Saturday, August 30, 2008


Call it curiosity; call it stupidity. Call it what you will. Political labels interest me. I have always prided myself on values orientation and conserving good values. Thus, I am intrigued by battles between liberals and conservatives.

Why do we designate others as right wing and left wing? To the left or right of what? Or who? … Me? This could go many directions, but let’s just follow one strand of thread--social relationships.

I grew up with black friends from childhood: brothers Alvin and Jimmie Clarke, Othel Shepherd. My father worked with their fathers. Among my close associates in high school was Don Brown. Don was an “African American” with whom I enjoyed frequent boxing brawls. We enjoyed each other‘s company and I felt badly when Don was killed in Army service.

When I went south in the late 40s, into the 60’s, I found segregation intolerable, but learned to accept Hispanics and “Spanish speaking.” Looking back, I remember multiplied references to such behavior as politically liberal, leftist thinking, up East, to the left of center.

How did social acceptance of someone “different from me” become politically liberal? Does that make them dangerous? Does that make me politically suspect? Does political conservatism accept only homogeneity, others like me?

Is it politically liberal to treat others as I want to be treated? How did rejecting others different from me become the standard measure of being right? Is treating others as I want to be treated now the rejected rule rather than the golden rule?

At minimum, this system of labeling others appears highly suspect, self-serving, irrational, unethical, and even immoral. It makes me wonder … why do we continue repeating such unworthy behavior … ?

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