22 May

PoliSci

Not much to post about here. I’m still making french knots on an Army Wife apron. I may have slipped into a bit of entropy. The apron is moving sloooooooowly, and so nothing else is moving either.

Nonentity WIP

Maybe I just need to take a break from the social media… which leads me to some things I’ve been thinking about.

A few weeks ago, I was privy to the tail end of a conversation about religion. Person One said that he believed everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and should practice whatever religion they want (so long as they don’t force it upon anyone else). Person Two said yes, she believes that God is the way and the love and that the bible is the truth, but she doesn’t hold anything against anyone who believes otherwise. I thought to myself, no these aren’t the same. One posits that each person may have their own truth, and that these different truths are nonetheless equal. The other posits that there is one truth and the others are wrong, though she’ll tolerate them.

I’d like to say that my beliefs are more in line with Person One. There are so many religions in the world, I find it impossible to believe that only one can be correct. I think that truth is relative to the needs of the believers. But then I got to thinking about other instances of truth and fiction, specifically the liberal and conservative schism in American politics. I am a liberal and tend to believe what the Democratic side is saying and trying to accomplish. I think that for the most part the conservatives have been misguided of late. Oops — now I’m thinking like Person Two. It is terribly wrong and unfair for me to think that my politics are right and those of my conservative friends and acquaintances are somehow wrong. Their beliefs are right for them. People have as much right to believe that Obama is a socialist as I have to believe that America is an oligarchy.

So here’s the hard part. It’s relatively easy for people in the USA to practice whatever religion they want in the privacy of their own home or place of worship. A pretty visible line can be drawn between not showing preference to one religion in public places like municipal government or public schools, yet allowing it in private places like homes, parochial schools, churches and temples. But how does a country deal with relative truths when it comes to providing for the society as a whole? Is it possible to draw lines between governing liberally here but conservatively there? How can federal government effectively meet the needs and desires of both Red states and Blue ones when they are nearly opposed? Is compromise possible when people are less willing to put up with less than getting their way?

Political scientists have my sympathy.

4 thoughts on “PoliSci

  1. I think the confusion is rooted in practices like gerrymandering and corporations that are equal to people. Our government officials don’t faithfully represent us.

  2. Moderation and informed, respectful discussion — those are two things I’d love to see more of and feel would benefit us all. I also think more of us (a generalized “we”) should be involved with/knowledgable about the political debates so that we can, hopefully, understand why things might not go our way and understand the implications. That might prevent us from pouting in the corner and creating even deeper schisms. I believe we have to believe more deeply in the fundamentals of democracy: that our government and the freedoms it gives us requires intelligent compromise.

  3. This schism manifests itself in people’s attitudes towards what is worth funding. On a private level, Oklahomans want the choice to *not* pay for things like tornado shelters in newly built homes.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/05/21/185857916/why-oklahomans-dont-like-basements

    On a public level, the choose not to tax themselves to put tornado shelters in public schools.

    Oklahomans would scream bloody murder if they lived under California’s strict earthquake-safety building standards. Yes, they do make building here more expensive. But, they also mitigate some of the risk of living in earthquake country.

    We passed bonds and levied taxes on ourselves to pay for earthquake safety retrofitting in all of our schools in the district. We recently completed the renovations.

    Red and blue America just look at costs and freedom differently.
    Red America wants freedom from government. Blue America looks to government for freedom from worry. Blue America doesn’t expect a free lunch (contrary to Red America propaganda). We understand that it means putting up with government oversight and sharing the burden of paying for things the private sector is not good at providing.

    Once again, we will bail out people who were less prudent and call us socialist.

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