Sunday, April 17, 2011

Are Liberals Just Suckers?

 I am glad that you are unable to see me right now.  Last week I had a procedure done on my face called Photodynamic Therapy.  For two weeks prior to the procedure I used Retin-A on my face at bedtime.  The therapy, commonly called the Blue Light Treatment, consisted of cleansing the skin followed by an Acetone wash after which a solution called Levulan was put on my face. 

I went into a waiting room for an hour while the solution did its thing and then came the fun part.  I was placed in a chair and sticky patches were placed over my closed eyes.  Then the half oval shaped blue light lamp was placed near my face.  I was given a hose with cold air blasting from the end and told to use it on my face. Let me tell you, it didn't take long for me to start moving that hose back and forth across my face as the burning sensation became serious.  This part lasted 30 minutes.  (Longest 30 minutes of my life. I swear, the technician was a sadist and stopped the clock).  I was then able to go home with instructions to sleep with an elevated head for 48 hours.  So it was back to the recliner for sleep. I was also told to stay inside for 48 hours and to avoid sun for a week.  Not a problem for me.  

The next morning I looked like a tomato.  Yesterday I resembled a strawberry as some of the red faded to pink and the Seborrheic Keratoses became more visible.  Today I look like an embarrassed spotted owl.   The object of this whole exercise in patience is to kill the keratoses cells so I will no longer have to have them frozen off. 

In the past 20 years I have had a dozen skin malignancies removed surgically.  I am suffering the consequences of being fair skinned and  blue eyed and trying to get that envied copper girl tan when I was a teenager.  

So much for the excitement in my life.  On to more serious things.

I found this article and it really hit me.  I have long wondered how some people can believe outright lies and can continue to believe in their ideology in the face of irrefutable facts to the contrary.  The following editorial by Sally Kohn in The Washington Post helped me to understand a puzzle that has bothered me for years.  Liberals and Conservatives are not only hard wired differently, but we play a different game by different rules.

I have edited the original article down for brevity.

Are Liberals Just Suckers?

By Sally Kohn, The Washington Post
16 April 11
he list of liberal laments about President Obama keeps getting longer: Wednesday, in response to conservatives' focus on the deficit, Obama said that we have to "put everything on the table."

What is the problem here? Is it a lack of leadership from the White House, a failure to out-mobilize the tea party or not enough long-term investment from liberal donors?
The real problem isn't a liberal weakness. It's something liberals have proudly seen as a strength - our deep-seated dedication to tolerance. In any given fight, tolerance is benevolent, while intolerance gets in the good punches. Tolerance plays by the rules, while intolerance fights dirty. The result is round after round of knockouts against liberals who think they're high and mighty for being open-minded but who, politically and ideologically, are simply suckers.

Social science research has long dissected the differences between liberals and conservatives. Liberals supposedly have better sex,  (I'm not going to touch this one) but conservatives are happier. Liberals are more creative; conservatives more trustworthy. And, since the 1930s, political psychologists have argued that liberals are more tolerant. Specifically, those who hold liberal political views are more likely to be open-minded, flexible and interested in new ideas and experiences, while those who hold conservative political views are more likely to be closed-minded, conformist and resistant to change. As recently as 2008, New York University political psychologist John Jost and his colleagues confirmed statistically significant personality differences connected to political leanings. Brain-imaging studies have even suggested that conservative brains are hard-wired for fear, while the part of the brain that tolerates uncertainty is bigger in liberal heads.

The Pew Research Center found that 50 percent of Republicans wanted their elected representatives to "stand by their principles," even if it meant causing the federal government to shut down. Among those who identified as tea party supporters, that figure was 68 percent. Conversely, 69 percent of Democrats wanted their representatives to avoid a shutdown, even if it meant compromising on principles. With supporters like that, who needs Rand Paul?

 Thomas Jefferson put it in his first inaugural address, those who might wish to dissolve the newly established union should be left "undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it."

if liberals are not willing to defend against the rigid demands of their political opponents, who are emboldened by their own unwavering opinions, their full range of open-minded positions will be destroyed. Liberals are neutered by their own tolerance.

 Those who fight racism and sexism in society do so out of deep moral convictions. They would never say, "Oh, we can co-exist with Fred Phelps and the KKK and find a way to compromise." Creating a society that fully embraces gay people and people of color means creating a society that is intolerant of homophobia and racism.

: When fundamental rights and core values are on the table, just talking about negotiating means you've already lost.

Obama's defeat in 2012. Meanwhile, as they have for years, Republicans have openly shared their desire to shrink government so much that they can, as anti-tax activist Grover Norquist once promised, "drown it in a bathtub.

At times, Obama has used the bully pulpit to stand up to bullies. The president overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal ban on same-sex unions, and led the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. He instituted promising reforms of the financial sector, most notably creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and appointing Elizabeth Warren, known for her criticism of Wall Street abuse, to head it.

