Most people in this country do not hold their political ideals so high that they are willing to kill for them. Okay, that statement is actually less true than it sounds, while the gist is generally true. The fully true statement would read more like: Most people in this country do not find the opposing Political Party’s ideas so repulsive that they are willing to kill over the issues. For the majority of our political beliefs, we are, as a people, in agreement, and for those, we’ve proven we would fight and kill.
But honestly while during the election cycle, people get pretty passionate, they don’t usually get violently so. We tend to acquire very narrow vision politically during election season. We see the political spectrum as extending from Liberal to Conservative. At the current political extremes in American two-party politics, the difference can be summarized to a 3% difference in income tax.
When we denigrate our political adversaries we almost always paint them as worse than they really are. Neither party is pro Big Government, no matter what some people say. The only real difference is in the opinions of which economic model works best. Where do we take less money out to avoid stifling the economy? Republicans say we take it out “fairly” across the board. Democrats say we take more from the people who can afford to pay more. I put the “fairly” in quotes so I could mention that Republican also generally agree that it makes sense to tax poor people less. And everyone agrees that the current tax system is not ideal. Basically all evidence proves that whichever stance was in force when the economy wasn’t skyrocketing, was wrong. The last two congressional elections, when summarized, tell us that everyone is wrong.
On the social side of things there are what appear to be bigger issues. For instance there seems to be a wide range of views on gay marriage. But even at the extremes of this, it’s not something people are taking up arms about.
I guess I should note that there will always be a small chance that some loon or small group of loons who will get it in their heads that some view is absolute evil and grab a gun and go shoot someone.
Health Care: I’ve never been a fan of how these were rushed through. But there are some good things in there. Everyone seems to like the new rules which ban benefit caps and disallow denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions. No one’s really sure what a insurance exchange is. The unpopular parts are the taxes (duh) and the parts that require people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. The parts that require employers of a certain size to provide insurance are mostly moot because pretty much any employer the law requires to provide insurance options, already does. And there are a lot of people who don’t like any of it, just because it was “their” ideas and not “ours”.
Which brings us back to the view of “Us” vs “Them” Politics. “Us” and “Them” are all democratic-republicans. We all support the belief in a democratic republic. We all support the constitution (By all I mean neither party has it in their agenda to alter the constitution.) Though I generalize, I concede that there are individuals among us who have other ideas. But as a population we all share the same view when presented with the actual entire political spectrum.
Once we realize that the political spectrum actually runs from despotism to fascism to pure democracy (where every issue is a simple majority rule), we all really tend to like our representative democratic constitutional republic, especially once we realize that the people who are always in the majority are a very small minority. We all believe in that all people are equal and should be equally free and equally treated while allowing that some choices in life, such as choosing to be a criminal, will result in limits on those freedoms. (I like to think that Americans who are against full gay equality are just ignorant of the fact that homosexuality is not a choice on any level.)
But let’s use gay rights to illustrate my main point. In the American Political spectrum, the views on homosexuality range from legal, but no relationship recognition to recognized marriage. The world’s spectrum on this issue is the same on the marriage end, but the other end is a death penalty, without a trial. The major problem we face in most states is whether or not to take baby steps and allow civil unions, with opposition from both “ends” of our political views opposing civil unions because they are not marriage or because they basically are (depending on the constituents’ views.) While we still have the extremes of full marital rights and no marital rights, that’s a really small spectral arc when the full spectrum includes being flogged to death.
We’re pretty much all aware on some level that politically, there really isn’t that much difference between our political parties. I’m talking the major ones, not the ones with twelve members and hold rallies once a year that require police protection. Okay, the Green party is a bit farther off center than most, but those hippies aren’t about to gun down anyone.
Even on abortion, we think we have huge differences, and we do have a big philosophical gap between women’s rights to their bodies and infanticide. But consider that the full spectrum might be a death penalty for having an abortion to state forced abortion. Even though I know people who think both of those ways, in reality, very very few people take up arms for the cause.
Statistically, even the most vehement arm-chair politician in America is a peaceful arguer. Those rare cases of actual politically violent people, that I can only describe as insane, are so far outlying from the rest of us, that they are statistical anomalies and can’t really be included in a national representable demographic. Ironically, politically motivated acts of violence are so rare that the only result is public sympathy for the victim, and often, for the victim’s political views. As I’ve mentioned those views are never really far off from the rest of ours anyway. For every political issue we think we’re irreconcilable on, there are a thousand we agree on. We just don’t often talk about those thousand.
When is the last time we had a debate on whether or not someone had to be of noble birth to own land? Remember the last time you had a serious debate on whether wearing green in public(in the United States) should result in summary execution? It’s a sad world that I had to put that in parenthesis.
I am absolutely not a fan of Sarah. To me she’s just out to win a popularity contest or at least make a buck trying. I don’t think Ms. Palin really should have expected anyone to act violently because she had target districts for what she considers to be reform. That 22 year old kid was an anomaly, not a predictable outcome. Sarah makes her money by stirring political passions, but stirring American Politics is not like tossing a kitten into the parakeet cage. It’s like adding a bit of vanilla in our hot chocolate. Stirring makes us think and thinking is good. Really, when, as a country, we are so politically similar, those little differences keep our political brains from complete atrophy.
On a side note: Vanilla in Hot Chocolate is also good.
As a footnote, Wikipedia, the source for truth for the next generation, identifies 9 politically active issues. In five of those issues Republicans and Democrats have the same platform stance (sometimes stated differently, but they’re the same). In three there is only slight variability and in only one are they opposed. Yes, that one is abortion-rights.