Friday, April 27, 2012

Change is a knife that cuts both ways

Since the mid-1980s, my views on politics have been published regularly. Consequently, over those years I’ve had thousands of conversations with people who have disagreed with my takes on this or that issue. I used to pride myself on being able to have civil, forthright discussions with conservatives; my goal was frequently to find common ground.

Now that’s nearly impossible, even with Republican friends that I used to enjoy trading opinions with, especially over cold beers.

Unlike some political opinion writers, when I put together an OpEd essay on a political issue, I don’t usually look to piss off all the people who disagree with me. No, I’m usually trying to win them over with a well constructed argument. My goal has been to boost them into thinking about it from a different angle.

Preaching to the choir may be a balm for the ego, but I’d rather try to change minds … even just a little bit.

Still, as we all know, fostering change can bring on unexpected consequences. Since Barack Obama was elected under a banner of Change in 2008, it has brought home a change to me I hadn’t anticipated and certainly never wanted. Now those conversations I used to enjoy with my some of my Republican friends who follow politics are mostly a thing of the past.

In the last three years, plus, too many of those friends have lost their moorings and steadily drifted away into a swamp of backward thinking. When I say backward, I mean they seem to want to go back in time. Now some of them aren't so sure they believe in evolution or public education.

Now they are so angry at Obama, they seem to feel it’s yet another damn war. In this war any tactic they employ to injure Obama is fair game, because he is an elitist, or a fascist, or a communist. Or, he's a secret Muslim who was born in some African hellhole and is in league with terrorists.

Many conservatives, all across America, have allowed themselves to be pulled, or perhaps pushed, into a world of delusion in which compromise -- the mother’s milk of democracy -- is viewed as treason. Four or five years ago, such a ridiculous notion would have only inspired laughs from reasonable people on either side of the aisle.

Grover Norquist, Tea Party activists, opportunistic politicians and a few broadcast windbags have been the most visible pushers. These self-serving characters have gained power in the GOP without exhibiting a whit of genuine interest in solving problems. Actually, their goal has been to exacerbate all problems and sling the blame at Obama and his liberal minions.

Modern conservatives enjoy saying/writing the word "minions," have you noticed?

Sadly, it seems the conservatives who have become dedicated to toppling Obama, at ANY price, have lost all reference points. So, most of them seem to have no awareness of how much THEY have changed since President Obama was sworn in.

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