Ok, so I admit it, my life is a living, breathing oxymoron (maybe I need an intervention!) Yep, I am a conservative liberal and as the political fervor heats up around the Presidential and local races, and the politicians continue to define McKinney as “very conservative,” I’m wondering if I need to put up a For Sale sign in front of my home. Or, possibly posting a sign in my front yard that boasts “I am Switzerland – neutral” would cover it. Is there anyone else out there like me?
Why do I define myself as a “conservative liberal”? I believe in less government interference and control or however you wish to define it. In a nutshell, I am fiscally conservative, but socially liberal. I realize that there are times fiscal conservatism and social liberalism clash as dramatically as moms and their teenage daughters. I know, I know, it’s often difficult to support some of those so-called “do gooder” programs such as free health care for the poor or other entitlement programs.
I believe we have a responsibility to do what we can to make the world a better place, but that doesn’t always mean giving to those in need with no strings attached. Bringing this point to a local level, I have always supported the Samaritan Inn’s philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out” and the Community Lifeline Center’s statement “Community Lifeline Center exists because a community stands tallest when it kneels to offer a helping hand.” Compromise is the word that comes to mind – we put in some state or federal funding, raise private funds and require something from those who receive any “entitlements.”
So when I dropped in on the City’s final Sustainability plan meeting on Saturday, September 17, I was somewhat surprised to find a very vocal representative of the Tea Party in each of the four group sessions. This final meeting was a community meeting to collect public comments on the plan before the plan goes to City Council for consideration. Although I have no problem with anyone voicing their opinion – that is, after all, the purpose of the meeting – I was disappointed that in some cases, one or two individuals (Tea Party members), were verbally attacking and confrontational and made it uncomfortable for others to voice their opinions, as the Tea Partiers continued to voiced a negative response to any comments that did not support their views.
Why do I segue into the topic of the Sustainability meeting? My oxymoron style existence has allowed me to walk in circles in both the red and blue camps to some extent. I have learned how to temper my views based on what I have heard from both sides. I don’t have a problem with Tea Party members voicing their views, but in the case of the Sustainability meeting, I do have a problem with their often rude methods. Hey, if you guys want your turn to say what you think, then please respect the rights of others to do the same.
Is this just another example of the polarization of Americans? Why and how have we become a society which is so unwilling to listen to the views of others? Are we taking out our frustrations with our federal government on our local governments, regardless of the issues? Is this the era of “Just Say No” to everything that doesn’t completely align with our own view points.
Remember, there are two sides to all discussions. Isn’t that what makes life interesting? Hey, maybe we could even come up with a phenomenal solution if we took a piece from different points of view. What a novel concept!