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ktowntennesseedem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:09 AM
Original message
Something I've learned from DU.
Just a general observation from a long-time lurker who registered a few months ago. I guess it's something I've known and felt all along, but it's been made more obvious in recent weeks.

Aside from all the obvious policy differences between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, left and right, IMO it all boils down to only one real difference. Both groups are made up of many diverse people with a myriad of viewpoints and issues that drive them. Even Repubs have a lot of things they do not agree on, although you wouldn't know it by recent history. Because they seem to find some way to reach a consensus, real or imagined, some catch-phrase that unites them, some cause that rallies them. But in doing so, they vigorously suppress diversity because they believe strength lies in maintaining focus and energy on a few things in which a majority are in agreement.

While there is something to be said for this "common-ground" approach, their greatest weakness, and hopefully the root of their eventual demise, is this intolerance of difference. And that is the single major characteristic that sets Dems apart: we tolerate, accept, even embrace differences. Repubs fear diversity and dissent; we see strength in diversity, and we ought to celebrate that even more than we do. Some, mostly Repubs, would argue that dissent can only divide, and I'll grant you that it takes a lot of effort at keeping such a crazy bunch focused on common goals and objectives. But the benefits to us as a group, as well as to our nation and world, are worth any amount of effort.

I see in the comments and opinions posted on DU a rich diversity of ideas, a microcosm of the larger progressive community. Here I find much that makes me think and reflect; much that makes me angry and much that makes me laugh; much to help me vent, to give me hope, to make me feel at home. There is plenty expressed here that I disagree with; in fact I honestly believe some of you are downright nuts! But everything and everyone here, especially those who don't think like I do, enables me to grow and expand my horizons, and I say a hearty "thank you" to DU and all who make up this community.

:yourock:
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bpilgrim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:12 AM
Response to Original message
1. ditto ;->
Thank GORE he 'INVENTED' the INTERNET's!

:hi:

peace
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Liberty Belle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:13 AM
Response to Original message
2. Right on! You've nailed it, ktowntennesseedem.
Plus Dems are essentially compassionate folks who genuinely care about others. Reps are by and large a selfish bunch.

I came to that conclusion years ago, after observe the California Legislature in action while working as a legislative aide.
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ktowntennesseedem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:25 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. Thanks!
You're right; compassion is a closely related but very important difference, and a very obvious one, too.

(The phrase "compassionate conservative" kills me. It's use implies that conservatives had previously been without compassion, and we now have a new kind of conservatism that will change all that. I also reminds me that the best way to prove compassion is to just do it; having to describe oneself as compassionate only spotlights all the ways that quality is lacking.)
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unkachuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:25 AM
Response to Reply #2
10. exactly...
....we seem to do things because it's the 'right' thing to do....most Repugs only do things when they can see some kind of gain or profit in it....
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Liberty Belle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:49 AM
Response to Reply #10
19. Yes. They also like to feel superior, so they're constantly
looking for ways to put down or marginalize others to increase their own power.
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Oversea Visitor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:14 AM
Response to Original message
3. Hey hello
:hi:
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:15 AM
Response to Original message
4. Without DU, I would be drinking.
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Hardrada Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #4
16. Drinking Progressives
I drank my way all through the Nixon years. I was going to do the same for the Reagan years but then decided to quit and leave some wine and beer for other people. Instead I write LTTE some of which get printed.
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newyawker99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:16 AM
Response to Reply #16
20. Hi Hardrada!!
Welcome to DU!! :toast:
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TheFarseer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:15 AM
Response to Original message
5. What I have noticed
is that democrats demand that their candidate shares at least 95% of the same opinions to be happy with that candidate. Republicans demand that their candidate share at least 5% of the same opinions that they have to be happy with them.
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bpilgrim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:17 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. EVERYBODY got behind KERRY
but that just goes to show how bad it is doesn't it =(

:hi:

peace
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TheFarseer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:26 AM
Response to Reply #6
12. yeah, we all got behind Kerry
but not many of us were happy about it.
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ktowntennesseedem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. Ironic, isn't it!
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Pushed To The Left Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:06 AM
Response to Reply #5
17. Very true!
On the Republican side, you have libertarian-conservatives voting for members of the religious right! They share the goal of a cheap labor Daddy state, so that brings them together. If libertarian-conservatives and the religious right can vote together, then progressives should be able to vote with other progressives!
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cliss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:21 AM
Response to Original message
8. I agree.
Nice post, by the way. Now as far as the Repubs being "diverse", I don't see them as that. In my opinion, the Ratpublicans consist of the following groups:

a) Fiscal conservatives
b) religious conservatives or fanatics
c) $the wealthy
d) people living in rural areas w. very little education

