I’m a Democrat. (New) Deal With It.
There, I said it.
Having been raised in California during the creation of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society by a mother who boycotted grapes, burned her bra and canvassed for McGovern might have something to do with it, though I’ve had plenty of years to examine my beliefs and to own them. Being a Democrat doesn’t mean I want to tax the wealthy at 50%, decimate the military, or take away your gun and sell it to an illegal alien who’ll pay for it with his welfare check , shoot you in the foot to rob you of your tax money while I’m eating bonbons at my best friend’s gay wedding. But I don’t believe compassion is a character flaw.
I love politics. As a real estate agent I’ve heard to keep them off your Facebook page— ya know, just so you don’t “alienate business”. Okay, I get that, I just don’t ascribe to it. When you run your business on the like-finds-like model of tribal attraction and relationship building, dialogue is critical. Criticism and cynicism are not. Though some of you are sure to disagree… I like to engage rather than provoke, try to keep the mix thoughtful, informative, humorous without the memes and not too snarky. I am not always successful, though admittedly biased. I welcome differences of opinion so long as they’re not rude or cruel, because I feel we need to practice civility by bringing our ideas forward and being held accountable for them. Disagreement is good if there is a willingness to listen and if not, you can usher personal attacks on friends to the door or sponge the haters off of the thread. As a businesswoman in a field populated by Republicans, I find my less vociferous left-leaning friends whisper to me at the water cooler, “I love reading your posts. I wish I could do that but, you know…” and I do… kind of. Perhaps I should keep that “separation of church and state” idea in mind when it comes to social media but I prefer that First Amendment thingy. Don’t you think honesty is a valuable trait in a real estate consultant? Wouldn’t you rather have someone who is relentlessly honest with you, even if it means telling you the house you love is over-priced and sitting on a toxic waste site? Negotiation is not for sissies and you can tell a lot by how one handles their Facebook wall. Having the courage to own what I believe in comes from the same part of me that will always take a stand on behalf of my clients and makes me good at what I do.
33.3% of all Americans identify themselves as Democrats, though it doesn’t follow that the term “Liberal” should be liberally applied to all of us any more than “Right-wing” fits every one of my GOP affiliated friends. I believe in fiscal and personal responsibility, in global warming, social safety nets, civil liberties, equal pay, and government regulation (because if the housing crisis taught us anything, it’s that human nature doesn’t always lean to its better side). I don’t believe that being there for one another is a character flaw.
The best hope for this country to right itself again is by admitting that neither side has all the answers. That just because I see the world differently, doesn’t make you wrong and visa versa. As long as we defending our absolutes, rather than championing our possibilities we will never be able to find solutions to the problems that keep us from being a truly Great Society. We must stop yelling at one another; regurgitating talk radio, cable news and partisan websites as if the ideas we’ve co-opted are our own because preaching platitudes is never the path to original thought. We must have the courage to look beyond the propaganda and seek to discover what we really think and why, and share it in an effort to understand rather than be right. Or as my proudly liberal mother used to say “A problem is never solved in a shouting match.”
In a matter of hours, hopefully not days, we will know the outcome of the 2012 election, and if the polls are correct they’ll be a dead heat of anguish and exhilaration. The spinners will spin and the snipers will snipe and both sides will keen it is the end of the world, and wouldn’t it be nice if it were? If we let go of the adversity and reclaimed the civility and manners that our parents taught us, perhaps we could teach Congress a thing or two. *snorts her coffee*