Political Idiot Needs Your Help!

giantpinkbunnyhead

Diabloii.Net Member
Political Idiot Needs Your Help!

OKay folks...

Many on this forum seem to be quite politically involved, educated, motivated, etc. I see numerous threads which demonstrate a higher than basic understanding of politics.

I have never been able to learn politics. I just don't get it. I STILL can't keep straight how a liberal differs from a conservative. Or a Democrat from a Republican. I can't keep track of how each is "supposed" to view any given issue. It seems like an exercise in rote memorization. Is there a test that can be applied to any issue or situation that will let me know, for instance, the difference in how a Republican would approach it vs. a Democrat? What defines these groups?

If I am pro choice, pro death penalty, pro legalizing drugs, pro gay marraige, anti illegal immigrants, anti ANWR... what does that make me? And why? How can all this make sense to anyone? How can anyone be "one or the other", or if you are in the middle, then what do you call youself?

If anyone can explain a few "simple" things that I haven't grasped yet, please do. I would love to be savvy enough to understand just 2% of the political discussion here but currently, I always walk away shaking my head, wondering why everyone but me seems to know the political scene as if it were first grade math.
 
Before Smeg comes in here and tells you that anyone who doesn't agree with him is a communist nazi, let me just say this.

There is no hard and fast rule for classifying someone one way or another. There are Democrats who would seem more in line with the Republican "platform" than some Republicans are, and there are similarly Republicans who would seem to fit better with the Democratic "platform". Hence the abundance of comments you'll see hidden around the OTF about how silly it is to pigeonhole oneself as one or the other.

Moreover, the defining features of the parties change over time. In a thread I threw up a few days ago, I asked what happened to the Goldwater Republicans ("What ever happened to AuH2Oism?"). The Republican mainstay, for instance, used to be small government and states rights. This has taken a backseat to social and moral issues recently, and things like euthanasia, abortion, security, etc.

So in other words, there's no easy answer. No test you can take (that will tell you definitively, anyway--there are any number of bogus political tests out there), no set of beliefs or qualities that would make you one or the other.
 

Draconis

Diabloii.Net Member
If I am pro choice, pro death penalty, pro legalizing drugs, pro gay marraige, anti illegal immigrants, anti ANWR... what does that make me? And why? How can all this make sense to anyone? How can anyone be "one or the other", or if you are in the middle, then what do you call youself?
Of the two main parties, it makes you a Democrat. Of all parties, it probably makes you some weird hybrid between a Libertarian and a Democrat.

However, this is the big problem with a two-party system; neither of the only parties with any power actually have views that close to your own. Two similar shades of social conservatism and fiscal irresponsibility don't add up to a very diverse political system...
 
Draconis said:
Of the two main parties, it makes you a Democrat. Of all parties, it probably makes you some weird hybrid between a Libertarian and a Democrat.

However, this is the big problem with a two-party system; neither of the only parties with any power actually have views that close to your own. Two similar shades of social conservatism and fiscal irresponsibility don't add up to a very diverse political system...
Here's some real fun one for you. I'm for smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and states rights. I'm also very liberal on most social issues (ie, gay marriage, drug policy, abortion, etc). Where does that leave me?
 

AeroJonesy

Diabloii.Net Member
giantpinkbunnyhead said:
If I am pro choice, pro death penalty, pro legalizing drugs, pro gay marraige, anti illegal immigrants, anti ANWR... what does that make me? And why? How can all this make sense to anyone? How can anyone be "one or the other", or if you are in the middle, then what do you call youself?
It makes you "you". If you really want to categorize yourself though, just look at who you've voted for in past elections. I think that'd be the easiest way to do it. If you voted some Republican and some Democrat, you're a moderate or independent or any of those other middle of the road phrases.
 

Garbad_the_Weak

Diabloii.Net Member
DrunkCajun said:
Here's some real fun one for you. I'm for smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and states rights. I'm also very liberal on most social issues (ie, gay marriage, drug policy, abortion, etc). Where does that leave me?
Lets see, a Jeffersonian with a liberal slant on social rights and a history in the southern intellectual tradition.

In other words, a classic Virginian.

