Saturday, June 23, 2012

Canned Food Diet

I just started reading Rachel Maddow's book, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power.  Many of my more conservative friends think Ms. Maddow is a radical leftist trouble-maker.  They think that's why I like her, because I'm a radical leftist trouble-maker, too.  They argue that shows like The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC are the left's equivalent to the right's propaganda broadcast on Fox News.

I can't say for sure.  I don't watch Fox News.  I don't much watch MSNBC either.  We dropped cable over a year ago, so now I catch my favorite shows online.  I try to stay on top of Rachel (woo hoo!) but I've largely ignored the rest of MSNBC.  I'm the first to admit I don't have a hearty enough constitution to sit through an entire video rant from any of the hosts on Fox News without throwing up, so most of the information I've gleaned has come from watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  So of course I'm biased.

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So we know I'm biased.  And we know I'm a leftist trouble-maker.  So when I say I think Rachel Maddow is a conservative in some ways, your first reaction would probably involve much rolling of your eyeballs.

When you're done, look for yourself:  Read page eight of "Drift" and tell me Rachel Maddow doesn't have some conservative blood coursing through her veins:

See?  What do you think?  Could Rachel Maddow, and myself since I agree with her on this point, be both conservative and progressive?

One of my self-identified libertarian friends recently shared an image with the online political discussion group I used to belong to.  Used to, yeah.  A couple of days ago one of the other self-identifying libertarians blocked me after I continued what I thought was a light-hearted, jovial dialectical argument but what he perceived to be a semantic debate that lacked valid factual reasoning.  Whatever.  When I noticed I could no longer see his post, I checked the members list and discovered that not only had this guy blocked me but two others had blocked me without my prior knowledge.

That drives me nuts.  For one thing, the blurb at the top of the page states that we engage in "no holds barred argument".  So I'd think these three members who had blocked me should have known it's gonna get tough sometimes.  But I guess they'd rather ignore my comments than try to understand them.

That, and the two other members who flat out quit the group after becoming exasperated with my arguments, led me to conclude that as much as I love to argue, I hate to fight.  I left the group so I wouldn't keep spoiling it for the others.

But before I left the group, one of the members posted this photo:

I commented that if this chart is true, I'm more of a libertarian than a liberal.  Even though I was one of two people vying for the farthest spot on the left in the group's spectrum of political ideology.  As one of the heroes of my teenage years, Michael Stipe, once said about a similarly complex subject, "I've always felt that sexuality is a really slippery thing.  In this day and age, it tends to get categorized and labeled, and I think labels are for food.  Canned food."

Similarly, labeling people as either moderate, conservative, or progressive puts up unnecessary borders to the communication that needs to take place among all of us so we can find solutions to our nation's problems.  If more self-identifying conservatives read "Drift" they might find they agree with someone who is often labeled as a progressive.  Labels are a fun, easy way to try to figure people out, but they're often misused.  They can cause people to narrow their minds.  If you're afraid to have a political discussion with me because I'm too "progressive" or if you're afraid to read Rachel Maddow's book "Drift" because you've heard she's on the "wrong side" you've got yourself on too strict of a canned food diet.