5 Things Liberals Often Don’t Understand About Politics

bernie-sanders-3I fully realize that many people will say, “I already knew these things, you’re preaching to the choir.” Well, oh enlightened ones, this one isn’t for you – but since the midterm elections are less than 7 months away, I’d still go ahead and take this time to remember the following points.

5. All politics are local: No better point can be made than the 2010 election when liberal voters didn’t get out and vote. As a result, our Congress resembles a dysfunctional zoo, full of Tea Party members who have done anything and everything to block President Obama at every turn. Simply showing up to vote every 4 years isn’t enough. Showing up to vote for congressional and senate races isn’t enough either. You have to involve yourself in local politics because so many of the decisions that affect your daily life and mine aren’t made in Washington, they’re made by state and local government. Simply put, you have to vote in ALL of the elections, not just some of them. If your local roads or schools suck, blaming Washington isn’t the way to fix it. Go to where the problem can be solved and that’s at your local board of supervisors or the school board. Politicians of all levels need to hear from ALL of their constituents and all too often, they only hear from the loudest, often deranged voices.

4. Petitions are often useless: Petitions are nice and they make you feel good, but they don’t replace real action. Also, most of those petition sites collect your information and sell it to political groups. Moveon.org, Change.org, they all do it. A few months ago, I created a throwaway email account to play with a petition I included in an article talking about how Facebook’s new “pay to play” business model was seriously hurting small business, non-profits and charities. My petition was eventually deleted after I refused to pay to “boost” my petition and to this day, that throwaway account still gets solicitations from that website. So go ahead and keep filling out petitions, but just remember that you still need to get down to the polls on Election Day.

3. Conservatives count on your apathy: They encourage it with “all parties are the same” mantra that you see posted ad nauseam in the comments section on Facebook and elsewhere. Divide and conquer is a great strategy when you’re facing an opponent who outnumbers you. Yes, there are people who do legitimately believe that both major political parties are the same but go on any conservative Facebook page and see how many people are parroting the “both parties are the same, wake up sheeple!” line versus how many are on liberal pages. Divide and conquer, that’s how it works.

“When strong, avoid them. If of high morale, depress them. Seem humble to fill them with conceit. If at ease, exhaust them. If united, separate them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.”
Sun Tzu

2. Astroturfing: Both sides do it. It’s legal, it’s a big part of American politics, and it’s here to stay. What is astroturfing? Politicaldictionary.com defines it as, “An artificially-manufactured political movement designed to give the appearance of grass roots activism.”

1. Simply being a liberal doesn’t make you a good person: What you stand for may be good, but your beliefs don’t make you a good person – your actions do. If you aren’t putting your beliefs into making this world a better place and just sitting on your ass, then you’re really not helping at all. Also, there’s no need to defend the idiots, con men, and other sleazebags who camp out on your side of the fence just because they claim to be on your side politically. It isn’t a victory to the opposition when you muffle the voices of batshit crazy or hatred in your own ranks. Not all liberals are smart, just as not all conservatives are dumb so please let’s stop repeating the false narrative that conservatives are idiots and arguing with them is a waste of time. If they were truly all idiots, they wouldn’t have taken over Congress and wouldn’t be poised to take over the Senate this fall either.

Remember, 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.

Be sure to start researching candidates now and if you don’t see one you like, how about considering becoming one yourself?


Facebook comments

  • MLR

    An article like this is well overdue. I think liberals need a rude wake up call and realize that voting only during presidential elections is no longer enough. And I personally never said that all conservatives are idiots (although it seems that way), what I’ve said is that their base are a bunch of brainwashed idiots, and they are. And the only reason the “idiots” took over Congress is because of liberal apathy (maybe liberals are the real idiots), but had we (I did) shown up in 2010 like we did in 2008, there’s no way they would of pulled it off.

    • Jws324

      Or would HAVE pulled it off. You are certainly no idiot.

      • FeRD

        Wow. Really?

        I’m as guilty of patrolling for the Grammar Police as the next person. (More, unless that next person happens to be the love-child of Lynne Truss and William Strunk.) It’s a sickness and I can’t always help myself, even though I know my interjections may serve only to distract from the real point of the conversation. Or at the very least, that’s how some people will inevitably see them, and not entirely without justification.

        But it’s correctness, not combativeness, that motivates me to bring a mistake to someone’s attention, and I make an effort to do so in as constructive and non-judgmental a manner as possible. I hope I’d never use a minor error as an excuse to attack someone, or imagine that spotting some typo, minor flub, or editing damage gives me an advantage against them, or reflects in any way at all on the merits of their substantive argument or their credibility in making it! (In truth, I’m far harder on the writing of people I agree with; I’m more invested in their ideas being expressed correctly, and find it especially distracting when their arguments are marred by technical imperfections.)

