Sunday, January 29, 2017

Five Things We Can Talk With Conservatives About

We have got to to restore respectful dialog.  Wedge issues have been carefully (or maybe recklessly) constructed to divide our nation into pockets of “core issues” groups in a way that makes it seem like we are hopelessly divided.

But are we really so far apart?  I’m willing to bet that, if you can get beneath the wedge and frame problems differently, there’s a chance we might be able to start talking again.

Here are five, possibly surprising ways you might find yourself able to actually talk with a conservative.

The Wedge:  Women’s Reproductive Choice (aka Abortion Rights).  Nothing has more distinctly defined and divided conservative and liberal voters over the last 40 years than Roe V. Wade.

The Root:  Unplanned pregnancies and how to reduce them.
Is anybody really opposed to the idea of providing women the resources and opportunities to empower them to decide when and whether to get pregnant?  Does anybody believe it’s in the best interests of a young single mother or a small child to be put in a position where there’s not enough to provide for either of them?  And would a robust culture of empowering women to decide whether and when to get pregnant reduce the need for abortions?  Those are issues we can start tackling today, together and stop fighting over a law that is not going to change in the foreseeable future. 

The Wedge: Our Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms (aka Gun Control).  Yet another sure way to divide up the country is to bring up guns, gun violence, and gun control.  

The Root: Reducing violence through prevention of contributing causes.
Desperate people do desperate things.  People with nowhere to turn.  People who are overwhelmed beyond their ability to cope with what they're feeling.  Those people are the ones who become violent.  Actively pursuing policy and initiatives that bring the disenfranchised back into the fold, that offer the critical mental health care to people who lack the ability to connect and cope with the world around them, and face it, just turning down the inflammatory rhetoric which which we are bombarded daily are all ways we can work to reduce the factors that lead to violence.

Intelligent people of goodwill can debate the meaning of and need for a "well regulated militia" in the 21st century, but unless you know about a Constitutional Convention taking place, then gun ownership is protected just as much as speech is.

The Wedge: Super PAC "X," Think Tank "Y," or Shadowy Billionaire "Z" is a force for evil.

The Root: Campaign finance laws have gotten completely out of control.
I don't know anybody that is happy with the nasty, divisive, expensive, and thoroughly anonymous machine that selects and promotes candidates while smearing the opposition beyond recognition.  I don't know how this has even become a partisan issue, but somehow it has.  Still, speaking one on one with any person of any political affiliation, you're likely to get agreement.  How about we nail down the rules on how donors have to disclose who they really are?

The Wedge:  Liberals are "Tax & Spend" and want to "redistribute wealth."

The Root:  Honestly, does ANYONE think that their taxes aren't high enough?  Does ANYONE think that the federal budget isn't large enough?
Taxes are necessary to fund whatever policies we enact.  People should pay their fair share to support those policies.  We should be judicious about prioritizing the things we must do and the things we would like to do, but simply can't afford to as a nation (or state or municipality).  Anybody that receives Social Security, Medicare, VA health benefits, or any other federally provided assistance or support is getting a slice of that "redistributed wealth" so we should not be so quick to sling this particular arrow, no matter what side of the issue they're on. 

The Wedge:  Illegal immigration is out of control.

The Root:  Legal immigration is so badly broken that it promotes illegal immigration as the only option.  
Imagine if you made hungry people stand in line for weeks before they could get a loaf of bread.  What do you think would happen?  Yeah - they'd find another way to get what they needed to keep from starving.  People who want to come to the US have to wait years and years (sometimes decades) to come in.  The quotas are low.  The staff is not sufficient to the task.  It's a dinosaur.  Having people live in the shadows of our society isn't a good thing for a whole host of reasons.  If only there was a way to stop that from happening... Oh yeah - that would be something like a healthy, functioning, modern immigration/visitation policy and system that could accommodate the load.

Look - at some point, we are going to have to start talking to each other (and listening too).  The wedges were put there to keep us apart.  Get to the root; open a dialog.  Show people that liberals want solutions and answers every bit as much as conservatives do.  

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