February 14, 2008

Bridging the Gap

Orson Scott Card wrote an essay recently that describes my thoughts on politics almost to the letter. I happen to share most, but not all, of Mr. Card's views on issues, at least as far as they are described in his essay series, but I do not necessarily share his cynicism when it comes to the reasons why many people toe party lines. On the national level, I think he is right that the "all or nothing" buy-in required to run for office is incredibly destructive, but I am not convinced that many individuals espouse all of the beliefs of their party because they are too lazy or foolish or ashamed to do otherwise, which leads me to the meat of my post.

There are issues on both sides of the political divide that seem to contradict other views held by the very same people. Many of these are used as tools for the opposition to tear down that party's credibility even while no effort is made to reconcile the confusion about these seemingly contradictory beliefs. Is it not our responsibility as voters and citizens to understand as much as possible about all of the views that matter to our nation? With that in mind, I am going to try to address as many of these points of confusion as possible with the hopes that the people who hold some of these seemingly contradictory views will explain how they relate in a rational and convincing manner.

To Conservatives

  1. What is the relationship between the pro-life and pro-death penalty and pro-war platforms? How do you feel the possibility of wrongful convictions impacts your beliefs on the death penalty, particularly as it pertains to the sanctity of life?
  2. The inefficiency of government drives many conservative policies. When you oppose a government plan to aid a large group of disadvantaged people, how do you believe that those people should or will get the help they need? This question assumes that the people in question are universally agreed to be disadvantaged in some way.
  3. What is the basis for your strong support of the 2nd amendment and how do you explain your opposition to the "assault weapons ban"? Why do you feel this terminology is inappropriate?
  4. What is it that makes John McCain so loathsome to the conservative base?
  5. Why is it necessary to have economic freedom while imposing limits on social freedom? What is the relationship between these core elements?

To Liberals

  1. How do you relate pro-choice beliefs with opposition to the death penalty? Where specifically does truly human life begin in your estimation?
  2. Why do you believe that the Evangelical movement within the Republican party is harmful to our nation? What specifically have Evangelicals done already that lead you to believe that such influence should be opposed?
  3. What leads you to generally support government controls on big businesses? What about businesses makes them less trustworthy than governments? What is the relationship between implementing controls on businesses and helping lower class citizens who are often employed by those businesses given that such controls presumably increase the costs of doing business?
  4. What is it that makes Joe Lieberman so unappealing?
  5. Why is it necessary to have social freedom while imposing limits on economic freedom? What is the relationship between these core elements?

To Conservatives and Liberals

  1. Why is economic liberalism a core conservative value? Why is economic conservatism a core liberal value?
  2. How do you reconcile the strength of governments to reach the largest groups of people with the strength of charities and individuals to more efficiently impact the lives of smaller groups of people? Do you believe that this premise holds true in the first place?
  3. Why do you feel that the ACLU is a good or bad organization? Do you believe the opposition's views are valid or invalid? What about those views lead you to dismiss them to some degree?
  4. What is it about the various core beliefs of modern conservatism or liberalism that make them all so critical to see at the same time in our leadership? For instance, why must a pro-war conservative candidate also support lower taxes, or why must a liberal candidate who supports stricter gun control also be pro-choice to be viable?
  5. Faced with sub-optimal choices of candidates, what issue takes precedence for you in the voting booth?

Well, my brain is about tapped out at the moment. I hope a number of you will chime in with answers as well as more questions that I have not considered that you have yet to resolve Keep in mind that these questions are mostly designed to attack the problem from the side of the opposition. If you believe the questions are not accurate, that's fine, but try to explain why if you can.

Posted by Andy at 02:58 PM to the Politics category | Comments (9)