Generalizing

We seem to be a society of generalizations. Left. Right. Yellow Journalism. Overpaid teachers. Pit bulls are bad. Blondes are dumb. I could go on and on.

There’s a danger in generalizing, because rarely can a whole society fit into such neat classifications. Yes, we have those on the “right” – conservatives – and we have those on the “left” – liberals. But we also have a lot of people who are neither but are both, depending on the issue.

I wonder why – why, for instance, can’t we be fine with gun ownership as long as it’s responsible ownership, yet  opposed to high capacity, high volume weapons? Why can’t we be for thorough national background checks, and not against all gun ownership? Why can’t we compromise, be reasonable, recognize the need for change?

Why can’t we be mostly liberal, but not completely? Why can’t we be passionate about our beliefs without being considered slightly rabid? Why can’t we defend our position without demeaning the position of others?

Why can’t we acknowledge that many of our journalists are very good, are honest, wish to report the news as it is, whether or not we agree with all of what they say? Why must we say “the press is bad” without acknowledging that not all of the press is bad. For the most part, when they sensationalize, I think it’s because that’s what we are willing to pay for, to listen to, to read.

We are reactionary. We are not thoughtful. These are my generalizations – and I use them, when I should add that I recognize we are not all reactionary all of the time, we are not all thoughtless, all of the time.

Is it too much to hope that we can be thoughtful, that we can search out the truth, that we can think through topics without being told what we should believe if we are going to be “good” people? Is it too much to ask that we can support our country without supporting a governing body or a system of government that is not  working? Can we not be against wars, yet support our young people who fight those wars?

Is it too much to wish that our government would learn to govern in a manner that’s best for it’s people and country, rather than put political party first? Will we learn anything from history before it’s too late?

We can hope.

About Carol

I'm me - nothing unusual, just me. Widowed, 2 grown children who are my best friends, 1 dog, retired, loving being retired. I am woman, I am strong.
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22 Responses to Generalizing

  1. Sadje says:

    We are into stereotyping! Thoughtful discussion and decisions are probably beyond us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Copy Chick says:

    Well done! You said some uncomfortable truths that most of us, sturdily on one side or another, don’t want to really accept. And how many of us can read this without mentally registering ‘but, but, but’. Thank you for sharing . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Bean says:

    I often find myself saying that I’m in the middle on issues, that I see both sides of things. People then tell me I can’t be, not because I’m not in the middle, but because I don’t fit easily into their stereotypes. So therefore I couldn’t possibly know what I’m talking about. It’s infuriating.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisa says:

    Unfortunately, because we’ve also put out the strong message that if one doesn’t denounce an action or issue, we are supporting it, and conversely, if we do support an action or issue, we’re embracing the entire issue the the whole issue. I wish I had a dime for every time a public figure was demonized for not denouncing a complex issue and distancing themselves for the sake of public perception. These are red herrings, ad hoc attacks, and many other logical fallacies used to steer the direction of the ignorant masses, who don’t recognize the error in reason. If it sounds good and reasonable, it must be, goes the line of thought, and that’s good enough for me. Apples and oranges are all fruit, that makes it work.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brava — well stated.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Robin says:

    I try to stay away from political discussions for the reason you stated. You sound very thoughtful, so there is at least one person out there who is thinking. I always think it is better to respond than it is to react. I try to see things from both sides, because I am not always right. Surrounding ourselves with people who have different points of view, instead of playing in the sandbox with everyone who thinks alike, might lead to a bit of empathy and help to resolve problems. A lot of people need to take a deep breath. The sky isn’t fallng, and it probably won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s complicated, isn’t it? Rarely does one individual know the entire issue, especially in terms of national governance – the laws, the connections, the contracts, and the effects of altering those – one the surface, an issue might appear straightforward, black and white – “what’s the problem? If it’s broke, fix it!” But then we have all the unknown elements, the power plays and corruption and local, national, and international considerations. Meanwhile, in your local representative’s office you have someone who may or may not have their heart in the right place, who may or may not have the requisite skills to do the job, but it’s theirs to do. (As I wrote this line, I was referring to the mayor, county judge, state senator, but of course, it applies to the guy at the top as well.)

    Then, there is the delivery of the news, sound bites mostly, rarely a fuller piece that describes the issues. How do you distill all of the factors of an issue into a 30 second news clip? You can’t. So we get the highlights, which generally reflect the political leaning of the owner of the media outlet. Again, someone who may or may not have their heart in the right place, etc etc

    If anything, this means we definitely need careful, thoughtful, and open-minded reflection of the kind you advocate. As you say, we can hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. dawnkinster says:

    It’s hard to be open to ideas other than our own. I used to be able to see both sides to most issues, but it’s so hard now. The news is polarizing, but even that statement isn’t really true. It’s not all news that polarizes…but it does seem to matter which station you listen or watch. I try to watch them all, even though some make me ill. Still…sometimes I hear stuff there that makes me think. So…I am trying hard not to label stuff and people. But the truth is often so difficult to discern, and then once figured out, to accept.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol says:

      There are still some issues I can see both sides of, which makes it hard to know which side I agree with to a greater extent – but it seems the issues are less easily defined now than they once were. And, with a government that is so polarizing, it’s harder to stay in the middle, or on the high road. Or to know which road is the high road. I resent labels – just as I find some of the quizzes to determine which ****** I might be baffle me, because rarely do I feel I fit into any of the choices for answers. I’m a little of this, a little of that. Watching Trump on the news last night (I choose ABC for world news, PBS for a balance) I kept expecting him to simply blow up into bits and pieces. I felt like he was unraveling. Perhaps it’s me that’s unraveling. Sigh.

      Like

  9. Robin says:

    These sure are interesting times (thinking of the so-called Chinese curse that nobody has been able to trace back to the Chinese). I wonder a lot of the same things you do. I wonder, too, if this is just a time of questions with no real answers.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Imani-Amour says:

    Very well written. Your blog is insightful!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lisa says:

    Sadly, our government, regardless of which political party is in “power,” routinely displays it is not for the people….but for themselves. Why can’t we defend our position without demeaning the position of others? Yes, I wonder this as well. Why, when opinion differs, do we vilify the other person because of their passions, and think our passions should be perfectly accepted without question? I find it interesting that many decades ago (if not thousands of years), conservative meant looking out for the underdog. It was the Christians in early Rome who cared for the orphans, widows and diseased people while the more progressive Romans turned their backs on them. After the Civil War, Republicans supported protections for African Americans and social justice programs while Democrats largely opposed these expansions of power. Don’t know when the rhetoric changed, but I’m sure there is common ground among most people who actually can discuss topics with civility.

    Like

    • Carol says:

      Interesting how the parties changed, isn’t it?

      I watched a show on PBS the other night – “The American Experience: The Gilded Age” and according to it, even back in the late 1880s the political parties were owned by big business. The same 1% existed then, then there were the rest of the people. It seems that between JP Morgan and Andrew Carnegie, they were pretty much in control. Obviously, we do not learn from our history.

      Sent from my iPad

      >

      Like

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