November 18, 2008

TOUGHER LOVE

Dr. Helen quoted Ted Nugent (heart) -- "You don't need tough love in America, you need tougher love. " -- in her post about how we need to speak up:

Too many times, we let liberals get away with making fun of Republicans and those of us who do not agree with them politically. This needs to stop and the only way to do it is to speak up in the classrooms, public and at work. Remember that we are 56 million strong--those of us who did not vote for Obama. We are hardly alone.

As you know, I have been reading Atlas Shrugged again. Every time I read it, I remember how empowered it makes me feel. My husband mentioned a small dilemma today, and I said, "Tell them how you really feel; let them have it!" Then I laughed and said, "Sorry, I am being a bit too Reardon, aren't I?"

Reading this book makes me want to speak the truth.

On my flight the other day, while discussing the Obama book with my row-mate, the conversation turned to health care. This man, who was not an Obama supporter, said he agrees with "free" health care and thinks that it's something that the United States can do for its citizens.

I didn't say what I really wanted to say: Just because we can do something doesn't mean we should.

And looking back, I kind of wish I had said that. At least the conversation would've turned a different way and perhaps it would've made this man think new thoughts. Instead I took the wimpy way out and reminded him that nothing is "free" in this world. I wish I had been more assertive in the conversation though. He was asking my opinions and I held back, for fear of sounding cold.

As I said in an email to a friend a while back, I wish I were more like an Ayn Rand character. I wish that I didn't worry whether my positions sound nice or not. The Nuge is right: we need tougher love in this country.

I wish I were bold enough to tell a stranger on a plane that I don't believe everyone is entitled to cheap health care. I'm not there yet.

I wonder how many times I'll have to read Atlas Shrugged before I have that confidence...

Posted by: Sarah at 04:33 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
Post contains 397 words, total size 2 kb.

1 I believe in speaking up, but how do you define what's appropriate? Your for instance about healthcare, I would discuss that with someone I knew fairly well. Not with a stranger on a plane. But then I also just stopped discussing politics altogether during the campaign because it became increasingly difficult to not want to choke someone for being stupid. I think if we can speak up in a logical and polite fashion then we should. Also not everyone has the same social finesse as you do Sarah. I have no problem talking to people but a lot of folks are a little more shy. Maybe the 56 million of us who didn't vote for Obama could wear lapel pins or something?

Posted by: Mare at November 19, 2008 04:13 AM (APbbU)

2 The problem with speaking up when someone is pontificating is that they usually don't want to hear it. I adore a good discussion - even with people I don't politically agree with (and there are lots of those everywhere) as long as it can stay civil and the person I'm speaking with can give me facts as well as passion. And with one other caveat - the person I'm talking with has to be as open to hearing new facts and re-evaluating their belief system as I am. That's not too much to ask, I think, and that places the onus just as much on me as on the person I'm discussing with. The problem is that if someone's entire political worldview can fit on a 2 x 12 bumper sticker, there isn't depth for discussion.

Posted by: airforcewife at November 19, 2008 07:34 AM (Fb2PC)

3 Mare, I also just stopped discussing politics altogether during the campaign I kept my mouth shut "in real life" unless someone came "out of the closet." I always let others make the first move, unless I know we share common ground (and I do share some with people on the opposite side of the aisle - they're not another species!). airforcewife, The problem with speaking up when someone is pontificating is that they usually don't want to hear it. Yes. Such people are not interested in initiating a discussion; they intend to impress others with how "virtuous" they are (since they have the "right" beliefs). Questioning their "virtue" only angers them. Rage will blind them to whatever merits the opposing position may possess. the person I'm talking with has to be as open to hearing new facts and re-evaluating their belief system as I am. That's not too much to ask It depends on how "open" one is. It's "not too much to ask" if one is willing to take a few new steps in one direction or another. But expecting people to 180 because of something one says is too much. I'll admit it - I'm not likely to go back to the left any day soon. I don't have a totally open mind about Communism - or jihadism. And I'm not sorry about that. People have vast emotional investments in their core beliefs. Striking those beliefs directly is likely to fail. Questioning peripheral beliefs is safer, though it falls far short of what Nugent demands. (Not that I feel any need to please him.) Sarah's "nothing is 'free' in this world" or her unsaid "Just because we can do something doesn't mean we should" exemplify a third, more effective approach: question the underpinnings of the core beliefs rather than the beliefs themselves. The problem is that if someone's entire political worldview can fit on a 2 x 12 bumper sticker, there isn't depth for discussion. But just enough "depth" to identify that person. That's all politics is for a lot of people. Tribal insignia. Why bother to question their badges? Good advice!

Posted by: Amritas at November 19, 2008 08:24 AM (+nV09)

4 I too, tend to keep my politics under the table IRL, unless I know the other person is open to having a genuine discussion. Where I live, such a thing is a rarity, so I am thrilled with the fact that we have become good friends with another couple in Beowulf's unit that has the same core conservative beliefs that we do. My husband, this couple, and my parents are really the only people I can think of IRL that I will talk politics with. I had some conservative friends my senior year in college, but they are spread all over the place now and I rarely see them anymore. What I am more likely to do, if politics are brought up with someone who I'm not sure how they think, is ask questions. I will ask them specifically why they think that it will work, or bring up the negatives that other countries have experienced with socialized medicine, or bring up how even the military has trouble being effective and efficient (people having to make appointments months ahead of time, a guy from hubby's platoon sitting in the emergency room for 9 hours before he saw a doctor after cutting off the tip of his finger, etc). And how they think doctors will get paid, what about malpractice suits, and what will happen to the pool of doctors when their pay is effectively "capped". I'm much less likely to tell them straight out that I disagree (I'm really kind of a shy/timid person unless I know you), but I will ask questions.

Posted by: Leofwende at November 19, 2008 09:31 AM (jAos7)

5 Leofwende, My husband, this couple, and my parents are really the only people I can think of IRL that I will talk politics with. That's a lot more than I have in IRL ... namely, zero. I'm envious. Somebody send me the map to the gulch ASAP! What I am more likely to do, if politics are brought up with someone who I'm not sure how they think, is ask questions. Good idea. I'm too shy to even do that, but I do listen to the other side. My goal is not to sway them over but to understand their POV better.

Posted by: Amritas at November 19, 2008 10:56 AM (+nV09)

6 Amritas: It's "not too much to ask" if one is willing to take a few new steps in one direction or another. But expecting people to 180 because of something one says is too much. That's why I said they have to be as willing as I am to look at evidence. If I'm not willing at all, I have no right to expect them to be. But this also applies to them. Don't expect me to listen to a rant about some person who called Barack Obama some name if you have bumper stickers on your car calling George Bush names. On the same subject, don't expect me to be more respectful towards a president I didn't vote for than you were towards a president you didn't vote for. I will be, because I have a sense of decency and respect towards office. But don't expect it, because you didn't put that tip in the karma jar. That's what I mean by that. I just expect people to be as open themselves as they expect other people to be listening to them. Invariably this doesn't happen. As you said, because they consider their views "right".

Posted by: airforcewife at November 19, 2008 12:36 PM (Fb2PC)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Comments are disabled. Post is locked.
51kb generated in CPU 0.05, elapsed 0.2563 seconds.
49 queries taking 0.221 seconds, 203 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.