Garbad
 

Darnoc

Diabloii.Net Member
giantpinkbunnyhead said:
OKay folks...

If I am pro choice, pro death penalty, pro legalizing drugs, pro gay marraige, anti illegal immigrants, anti ANWR... what does that make me? And why? How can all this make sense to anyone? How can anyone be "one or the other", or if you are in the middle, then what do you call youself?

If anyone can explain a few "simple" things that I haven't grasped yet, please do. I would love to be savvy enough to understand just 2% of the political discussion here but currently, I always walk away shaking my head, wondering why everyone but me seems to know the political scene as if it were first grade math.
If your are pro choice, pro drug legalization, pro gay marriage you would then be more on the democrat end, though there are republicans who do support those.

From my understanding democrats tend to favor more government involvement in the economy, healthcare, schooling, etc. The social security debate is a good example since most democrats want to keep the current system, and most repulicans want to privatize it so people have more control of their own savings to an extent.

Republicans are usually against abortion, government regulation, promote gun ownership, against illict drug legalization.

But all of this is just from a major issue standpoint; there are many specific issues that both sides take stands on that don't take whats good for the general public into consideration. There are some websites out there that have a detailed survey you can take that ask you how you feel about a whole list of different issues and then in the end tell you where you fall along the political spectrum; I'll see about finding one for you
 

Draconis

Diabloii.Net Member
DrunkCajun said:
Here's some real fun one for you. I'm for smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and states rights. I'm also very liberal on most social issues (ie, gay marriage, drug policy, abortion, etc). Where does that leave me?
Probably a Libertarian, I'd guess. The whole small government and getting government out of people's private lives think seems to be their spiel. I've heard tell that the Repubs were once for small government, but I'll believe it when I see it.
 

Phil

Diabloii.Net Member
In a very general way this is how each side is "supposed" to view a few major political areas.

Right to Life/Right to Choose(Abortion)
Republicans: Most Republicans have moral basics that are strongly tied to religious views. "Killing a human being, regardless of stage of life is wrong."
Democrats: "A woman should have the right to choose what she does to her own body, and be able to take into consideration if she can even properly support a child if she has one now."

Death Penalty:(thanks to my own stupidity today, I had the titles switched for this one)
Democrats: "Capital Punishment is murder. Although someone may have commited a henious crime, what right do we have to take away his fundamental right to life?"
Republicans: "This man commited terrible acts against humanity and should pay the ultimate price for his crimes."

Gay Marriage:
Republicans: (Back to moral basics coming from religious backgrounds) "Gay marriage breaks down the sanctity of marriage and should specifically apply to a man and a woman"
Democrats: "If two people want to share a union between them, why are we allowed to descriminate on same gendered pairings for only that reason?"

These are very generalized views about common issues. I didnt bother to go into many of the other arguments for some of these issues because I stuck with what tend to be the single most common ones, i.e. Although I do believe in the death penalty, there is statistical proof that capital punishment does not actually disuade people from commiting crimes that would get them put to death(another Republican-esk arguement).

As far as liberal and conservative go, I see those as more economic based titles, as they originally were, although they have become extremely common is all political discussions, especially for mudslinging, i.e. Neo-Cons or Hardcore Liberals. Economically, liberals(democrats) are more for government spending and stronger central government and are liberal with the measures they take to encourage social programs etc. Conservatives(republicans), as our great governor Arnold put it, "don't spend more money then we have," hence conservative. Conservatives tend to be more for stronger local government and small central government to bring the power back to the states.

There is no real test for any issue, as the sides have pretty much decided on their own what they like and dont. As far as titles, I think a lot of people have very republican and democratic beliefs and pretty much call themselves by who they voted for in a major election.

just a brief guideline. certainly not comprehensive by any stretch of the imagination. hope it helps.
phil
 
Phil said:
Death Penalty:
Republicans: "Capital Punishment is murder. Although someone may have commited a henious crime, what right do we have to take away his fundamental right to life?"
Democrats: "This man commited terrible acts against humanity and should pay the ultimate price for his crimes."
What? Eh? Excuse me? I think you might want to revisit this one. Last I checked it was a Republican who made fun of a woman he then flipped the switch on. In fact, I think it's the same Republican just across the river from me in the White House right now. Who was governor of the state that has executed more people than any other.

