March 31, 2012

GOP Hate Causes American Problems, While Europe is So Cool

I read a diary post this morning, written by an American who lives in Germany, which purports that life across the European continent is similar for all, and certainly better than in the USA, a place from which he "survived" to become an expat. Over time, through numerous posts, this diarist seems duty bound to argue from his German perch that Europe is somehow a better place, and America is to be admonished because of its problems.

Today, we are told, Republicans cause the problems. They are a scourge and hate Progressives more than they love America, so much that they want to bring us the scenario of "The Hunger Games," a story of a post-apocalyptic world controlled by a highly advanced metropolis that holds absolute power, where children are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle in which only one person can survive.

I do not support Republicans in most of what they say, but do black and white approaches that demonize generally help to resolve issues? Or do they help reinforce preconceived notions and take us farther away?

When some say the GOP hates Progressives more than they love America, I ask myself if they have considered how much Progressives hate the GOP? More than they love America? To read the prevailing Progressive narrative, one would think only the GOP engages in hate and only Progressives love America. 

Surely, America is a mess, but to me the truth is that both of the political parties have contributed, and we kid ourselves to believe it is just the other side.

I was also interested to see how easily a work of fiction, made for profit and entertainment, can be used to paint, in black and white, a complicated world, showing how subject people are to manipulation. Many who think they know better are no less immune from being indoctrinated by simple narratives that push their buttons.

As to the substance of the diary, that America is not fair and needs to improve, there are few among the readers unaware that other industrialized nations provide broader health coverage than in the USA. Or that average and especially poor Americans are under the gun economically. Yet there has been little concern for the vulnerable, in truth, and much more focus on the IPhone than on poverty, by Democrats and Republicans alike. Why pretend otherwise, as if one side has done so great and it's the fault of everyone else?

Yes, America has many problems that rise from the pull between liberty and equality. But the perception from a relatively secure, wealthy environment is perhaps skewed? So far as I know, the European economic picture is in its own shambles, particularly in places removed from the wealthier regions. Europe is not just Germany, but Belarus, Spain, Georgia, Kosovo and Greece, too. Just under the surface, across the continent are racial, ethnic, religious and political tensions that appear far more threatening than what exists in the USA. There is a growing democracy deficit occasioned by the EU, and a climate of human rights and tolerance where freedom of expression has become a criminal activity. 

Europe does some things fine. Good for Europe. But does that really have to do with American inequities? I would rather fix what is wrong here, absent demonization that makes progress virtually impossible, than be like Europe as it presently exists, or to imply that it is so much better because an expat in Germany has health care coverage. Europe has problems galore and and is in no less trouble than the USA, and perhaps much more so than many critics surmise.


  1. To be perfectly honest, most Americans do not really understand how nicely we have it compared to the rest of the world.

    Good post, School.

    Care to share?

  2. Many Reps that I know exhibit an intolerance and even hatred towards Dems. The Dems that I know are simply mystified at the Reps unwillingness to engage and explore.

    Many times I see analyses and news coverage that seems to feel an obligation to find universal fault in the name of ‘balance’. Could it be that the balance thing is a corruption of the equality that we seek through democracy? Equality under the law is an essential but when we extrapolate that to mean that everyone is equal in all respects, we are departing from reality.

    1. I am not here to defend Republicans, by any stretch, but I see many from each side engaging in demonization. Many Democrats cannot see the poor behavior within the ranks. I think it makes them less effective to react as they too often do.

      Balance? I do not think that is the problem. Nor do I think we seek equality through democracy. Equality means that law will be practiced and enforced without discrimination, and when it conflicts with liberty interests, therein lies much of the problem of getting along.

      To put all blame on either side is wrong, in my view, and partisans and activists care less about equality than to win.

      Hope that addressed your point.

    2. My experience with the Reps leaves me with a less generous feeling. Too many are mindlessly anti government and anti compromise. The idea of defining the poles of a problem (too little and too much) and working towards a rational solution has been replaced with choosing one of the poles.

      I do agree that the Dems seem to have a large tent with all of the problems and benefits that brings and some of them are guilty of the simplistic thinking just stated. But I see this more in the Reps than the Dems.

      I am not suggesting that we consider everyone to be equal other than equal under the law. I am observing that many see everyone as being the same and that may be a perversion of the idea of equal under the law.

    3. Just to be clear, I would not call myself generous when it comes to Republicans.

      That said, both sides dismiss the the underlying ideas of the other with impunity, and engage in group speak that regularly and incessantly demonizes people who do not conform to the favored ideology.

      Since I am a Democrat, it rubs me wrong to observe the inconsistency and incompetency in Democratic behavior, that in so many cases mirrors the Republicans. I speak out to question because I do not understand this disconnect by Democrats with tenets that I identify as liberal.

      As to equality and law, perhaps you are saying that multiculturalism has run amok from the way it equates groups when reality shows they are not the same. It frequently operates on the collective level while universality champions the rights of each person, taking into account cultural differences. Universality is paramount, at least to me. Human rights are fundamentally personal in nature, and should be presumed superior with respect to the collective, and to any religion.

      For some reason, many Democrats do not seem to agree with me anymore, for whatever reason. I see the effect as negative for women and children, among others, that personally suffer from coercion from the hands of the group. I think the environment at the university since the 1970s plays an important role in why this is so.

  3. I guess that the Dems that you know are different than the ones that I know. The tone of different groups is going to vary. In my town, the Dems are a pretty reasonable group and the Reps are knuckleheads. The proof of this is that some of the local Reps, having seen this, would rather cast their lot with the local Dems! OF course, at the local level, the national args don't apply. I'm sure that this could be the reverse in some other town.

    I wasn't thinking of multiculturalism. But now that you bring it up, I'll address it some. Generally speaking, it seems that excessive focusing on historic derivations separates peoples from modernity and pits group against group.

    I recall a friend from Trinidad of a mixed race background who was contemporary in view and education. He decided to go to Africa to discover his roots and was alienated. He was a modern -- not that.

    My view is that we should learn from history but not try to live in it.

    Some of my views are mainstream and some are not. If all of a person's views are mainstream or all are not mainstream, IMHO, this points to a non rational behavior focused on the need for either closeness or distance.

    The Reps, to me, are a curious bunch no longer merely conservative but acting more reactionary grasping at an imagined past glory. I am old enough to remember a great deal of the past and it wasn't all that beautiful.

    1. Both sides are reactionary, so far as I am concerned, and care more about tearing down the other than anything else. Inside their respective echo chambers there is little acceptance of what others say.

      I don't care for most Republican policies, but I do not presume that they are seeking to impose an evil empire. I try to incorporate the grains of truth they present.

      I also remember the past. It was not all that beautiful, but today is no more beautiful. So much depends on the context.