The following is a one-sentence blog I posted on March 29 2011 titled, The Ultimate Stone Wall:
I have heard thousands of political debates on TV through the years: Not once have I observed the slightest change of mind on-the-spot from any debater in response to the other guy’s slightest point.
Nothing has changed. I’ve come to think the very genes of political partisans will not permit a conservative or a liberal to spontaneously pause during a debate, think, and acknowledge an uncontroversial point made by his opponent. Partisans seem to be unable to understand their opponent’s view, or unwilling to admit, “Yes, you are right about that; I was wrong.”
Partisans are the mortar of political parties. They are intransigent. Observe them during a debate and, with just a little imagination, you’ll see otherwise perfectly sweet people turn into hostile alien creatures. Their ears vanish, their eyes dissolve into hollow sockets, their mouths drip with venom. (For a very brief 10-point article about partisan characteristics you might refer to my article titled, How to be a Perfect Political Partisan, August 27 2012.)
Party leaders provide their constituents with slogans that are comparable to those ecstatically touted by cheerleaders at sport events. In 1928, the Republican Party’s presidential campaign boasted the slogan: A Chicken in Every Pot and a Car in Every Garage. The Great Depression followed, just one year later. Literally a Depression Baby, I heard that slogan ridiculed at least until I was a teenager.
During the depression, the Democratic Party introduced the slogan, Happy Times Are Here Again, a hit song inspired by the repeal of prohibition and selected for Franklin Roosevelt’s 1933 presidential campaign. This was the perfect slogan: it could be sung at rallies! Despite the cheerful slogan, the depression continued and World War ll was coming to a boil. As I remember those days, they were anything but “happy.”
Over the years, dozens of absurd slogans (not restricted to campaigns alone) have been circulated by political leaders, no slogan more absurd than the current, “War on Women.” It doesn’t take a political analyst to know that no party would wage war against at least 50% of the voting population. Yet, appealing to the visceral rather than intellectual side of voters, leaders of the Democratic Party have reduced genuine controversial issues to the level of gender warfare!
The “female” issues of abortion and potential wage discrimination do not qualify as exclusive to one gender or the other. Rather, they are shared issues that require complex thought, not emotion. Abortion after the first trimester is an especially non-gender-based issue. It is also the best example of critical issues that require nonpartisan judgment. The current widely spread fabrication that equates Republican congresspersons with Muslim extremists is about as disingenuous and obnoxious as political warfare has ever been on either side of the aisle. It is also profoundly sexist.
I am an independent voter who rarely votes. It is relatively easy for me to judge issues based on reason rather than in blind loyalty to any party. If you are a political partisan and have accepted the notion that there is a ‘war on women’ in America (!), perhaps you might prove me wrong about political stone walls and state: “You have a point, I was wrong to allow a slogan to affect my judgment.”