Like many other young people, I tend to lean more to the left. I agree with making things more equal for everyone, to have more inclusivity and to do something about corporate greed and climate change. Many of those who I like in the media are of the same political slant and it certainly seems like that ideology brings the most diverse of crows. Yet, despite my appreciation for the left, there has always been something that has gnawed at me as I’ve gone along to trust them. For as much as I may side with them, I can’t help but feel as though they do not truly encapsulate me.
What brought about the start of this thought process came from how I viewed things in Venezuela. If I went back to my homeland, I would be lumped more with the right than the left. That’s because I despise Chavez, and Chavez belongs to the left. Perhaps the left that I speak of and believe in is more associated with that which comes from the US or Canada. With that in mind, I have found myself fuming at how they manage to support him. Keep in mind, I’ve repeated on many occasions just how much this man angers me. I fluctuate on my passion for my dislike of him going from hating him to loathing him. This sort of disagreement I have with those on the left only was the start of the cracks that would break my wholesale devotion to them.
The more striking part of this situation was that I found myself agreeing with the right as they were on the same stance about Chavez. This was a right that I had long took joy in laughing at their ignorance and their consistency for being wrong. But now I found myself passively agreeing with. Seeing conservatives and Chavistas at each other’s throats had me exercising a powerful bout of doublethink in which both sides were simultaneously right and wrong. How could that be? It made no sense to me.
It took a while for me to grasp the subtleties that come with politics and one’s own beliefs in such. I did find myself still consistently shocked at what the right would do, but slowly I questioned how solid of a foundation the left had. As I found myself obtaining friends, I amassed a pocket of them that were on the other side of the political spectrum. At times I would wince or grit my teeth at what they would say but other times I found myself learning from their views and finding certain things that I was in favor of. Most of all, I found it to be more civil of a conversation than expected. The image of the trigger-happy bigot or the ignorant warmonger became as much of a stereotype as the hippie country-hater or the politically correct feminist.
A part of me had also started to feel like conservatives were getting a bum rap, despite them not really liking bums or rap. It seemed to me that there must be such a thing as a more reasonable, more sensible and more dignified person on the right. Something more had to exist beyond what I was being exposed to. Over time, I did find myself being more sympathetic and understanding of the right, agreeing with folks like Rand Paul, seeing issues like gun control and the role of the US among the world as far more complex and growing dissatisfied and annoyed with the left. Still, I returned to being with the left, though more and more I was moving towards the center, at least in emotion. Perhaps it’s ironic considering that I supported Bernie Sanders, but I feel like an olive branch needs to be extended to the other side. ‘Course no one likes a compromising moderate centrist, and far be it from the right to be only ones acting stubborn.
One of the greater issues of contention for the right is the matter of political correctness. In the past, I have said that they have used their disdain of how PC the world has gotten as merely an excuse to make their bigotry sound more bold and daring than it actually is. I still agree with that notion, much as I do with how the misuse of the term from them has distracted from the real problems that such cleansing of the language does cause. But I can’t deny that there has been a lot of over-sensitivity that has flourished thanks to political correctness and that such has not allowed for more frank discussion on pressing issues. I can’t be so daft to chastise people for their feelings and being too touchy but it stands to reason that not everything is going to be safe. So for the left to be sanitizing everything doesn’t really protect from the sickness of the issues. If anything, it makes people more susceptible to it. Some political correctness must be maintained to keep a proper decorum, but it shouldn’t serve as a choke-hold of censorship either.
Indeed, the left has found itself so quick to attach labels to things to decry them as racist, sexist, fascist, transphobic, homophobic or all at once. Such labels tend to shut down others and lend to the very black and white mentality that seemed to be so emblematic of the right. Inclusivity becomes less possible when they continue to redraw the lines of what is appropriate and what’s not, that it gets to a point that it seems more logical to disregard it overall. Not to mention that there’s a hostility among certain minorities that, while justifiable, wishes to separate and divide rather than work alongside others.
Take cultural appropriation for example. It seems as though one can only be bound to what their racial/ethnic background allows them to be. So to express beyond what was assigned to you then has you violating what was assigned to someone else. Rather than share among cultures and learn from our faults, perfection on embracing and respecting a foreign culture is expected from the first try, particularly from people who aren’t exactly from that culture. These simplifications and absurd expectations thus increase hostility from the other side. Perhaps some of them might have never been up to the exchange, but any who did would have been alienated further because of the lack of patience that it brought up. Again, it’s not to say that there isn’t reason for people to be upset or angry at the harm that culture appropriation does cause, but these emotions have to be channeled better for proper discourse to allow progress to occur.
I wonder though if the left seems to want to create progress though, because it seems as though there is more obsession to lecture others on what is progress and how properly to go about it. The right certainly has its ways of talking down to people too on what is the best way to go about it all. But whereas they go for your morals, the left goes for your intelligence. The left’s specific brand of preaching is what has made the term liberal seem more like an insult. For what liberal connotates to is relentless smugness. The left likes to put itself on a pedestal and declare itself the wisest being of them all, saying that any who oppose are but mere imbeciles and fools. They talk a lot about what must be done and what is correct but their actions don’t reflect their words. Worst of all, they hide in a self-congratulatory shell and continue to feed their own delusions on the world. This is so prevalent that they even have their own insufferable pundit named Bill. And honestly, I stand him much less than his partner on the right.
Perhaps the largest fault of the left is one that also irritates me with the right. That being national pride. The right seems so self-absorbed in the flag that much of what is foreign is seen as a horrible threat to the sanctity of the country. Criticism serves not to provide ideas to move forward but rather to undermine the nation’s greatness. Once again, I viewed such as blind partisanship but such a conclusion was not as detached to some reality as I had once thought.
For the left does seem to bring about a great sense of shame when it comes to its criticisms. At times, it may seem fair to use shame to make a point but other times, it seems that nothing that was done was ever for any benefit. What they aspire to is not some unique way to march forward but rather to simply mimic other places. So much is deconstructed and desecrated that it almost seems like the very soil they stand on was conjured up by the devil. Nothing may exist without fault but not everything is terrible because of that fact. Patriotism is a healthy mixture of love for one’s country and also being critical of it too. And it seems that the left can lack that love, damaging themselves in the process.
As much as I may still stand so firm with the left, I do find myself not as attached as I once was. And for as much as I may disagree and mock those that are on the right, I can also find myself more on the middle and perhaps on their side than before. For the time being I am not on their side; that may change in the coming years. But whether I stay more to the left, shift to the right or maintain my own mixture of both, there is no reason to be that wrapped up in one’s beliefs that we cannot find some ways to bridge the gaps that we have with each other. There has to be more understanding and willingness to accept other points. That’s not to say that if they are highly extreme and downright crazy that we should just let it be, but we can’t simply believe that all that is on the other side is highly extreme and downright crazy. Perhaps it’s hard to say such a thing during this election, perhaps it was just as hard to say that a few years back or any further. But civility and tolerance have to remain in some way. Otherwise, unity will be as foreign of a term as compromise.