Setting the Record Straight (Again)
August 22, 2005

Believe it or not, the list of things that truly bother me is incredibly short. It's fun to fake agitated and poke fun at trifling public figures and grown men with neck tattoos who call themselves "Diddy," but in the long run, those people do not pose a major threat, nor do their efforts have any sort of eternal value. Ranting and raving has its place, but when it comes to the realities that keep me up at night, I try if at all possible to keep the list to a minimum. Enter the great right-wing/left-wing debate. Partisan politics is a topic that bothers me to no end.

I've consistently discussed here, my refusal to attach myself to a political party, period. It's not a back-up plan or based on any dissatisfaction with the current political offerings. I am not waiting for something better to come along. I've simply sought fit to diminish the number of worldly labels attached to my name. Especially those God didn't give me. Moreover, I find the nature of political parties inherently twisted. I need to restate this for the sake of new readers who read two posts and think they have me figured out (again, do you see what a mess political parties have made of our ability to think independently, even about each other?).

A very familiar sentiment re-emerged for me today when I read the first sentence of prominent blogger Professor Bainbridge's gripe about the Bush administration:

It's time for us conservatives to face facts. George W. Bush has pissed away the conservative moment by pursuing a war of choice via policies that border on the criminally incompetent. We control the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and (more-or-less) the judiciary for one of the few times in my nearly 5 decades, but what have we really accomplished? Is government smaller? Have we hacked away at the nanny state? Are the unborn any more protected? Have we really set the stage for a durable conservative majority?
Within Stephen Bainbridge's thesis is the inherent problem I find with the politics of "sides" based on unclear philosophies: the ubiquitous presence of personal agendas.

My question to Mr. Bainbridge is, "Who is 'us?'" Tossing around the phrase "Conservative" carries with it nearly as much confusion craziness as calling oneself a "Christian" because human beings are prone to define things based on experience instead of truth.

I don't excuse President Bush, and I don't agree with everything in his administration, but never, not once, did I make the mistake of thinking he represented my agenda. Yeah I voted for him, but not because he was going to do everything I wanted. If that were the case, sales tax on shoes would have been eradicated by now. The fact that the president is expected to further the entire "conservative movement" is simply a set-up for failure. That isn't to say that President Bush doesn't hold a great deal of responsibility in the direction of this country. I'm a firm believer in the power of principled leadership and the reality that everything flows from the head down to the people. What's interesting to me however, is how shocked and disappointed people become when their idol-like president hasn't lived up to their standards. He is a man, and he can lie.

The reason the conservative movement can't be furthered on the backs of sole individuals or leaders is because much like the liberal converse, the "conservative movement" as it were, doesn't even know what the "conservative movement" is. Show me the day when conservatives can agree on some core beliefs and I will sell you my first-born child. In other words, it ain't gonna happen.

You see, political parties are inherently selfish. The "greater good of the community" gets buried under agendas, pet issues, money, and me me me. Part of what supposedly makes America great is that everyone, and I mean everyone can have their own cause. This is why PETA members are allowed to mingle with normal people.

Every day, my inbox is flooded with at least 10-25 unsolicited and heavily marketed emails from some political action organization begging me to give money, sign a petition, link their site, show my support, be outraged, call my congressman, march in a parade, write a letter, and when all else fails, pray. Interesting that prayer is always the "last resort" for solving problems.

I've long realized that on most days, people couldn't care less about who you are, where you come from, and what you're all about as long as what you're saying is lining up with the agenda at hand. It's the same here on this blog. People co-sign and Amen themselves silly, and then I write about how the Republican Party has wandered into dangerous territory by thinking it owns the market on righteousness, and people have the audacity to send email informing they've removed me from their "Favorites" list. Right then, I thought my life was over.

Then I read articles like the one recently published in the Washington Post and I get a bit agitated. It reads:

WASHINGTON -- Adam Hunter, an ambitious law student with bright eyes, an easy smile, and plenty of charisma, seems practically destined for politics.
..............
Hunter, 22, is a first-year law student at Howard University, a historically black campus with a long record of liberal activism. He has political ambitions of his own -- but not with the Democrats.

