I think that in part it is because of the overly inflammatory conservative, almost cartoonish, rhetoric of people and groups in media whose income is dependent on direct money raising or indirectly through advertisement and purpose in to invoke an emotional response. The days of conservative intellectual discussion exemplified by James Madison or William Buckley have disappeared.
As a person who tries to study both sides of an argument I see American intellectual conservatism in crisis. The reasons involve a deeply flawed pragmatism and an insufficient appreciation for the importance of philosophy and history or the appreciation of humanity as a whole.
Our experience gained becoming adults and our ability to step back and deal with problems logically is the quality needed.
The rhetoric that labels a poor or marginalized group of people as lazy or their plight as self-inflicted shows a lack of insight and homogenizes the problems to fit short-sighted 140 character sound bites. Some would say we need more thoughtful and less dogmatic leaders who are more interested in doing the job than extending their tenure.
Becoming a liberal was a slow process, but then the self-awareness was abrupt. I overreact to being lied to and the Iraq war pushed on my conscience and then became a central force when the WMD story became a fantasy. I felt abandoned when the very people that created the debt and deficit started blaming others in January of 2009.
The complete divorce from economic reality during the initial slide into recession by Conservatives did not help. And there I was, a liberal in a sea of red.
Dr. Ray Quiett did an excellent editorial in September about my primary concern, our desire to hate. I must actively work not to react to the hate and racism that is poured onto the airwaves and wood pulp.
Politics is not supposed to be a war that divides our populace, but a discussion of differing opinions followed by compromise. I believe most of us live and make our choices in the middle philosophically but allow ourselves to be inflamed by wedge issues in order to suppress our common sense when it is time to make choices or feel satisfied with a compromise.
(Carl Jeffcoat is an area resident living in Fittstown.)