DECONSTRUCTING “MOST AMERICANS THINK THE COUNTRY IS HEADED IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!”

IT’S TRUE: BUT THE LEFT AND RIGHT HAVE DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSING REASONS WHY

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times.  In fact, probably closer to ten thousand times depending on how much TV you watch and how often you tune into right wing radio.   And it doesn’t matter if you’re watching MSNBC or Fox News, the homily “Americans think the country is heading in the wrong direction” is beamed into our brains like the millions of radio, television and microwave waves that pass through our thick-skulled heads daily.  And, it’s true.  The vast majority of Americans do think the country is headed in the wrong direction.  Poll after poll proves it.


Last Friday night while watching Bill Maher on his politically incorrect, HBO's “Real Time With Bill Maher” the issue of “the majority of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction” arose, again.  Bill and his panelists, like most of us, accepted this statistically accurate conclusion without comment.   But what is rarely discussed when “America’s Direction” is pronounced, is the reasoning that undergirds this sentiment among the American populace.  And, depending on whom you’re talking to, the reasons for why people think this is true could not be more starkly different.  Conservatives, Republicans, Tea Baggers and Rush Limbaugh have a long laundry list of why they think the country is in deep shit trouble ("Libruls"), while Liberals, Democrats, Progressives and Noam Chomsky have an entirely different list.  It’s almost as if the two groups were living in an entirely different country.  Or universe.

Generally, here’s how the left-right, liberal-conservative, Republican-Democrat breakdown sorts itself out in more or less, broad brush,  philosophical terms:




But our daily lives aren't necessarily ruled directly by philosophical treatises.  (Indirectly, let's say over the long term, they most certainly are, however.) We more often respond to events and actions that have an effect on our daily lives, like our jobs, or education, or wages, or racial discrimination or our personal safety.

Below are a series of charts that explore the differing views between the left and the right:


WHY PEOPLE ARE POOR:


I don't think there could be a more cogent example of the vast gulf that divides liberal and conservative views.

IMPACTS OF DISCRIMINATION:


No big surprise here.  After all conservatives - including those in Congress - still can't accept the FACT that we elected a Black man as President.  Twice, for God's sake!


VIEWS ABOUT FAMILY, RELIGION AND HOMOSEXUALITY:



Nuff said.

VIEWS ABOUT U.S. FOREIGN POLICY:



Think about this chart as the Republican and Democratic campaigns for the Presidency continue on and on and on and on and what foreign policies Democrats and Republicans are proposing.  There are stark differences.

VIEWS ON GLOBAL WARMING:


Well, this is no news.


VIEWS ABOUT ELECTED OFFICIALS:


Now tell me again  that it's the Democrats who are being uncooperative in Congress.


ASSOCIATION WITH PEOPLE LIKE/NOT LIKE ME:


A bit nuanced but we get the point.

Now, given that the current state of affairs about polling is pretty sketchy, one could simply dismiss the results of the polls I've included above as being biased or inaccurate, had crappy samples, give skewed results, etc. etc.  This is how Rush dismisses any poll that doesn't conform to his radical conservative world view and I suspect this would be the same attitude of the Tea Baggers and Donald Trump.  But to dismiss such findings is to plunge into a sea of ignorance, a position that Republicans hold dear these days that one that seems to pretty accurately define their public policy actions and proposals. Cutting taxes creates jobs, for example, the great economic policy of every single Republican candidate for President this year, has, in fact, no basis in fact.  You know, data, statistics and other pesky realities.
But in looking at the results of these polls and even taking into account whatever "statistical errors" they might contain, it's pretty damned clear to me that there is a vast divergence of opinion - you might call it The Great Grand Canyon Of Divide - between what Liberals and Conservatives think of our current state of affairs.  So when the public is presented with the unconstrained, open-ended question "Do You Think The Country Is Headed In The Wrong Direction" you will find that both Liberals and Conservatives will respond with a resounding "YES! HALLELUJAH! YES!"  It's just that Liberals and Conservatives have diametrically opposed visions of where America ought to be heading that could not be more polar opposite than if all Liberals lived at the North Pole and all Conservatives lived at the South Pole.*  So take heed the next time you hear some TV or radio pundit pronounce that the vast majority of Americans think that the country is headed in the wrong direction.

There's a hell of a lot more in the answer to that question then meets the eye.   Or the ear, I suppose.

So as we struggle to change the direction of the country - righties towards authoritarianism and Fascism, lefties towards effective government and Socialism - remember that while both groups see trouble ahead, the reasons are very, very different.

Have a wonderful day!

* I am of the opinion that if all of us Liberals lived at the North Pole, we would have no difficulty pointing to the South.  On the other hand, I also think that South Pole dwelling conservatives would have not a clue as to which direction is North!  Just sayin'.





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