Liberal v. conservative perspectives

Most people would agree that those with a liberal world view tend to be Democrats and those whose views are more conservative tend to be Republicans. Furthermore, the former are usually labeled as being on the left while the latter are said to be on the right.

It is — or at least should be — perfectly obvious that there is a very deep and rapidly growing divide between these two groups, a divide that some believe is threatening the very stability of our nation. Although it certainly was not the author’s intention, the July 13 column by syndicated columnist Connie Schultz about Megan Rapinoe lays bare the reasons for this division.

Schultz obviously is infatuated by the captain of the U.S. women’s soccer team, Rapinoe. This is what she says about her: “She is strong. She is loud, and outspoken. She swaggers and swears, and wears her hair in colors dictated by whim, not Vogue. She is openly gay — and a tireless champion for LGBTQ rights and civil rights. She has kneeled during the playing of the national anthem in solidarity with black Americans and refused to sing the song at the World Cup.”

This list of things that Schultz finds attractive in Rapinoe includes 10 specific items. Generally speaking, most liberals and Democrats would be in full agreement with Schultz about this list; that is, they would consider all of the items to be reasons to like and support Rapinoe. On the other hand, most conservatives and Republicans would consider almost all of these things to be negative, rather than positive, features about Rapinoe. They would look at them as reasons not to support Rapinoe’s vision of the world.

So, there, you see, is the problem. Because the lens through which liberals and conservatives view the world is entirely different, they can look at precisely the same evidence and come to directly opposite conclusions. This is particularly true of the issue of homosexuality. Rapinoe, of course, is openly gay, and Schultz heartily supports not only her lifestyle but her aggressive promotion of it. To repeat, according to Schultz, Rapinoe is “a tireless champion for LGBTQ rights …” Without directly saying it, Schultz’s article strongly condemns anyone who does not share Rapinoe’s position on LGBTQ rights and morality. Many conservatives are perfectly willing to accept a person’s decision to join the LBGTQ community, if that’s what they want. What they don’t agree with, on the other hand, is the aggressive efforts of so many in this group, like Rapinoe, to convince others, including young children, to join their community, and to expand their rights into areas of society that they have no right to encroach upon — like forcing a baker to create a wedding cake to celebrate a gay marriage, even though such an action would clash with the baker’s religious beliefs.

Needless to say, homosexuality is hardly the only subject which these two groups disagree so strongly about. Among the others are the news (how much of it, if any, is fake?), immigration, abortion, education, foreign policy, evaluation of President Trump and on and on. In every case, members of these two groups can look at exactly the same facts and arrive at entirely different opinions.

When the exact same list of characteristics can be pointed to by one side as reasons to heartily endorse someone and, by the other side, as strong reasons to reject their world view, the division between them is a canyon, one that is so deep and pervasive that it is almost impossible to see how the two sides can ever resolve their differences and come together someplace in the middle. Based upon current trends, I’m not optimistic that they will.

STEPHEN BARTHOLOMEW

Lynchburg

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