Instead, Hunter, who as an undergraduate headed Howard's chapter of College Republicans, sees himself as part of a younger generation of African-Americans. He is ready to cast aside traditional loyalties to the Democratic Party and forge his own political identity.

(Side note: Nykola.com featured Adam Hunter long before the Washington Post. Be very impressed.)

I'm not at all comfortable with the notion that young black Americans are abandoning the Democratic party for the Republican party. Shifting unfounded loyalties from one party to another doesn't solve the inconsistencies the "conservative" movement is facing. When the rubber meets the road (or when the funk hits the fan, whichever you prefer) I am convinced that political parties and left/right politics have managed to trivialize nearly ever important issue our country is facing.

I'm not certain what the solution is, but I'm lobbying for more independent voters and thinkers. The reality of what needs to take place in America is so beyond the realm of what we spend our time complaining about, it's not even funny.

Posted by Ambra at August 22, 2005 11:40 PM in Politics
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>>I've consistently discussed here, my refusal to attach myself to a political party, period.........I've simply sought fit to diminish the number of worldly labels attached to my name. Especially those God didn't give me.

I've never thought about it in that terms! I think you're right!

Anne

simple, well put point:

no one political party will ever fully be 'for' everything that people want

true true

Amen.

>>Tossing around the phrase "Conservative" carries with it nearly as much confusion craziness as calling oneself a "Christian" because human beings are prone to define things based on experience instead of truth.

That statement sat me upright in my chair. Thanks for giving me much food for thought today.

Ambra, once you attach yourself to a political party, that party attaches itself to you! It's like making friends with a leech; easy to do, harder to get rid of! I like to keep them guessing, after all, the Freedom we enjoy in this Country is the ability to go into a polling booth and close the curtain, without anyone looking over our shoulder!

Funny, a great many conservatives agree with this point: I am more a conservative Republican than a Republican conservative.

There are limited ways to solve a problem. Do you perform minor "surgery" or do you jump in and take drastic measures. Most agree with one or the other. You may think that they made a stupid mistake, but they believe that they came to their conclusion rationally.

"Show me the day when conservatives can agree on some core beliefs and I will sell you my first-born child. In other words, it ain't gonna happen."

Well, that's probably the case with just about any large flock. Look at the pope-picking Cardinals. Or even your local PTA. That allowed, in the political realm there are "mainstream" core beliefs for both parties. Most members of a party can identify them. But that's not to say all agree with all positions. I'm sure many would like to change a little piece of the platform here and there. For examples, J Lieberman is pro putting an end to Affirmative Action and The Ahnold is fine with Gay marriage.

It's about where you lie on the spectrum, on balance. You're still pretty young in your voting history (and that might be an interesting thing to reveal here -- not the names of the candidates, just a totting up of how many votes for either party, so far), but I still maintain that at the end of the hem-haws, you are who you vote (and vice versa). Do independents really have about a 50-50 voting history?

Mebbe it's about a willingness to cross the isle. I don't thinkn there's anything inherently wrong with saying you're (mostly) a Republican or Democrat. But whichever party you to tend to ally with most frequently, keep an open mind and keep the Kool Aid under lock and key.

at the end of the hem-haws, you are who you vote (and vice versa).

I couldn't disagree more.

m: at the end of the hem-haws, you are who you vote (and vice versa).

a: I couldn't disagree more.

hm. small point of clarification: it's to be taken in the same vein as "you are what you eat." i.e. not 100% literally -- and especially so when reviewing a vote independent of all others. the truth is in the aggregate.

(p.s. thanks for fixin my bold misadventure)

Ambra, nice entry.

Coming in a little late - I've been on vacation.
Independent thinking is what seems to be missing all right.

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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Why I'm Not a Republican Parts I, II, III, IV
Reflections on the Ill-Read Society
The ROI of a Kid
The Double-Minded Haters
Hindsight
Hip-Hop in Education: Do You Wanna Revolution?
Oh parent Where Art Thou?
Requisite Monthly Rant: the State of the Nation
College Curriculum Gone Wild
Walmart Chronicles
An Open Letter to American Idol
Gonorrhea and the City