        You, on the other hand, have revealed yourself to be merely a snob and a petty jerk, as well as the only obvious idiot in this conversation.

      • 1EdMeadows83

        Ohhh, not I. If a stupid Conservative makes a grammatical mistake I’ll nail them for it. Anything to dim their luster.

      • FeRD

        Well, to each their own I suppose.

        Only… here’s the thing: It doesn’t “dim their luster”. Not really. There are those like you who’d see it that way, but I suspect most people (on either side) wouldn’t agree. And so you end up the proverbial chess-playing pigeon, shitting on the board(/conversation) and then strutting around like you’ve won.

        I prefer genuine victories on matters of substance, personally. Not getting all full of myself because I got in some cheap shots.

    • Winkster

      “would HAVE” Christ….

    • cptAmerica

      sure lump everyone into one grouping. that goes so well in racisim should work just fine for politics too!

  • Phil Keast

    I considered long and hard on whether to comment on the above, since I can have no impact upon the outcome of the up-coming elections, not being a citizen of the USA, but I do have some thoughts.

    Should you choose to enter into a conversation (debate, argument, discussion, verbal fencing match, etc.) with someone with a differing opinion (political, philosophical, constitutional, legal, etc.), try, at first at least, to keep the discussion civil. Approach the person you wish to engage with the intent to discuss, not confront. This will, admittedly, often result in your being greeted with knee-jerk abuse and assaults on your character, family, ignorance, and any other perceived fault or insult that your “opponent” can draw upon to avoid the conversation, indicating that any further attempt at civil discourse is doomed. At which point withdraw with dignity, rather than leaping into the cesspool in an attempt to out-insult those you disagree with.

    Because sometimes, unfortunately rare, you may strike up a real conversation, an exchange of ideas, even, possibly, a recognition on both sides of the debate that the other side has reasons to believe as they do, even if you they find those reasons spurious. Of course it is more likely that you’ll end up in the same mud-slinging exchange of insults, and irrational, pig-headed refusal to acknowledge that one’s fellow debater has any contact with reality, but it was worth the attempt, wasn’t it? And if that is where the debate leads, withdraw with dignity, be the better person, because that will really piss them off.

    Of course, if you are not actually debating them, but commenting upon them, knowing that no real debate is possible, then acknowledging that they are bug-f*ck crazy morons who couldn’t find their arse with both hands and a map is an understandable position to take. Not a terribly good opening gambit if you wish to alter a person’s views, or begin a conversation, but it is incredibly satisfying sometimes.

    • Pipercat

      I, for one, appreciate your input. I saw, on another thread, where you did get a bit frustrated with us septics.

      This concept called discussion has actually occurred here, believe it or not. Some of us actually created a facebook page where civility is the primary focus and looking “beyond the obvious” is paramount. If you use Facebook, look up that last quoted reference and send a request. I’d love to have a dern feriner and a stinkin roo in the group!!


      • Sandy Greer

        I lose heart, sometimes, too. The internet can be a rough place.

        Good part is when you discover a ‘jewel’ amongst all the roughage. Like Phil – surely, a welcome addition to any group. Especially the ones who prize civility.

        Even those I’ve burned bridges to. Ouch! 😉

        C’est la vie…

      • Pipercat

        I hope your ears were burning recently as I pointed out a few of your “gems!”

      • Sandy Greer

        LOL Let’s just say – I don’t like to be ‘predictable’. You never know what I might do. I’ve come up with some doozies!

        But you should see Gun Nuts. I did myself proud.

        And, maybe – showed why a ‘dangerous’ woman is just about the very best thing to be. 😉

      • Pipercat

        I did laugh quietly to myself.

      • Phil Keast

        Yes, well, I did rather toss a wobbly on that one, didn’t I.

        I have had some interesting, extended debates here, although my deplorable tendency to bait rather than debate does at times inject a little too much venom into those than necessary. Hell, any venom is unnecessary, merely occasionally satisfyingly gratuitous.

        For all that I occasionally bemoan things that irritate or frustrate me, I’m not going away, so I’m afraid we’re all going to have to learn to deal with that.

