I recently had a political conversation with a few friends and family members, most of whom are Republicans, and it was nothing short of exasperating. I thought that some of them had progressed over the past few years, but I now know they still have a long way to go.
After George W. Bush was installed in 2000, I told all of my Republican friends and family that not only would he be an abject failure, but that he would take us to war in Iraq and our economy would be in ruins by the time he left office. I was chastised for years after, but I never gloated as time went by and I was sadly proven right. Dubya and his party ran our country into the ground and I thought that many of those conservative friends and family had come around -- but as it turns out, not so much.
Just minutes into the aforementioned discussion, it became painfully clear that the right-leaning narratives put out by our corporate media had indeed sunk in and they had bought into them hook, line and sinker -- and most of these folks admitted they can no longer stomach Fox News so I knew they were getting their talking points from the likes of CNN and other non-Fox media outlets.
No matter what the topic, from health care reform to Wall Street, and no matter how many points we agreed on or how many facts I laid at their feet, someone would invariably turn to me and dismissively say "Yes, but you're so left wing that you..." or "This is a center-right country, and you're so far left that..." In each case I asked them to explain -- please give examples of what makes me, or anyone, "left wing." The only thing they could come up with was deficits! Pelosi and Reid! Beyond that, it was because I didn't hate people like Al Gore and Howard Dean and I watch Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, and EVERYBODY knows they are really "far left."
Head. Smash. Desk.
The irony of it all is that in the end, we agreed on about 90% of everything we talked about. Old habits die hard and they couldn't let go of the old targets they were trained to hate by the right wing media. In their minds, any policy or legislation that comes from Democrats with no support from the right is just far left and that can't be good. We ended up agreeing to disagree ... on all the issues we agreed on! I'm sure I'm not the only one who has suffered through these kinds of skull-numbing experiences so if you've found yourself in the same position, please feel free to use this post to vent.
(Note: That's not me in the picture...at least on the outside.)