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What determines our ideologies?  Why do wealthy liberals like Seth MacFarlane and Warren Buffett support higher taxes for the wealthy?  Why do straight liberals care about gay rights?  Why are liberal men pro-choice?  Because while they do care about themselves, they also care about others; they're compassionate, they're empathetic.  

I'm currently working on a local election for a Democratic candidate (who is the incumbent) and I spend a lot of time talking with undecided voters.  I was talking to one voter the other day and our conversation was rather upsetting.  I was telling him about the candidate's accomplishments such as securing funding for parks and aquatic centers, opening new police stations and fire departments, and putting in place a tax-freeze for senior citizens.  His response to the senior tax-freeze was, "Do I look like a senior?"  I was caught off guard.  I told him that although he's not a senior now, he will be one day, and that I assume that there are seniors he cares about.  He was upset that his tax dollars were being used to fund community centers that he didn't use.  He complained about how children from low-income families were fed breakfast and lunch at school for little or no cost to them.  

Then it hit me -- this gentleman only cares about himself.  Conservatives couldn't care less about their communities.  Their only concern is how policies will affect them personally.

Conservatives hate the idea of government-run healthcare, yet they don't want to see cuts to their Medicaid/Medicare benefits.  They oppose free and reduced lunch programs for kids, unless it's for their kids.  

I attended a rally outside Senator Ted Cruz's Dallas office today to protest his vote against the recent background checks bill.  Right-wing blogs advertised that "Obama's army was targeting Ted Cruz for defending the Constitution," so there was a counter-protest (they called themselves the "Cruz Crew").  We were rallying for background checks.  Our position was that while background checks may not stop all gun violence, even if they prevented one gun death, it would be a success.  Our opponents were rallying for their guns.  Not the wellbeing of their communities or the safety of their school children, but for THEIR guns.  

Progressives/liberals/Democrats/lefties/(whatever you want to call them) are communitarians.  Progressive men advocate for women's reproductive rights, even though it may not affect them.  Progressive heterosexuals support rights for homosexuals, even though gay marriages wouldn't necessarily benefit heterosexuals.  Wealthy progressives are perfectly fine with paying a little more in taxes if it means the wellbeing of their fellow citizens would be insured.  

It makes sense for people to want better lives for themselves and their families, but when that's all they care about, that's where the problem is.

I'm a gay male.  I will never get pregnant.  I will never impregnate a woman.  Yet I will still fight for a woman's right to choose when to reproduce.

I'm a Christian.  Saying "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance doesn't offend me.  Seeing the 10 Commandments in public places doesn't make me personally uncomfortable.  However, I know it's not right for the government (whether federal, state, or local) to endorse a specific religion.  I am not a Muslim, but I don't think it's fair, just, or sensible to profile Muslims at airports.  If a Muslim community center were proposed in my neighborhood, I would encourage it as it would benefit the community as a whole.

I am Caucasian.  Racial affirmative action does not benefit me, in fact, it decreases my chances of acceptance to education institutions and in the workforce.  But I recognize that there has been systematic oppression of minorities since the dawn of western civilization.  Giving individuals of African, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander and Native American descent won't help me out, but it's a step in the right direction to right our wrongs.

I care about other people than myself.  I care about people that are different than me.  I care about women, African Americans, Latinos, heterosexuals, atheists, Republicans, etc.  That's what makes me a progressive.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Being a liberal means never having to say (6+ / 0-)

    "Both sides do it."

    Being a conservative means saying it constantly.

    "I wonder why Congress again in a new poll out today--11% approval rating. (It's) because they don't work for us. They work for the sons-of-bitches who pay them." Cenk Uygur

    by Dave in Columbus on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 02:39:25 PM PDT

  •  When the "Reagan Revolution" (8+ / 0-)

    rolled in ("steamrolled"?) in the 1980s, among other things, it set out consciously to destroy any notion of common or collective well-being in the public consciousness.

    That systematic meme-ing is going to be one of the biggest fronts progressives wage their struggle on.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 02:40:37 PM PDT

  •  You are mostly correct, I think. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    The difficulty comes when you encounter genuinely caring and thoughtful people who are also conservatives. My dad-in-law is one of those. Limbaugh listener; Reagan worshiper; the whole nine yards. Boggles the mind!

    There are no second class citizens in America, and there are no second class marriages in America. - Eleanor Holmes Norton

    by Captain Sham on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 03:09:20 PM PDT

    •  I have people in my family who are caring (5+ / 0-)

      and thoughtful people - but only to the extent that they care about people they know or people who are like them and they demonize the "other".  

      I also met up with an old friend last winter who had moved across the country several years ago.  She was a great Mom, had a terrific sense of humor, and was very generous with her time and talents in helping others.  I was shocked to find out that she had a serious case of Obama Derangement Syndrome. She sent me several emails full of nonsense, including racist rants against not only the President, but also the First Lady.  At first I tried to respond with facts - but the more I sent, the worse the replies became.  I finally admitted defeat and wrote her off.

      So I think it's not that conservatives can't be generous and caring, it's that they limit the concern to their own tribe.  

      Senator Portman can only support gay rights because his son is gay.  Do you think if one of his children were a victim of gun violence, he could support gun safety, or if his wife were raped, he could support protections for women, or if one of his parents were fleeced by a bank, he could support the Consumer Protection Act?

      “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

      by ahumbleopinion on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 03:52:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent point! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        And it actually does apply to father-in-law, now that I think about it. He's suspicious that my daughter might be gay, because: at almost 20, she's never had a boyfriend (her choice); she attends a women's college (a great choice); and she has chosen to major in film studies. My response to him is "and what if she is"? I think his love for her would be somewhat diminished were that to be the case. She would be "other".

        There are no second class citizens in America, and there are no second class marriages in America. - Eleanor Holmes Norton

        by Captain Sham on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:49:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  enlightened self-interest (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radmul, blueoasis

    vs. every man for himself

  •  Then we need to frame it differently (3+ / 0-)

    for the conservative-leaners.  

    The reality is, that not helping people in poverty doesn't "make them go away".  Not funding our schools doesn't "take care of itself".  Failing to provide affordable health care isn't "without cost".  Not protecting the environment isn't "free".  Cutting taxes for billionaires is made up by somebody.  

    Conservatives need to realize that what they THINK is in their self-interest often isn't.

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 04:33:42 PM PDT

  •  I think the conservative mind has been twisted (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JGibson

    by things like Limbaugh and Beck and Fox News.  They are the Goebbels of our age and you see what he did in his time.  Let's remember that conservatives started Planned Parenthood, Republicans fought the civil war to free slaves.  Our modern media and the Christian Evangelical movement has preverted our democracy and hijacked the Conservative movement.  We have not done a good job of exposing what this whole thing is about....money.  God said "Money is the root of all evil" , we have done a poor job of shoving that down Conservatives throats.  

  •  Most of the things.... (0+ / 0-)

    ....that you say "do not benefit" liberals actually do benefit them.

    For instance, my life is definitely better if gay and lesbian friends and acquaintances are happy, and not miserable. It is better if the person best suited for a job gets that job, without barriers of race or gender or sexual preference. It is better -- and I am richer -- if I do not have to pay high taxes for nearly useless weapons systems.

    These are all benefits that have a direct impact on the way I live.

    "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

    by sagesource on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:24:15 PM PDT

  •  Rule #1 in how to be a Conserbative... (0+ / 0-)

    ... is "Looking out for #1"

    I'm still trying to come up with pithy remarks for #2 and so on ^_^

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