Perhaps I have been underestimating the Republicans

…as far as their levels of paranoia, gullibility, ignorance and general whackadoodlosity.

I feel badly about overgeneralizing – I have some very good conservative friends (at least I like to think they are good friends and not just keeping a close eye on me to report back to Glenn Beck).  And as far as I can tell, the conservatives that I keep company with are fairly well read, definitely opinionated, but not, shall we say…off their rockers.  I both admire and appreciate their points of view and we can agree to disagree quite civilly.

And by well-read, I mean they are regularly informed by multiple real news sources to get their information and form their opinions on.  I may not personally agree with the end result, but as a staunch supporter of free speech, free expression, and diversity of thought, I adore them for informing themselves of the issues and crafting their own opinions.  Bottom line – I believe our nation is that much stronger for having differing ideas, vigorous debate, and looking carefully at all issues from different viewpoints.

In addition, I have voted for Republicans on numerous occasions.  Sometimes they are the best person for the job, depending on the job and the other candidates – it would be narrowminded to vote straight ticket without informing myself of the candidates. 

In fact, I’ll go ahead and throw out that straight ticket voters who do not pay any heed to the actual candidates’ qualifications are willfully ignorant and do as big a disservice to the country and themselves as someone who doesn’t bother to vote at all. 

I think we should be tolerant of others’ viewpoints, assuming their viewpoints are well thought out and not filled with lies or hate, even if we disagree with the result.  We seem to be lack consideration in our culture – both consideration in terms of civility and manners and in terms of ideas.  Remember Republican Joe Wilson bursting out with “You Lie!”  during the President’s speech in September 2009?  How embarrassing for his party, and yet a quick web search will demonstrate that many folks think he is some sort of rogue hero, despite being factually wrong.

Some of that is fueled by fear – a listen to some of the radical conservative radio shows will reveal not logic, not facts, but mostly hate filled drivel.  Drivel which is neither workable, nor fair or balanced, nor based on anything socially redeeming but rather serves to instill fear in our less educated and willfully ignorant citizenry, which, let’s face it, thanks to our degrading education system and substandard media is truly a very large percentage of the population. 

So much so, that I saw a story today which is shocking and yet not overwhelmingly surprising.  According to a recent poll of over 2000 self-identified Republicans (ie. no Independents, no Tea Partiers), the following opinions were shared:

  • 39 percent of Republicans believe Obama should be impeached, 29 percent are not sure, 32 percent said he should not be voted out of office. 
  • 36 percent of Republicans believe Obama was not born in the United States, 22 percent are not sure, 42 percent think he is a natural citizen.
  •  31 percent of Republicans believe Obama is a “Racist who hates White people” — the description once adopted by Fox News’s Glenn Beck. 33 percent were not sure, and 36 percent said he was not a racist. 
  • 63 percent of Republicans think Obama is a socialist, 16 percent are not sure, 21 percent say he is not 
  • 24 percent of Republicans believe Obama wants “the terrorists to win,” 33 percent aren’t sure, 43 percent said he did not want the terrorist to win.

I ask you, thinking conservatives, thinking liberals, and everyone in between – what is so broken in our country that anyone, let alone many, has come to the outrageously wrong conclusions expressed above?

What those results tell me is that these Republicans (along with many others), despite what they may believe, are not at all informed.  It tells me they lack education in the basic types of government.  It tells me they do not understand basic governmental procedures.  It tells me they are not familiar with the U.S. Constitution, other than, perhaps, the Second Amendment.  It tells me racism is alive and well, though more subtle than ever before.  It tells me that people fear what is unfamiliar to them.  It tells me people are gullible and paranoid and it tells me that they are listening to sources of opinion that feeds their fear. 

It tells me that when so many people have really just point-blank lost touch with reality, we have a serious problem.  And it upsets me that thinking conservatives could be falsely associated with this incredible level of blatant ignorance and paranoia.

But I don’t know what the solution is, because these people are raising children who are being brought up to fear and hate and are not being taught to seek the truth for themselves.  

Education is first and foremost.  And not just hard facts, but exposing children to diverse viewpoints and teaching children to think.  Exposing oneself to ideas, and current events that you don’t “like” is helpful.  Books, in general are never a bad idea for any of us.  Vary your news sources.  Television and radio are often limited in time and most interested in ratings – keep it in mind.  Read about your politicians – make your own decisions.  Ignore extremists, such as anyone who threatens to secede from the union or leave the country if things don’t go their way.  If they are not willing to make constructive contributions to change what they decry, we don’t need them anyway.  Dead weight.  

We have a brain for a reason – push it harder.  Think.  Question. 

And after that if you still come up with conclusions that mirror the Republican party’s platform, I will admire you for your conclusions and recognize that you are entitled to them.  And then maybe we can go have a beer together, because after reading that article, I could do with one.

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4 Comments

  1. Am said,

    March 18, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Thanks bunches, now I have to take a hot shower and douse myself with bleach.

  2. March 18, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    I thought you wrote “douche” which, while no doubt fitting with the political theme, is a little disturbing to think about.

  3. Am said,

    March 19, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Massengil + Clorox = Am cries for years.


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