A political blogger’s pledge

10 Jan

This is courtesy of GreenGeekGirl:

The pledge:

As a responsible citizen, I pledge to avoid all inflammatory rhetoric and propaganda, including violent rhetoric, unfair comparison of people with whom I do not agree to atrocities such as the Holocaust simply because we do not agree (unless, such as in the case of the Arizona laws where immigrants have to carry their “papers” at all times, such a parallel is historically warranted), immature and childish name-calling, and to use a minimum of unnecessary sarcasm.

As an American, I pledge not to center my political blogs around conservative vs. liberal in order to avoid deepening the divide between political groups.  Instead, I will focus on ideas and not make mass generalizations about groups of people.

As a blogger and a writer, I pledge to do my best to try to see both sides of an argument, even if I initially think that the other side isn’t worth considering (and even if this conclusion persists through exploration).

As a friend and neighbor, I pledge not to let differences in ideology interfere with my ability to see other people as human beings, even when we disagree or when they start name-calling, using unnecessary sarcasm, or using bad logic.

As a person, I pledge to be as compassionate as I can.

I am human and humans are prone to making mistakes and forgetting pledges.  To anybody who is reading, if I break this pledge, I want you to call me out on it (but as Wil Wheaton says, don’t be a dick).

We may differ politically, but you are not my enemy.”

Overall I like this pledge, hence why I’m following GGG’s lead and taking it on my blog, though I do have a reservation. I’m really not sure how to say this, because I feel it will make people instantly think I’m a bad person, which upsets me, but I’m not sure I entirely agree with the bit:

As an American, I pledge not to center my political blogs around conservative vs. liberal in order to avoid deepening the divide between political groups.  Instead, I will focus on ideas and not make mass generalizations about groups of people.”

I understand the sentiment, especially the second half about not making mass generalizations, though in practice avoiding generalizations is extremely hard to do. I think there are varying degrees of generalizations, some more appropriate than others. For example, the generalization “All republicans want to install a theocracy” would be very over reaching and inappropriate. Sure faith and religion are on average more central to republicans (that’s an ok generalization), however there is a very specific, albeit very large and powerful, group within the republican party that wants a theocracy. The rest of the republicans don’t.

I mentioned the problems with generalizations in an earlier post here, though that post was focused on religious generalizations. In order not to be paralyzed by precision, some degree of generalization is required. So can I in good faith pledge to avoid generalizations? I cannot. I can, however, pledge to try and not making unnecessarily over reaching generalizations.

Now on to the first part of the bit I have a reservation about:

As an American, I pledge not to center my political blogs around conservative vs. liberal in order to avoid deepening the divide between political groups.

Again, I lament that people might think me a bad person for saying this, but I honestly cannot agree to this. It is my firm conviction that liberals and conservatives are two groups with irreconcilable ways of perceiving the world. Now before you judge and condemn me, understand that I do NOT mean that liberals and conservatives can’t live together peacefully. I do NOT mean that one group of people is evil. I do NOT mean that there are no circumstances under which conservatives and liberals can work together.

All that I mean by that is conservatives and liberals put different priorities on different values. We both are capable of love and compassion, just as we are both capable of fear and hate. We both want our friends and family to live in a better world, however, we have fundamentally opposing ideas of what that “better world” is or how to get there. Liberals and conservatives have fundamentally different views on the role of government, the importance and deference to place on certain types of authority, how the constitution should be interpreted, personal and economic freedoms, etc.

While these views are incompatible, we by no means should we ever resort to violence as a way of settling the disputes, and that is the main sentiment of this pledge that I whole-heartedly agree with. While I may fiercely disagree with someone, I will never allow that to take away their humanity.

2 Responses to “A political blogger’s pledge”

  1. greengeekgirl January 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    I know what you mean about the reservations about liberals vs. conservatives–but that’s the crux of a lot of the problem, when it comes down to it. We liberals have especially been demonized and dehumanized for so long; I put that in because I think it’s far more important to focus on the ideas than the group of people. Because I think when you sweep out all of the talking heads and the rhetoric, most Americans want the same things, regardless of whether they are liberal or conservative. Maybe some people think that there are different ways of getting there (and let’s face it, many people just listen to what the TV tells them and don’t really have any idea why they want lower taxes except that it sounds like a good idea, et cetera) but we all want the same things. Freedom. Security. A way to make a decent living and make sure our progeny have a better life than we had. For our tax money to be spent productively. For our leaders to do what is best for us instead of what will line their own pockets.

    So I have decided to stop railing against conservatives. Conservative ideas, yes, but not conservative people. I’ll point out any crooks, liars, frauds, and general douchebags individually 😉

  2. godlesspaladin January 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    Yeah, I agree with that. We do want most of the same things generally, and my main focus is on attacking how they think we can get those things and not the people themselves. I try to stay away from ad hominem anyways, not only because it’s a logical fallacy, but it doesn’t contribute anything of substance to the discussion.

    But like you said, I have no reservations calling out crooks, liars, frauds and douchebags, regardless of what letter is by their name.

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