We have all heard American Republicans and Democrats speak of each other with rancor. It is especially tragic when we realize both "sides" want the same thing; peace, prosperity, a strong WiFi signal, freedom, security, sex, health, pizza, and happiness. We merely have different ideas about how to get there.
I'm going to generalize about both "teams" in order to make a point:
The "right" believes in freedom for all - except in believing that people need forced guidance and protection from some or all of the following: drugs, the "wrong" religions, sex (same sex relations and prostitution), pregnancy issues, and "foreign terrorists". So that "freedom... but..." is an exception. How do they account for this exception? Different conservatives may have different answers. From "just being practical" to "morality". Sometimes that morality comes from "the word of God" and sometimes "It's just what is right". Some may ask, "Who chooses what is right?" Let's simplify even more and summarize: The typical conservative paradox is: "You are free to do what you want with your property but not your body." NOTE: I'm not talking about Classical Liberals or Conservative Libertarians here! I said above that I'm going to generalize and that is what I'm doing. UPDATE: Here in the year 2020, Conservatives seem to have become quite a bit more Libertarian.
The "left" believes in freedom for all - but they know better for people with regard to protecting them from poverty, starvation, ignorance, hurt feelings, and bad health. How do they get around the exception? Like the conservatives, they too, might call it "morality". From their perspective, it is the moral thing to sacrifice the product of your labor in order to have the [hopefully] beneficial ends they strive for. But who chooses what those ends are and who chooses whom to take from and whom to give to? "The ends justify the means" is a dangerous idea to base policy on. The simplified version: "You are free to do what you want with your body but not your property."
Why is that a paradox? Because you own your body, which means you own what you do with your body, as well as that which is produced by your body. Contradictions to this principle are detrimental to the individual [thus the group, being that it is made up of individuals] and unsustainable.
Both of those points of view share the idea that it is OK to take people's money against their will in order to fund their favorite kind of "protection". I ask you to look through this assumption and see that both "sides" want the same thing and both put forth "solutions" that rely on force. It is possible to have a world where we do not allow coercion of any kind. This article & videos shows one well worked-out solution.
But my real point here is this: If you are a Republican or Democrat, you want the same thing as those you deride, with your only differences being with methodology!
Also, you are both willing to give up some freedom in order to achieve those ends. You both put forth a system allowing for exceptions and contradictions to your principles and you are both intolerant of those with differing views:
"You should be free to do what you want with your own property / money BUT not your body, which we know better how you should use."
"You should be free to do what you want with your body BUT not your property/money, which we know better than you how to use".
Practical vs. Principled
Both left and right propose [attempts at] "practical" solutions, as opposed to principled. On the surface that may sound nice. However, without an underlying principle to tie it together, a system will become a never-ending stream of problems-and-bandaids, often contradicting itself and quickly becoming unfair, inefficient, and... impractical, because it doesn't work. Something going wrong? Patch it!
These kind of systems tend to promote "surfacey" quick fix solutions, often leaving out four entire dimensions: (a) Time; (b) Relationships to other solutions; (c) Effects on all groups of people; and (d) Look "up" at the big picture and "down" at the underlying causes. When a system is made up of parts, it is important to look at the relationships between the parts when deciding whether a part is "practical". That is where a "map" comes in handy to check each part against. That "map" is the principles.
Then there is the demonizing; the lack of understanding from both sides.
On the left it is ignored that the conservative is actually thinking about the future and the good of all people just as much as the liberal is. The conservative has a plan, just like the liberal does. Yet they are called stupid, selfish, mean, or close minded.
Then there is the conservative pointing to the liberal and saying they are thieving fools who can not do math because they don't understand the economic unsustainability of their programs and how terrible the suffering of dependency is.
Why is that so hard? Here's a reason: Both sides look at the other and - maybe subconsciously - realize that other side is cheering [voting] for force [laws] to be enacted against their team using money stolen from them [taxes].
To go deeper with compassion for the "other team," we can explore what needs underlie their positions:
Do we really need government to force us to give and to work together? Most people have a natural desire to give. We also have a natural desire to organize and work together so that we can specialize. We see the efficiency inherent in cooperation. We don't have to be forced to cooperate. It naturally occurs. Forced transactions have a winner and loser. Voluntary transactions have two winners because both chose the transaction because they saw benefit for themselves in it.
We hear so much from the left about the greed of conservatives, it is almost a cliche. Rarely will a liberal believe that a conservative would actually give to charities if he is allowed to keep the money he makes. "They despise the poor as lazy and would force them to starve." I propose that the average "right winger" looks at the poor and feels the same amount of sadness as the "left winger". The difference is in preference of solutions.
Parenting & Pain
Think parents and the range of how they treat their children. Some will attempt to fix every pain and problem for their children for a short term gain. Others will stop and ask themselves, is this going to damage my child or merely give him/her a valuable lesson? Should I wait a bit before interfering and see what he/she does to solve their own problem? Both parents care equally for their children and want the best. Do you think the more "conservative" parent's motive is to selfishly save their energy by not interfering? I propose they are often just as eager to "save" their child from that skinned knee they see coming but they are biting their lip and holding back because they know:
We must all experience pain in order to grow and learn compassion for the pain of others. "Saving" others from their pain is often costly in more than one way, including depriving the "victim" the opportunity to save themselves.
Investigate Libertarianism or even Voluntaryism. They are principled approaches to politics. They are tolerant, too. You can accept other ways without condoning them.
Larken Rose talks about activism focusing on the symptoms and talks about the root solution.
Corruption at both DNC and RNC
Fun Exercise by Blake Oates:
Pick a side to be on, and read the following. Either side you choose, this is 100% accurate:
The past several weeks have made one thing crystal-clear: Our country faces unmitigated disaster if the Other Side wins.
No reasonably intelligent person can deny this. All you have to do is look at the way the Other Side has been running its campaign. Instead of focusing on the big issues that are important to the American People, it has fired a relentlessly negative barrage of distortions, misrepresentations, and flat-out lies.
Just look at the Other Side's latest commercial, which take a perfectly reasonable statement by the candidate for My Side completely out of context to make it seem as if he is saying something nefarious. This just shows you how desperate the Other Side is and how willing it is to mislead the American People.
The Other Side also has been hammering away at My Side to release certain documents that have nothing to do with anything, and making all sorts of outrageous accusations about what might be in them. Meanwhile, the Other Side has stonewalled perfectly reasonable requests to release its own documents that would expose some very embarrassing details if anybody ever found out what was in them. This just shows you what a bunch of hypocrites they are.