As an international student, I see a distinctive difference of how far the politics of the United States have developed comparing to the politics of my country. Besides the fact that American politics have two distinct political parties, there are two prominent stands of political ideologies, conservative and liberal. Even though my country is a slightly conservative place, the election doesn’t show that all the conservative candidates will always win the election. In fact, I think that people don’t quite know what the candidates actually believe. It is obviously far behind from the election in the United States, where people decide based on the ideologies or stands that the candidates take. This fact sparks my curiosity to learn more about conservatives and liberals.
I think the picture below pretty much sums up what conservative and liberal think and want.
It is interesting to see that all the differences between them can be described easily to the parenting of the parents. Conservative parents will be strict parents who have certain expectation of their children. The relationship is based on fear and respect, which might be called “tough love”. The outcome is that the children become self-reliant people. On the other hand, liberal parents will be nurturing parents who want to create mutual trust between parents and children. They are open for the children to learn by themselves. However, looking closely about their opinion on generally debated topics, I think there are still things that are unclear of why they choose this way.
According to George Lakoff in the “Moral Politics: How liberals and conservatives think”, there are puzzles in both sides’ opinion that are quite confusing to both themselves and the other side. I don’t think people who identify themselves with one particular side will be able to answer all the puzzling questions.
Conservatives are against abortion, yet they are not in favor of government program providing prenatal care to decrease the infant mortality rate. Conservatives are pro-life, yet they want the death penalty to be used. Conservatives are against social welfare program, yet they are willing to help victims from natural disasters. Conservatives favor the state governments, yet they want the federal government to do the same way as the state governments do.
How do you answer these questions, conservatives? I think the questions are already answered by its fundamental thinking. Strict parents expect their children to have a stable life first in order to marry and have children, which mean they don’t need any more support from the government. Moreover, they should not have unmarried sex that will lead to unwanted pregnancy and abortion because it is morally wrong. Strict parents have certain expectations for their children, so when the children do something wrong, it is totally fine to receive a strict punishment.
On the other hand, liberals are totally up for social welfare program and other support for children, yet they are also in favor of abortion. Liberals support funding for AIDS researches and treatments, yet they sanction sexual behavior, which leads to AIDS. Liberals support the expansion of the economy, yet they want the government to put regulations on the economy. Liberals are up for equality of opportunity, yet they are also in favor of racial, ethnic, and sexual favoritism.
How do you answer these questions, liberals? Looking back to its fundamental values, liberal parents give a lot of freedom to the children, while they expect their children to also be supporting equality. They believe in their own rights, but they also care about other people.
It seems to be a difficult task to understand logic of both sides, but it is possible. The differences are based on their core values of community. Looking back at myself, I can’t identify myself as totally liberal or conservative. I agree with both sides in some cases, and I believe that many people are also in the same state as me. I know that which side I lean forward more, but I don’t identify myself with that side because I don’t agree with all of them. I think as an active citizen, we should be able to understand those arguments in order to choose the best representative in election.