On a regular basis, I see people commenting how “both sides are the same!” while browsing various news stories around the Internet. For the most part this is a steaming pile of bull manure, but the one thing both sides are guilty of is stereotyping. Sure, we’ve all seen the “LIBERALS ARE ALL COMMIE SOCIALIST MUSLIM FASCISTS WHO WANT TO MURDER BABIES” rabid rants often busted out in all caps with the token misspelling of at least a couple of words that aren’t monosyllabic. That’s standard fare for the Internet these days, and whether it’s just your elderly father who doesn’t understand how the caps lock works or paid trolls, you see it on the local news comments section or Yahoo! CONSTANTLY.
And then there are the liberals who comment back. Sometimes it’s a thing of beauty, and sometimes I just want to grab them by the shirt and scream at them “what in the hell is wrong with you?” Why? Because of stereotypes. Yes, liberals tend to use stereotypes just like the conservatives they look down on. In fact, we as humans all use stereotypes – whether we want to admit it or not. So here’s a list of the worst stereotypes liberals use, in my opinion.
5. All gun owners are redneck NRA nuts.
Seriously, as a gun owner who supports marriage equality, green energy and women’s rights, just knock it off. I know plenty of liberals, independents and conservatives who own guns for personal protection or hunting – and not for some delusional belief that their tricked out AR-15 is the only thing that stands between America and a UN invasion. In the wake of Sandy Hook, there was a time where we could have had a national conversation about universal background checks, registration of military style weapons and making it harder for a deranged person to massacre scores of children in their own classrooms. Instead we had too many people on the left screaming about banning all guns, then the NRA spin masters pointed to that as proof of a “liberal agenda to take away our guns” and absolutely nothing got done.
There’s a difference between a gun owner and a gun nut, and liberals need to differentiate between the two instead of making blanket statements that accomplish nothing except creating more NRA propaganda.
4. Everyone who lives in the South is a backwards redneck.
Almost every time I post something on my page about yet another asinine conservative politician introducing yet another asinine law here in Louisiana or elsewhere in a conservative state, chances are someone is going to make an ignorant statement about the KKK or how Louisiana or Texas should just secede already. Look, pandering right wing politicians and the idiots who vote for them exist in every single state in this country. Go to upstate New York, northern California or parts of Oregon and you’ll find plenty of people who believe that gay people are instruments of Satan or President Obama is an illegal Kenyan reptilian shape shifter sent from another dimension to destroy America and capitalism. Hell, it wasn’t a southern state that gave us Michele Bachmann or Paul Ryan, and it wasn’t a southern state that was the center of the media’s attention over a rancher and his supporters that were ready to kill federal agents over a land dispute.
Bigotry and mental illness aren’t confined to the southern side of the Mason-Dixon line. There are plenty of liberals down here, even if we aren’t the loudest voices and we’re often outnumbered.
3. Liberals are all wonderful people.
Some of the rudest, most sexist and dishonest people I’ve ever dealt with have called themselves liberals. As the saying goes, your beliefs don’t make you a good person, your actions do. During the run up to Election Day in 2012, I saw some pretty disgusting behavior by people who put themselves out there as great warriors against the rightwing. These were people who not only descended to the level of the angry conservatives they fought, they grabbed a shovel and dug a whole new level of sexism and vitriol. They made fun of Sarah Palin’s son for having Down’s Syndrome or made transphobic comments about Ann Coulter’s appearance, and sadly, a lot of people thought it was hilarious.
You know, it’s OK because “it’s about them and they deserve it” – that was the excuse of a lot of folks who would have written a dozen outraged blogs if a conservative had said the EXACT same things about a liberal personality or their families.
2. All Libertarians are Ayn Rand devotees who want to starve the poor.
There’s a joke that goes something like, “If you ask a thousand libertarians what Libertarianism is, you’ll get a thousand different answers” – and that’s not that far from the truth. Libertarians are very wrong in my opinion on some things, especially in the belief that if we just did away with most laws and regulations, the free market and the goodness of human nature would be free to make this nation the utopia that we’ve all been waiting for.
However, they’re not wrong on everything (especially the War on Drugs) and refusing to work with people on things you agree on because of the things you don’t agree on is probably the number one problem in our country right now.
1. All conservatives are stupid.
Yes, I know I’ve said this before but it needs to be said again. Stop writing off everyone who is conservative as being stupid. If they were really that dumb, how is it that they took over the House of Representatives in 2010 and are threatening to do the same thing in 2014 to the Senate? John Boehner isn’t stupid (but perhaps incompetent as a leader), Eric Cantor isn’t stupid, Mitch McConnell isn’t stupid and Ted Cruz is actually a very smart guy. Remember, we can have all the good ideas and slogans we want, but as long as we delude ourselves into thinking that we’ll always win just by having better ideas and being better people, America will stay stuck in the political rut it currently finds itself in.
And once again, here’s what’s in play this coming November:
—All 435 seats of the U.S. House of Representatives
—33 seats in the U.S. Senate
—46 State Legislatures
—38 State and Territorial Governorships.
Winning this election and in 2016 (and beyond) will depend on winning hearts and minds (in addition to getting off your couch and to the polls) – and relying on stereotypes is a horrible way to start.
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