and a conviction that "they" are destroying this country is… destroying this country.
Two decades ago, “a lot of Democrats and Republicans said they didn’t really like what the other party was doing, but they didn’t downright worry about them and see them as a threat in the way that we’re seeing from a lot of people today,” said Michael Dimock, Pew’s vice president for research.
As a classical liberal, I'm the definition of a radical moderate. Leave me alone, and I'll support your right to be left alone. Let me be a heath-conscious, exercising, non-smoking, rarely-drinking, salad-eating nut, and I'll fight for your Big Gulp and Golden Corral fried food bonanza. Let me be with my wife and cats, and I'll fight for your right to live with any adult(s) you want. Just let me be free, too.
Republicans are not evil. Democrats are not evil. Politicians, however, of all parties… they are by definition narcissists convinced they know what's best and what must be right for everyone else. You can't be in politics and not believe, without question, your ideology. Most of us, though, are more ambivalent.
Politicians end up hypocrites, became they slip into the "ends justify the means" mindset. Decry whatever "they" do, while you have "no choice" but to do the same. Sorry, but politicians aren't most of us.
Most of us are moderates, but we're not as politically active nor are we as politically motivated. I have to admit, I can't tell you much of anything about how local governments work where we now live — though I understood California's system well enough. I can't (or choose not to) invest the time and energy to figure out the county, borough, city, township, divisions. There are boards that cross boundaries, and yet other board with other boundaries. I just don't want to invest months trying to understand who serves on what tiny little board.
Do you attend even two or three public board or council meetings a year? I don't. Should I? Probably, but politics is messy and I don't care for choosing sides every day. (Even "non-partisan" boards are highly partisan.) I don't want to hear how horrible and un-American "they" are.
It doesn't take a poll to reveal how far apart we are, with the political divides often measured in terms of miles from urban cores and Zip Code population densities. Plenty of studies bear out the urban-suburban-rural differences.
Three quarters of consistently conservative people said they’d “prefer to live in a community where the houses are larger and farther apart, but schools, stores and restaurants are several miles away.” Seventy-seven percent of consistent liberals said they’d prefer a community where “houses are smaller and closer to each other, but schools, stores and restaurants are within walking distance.”I find that curious, since my neighbors are more socially conservative than I am, but I have no desire at all to live in a city. We don't have children, but even when I was growing up in the country I would ride my bike to school. Excuse me, but "several miles" isn't a big deal if you're willing to ride a bike or walk a little.
My wife and I like our garden, our flower beds, and our privacy. But, we won't be joining a local church, attending the NRA gun fest (or whatever it is called), or listening to country music.