        I would, however, since I have opportunity, make a couple of comments.
        a) I truly do respect and admire the USA
        b) I am fully aware that I do make mistakes, especially in the rough and tumble of a quick response between one task and another. If I do, take me to task. When I’m factually wrong, I’m more than willing to admit it. Of course, when it comes to opinion, that horse has well and truly bolted, convince me I’m wrong (it does happen)
        c) We crazy Aussies have some rather strange attitudes. For example, we have a memorial swimming pool dedicated to the memory of a state premier who disappeared, presumed drowned. One of our practices that annoy others (and ourselves) is the “tall poppy syndrome”. We recognize and respect achievement, but if someone sticks their head above the masses and starts to assert some sense of superiority, then out come the rhetorical guns, ego-deflating knives, editorials, letters to the editors,, etc., to chop that bastard down to the level of respect they deserve. This tends to explain why, when the award of Australian of the Year is awarded, it is usually someone most people have never heard of, someone who goes about their work changing society for the better or contributing to their field of endeavor in a significant way, without need for, or desire for, special recognition (which is one of the reasons why they get that special recognition). And, with all respect, there are times that the USA (or at least some commentators who believe they can speak on behalf of their country, I often overlook the distinction) is such an easy target with respect to applying the tall-poppy doctrine.

        So, there we have it, probably TMI, but I’m feeling garrulous this morning, typing this over breakfast.

      • Pipercat

        Yes, the deplorable tactic of baiting for a response. I’m a co-conspirator and guilty as charged. I tend to look for fallacies being posited as rational arguments. The straw man, or Aunt Sally, is a local favorite.

        Whilst you were enjoying your breakfast, the wife and I were enjoying supper. Guess what was on the menu? Yep, burgers, but with a bit of twist, tots on the side!

      • Sandy Greer

        I found your ‘tall poppies’ interesting. We have something similar here. But I wonder:

        Where does self-deprecatory humor fit in?

        Self-deprecatory humor is my favorite kind; so endearing.

        And what about building up – encouraging others? Couldn’t the tall poppy ‘lift’ the others? So they’re all tall?

        I like to free associate. And that’s what I came up with.

        You’re both (you & Pipercat) subtle in your baiting; I never noticed. I don’t usually bait, but when pressed – have been known to use self-deprecatory humor to do it.

        And then, there are the (rare) occasions I come down on somebody like a ton of bricks. Ouch! ;D

      • Phil Keast

        Self-deprecating humor is the other side of the coin to the tall poppy doctrine, as I like to call it. If you intend to go around bursting the bubble of people’s over-inflated egos, start with your own, have a good long look at yourself and recognize that you can be, and sometimes are, full of shit. Then make a joke of it, let people in on it, laugh at your own foolishness, and let others laugh along with you.

        As for building people up, we do have a profound respect for those that do so (look up Dr. Fred Hollows and the Fred Hollows Foundation, we are rather proud of that, and he is not the only example, we have quite a few very distinguished and worthy recipients of Australian and international awards). We just have little time for those that think that they are entitled to feel superior to others. It is the people who contribute, who build others up, who make a difference without developing over-inflated egos who earn our respect, especially if they do it because they believe in what they are doing. Not for recognition, or to get their picture in the paper, not even because it is a “worthy” cause, but just because they see something that needs to be done and they just get on with the business of doing it. These are the people who are recipients of the Australian of the Year award. As I said, until they receive the recognition they deserve, most people don’t even know about the projects these people work on, let alone their names. But we know they are out there, and every year the number of deserving people nominated for Awards given on Australia Day increases, because we know there are people out there that can inspire us all to reach a little higher. And we will hunt them down and praise them and recognize their contribution whether they think they deserve it or not.

        As for coming down like a ton of bricks, I call it the velvet sledgehammer. Be reasonable, acknowledge the position of others, argue against whatever flaws in their position you find, keep the conversation going. Set the dominoes in a row, give them a push, watch the clever patterns, and when the final one falls and the velvet sledgehammer comes out of nowhere and slaps them on the back of the head for being a fool, do so knowing that you gave fair warning, but they were too busy watching the dominoes to see it coming.

      • Sandy Greer

        OK, this is not baiting (on my part) And I assume so, on yours. These are honest questions from me – to somebody I respect – because I haven’t seen myself as you do, and I’d like to know what you see.

        1) Do you think I ‘burst people’s egos’? It’s not what I want, is why I ask.

        2) How am I full of shit? Also not what I want, obviously.

        I’m willing to do what I can to better myself. It’s 1a here – time I got to bed. But I promise to take that good long look, and consider carefully what you say.

        Your Dr. Hollows was a fine man. A ‘cut above’ – who made a real difference to many.

      • Phil Keast

        I haven’t analyzed your posts, I read them when they come up, judge them on the same standard I judge all posts. I don’t necessarily agree with everything I’ve read, but I don’t expect to. It is in our differences that we find our common humanity. Ok, that sounds conceited and counter-intuitive, but it works for me.