Now as far as size, I think group (d) is the biggest. The religious fanatics have never been a big group; 20% at the most. They're just real vocal and loud-mouthed, so it just seems there's more of them. The wealthy obviously are not that many. About 2%? The 1st group, the Fiscal conservatives, are really the only ones who I agree with. They're also the group that's becoming more and more disenfranchised within the Rotpublican party.

As it is, the Repubs have now become the party of the White Supremacists. And let's face it: in this very diverse, mixed world we live in, that's a pretty bad place to be.

So you're right: the one thing the Dem's have in their favor is their welcoming of diversity and differences. And that's what's going to sink the other party.
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AliciaKeyedUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:25 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. I work with Repubs and you don't get it
They have tons of differences on everything from abortion to the war.

You left out the libertarian wing for instance. They are pro-drugs and pro-abortion.

I think the right has three common grounds and that it:

* Tough foreign policy
* Low taxes
* Pro-gun.

Those issues resonate with many people, so they focus on them.
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cliss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:46 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. You forgot one....
Probably the most important identifying factor in the Republican party is the issue of fiscal conservatism. This is the foundation of their thinking: Fiscal conservatism = less intervening government = lower taxes.

This is why I have always maintained that Bush and his minions are not republicans. They're radicals. They've pushed up government spending to the stratosphere, and I can guarantee you the TRUE fiscal conservatives are worried. I should know. I work with them.
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ktowntennesseedem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:38 AM
Response to Reply #8
13. Right on!
Republican diversity is an oxymoron, but I know several that hail from different backgrounds and would appear to have little in common, mostly people in group b) or d), or both in my corner of the world. The differences are there, but they don't come into play in their political personalities. Many that I know are too lazy to think through several issues, so they pick two or three, mainly abortion, gay marriage, etc., and relegate other issues that define them to the background.

I hope we are right that the Repubs imagined consensus and lack of diversity will end up sinking them. Let's hope they stumble upon a really big iceberg, and soon!
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TheFarseer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:48 AM
Response to Reply #8
15. I think you've nailed the main groups of repubs but
I think you are underestimating religious/social conservatives. Millions and millions of stay at home moms who want their kids to hear about sex for the first time on their wedding night and don't want them to ever hear naughty words or see two men kissing on TV - not to mention their husbands who have a $200,000 dollar a year job who think that what's breaking the budget is the government throwing a few pennies at welfare moms and those leaches drawing unemployment, but have no problem spending billions of dollars on a magic shield that protects us from nuclear missles that don't exist anymore or a war in Iraq that makes no one safer.

I can't imagine a thought process that says sending thousands of our young people to die in the desert for a lie is fine, but high school students putting a condom on a cucumber is the end of civilization as we know it! Sorry for the rant, but these suburban asswipes that sit in their white picket tower looking down their nose at anyone that doesn't drive a suburban are f*cking everything up with their f*cked up priorities.
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bluestateboomer Donating Member (313 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:11 AM
Response to Original message
18. I think, in general, we're a tolerant lot.
The other side seems to believe in absolutes. There is so much diversity in this world it can be scary. One way to deal with such great diversity is to clamp down and adhere to a narrow world view. You don't have to deal with the possibility you don't have all the answers.
My "liberal" view of the world allows that there may be other paths, other answers to life's question than the answers I have discovered for myself. This is our major difference, I think.

BTW, I have been lurking on DU for several years and have recently started posting. It's time we all speak up. :grouphug:
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ktowntennesseedem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #18
22. Welcome bluestateboomer, and thanks for the post!
Great insight on absolutes. Sometimes even that diversity scares me, and I consider myself quite open-minded and enlightened. But clinging to outdated absolutes and ignoring difficult questions with elusive answers solves nothing and only worsens the problems. Tackling those issues can be risky but the rewards are limitless; failing to address them is foolish and dangerous, and the only reward is a false security that I want no part of.

Again, welcome!

:hi:
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mogster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:24 AM
Response to Original message
21. DU is an enclave of sanity in a world pretty much adrift n/t
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