Issue 9: The one that might get me in trouble

(in which I give a broad definition of political viewpoints)

Volume 1, Issue 9

Political Viewpoints and What We Have in Common

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Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

4 MIN READ

Today, I want to talk about something that's been happening for a long time: political parties throwing emotionally charged assumptions and condemnations at each other. We have become a nation that assumes intent, believes our way is superior, and forces everyone to pick a side.

Let's pause and remember WHY there are political "sides" in the first place. We may actually be more similar than we are different. (WHAAAAT??)

The United States has a two major political parties with several third-parties that wax and wane in popularity. This in itself is good news--we agree on so much, there aren’t too many ways to split. Here's what we can agree on:

  • “Both parties believe in liberty, equality, and individualism.

  • Neither advocates that the Constitution be discarded.

  • Both parties accept the election process and concede defeat to the winners.” (source)

Maybe this doesn't seem like much at first glance. Compared to places like Russia, however, where some parties believe their government should be completely restructured, this small list of commonalities becomes very large indeed.

We get into trouble when we lose sight of this idea: for many* of us, the ENDGAME is the SAME. We just disagree on how we GET there. For example, I believe that many* Americans can agree that poverty is a problem and we'd like to find a way to help those in need.

For conservatives, the solution may be this: promote small businesses with tax cuts —> small businesses can afford to hire more employees —> that means jobs for those in poverty —> they are able to get out of a poverty cycle and improve their life.

For liberals, the solution may be this: allot more funds for food and healthcare assistance —> which gives those in poverty a helping hand and money they need to start —> with this money they can find food/housing in order to find a job —> they are able to get out of a poverty cycle and improve their life.

Endgame the same, method is different. This is why we have different political parties.

Today, though, our conversations sometimes boil down to conservatives saying "you're trying to take all of my hard-earned money!" and liberals saying, "you don't care that people are dying on the streets!"

So let's step back and look at what the political viewpoints are, fundamentally (and broadly):

Liberals (the Left):

  • For fiscal issues, liberals are generally focused on communal responsibility. They tend to support larger government programs that are more involved. For instance—universal healthcare.

  • For social issues, however, they would like less government control and are focused on the rights of the individual, like abortion law.

  • On international policy issues, liberals tend to focus on a positive international perception.

  • Matters of defense tend to be a bit lower on the priority list for liberals, in favor for spending in domestic government programs.

Conservatives (the Right):

  • On fiscal issues, conservatives are generally focused on the rights of the individual. They want to be able to decide where their money goes, rather than letting the federal government decide.

  • For social issues, conservatives are usually focused on communal responsibility. They want to look at the overall societal impact of a policy, like abortion law.

  • For international policy issues, conservatives tend to put our national interests first before favorable international perception.

  • Conservatives highly prioritize defense spending and protecting our border.

Did you notice that the phrases that I've italicized are on both sides? Yes, they are in different areas, but shouldn't we be able to (at least) understand the other side's opinion, when we feel the same way about a different issue?

I also wanted to break down two third-parties as well, so you can see that they also have some similarities.

Libertarians:

  • Libertarians generally believe that fiscal AND social issues should be focused on the rights of the individual. For example, they want smaller (or no) government programs, but might also support a person’s right to burn the flag. This is because they believe in freedom of choice, not because they disrespect our banner.

  • For international policy and defense spending, they generally have a non-interventionist viewpoint. The belief is that it's not the US's place to get involved in foreign affairs.

Socialists:

  • For socialists, the general belief is that fiscal and social issues should be focused on communal responsibility. The belief is that government programs can help even out inequalities. For example, one of their platforms could be to have all college education funded by the government rather than individually.

  • Socialists often believe in strong international relationships, but are non-interventionists when it comes to defense.

Again, you can see the repeated phrases.

Yes, I know these are broad generalizations of each of these views, and we can debate the nuance and intricacies of each point. But generally, I hope you can see that we are often fighting for the same outcome, we simply disagree on how to get there. Let's stop assuming the intent of each other, stop the emotional jabs, and start working together on how to achieve our goals. We might just discover we have more in common than we think.

*I'm using the word "many" here, operating on my own assumption that most Americans want these outcomes. I am not naive to think that ALL Americans feel this way, and I am discarding that minority to form my argument. Again, we can likely debate all day on how full the glass is in this country, but I did want to admit my own positive spin here.


This issue was reviewed by a Conservative, a Liberal, and a Libertarian in order to prevent bias. If you are interested in becoming a bias reviewer, I am in need of a few more Liberal viewpoints. Reply to this email if you are interested! Thank you.


Everyone is welcome here.

Regardless of your viewpoint or your political party, if you’ve never followed politics in your life, or if you read ten news outlets a day, I thank you for joining us here. I’d love to hear your feedback on this issue and all issues yet to come. Simply reply to this email or find The Civilian on Twitter or Instagram.

With respect and civility,

Sarah Bohl


Sources:
The idea for the x and y axis chart came from here, although the design and word changes are my own. Thank you to Jon Bowman for your insight.
https://www.lp.org/about/
http://www.ushistory.org/gov/5a.asp
https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/origins-and-functions-political-parties/