        But to address your points

        1) Do you burst people’s egos? I can’t cite a specific example, but if you’ve ever pointed out to someone that they are taking themselves too seriously, or that they are projecting their own prejudices and opinions onto the rest of the world, then that’s ego-deflation 101. Its not a bad thing. I’m reminded of the (apocryphal) tales of the slave Caesar kept around to remind him that we wasn’t a god (wonder how many slaves he went through?). We all need reminding that we aren’t all knowing or infallible. Reminding someone of that is a public service.

        2) I’ve no idea how to answer this, I can’t recall, offhand, any post where you have asserted or maintained a position that I would consider about as rational the rantings of a Televangelist who wants a new mansion. By the same token, haven’t you ever looked back at something you’ve posted, or said in conversation, and said to yourself “Well, that was pretty dumb”? Everyone does it, saying something in the heat of the moment, holding hard to an idea well after its use by date, the whole plethora of mistakes and missteps that, as fallible humans, we make all the time. As a blunt-talking Aussie who will call a spade a bloody shovel, when I do something like that I shrug it off and say, “We’ll, I was full of shit then, wasn’t I?” Aussies have been accused of having a rather colorful vocabulary, I was once suspended from a forum for saying f*ck too often. Hadn’t even noticed I’d been using the word, its just a word that I use everyday as casually as others would say “damn”. So, “full of shit”/”fallible”, six of one, half a dozen of the other.

      • Sandy Greer

        Well, looks like the joke is on me! LOL I misunderstood: I thought – when you spoke of ‘bursting egos’ and ‘full of shit’ – you meant me – in PARTICULAR. Instead of me in the general sense.

        I feel better. 😉 And more than a little relieved.

        I did say somebody was ‘projecting’ once. Felt bad about it – because I like him (mostly) and want to be kind.

        Agree with Charles (your velvet sledgehammer) Though I’m not clever enough to place dominoes. My ‘ton of bricks’ is mostly just a failing – when I am pushed enough to lose patience.

        Not my strong suit – Patience. So, definitely, fallible.

        Thanks, Phil. Your perspective (as always) is an asset. I think you value kindness yourself. And have more patience than you give yourself credit for, perhaps.

        You be sure to have yourself a grand Monday!

      • Charles Vincent

        That last paragraph is pure genius.
        Additionally I don’t believe we make people look foolish or deflate their ego those people do it to themselves we just shine the spotlight on it when it occurs.

      • Phil Keast

        *chuckle* Yeah, fools do most of the work for us, but when you can shine the light so clearly that not only do they stop, paralyzed, like a bunny in a spot-light, but actually have to look at themselves in the mirror and recognize their own foolishness, that’s pure gold.

        But sometimes a fool can conceal their foolishness, for a while, so there has arisen a culture of pre-emptive strikes.

    • MLR

      I would love to have a rational and civil debate with those of the opposite party, but not with the current bunch who do nothing but insult the president, question place of birth, insult liberals, insult anyone who disagrees with them even a little. So when level-headed grown-ups return to the republican party then and only then can a real, sensible and civil debate or conversation happen.

      • Sandy Greer

        Birthers – like Truthers – are in a class by themselves. But here’s what I think, about the rest:

        We can’t ‘control’ anybody but ourselves. We can’t wish for ‘perfect’ partners – they’re not coming. We take what we can get. And we make the best of it.

        We CAN make a difference – even amongst the insults, and outrages. IF we hold ourselves to ‘higher’ standards – we are lights, shining, in the dark.

        We do that, and we give ‘heart’ – to others, AND ourselves.

        We don’t have to ‘take’ insults we are given. OUR choice – to be insulted, or not. WE choose – don’t give away that Power. We don’t have to respond to every provocation; we can walk on by.

        And, sometimes, we find our Antagonist really wasn’t the ‘bad’ guy we thought. THAT’S an eye-opener. And worth every effort.

        IMHO, FWIW

      • Phil Keast

        I understand entirely where you are coming from, if I actually had to deal with the sheer pig-headed ignorance, arrogance, and down-right stupidity that appears to inhabit the far-right of the Republican party, I wouldn’t approach most of those people with the conversational equivalent of a 10-foot pole. But surely there are some conservatives out there who are open to reasoned debate, who can be brought to see the damage the Republicans are doing in their name? These are the people who need to be engaged, to be brought into the discussion, to be treated as individuals with legitimate concerns and not the same as the wing-nuts (loving that term) that get all the media attention. A true ground-swell of conservative voters who stand for more than the far-right-tea party-creationist-anti-abortion rhetoric. One can hope so, anyway. And if a little encouragement from the left is required to achieve that, even at the risk of creating a block of rational conservatives that bite into the liberal voter base, in the long run it may be worth it.

