Open Phones: See The Other Side

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Today we've been talking about understanding and respecting the other side's politics in a polarized world. Now the phones are open for your calls about the things you have come to understand (even if you don't agree) about the other political side. What's the one issue where you understand where the other side is coming from, even if you don't think they're right? Give us a call at 212-433-WNYC/9692 or post here!

Comments [14] from Tribeca

What does it tell us that every one of your callers were coming from the left (Democratic party positions plus one Palestinian), who each were stretching their minds to understand the positions and attitudes of the right, but no one on the right called in about doing likewise?

Jun. 21 2012 05:31 PM
Stop + Frisk and Libertarianism

I'm a progressive because while I recognize that government
can be abusive of its power, so can other large organizations,
and it is necessary to keep checks and balances in this domain.

"Free choices" often are effectively coerced when there are large
differences in wealth, power and/or information. For these reasons,
I think there's a positive role for government.

However, Stop and Frisk makes me see the Libertarian side of things
that government can become grossly abusive of people's freedom when
they claim to forcibly micromanage their behavior "for their own good".
This is exacerbated when people become very frightened of statistically
small risks and will "trade their liberty for security" (and find
themselves with neither).

"Stop and Frisk" advocates claim this reduces drug use and catches
people carrying (but not using) weapons.

TAKE A STEP BACK. This is a great libertarian argument (and example)
for why government should NOT regulate "sin" (eg. alcohol, cigarettes,
large sugary beverages and other substances of abuse, etc), and why
people should maintain their Constitutional Right to Bear Arms -
even if they can't afford the prohibative costs in time and money
of obtaining a legal license to carry a weapon in NYC.
The HUMILIATION, FEAR AND ABUSE induced by Stop and Frisk
makes me say the people of NY would be better off WITH people
carrying weapons and illegal substances than becoming a Police State.
The added "safety" isn't worth the systemic intrusiveness and abuse.

Take another step back - "Sin" crimes are filling up our prisons
with previously non-violent functional citizens. Their lives are
subsequently destroyed by their criminal record. The government
spends a fortune (often now benefiting private interests) imprisoning
all these people "for their own good" - causing far more harm to
their lives and the lives of their families and communities than
ever occurred statistically from the "sins" themselves.
The economy loses even more when all these previously functional
and mostly productive people are marginalized. Democracy loses
when they are disenfranchised from voting roles and even more
when everybody is subject to willy-nilly surveillance, search
and seizure which has emerged at an unprecidented level in the
past 20 years. The level of surveillance and shaddowy intrusions
on privacy have exceeded levels historically reserved for
totalitarian police states. This is bad.

Perhaps we need a bit of Libertarianism on both sides of the aisle -
at least when it comes to personal human behavior (as opposed to
commercial behavior) and to the right to bear arms.

Jun. 21 2012 02:10 PM
Julie Goldberg from Chestnut Ridge, NY

I had a nice exchange of common ground on my blog around issues of parenting.

I am a lefty feminist, but, on the whole, quite a conservative parent. I believe that a lot of thoughtful people of all political persuasions worry about the corrosive effect of consumerism, coarseness, and anti-intellectualism on the young. I had a nice exchange of blog posts with the Rod Dreher of "The American Conservative" on this topic.

Here's mine: "Common Ground in the Culture Wars"
Here's his response: "Beyond the Culture Wars"

Here's what I believe is the essence of the common ground:
"You don’t have to be a cultural conservative to despise the coarseness of popular culture. You don’t have to be an intellectual elitist to be nauseated by the stupidity of what passes for public discourse. You don’t have to be a liberal to worry about the corrosive effect of consumerism on children and everyone else. You don’t have to be a feminist to fear that girls’ self-worth is threatened by the pornification of women’s images in the media. You don’t have to be a Christian to suspect that the whole country, if not all of civilization, is going to hell."

Jun. 21 2012 01:35 PM

I can definitely see the point of the other side.

Jun. 21 2012 12:02 PM
The Truth from Becky

There is no seeing it from the other side, when the "other side" feels superior to you. No common ground when they don't even agree that you are on equal footing as a human being! fuggedaboutit!

Jun. 21 2012 11:43 AM

I don't know if this counts as "seeing the other side" in my own beliefs, but some of my liberal friends don't understand how to frame an argument so it's palatable to the other side. Case in point: I have family members who are as close to me personally but their political beliefs are 180 degrees from mine. I take the time to listen, and convey my views in ways they too can relate.

The caller trying to understand "pro-lifers" was sincere, but I disagree on most counts. There are a few truly pro-life people who are not only working to improve conditions for pregnant women and new parents, but practicing this philosophy in other aspects of life. The majority are only interested in controlling women. A valid pro-lifer will recognize that women feel the same way about autonomy as they do about other types of government control.

Jun. 21 2012 11:42 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

brian lehrer sucks so much..... his everlasting quest to show evenhandedness. he is the posterboy of false equivalencies.... YOU SUCK

Jun. 21 2012 11:41 AM
Mandi from Fair Lawn NJ

I was raised in a conservative Christian home and have moved left in adulthood. I share many values with my more conservative family. It was really my faith that adjusted my view of a social safety net, especially realizing that God set up national welfare in Levitical laws legislating harvest (leaving some grain in the field, not taking a 2nd pass to gather it) and the year of Jubilee (a 50-year redistribution of wealth to ensure equality). So I believe in a government safety net and its role as an ensurer of economic fairness. However, I understand the conservative arguments for the free market and that charity is best doled out by local communities and churches.

Jun. 21 2012 11:40 AM

The female Palestinian caller~

THANK YOU for illustrating the Israeli insanity so clearly.

Jun. 21 2012 11:36 AM
Edward from NJ

I "get" people who are passionate about the second amendment. Most of the people who would prefer a narrow interpretation of the second amendment prefer expansive definitions of every other right. Imagine if the government restricted speech on the internet on the basis that the internet didn't exist when the bill of rights was ratified. Second amendment absolutists have the same sense in regards to hand gun laws or assault weapon laws.

Jun. 21 2012 11:35 AM
John A.

I hate how the republicans are always "On Message", yet acknowledge the first use of message I can recall was the "Choice" message, on the left.
Ha first caller...

Jun. 21 2012 11:33 AM
William from Manhattan

Just this past year, I realized why the NRA and other second-amendment "fanatics" are so fiercely anti-gun control, including automatic weapons etc. I'm sure it's because they want to keep the option to take up arms against the government if they believe it becomes unjustifiably oppressive. It has nothing to do with hunting or self-defense etc. It's about keeping armed rebellion as an option. I don't agree with them, but I see their point. It's perfectly legitimate. I just don't want to have that kind of society. I think we have to move beyond it.

Jun. 21 2012 11:33 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

That's a great & generous comment by the caller, Anita... and an example of what is so lacking in political discourse today.

Jun. 21 2012 11:32 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

I've been moving leftward from slightly right of center over the past several years, due mainly to lots of reading.

But the left's smugness and deafness really grates on me -- not that it's that much different than the right's, only the left "prides" itself on being open-minded. It's not -- it's simply much more delusional about that aspect of itself.

Jun. 21 2012 11:30 AM

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