Sunday, November 17, 2013


Not so long ago, I was referred to by another columnist as one of the “local and national liberal cognoscenti” who “mocked lawmakers.”  I won’t mention a name, because it would be in bad taste. (All italics in this commentary are mine.)
Even though I wasn’t mentioned by name, there was no doubt that I was included because I had shortly before engaged in a great deal of mocking aimed at Tennessee legislators – most especially Sen. Stacey Campfield and Rep. Bill Dunn in whose in whose districts I reside -- and I intend to keep it up as long as the lawmakers continue to make a laughing stock of my home state by acting like backward, uneducated country bumpkins.
Had I written the column, I would have most likely said “self proclaimed liberal experts” rather than “cognoscenti,” because both are mocking terms and most people don’t have to look up my version; but, hey, variety is the spice of life. Also, it is likely that I would have written  “ultra-conservative” instead of instead of “conservative”  and “progressive” rather than “liberal.”
As matter of fact in the opening sentence of the column of which I am speaking would have also been different: “The liberal narrative is set: Liberals are compassionate, considerate, thoughtful and bright. Conservatives are petty, political, puerile and, well, dumb.”
The narrative description would have left off because it implies that an entire class of individuals has identical views. “Some liberals” or “many liberals” would have been more precise. Most definitely, I would have referred to them as “childish” rather than “puerile,” because the words are essentially … well, no use belaboring a point.
If you haven’t caught on yet, this commentary is more about clarity of expression than political views.  The two major political parties here in the U.S.A. are Republicans and Democrats. It could change, but third parties have not done well of late, except as spoilers who throw the victory to one side or the other.
Covered under the umbrella terms of  Democrats and Republicans, there are conservative Democrats and progressive Republicans and liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans – “liberal” and “conservative” are used without capitalization, because they are degrees or attitudes,” not political parties.
Not so long ago, when used politically, “liberal” meant “belief in the value of social and political change in order to achieve progress.”  By the same token, “conservative,” in the political sense, meant “favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.”
Neither term was used as a substitute for ugly, degrading terms such as traitor, liar, thief or gangster, just to mention a few. Democrats and Republicans were political foes, not mortal enemies.
More than a few on both sides are what we all used to call “radical” to the point of letting the entire country suffer to make a political score, and there is no rumor too vile to promote if it weakens the other political opponent.  Truth has become secondary to ideology.
The social media has aggravated the situation because people can hide behind a computer screen and say things they wouldn’t say face to face.  This is more of a symptom than a cause, however. Zealots on both sides are at the root of the problem and have been since the first time humans divided themselves into groups.
Nobody is a hundred percent right about anything and courtesy is the grease that keeps social friction from erupting into a firestorm of rage. It has been said that the root of all evil is the love of money. If so, stubborn, inflexible ideology that dehumanizes our fellow citizens runs a close second.

1 comment:

Sheree Ann Martines said...

Great commentary.
SA Martines