  • lindylou

    I need to remind myself over and over about #1. I have conservative friends – none of whom are Tea Party, some self-identify as Libertarian, and not one of them is “stupid”.

    • 1EdMeadows83

      The extreme Conservative is a Tea Partier. The extreme Libertarian is an anarchist. I’m sure there’s a name for an extreme Liberal but I can’t think of one off hand. I know some extreme Liberals and consider them as detrimental to Progressivism as a Tea Partier is to Conservatism.

  • clinton notestine

    tell #4 to rush limpballs… oh yeah those petitions work

  • FeRD

    Nothing proves #4 better than the Great Travesty of the Obama White House’s much-ballyhooed “transparency”, the We The People petition site.

    Don’t get me wrong, I voted for the President twice and count myself, on balance, as a supporter. But it doesn’t mean I agree with everything he’s done or the way he’s done everything, and the single greatest and most complete failure of his Presidency has been in living up to his campaign promises of transparency and open government.

    I don’t even necessarily feel he was lying when he campaigned on the promise of a more transparent government. That may very well have been his intention. But, as with the closing of Guantanamo and his “keep your health plan” sound bite, it was stupid and he never should’ve said it, because in the end reality set in and made a liar out of him all the same.

    The difference is, he could’ve delivered on the transparency promise. Instead, he did the opposite, and has run an Administration that’s such a polar opposite of transparent, at this point that long-ago campaign promise seems like nothing more than a cruel joke.

    “We The People” is particularly noteworthy (read: infuriating) in that it’s the last vestige of that broken promise; every penny spent on the site was a complete waste of taxpayer funds, and its continued operation is nothing more than a cruel reminder of the divide between ideals and reality. The ideal is great: ordinary Americans have a stronger voice in government, and the Administration is required to respond to any proposal that gains enough popular support, guaranteeing that any idea worth considering will at least be heard.

    The reality, of course, is a laughable perversion of that ideal: The popularity of a petition has little to do with the quality of the idea being proposed. The simple numeric cutoff for required response means the White House is forced by their own rules to address proposals to build a Death Star or admit we’ve been visited by space aliens. They jack up the response threshhold in a sad attempt to prevent frivolous petitions getting through, and the Internet predictably demonstrates how laughable a notion that is. As a result, genuinely worthwhile proposals are unlikely to reach the now-required 100,000 signature level. The White House will ignore the required-response rules as they please, clearly — a report back in January revealed that there were 30 petitions awaiting a required response, some for as long as 2 years and 11 of which were subject to, and met, the 100,000-signature cutoff.

    When a serious proposal does receive a response, it follows one or both of two established patterns. Either the Aministration takes the opportunity to deliver an insulting and self-congratulatory press release touting “Hey, check out how we’re already totally this thing that’s almost vaguely related to what you proposed, isn’t it Teh Awezumm how we were already way ahead of you on that? USA #1!”, or the response consists of a wall of politician-speak verbiage that dances around what it’s really saying:

    “No, because bite me.

    – Barry”

  • John Stephens

    You’re preaching to the choir on number 4. This new facebook policy is killing me. Charities/blogging is what I do, and getting viewers to the blog and messages about the charity out are damn near impossible.

  • Jessica Ricker

    Who said you have to be smart to get into politics? You don’t. You need money.

  • Daniel L. Cox

    The statement “All politics are local” is the real crux of this story. On a National level, because of disproportionate balance of liberals and conservatives, primarily Blacks, in urban areas, it appears that the liberals are the party of the people. If the Electoral College were set up to go by Congressional Districts (Maine and Nebraska), rather than as a winner takes all fiasco, there would not be a President Obama sitting in the White House. This is proven by the last two Presidential Elections and the last three Senatorial Elections (again, winner take all, by state).
    Just something else for you to think about.

  • TommyNIK

    He’s right. I started reading this article a little miffed I admit. But no….WE MUST VOTE. ALWAYS.

  • cptAmerica

    Did I really fight Hydra, lose one of the best women in the world to time, and have to team up with Tony Stark. for this!?

  • Michael Siever

    #3 demonstrates how we can be our own worst enemy. And the right knows
    this all too well. It was apathy on our part that allowed the Tea Party to take over Congress, as well as many of the state legislatures, including mine in Texas. We cannot keep letting them get away with this. In the words of Mike Ehrmantraut from Breaking Bad, “No more half measures”.