No More “L” or “C” Word, Please.
It is time to rid our culture of the labels “Liberal” and “Conservative.” Both conjure up negative thoughts by those who lean in the opposite direction of someone else and results in being labeled something ugly. The fact is, we are either open-minded or closed-minded people.
The open-minded person holds a set of views or opinions on matters, but are not so set in their ways that there is not room for some give and take. They are more apt to listen to different views on issues of race, religion, sex, government, and countless other issues with the hope of finding common ground.
In politics, the open-minded person is willing to sit down and make deals with members of the opposition party. These politicians understand politics is about compromise and common sense and not about ideology or dogma. Open-minded politicians would love to rid themselves of the constraints of their party’s platform and outside influences. They would prefer to spend more time meeting with constituents and less time with lobbyists. However, they realize doing so is committing political suicide.
Then there are close-minded people. If you are an open-minded person, we all know who the close-minded are because they tend to surround themselves only with like-minded people. They are quick to judge others who believe differently and there is no point in sitting down and having a discussion about any important topic because their mind is already made up. For the close-minded, life is simpler because you never have to consider the perspectives of those who believe differently.
Closed-minded politicians refuse to negotiate with their opposition because they view compromise as a sign of weakness. They tend to prefer to stand on principle rather than look at what makes sense. Close-minded politicians rely on divide and separate tactics as a way to create social wedges that divide the nation rather than seek to find ways to build bridges that bring people together. They turn issues into personal battles that only end up serving our media’s desire for constant political dysfunction.
The close-minded will always attack someone who believes differently and use terms like “baby killer,” “racist,” or “stupid.” In fact, they spend more time attacking those who believe differently than they do attacking a problem because they know it gives them an excuse to blame others for nothing getting accomplished.
From my perspective, if you have read this and labeled either “liberals” or “conservatives” as being the close-minded, you are close-minded. Both Democrats and Republicans are equally guilty of the close-minded approach we see in politics today. There is no longer room in either party for compromise on the major issues of the day. Finger pointing and blame has replaced rolling up the sleeves and accomplishing something significant. The only major deals reached are the result of a crisis needing to be averted, such as another government shut down or military matter. Otherwise, if it has not reached crisis level, forget about any compromise.
I could never be elected to office. I support abortion while wanting to see an end to most welfare programs. I am in favor of the Keystone Pipeline, but think now is the time to really develop more alternative energy sources. I like the idea of a flat tax rate and think I should be allowed to check off where my tax dollar goes and government never solves a problem when they create a program that only enables people who do not contribute to continue their way of life. Finally, I feel we should either legalize marijuana or ban all alcohol and tobacco; just make the law consistent.
I like to think of myself as an open-minded person. I know I no longer hold all of the same views I did 35 years ago when I was in college. However, even though I am willing to sit down and discuss or debate issues with someone else, it does not mean I am going to change my mind. I guess I will know if I am open-minded or closed-minded based on the reaction I get from the other person. Just don’t call me the “L” or “C” word because those are fighting words.
James Moore is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching and currently runs his own personal training business, In Home Jim, in Hemet, CA. Jim’s writings are often the end result of his thoughts mulled over while riding his bike for hours on end.