Monday, December 6, 2010

The aftermath

I've clearly listened to too much news radio today as I went around my business but it kept bringing to mind a comment I received during election season.  I am still somewhat chuckling that I was accused of being anti-Republican.  I can understand why someone would assume that I'm not a registered Republican but I think about what spurred the comment and I'm a bit surprised at the implicit assumption.

I received this characterization of my character after I suggested that someone might want to think twice about voting for a particular candidate because of their ties to the local Tea Party movement.  My reason was that I have had personal interactions with some of these folks and found that they turned to lies, threats, slander (yes, it was verbal, to my face) and libel (accusations about me in writing) when they weren't getting their way over a politically charged issue. 

So why do I find it so interesting that I should be charged with being anti-Republican?  It's because of the implicit assumption that because I'm anti-Tea Party (yes, I'll fully admit that) that I am also anti-Republican.  But how was this person to know that the very first folks that I met who were active in the Tea Party, in fact just as the Tea Party was becoming a "thing," were registered Democrats?  I think they were actually Libertarians, but didn't have the wherewithal to register as such.  Even funnier, not long earlier, these "Democrats" had accused me of being a Republican.

My characterizer also may not know that the very first candidate fielded by the Tea Party in my county, before they knew to call themselves Tea Partiers, was a registered Democrat.  He tried to run as a Republican before he found out he couldn't (because he was a registered Democrat (duh)).  So, if anything, my commentator should have an issue with the Tea Party rather than me for any damages to the Republican party's image.

But all this gets away from what I think is interesting, which is the assumptions people make.  I didn't ask, but I do wonder if the person who assumed I'm anti-Republican would believe that I've voted for Republican candidates on more than one occasion and have been happy to do so.  And of course, in return, I made my own assumptions, that this person is a registered Republican, but I actually don't know that either.

I made as many assumptions as my commentator and it's interesting that we weren't able to have enough of a substantive conversation to really understand each other's perspectives.  It's like those ships that pass in the night where you can just see the lights in the dimness, but the waves in their wake keep rippling through the mind to make us think about what the passage truly meant.

1 comment:

  1. At my last job I made a comment to my co-workers concerning my irritation that so many people place their kids in private schools, when it would be nice for their religiously raised to "be a light unto" the other kids in the world who don't get the opportunity to go to private schools. Their response was somewhat angry. My opinion tainted their perception of me as a "true" Republican when I am mostly conservative in my political beliefs. The problem is the categories "Republican," "Democrat" and the like don't really provide for openness to a form of political thought that is the best of all views. Political groups are a source of strength to get something hopefully positive accomplished. Unfortunately, they can cause aggregation of thought that removes true independence. The Republican party might be trying to use the energy created by the Tea Party to their advantage which can cause unfair assumptions concerning what a true Republican should believe. Label me as you wish. I am going to listen and try to find the best views even if we disagree.