Since when are the Democrats pro-death penalty and Repubs against it?
 

Phil

Diabloii.Net Member
You are absolutely right. I am planning on blaming Star Wars and being up for 42 hours so far on my stupidity today.

phil
 

Darnoc

Diabloii.Net Member
DrunkCajun said:
What? Eh? Excuse me? I think you might want to revisit this one. Last I checked it was a Republican who made fun of a woman he then flipped the switch on. In fact, I think it's the same Republican just across the river from me in the White House right now. Who was governor of the state that has executed more people than any other.

Since when are the Democrats pro-death penalty and Repubs against it?
I was never too clear on that issue myself; personally might has well have any person convicted of a heinous crime kept in jail for life so theyre forced to think about what theyve done.

I agree that the two party political system is the root of the problem- every other democracy in the world has at least 4-5 major parties if not like 10-15. We were lucky to have Ross perot run that time(or unlucky depending on your point of view). Development of political parties that best represent the people in this country could be one of the best things that could happen, maybe.. it at least sounds good.
 
Phil said:
You are absolutely right. I am planning on blaming Star Wars and being up for 42 hours so far on my stupidity today.

phil
:teeth: No worries, I just suddenly was put into a panic wondering if I was the crazy one, because the other ones seemed to be about right.
 

maccool

Diabloii.Net Member
All you need to know to join any political fray in the OTF is that your views are correct and everyone else's are wrong no matter how much sense they may make. You also can never understand anyone else's point of view, that automatically makes you a free-thinker; that's highly discouraged here.

Find a party line and toe it, dammit! There will be no free exchange of thought and ideas in the OTF with regards to politics (or religion). I think it's somewhere in the rules.
 

giantpinkbunnyhead

Diabloii.Net Member
WOw, some great responses.

If each side has more or less decided for themselves where they stand, then it pretty much comes down to memorizing who wants what. I can see a few common threads... for instance, if some new issue comes up that deals with turning a current state issue into a federal one, would it be proper to assume the republicans might not like it, because it suggests a reduction in a state's ability (or right) to handle itself?

I really do have a whole mix of issues I support from either side. Besides what I've mentioned already, I do agree with gun ownership. I also think that as much should be privatized as possible because I believe the private sector is inherently more efficient at almost everything. but I also know some things simply can't be privatized. I'm also very pro-security, however it should not cost our freedom to get it. I heard a saying once, "Men who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither" and I agree with that. I'm not really trying so much to find out what "category" I am... that's more of a curiosity... my main goal is to understand the different sides out there. I still vote issue by issue, though last election I did not vote for a president because in the end, I couldn't wade through the infighting and mudslinging and I still don't know what bush stands for that kerry doesn't and vice versa. Though, having rough ideas of what republicans support vs. democrats, I could probably guess. At the time, my vote would have been uninformed, and that bothers me. I don't know how to "be" informed, not until I understand what's going on I guess.
 

Darnoc

Diabloii.Net Member
giantpinkbunnyhead said:
WOw, some great responses.

If each side has more or less decided for themselves where they stand, then it pretty much comes down to memorizing who wants what. I can see a few common threads... for instance, if some new issue comes up that deals with turning a current state issue into a federal one, would it be proper to assume the republicans might not like it, because it suggests a reduction in a state's ability (or right) to handle itself?

I really do have a whole mix of issues I support from either side. Besides what I've mentioned already, I do agree with gun ownership. I also think that as much should be privatized as possible because I believe the private sector is inherently more efficient at almost everything. but I also know some things simply can't be privatized. I'm also very pro-security, however it should not cost our freedom to get it. I heard a saying once, "Men who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither" and I agree with that. I'm not really trying so much to find out what "category" I am... that's more of a curiosity... my main goal is to understand the different sides out there. I still vote issue by issue, though last election I did not vote for a president because in the end, I couldn't wade through the infighting and mudslinging and I still don't know what bush stands for that kerry doesn't and vice versa. Though, having rough ideas of what republicans support vs. democrats, I could probably guess. At the time, my vote would have been uninformed, and that bothers me. I don't know how to "be" informed, not until I understand what's going on I guess.

