A Note on Partisanship

You may note that, from time time, I take some pot-shots at Republicans. Aside from saying that I think they’re generally well earned, I don’t consider them reflective of partisanship on my part.

These days too many Americans approach politics the way they approach sports teams; they are loyal to their team first and foremost. If their team isn’t fielding the best candidates at present, or even workable policies, it doesn’t change their loyalty because, well, root for that other team? Ewww.

Is your party advocating burdensome restrictions on the rights of gays, women, and minorities? Are they rejecting the basic tenets of science, even when it puts our lives and our national security at risk? Are they crippling education to keep our kids stupid, pushing to make Christian dogma into federal law, and lobbying to put loaded guns in every hand everywhere? Just stick it out. You’ll get ’em next year.

This is very much not the way I view politics, and that’s why I feel okay taking pot shots. I’m interested in policy choices, not team affiliation, and my loyalty is to principles like reason, rationality, fairness, and equality, not to a political party. I don’t consider myself a Democrat, though in my life I have generally voted for their candidates. I won’t pretend to believe the GOP’s policies will shift so radically in the near future that I see myself voting for them, but I can honestly say I wouldn’t hesitate if the policies were right.

I also want to say that I don’t see anyone as automatically bad or inferior because they vote Republican. I have many friends who lean right, and while I am often puzzled at how they can continue to give their support to a party I think has drifted so far from reason, I respect their opinions and I’m interested to know the thinking that informs their choice.

So when I do level criticism against a party, it will be for policies and actions, not for some inherent fault or because they are the other team.

At least most of the time. I may slip occasionally. I’m only human, after all. When I do, I welcome critical responses or rebuttals from those who think I’ve been unfair.

That said, if you want to talk politics you better be prepared to really talk politics. I’m not interested in conspiracy theories or hearing why your team is better than my team. I don’t want to hear about “moonbats,” “welfare queens,” and “bleeding hearts,” and if those kinds of made-up boogeyman talking points are what informs your politics, it’s best if we don’t start talking to begin with.

 

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