Nuance (nü-ˌän(t)s): a subtle distinction or variation
You might be surprised at how many posts I read start with that statement, or something similar. It’s most often in response to something a lightning-rod Democratic politician, like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, or any number of others has said or done. I recognize it as a knee-jerk reaction, because later in the post, the specific issue is discussed, and it almost always involves one person, or a small group of people.
What annoys me is when people then view me with those same filters. I can see how it’s possible, but I am not like all other Democrats.
I consider myself in a difficult position when it comes to debating liberal/conservative issues. I have been a lifelong Democrat. (There was a time when I thought the 1968 Republican Convention was more fun than the 1968 Democratic Convention, but I was 8 years old, so give me a break.) My family was not involved in politics. My father was a steelworker, but did not walk in lock step with the steelworker’s union. When there was a push to increase tariffs on imported steel, the union advertised heavily. Dad told me that tariffs weren’t the only answer, that the steel industry needed to fix its plants and become up to date. So he was not a toe-the-line Democrat.
Lately, though, I find that my personal views line up very nicely with the Democratic platform, and that there is nearly nothing in the Republican platform that I agree with. Maybe the polarized political climate these days contributed to that. Anyway, it’s hard for me to come across as an independent thinker when all my opinions are the Democratic position.
I like to think I am a logical thinker. I am also hung up on getting facts right and interpreting them correctly. Those traits do not fit well with Facebook posts, which is one reason I resorted to blogging. I end up quoting Snopes and PolitiFact quite a bit. I try to lay out where an opposing position does not logically hold.
All I am doing is defending my beliefs. Yet others see this as dismissing their beliefs when I do this. I have been called out on this a number of times, and it usually ends in name calling and silencing debate. Why can’t there be a middle ground?
The answer is, of course there is a middle ground. Both of us can be right.
I’ll give a brief example related to the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. A group of people point out that millions of people now have health care who didn’t have it before. Another group point out that Obama lied when he said everyone will be able to keep their current doctor, and in some areas of the country premiums have gone up tremendously.
I believe all of these statements are true. I don’t know if conservatives I chat with acknowledge the increase in people who have insurance, because they never bring it up in their posts.
What we each think should be done about it are completely contradictory. Putting it simply, I believe the ACA needs to be fixed but remain in place, and my conservative friends think it needs to be scrapped.
It is challenging to hold two contradictory statements at the same time. In an adventure game based on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, created by Infocom, there was a point where you had to show you were intelligent by holding two contradictory ideas at the same time. On a more serious note, there are a number of people who have excelled and showed that they are masters of their field, yet they have committed some serious offenses against others and humanity. It sometimes is very difficult for me to acknowledge both sides.
Even though it is difficult to acknowledge both sides of an issue, it is key to dealing with a lot of the nation’s problems. Making progress in race relations requires all of us to treat people the same while simultaneously recognizing that they are different. Proposed legislation often has positive points and negative points (again, look at the ACA). Surely we can delve into the issue and come up with a workable law – not just a compromise, but one that in fact satisfies everyone’s value system.
Even simply recognizing there is very little that matches anyone’s belief system one hundred percent is a struggle, but it is also the first step toward understanding our world and working to improve it.
So, Democrats don’t suck, any more than Republicans suck. There are many Democratic and Republican ideas that suck. Once we acknowledge that and are comfortable with that notion, we can move forward and make some progress.