"The Republican party is the conservatives...the Democratic party are the liberals."
The problem is too many people believe this.
Discussion in one of my sections confirmed that at least some of those in the class are set in this black and white view of the world, polarized and false.
Most of you will not read this or will read to find ways to argue, post your own view or simply disagree. You will not read it as one part of the critical thinking process. You will jump to generalities, make political polar judgements, either want a more liberal response or label me "liberal" without understanding what I write. I am open because not to be would be to be a hypocrite. I do not intend to indoctrinate or convert others who may have opposing views, only to teach that every issue should be viewed from both sides without blind obedience or fast judgement. That's a fact, not a judgement or insult to you as a reader.
Critical thinking is not one of their strengths, yet they will say they are critical thinkers.
Being patient enough to listen to and understand all side of an issue or a problem seems to be a thing of the past in America, declining with our declining education and sense of history.
The reality is that the candidates and parties, just as we all are as individuals, are far more complex than the black and white, right or left polarity that consults preach and the media buys into.
One example is Ronald Reagan, the Great Communicator and Conservative standard bearer, who raised taxes, believed in social programs to those in the most need, believed in the liberal idea of making peace with the most populated communist country in the world (one who had said they would destroy us), and in many was a moderate and not a conservative.
Another example: I am a Democrat. I am a unionist. I am pro-life. I am anti-war but see it as a necessary evil in defense of our nation and our public safety. I believe in health care for all, in the opportunity for work, in not letting any American go without a roof or starve (biblical conservative but for some reason seen as flaming liberal by our polarized political pundits and leadership). I believe Education at all levels should be funded by taxpayers and our government. My reasons are to maintain the leadership in the US in the world, to make the potential of an educated and critical thinking based electorate and for the prosperity of our business and capitalistic system. That's a mix of conservative and liberal ideologies.
I refuse to sit by and let Obama care be overturned, because for the first time ever I will be able to get my own insurance (rejecting a potential customer due to pre-existing conditions disappear in 2013). I believe every child, woman (who are considered a pre-existing condition and whether or not they know it pay more for health insurance because of their sex), and man deserves the foundation of basic health care regardless of income or social status.
I will fight for the liberal idea that all men (this includes women, as mankind is not one sex but a description of our species) should be treated equally, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, physical characteristics, disability or age (with obvious exceptions like kids should not fight in a war or vote, and perhaps some seniors should, for physical reasons, not drive automobiles when impaired). Under the current system economic and educational discrimination exist, easily confirmed through census data, independent studies and if you are open minded, personal observation.
I support our troops and believe that if a country does not go after those who openly seek to kill us and destroy our way of living, they should be a potential target for US Military intervention. This would include Pakistan, Palestine, and China. Notice I say country, and specifically those who seek to do us harm as individuals, and not the citizens of those nations or their infrastructure. This is painted by the polarity politicians as a Conservative Republican view. It is not, it is a protectionist view which many Democrats support (sources are Pew Trust, Gallop and other polls).
Yet these ideas are said to show I am hiding my true liberal heart, because after all you are either liberal or conservative, black or white, right or wrong.
"You are are either for us or against us."
A statement that though time has allowed dictators to take power, and one that is common among conservatives and most Republicans today (again supported by poll data).
You are either Republican or Democrat.
Conservative or Liberal.
Right or wrong.
Truth or Falsehood.
With us or against us.
First published 10/19/11