Yet for the most part, Obama tried to avoid public fights on these and other key issues. Taken as a whole, it would appear that Obama is intolerant of one thing: conflict.

Tolerant Democrats are not only capitulating to negotiations over how much to starve our economy of public capital but in some cases are bragging about how much they're giving in. During his remarks about the budget deal a week ago, Obama twice trumpeted achieving the biggest annual spending cuts in history. How can a basketball fanatic like Obama think that throwing the ball in the other team's hoop will somehow win the game?

Unfortunately, there are no points for playing nice.

It's as though Democrats think we're at a polite tea party, while Republicans are fighting an ideological war. The GOP's budget plan for 2012 would essentially dismantle Medicaid and Medicare, end social supports for poor families and give tax breaks to business and the wealthy. Realistically, Obama seems to understand that, at least in the short term, liberals have lost control of the conversation and have to play by the rules that the extreme right has made up. That means Democrats have to do something regarding the deficit and spending.

But Obama would win more - and actually win the future - if he would throw down the gauntlet before reaching across the aisle. He did this to an extent in his speech on the deficit on Wednesday, but while the rhetoric included fighting words, the details pointed to extreme concessions. A little more intolerance early on would serve Obama and the Democrats well in the end.

There is a time for tolerance and compromise, but if the GOP is always dictating when that time is, Democrats have already lost. Suckers.

Sally Kohn is a community organizer and political commentator. She is the founder and chief education officer of the Movement Vision Lab, a think tank.


kenju said...

Maybe I need that done. I have many keratoses, but not on my face. Hope you heal quickly, Darlene.

To answer your question: yes, the flowers were really orange. It is the popular color for weddings right now.

Judy said...

What an interesting article! It answers so many questions that I've had for so long. We truly do think differently. It's the polarization that exists currently that troubles me so. Perhaps because fear is running more deeply than in 'good times'. The more intolerant one group becomes, the more tolerant the other feels they need to be, I guess. Thanks Darlene!

Joy Des Jardins said...

Oh Darlene....I had no idea you were going through such trauma all this time. You and your sweet face have really had to tolerate quite a lot. I hope you heal quickly and your face is no longer various shades of red, pink...or any other color. Big healing hugs to you sweetie... ~Joy

Rummuser said...

The description shows the spirit with which you have endured the treatment and I salute you for it.

My best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Darlene said...

*Kenju - Those flowers were absolutely gorgeous and your kissing balls should be preserved.

*Judy - Welcome aboard. I think we have always been a polarized country to some degree, but it's much worse now.

*Joy Des Jardins - Thank you for the healing hugs. They really help.

*Rummuser - Thank you, but I have been through so much worse that it was not really bad at all.

Thank you for your good wishes.

Looking to the Stars said...

What an ordeal you went thru, ouch! I too, have problems from getting that wonderful tan every year. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Good article, thanks for sharing it :)

Hattie said...

I have some of those skin problems, but not on my face. Go figure. Anyway, get better soon. Sorry you have had to go through this.
I think liberals must get less tolerant. Stop making excuses for people. Insist on good treatment for ourselves and others, open responsive leaders and corporations, and real action on issues of importance to us.
Why let the bullies walk all over us?

Darlene said...

*Looking to the Stars - Growing up in Colorado Springs adds to skin woes.

^Hattie - I am tired of being a door mat. Maybe if enough of us are tired of it we will do something about it. Paul Krugman had a good op-ed piece on this today.

Kay Dennison said...

Argh!!! I hope you're feeling better and that all this is successful.

And maybe Obama is a sucker but I'm not. I'm ready to fight. These people in the GOP don't know how or want to play nice and I think it's time to get out the bat and hardball and stand up for ourselves. It's no time to sit on the sidelines and complain. Sign petititions, write letters/emails, volunteer, demonstrate, donate -- whatever you can manage!!! It's time to let those you-know-whats that we have had enough.

Darlene said...

*Kay Dennison - Thank you, Kay, I'm feeling fine.

You tell 'em. No more Mrs. Nice Gal. Lets go get them.

Xtreme English said...

hope your face is better!

Darlene said...

*Xtreme English - I'm getting there.

naomi dagen bloom said...

More of the issue with liberals/progressives is focus on a limited central ideology--healthcare for all, social justice for all people, equality for women, fair wage jobs for all. But wait! What have I left out?

And there goes my point because we want to improve everything. We lose focus, argue among ourselves ("oh, let's be tolerant of those anti-choice crazies") and there goes the program!

Darlene, my spouse had that procedure for problem similar to yours. Vowed he'd never do it again, just go with periodic procedures. Feel better soon.

Darlene said...

*Naomi Dagen Bloom - I think you make a good point. I try to make 'health care for all' my #1 issue, but there are so many pressing issues that we do want to do it all.

I can't say the procedure was a walk in the park, but I have had so many things that were worse I didn't mind it all that much and am fine now. Thank you for your good wishes.