Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Caricatures Left & Right

The funny thing about ‘right’ caricatures is that they’re all wrong. I’m speaking of politically-right. Catholics especially are inclined to think of right wingers as though they are strong on pro-life issues (that’s good) but weak on issues of poverty – as if they don’t care about poverty. This over-simplification of the issues might work on college students – but it has yet to convince me.

It’s not that the left don’t have well grounded reasons for wanting to end poverty, I’m sure some of them do… it’s that they have really dumb ideas for how to go about doing it. Right wingers rightly remind us that the poverty level is approximately the same now as when we initiated the welfare program half a century ago. It is at least conceivable then, that someone might support welfare reform or even not have a high opinion of the program to begin with while at the same time not hating the poor or even being indifferent at all to their needs.

For some odd reason, we also think right wingers don’t care about the environment as much as the left. I’m not sure which right winger wants to see littered highways and smog filled skies over blue skies and clean forests but if you meet one, let me know. It seems to me - not in the least an exaggeration to say that everyone (yes even the right) would prefer cleanliness to pollution.

On immigration, right wingers say that what is done illegally should be punished and if not then it shouldn’t be illegal in the first place. I for one, think it should much easier to immigrate here and that there should be some penalty (perhaps short of deportation) for breaking the immigration laws.

I realize that some right wingers do have a tendency to carry these three issues to the extreme. Some of them almost approach the cold-hearted caricature that the mainstream media routinely paint as the typical right winger. But what I’ve also noticed is that right wingers are (without exception) more teachable and reasonable people than their left wing counterparts. A simple twist on the poverty issues and even the most stubborn cold hearted old grinch will likely concede the floor a bit. The same can hardly be said of the left. (Try suggesting something even a mere inch or two right of where they stand and see what happens).

On the other side, the left however, are even more unfairly caricatured (but fortunately for them it’s in their favor). They are seen as genuinely caring for the poor more than the right when in reality they merely propose socialistic solutions that will at best do nothing to help and more often than not will actually make the problem worse. I assume for their sake that many of them do have good intentions, but they always have dumb ideas on how to implement them.

They think the final solution for education merely involves spending more money per student and anyone who disagrees with this solution, they label as one who doesn’t care about education. They think ending poverty means massive wealth redistribution. They think that the answer to illegal immigration is to ignore the problem and hope it goes away.

On abortion and some other issues, they don’t merely have dumb ideas on how to implement good intentions, they have dumb reasons to justify their bad intentions.

So enough with the false caricatures. At worst, the right wingers just have bad ideas on how to affect the changes they wish and the caricatures are unfair.

*Also note that I'm not talking about Republicans & Democrats here. I even avoided the terms liberal and conservative.

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