Yes, there are so many issues out there many people just choose a few issues that matter most to them and vote for the party that most closely supports those. It always seems to come down to which you feel is a lesser of the two evils. Both political parties will always do something that will piss you off.
 

Phil

Diabloii.Net Member
My best suggestion to being informed is as simple as reading the news. My homepage is Yahoo News, although any reliable news page will work, and when I first get on the internet I spend 10-15 minutes floating through some of the pages. The opinion section is the most interesting to me. If you can fight your way through the rediculous amount of name calling and completely fallacized arguments, you will in the end find a few sentences every few pages which actually help to show why someone believes what they do, instead of why the other side is a bunch of assholes. If instead of passing judgment on what each side says, you read as if you were solely interested in why they believe the things they do, politics will start to fall into place.


phil
 

giantpinkbunnyhead

Diabloii.Net Member
I think that's what I need... because it's all the fighting that does an excellent job of hiding the real issue from me.

But also, when I DO find the crux of the issue, I find I don't trust the "facts" each side lives by. I wonder about things like, "how does this side know that these facts are right". LIke for instance, they say over 1600 troops have been killed in Iraq. Do i believe it? What if... 3000 have died but the pentagon is under-reporting in an effort to maintain support for the war? How can anyone really know, and how can people use the death toll of 1600 as a fact in their arguments?

Here's a better, local-to-me scenario.

A local issue here is aerial wolf-hunting. One side against the activity claims the efforts are backed by hunters who only want more moose to kill, because with fewer wolfs killing the moose, more hunters can kill the moose. Another side claims it's a legitimate game management practice. I don't know much about hunting, nor do I know anything about responsible game management, let alone the current population of wolfs vs. mooses. I do know, that I've never seen a wolf in town, but I see an average of 5 moose a week while running and biking through the forests. But I can't draw any conclusions from that because all this aerial wolf hunting is taking place hundreds of miles away from here. So, I can't find the "real" issue, aside from "should we or shouldn't we?" I can't tell if the game populations are sufficient to require our intervention in this manner, nor can I tell if hunters are backing this somehow.

Maybe, as you suggest, reading with a different approach would help.
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
giantpinkbunnyhead said:
If I am pro choice, pro death penalty, pro legalizing drugs, pro gay marraige, anti illegal immigrants, anti ANWR... what does that make me? And why? How can all this make sense to anyone? How can anyone be "one or the other", or if you are in the middle, then what do you call youself?
If one went by just this paragraph, you're a 'liberal democrat' but not at the loony fringe.
- Choice = infanticide; GOP doesn't like funding this out of gov't coffers
- Death penalty = ultimate punishment presented earlier, whereas the DNC response invokes a vague moral argument not really supportible in the nuts & bolts of gov't procedure.
- Legal drugs = increasing burden on the state health system, and perhaps infinging on the rights of parents to control their own children
- Gay marriage = GOP would say (currently) this overrides a state's right to determine what is & isn't a legal contract. This has been done previously (Utah) and it isn't appreciated.
- Illegal immigrants = security for GOP, versus more people depending on the Gov't system for the DNC. Kind of a no-brainer, which is why the laws exist; both sides cheat the system silly for economic gain.
- ANWR = hampering big business in case some reindeer might be inconvenienced.
giantpinkbunnyhead said:
Besides what I've mentioned already, I do agree with gun ownership. I also think that as much should be privatized as possible because I believe the private sector is inherently more efficient at almost everything. but I also know some things simply can't be privatized. I'm also very pro-security, however it should not cost our freedom to get it.
- Guns = the citizenry aren't responsible enough to own them
- privatization = fine, but the more you make, the more you should be taxed/penalized to support the unproductive part of society
- security = if this is National Security, the issue currently is 'pwned' by the GOP. Partly because the DNC wants to lay claim to the 'peace, love, & happiness' vote from the 1960's, partly because of the belief that bureaucracy & diplomacy work better than naked force & agression.
 
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