Overcoming the Party-Charged Conditioning

2009 April 27
by ruleoflawrestoration

If a man criticizes George W. Bush (Republican), then most will immediately assume that he is:

  1. a “Liberal”
  2. a “Leftist”
  3. a “Democrat”
  4. a “RINO” (“Republican in name only”)

If a man criticizes Barack Obama, then most will immediately assume that he is:

  1. a “Conservative”
  2. a “Right-winger”
  3. a “Republican”
  4. a “DINO” (“Democrat in name only”)

But could it be–and you’re going to think I’m crazy on this one—but could it just be that the critic is simply an American with a concern?  Why must every criticism must be the product of partisan prejudice?

The public’s bent for summarily labeling every critic with a derisive political label is evidence of a terrible problem in American politics.  It is as if they are saying, “OK, let’s get on with it and figure out what we can call this guy so that we can justify discounting his criticisms.”

And so it seems we are a nation of people (stereotypically speaking) who aren’t nearly as concerned with listening as they are with finding just cause not to listen.

Now perhaps this is because we have “heard it all before”.  Or so we think.  But how could we ever know if we shut a guy down the instant he criticizes something we have predetermined should be protected?

I was on a business call a few days ago–about this website–and the man on the other end said to me, “So, what do you think about President Obama so far, eh?”  I could hear the jubilant expectation in his voice, as if there was no possible way anyone could not think well of Obama.  I realized the spot I was in, for he was not going to be the type to listen without assuming more than I was saying, so I told him “Well, he concerns me a great deal, just like ‘W’ did, because he has violated the Constitution several times already in his first three months.”

There was an awkward moment.

And then I explained this new way of looking at things—not with regard to party, but with regard to whether it’s constitutional or not.  I couldn’t be sure whether he thought this was a reasonable idea or not!  But one thing gave me hope; he had looked at my website before we spoke, and he didn’t assume that I’d be against Obama!  Now I could take that one of two ways:

  1. He has considered  the Constitution and has analyzed Obama’s acts in office, and sees no conflict.  Or,
  2. He didn’t see anything on my site that seems partisan, so without me having mentioned Obama by name, he wasn’t aware of any reason I wouldn’t like him.

I’m thinking it was the latter.

Now as to this deep conditioning,  I can certainly see where the “two parties” have been at it long enough to have conditioned each other never to listen to what they’re saying.  What a shame it will be, though, if our nation utterly fails amid the petty partisan cacophony even though we had some non-Party people who had it figured out all along.

Partisanship is most certainly not about solving problems.  No, it appeals to the much baser drive simply to have something to which to “belong”.  My party, right or wrong, eh?

I, for one, hope for a smarter America than that!

Jack Pelham

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