Conservatives are absolute in beliefs, liberals are open to other views

Columnist and Columnist

As an admitted liberal, I am a big fan of Bill Maher and a regular viewer of his weekly television show, “Real Time,” on HBO.

Two weeks ago on his program, just before the Republican primary in Mississippi, he sent his colleague, award-winning documentarian Alexandra Pelosi, to Mississippi to ask residents why they overwhelmingly “vote Republican when they are the poorest state in the union?”

Pelosi, the daughter of the liberal House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, has made several documentaries that have been said to have a liberal bias by conservative pundits.

The two minute and 20 second video that aired on Maher’s program received similar criticism from the right for portraying a negative stereotype of the Mississippi electorate.

Pelosi’s video showed interviews with Mississippians that — among other stereotypical traits — had few teeth and wore ragged clothes, some of which bore racially charged slogans on them. One of the interviewees, when asked if he hated President Obama because he was black, said no, and then called the president a “half-breed.”

After receiving so much flak from conservatives, Maher invited Pelosi to film “the other side of the coin” for the following week’s show.

In that two minute and 33 second video, Pelosi went to a welfare office near where she lives in New York City and interviewed several young, seemingly healthy African-American men who were standing in line to receive assistance.

Again, Pelosi’s video was ripe with stereotypes, as the men spoke in street slang and a few of them appeared to have a buzz of some sort.

All of the men, when asked, said that they had no interest in finding a job, saying that all they wanted was a check.

One man said it was hard to find a job once you have been in jail, but then said that he too had no interest in a job even if he could find one.

Everyone in that video said they would vote for Obama in November. When asked why, one woman responded: “Because he gives me stuff for free.”

This, to me, goes a long way at illustrating the difference in liberals and conservatives. And let me specify that I know that you can’t paint all conservatives or all liberals with a broad brush, so when I am saying “conservatives,” what I really mean is most (not all) conservatives.

To me, the biggest difference in liberals and conservatives is conservatives feel absolutism about their views.

They are sure they are right in their opinions and that everyone else should fall in line and believe the way that they do.

While liberals may also believe they are right, they also tend to feel like their viewpoint is not the only one and consequently that everyone’s opinion should be voiced.

This is the case with most pro-choice people I know, including myself.

I have been accused of “supporting abortion” because of my pro-choice stance, but actually I am not a fan of abortion.

On a personal level, opting to choose to terminate a pregnancy is not something that I feel like I could ever do.

But because I am a liberal, I do not feel like I have the right to make that choice for other people, regardless of how I personally feel about it.

If you contrast that with the pro-life standpoint, you clearly see the difference. Pro-lifers believe abortion is wrong and their opinion is the only true and correct one.

Again, this may not be the case for .001 percent of pro-lifers, but it is the view of the vast majority on that side of the issue.

Liberals, for the most part, feel that showing both sides of an issue, debating the facts and merits of a case and then making an informed decision is the way progress is made — whether the debate is abortion, gun control or illegal immigration.

Conservatives believe there is no need to make progress on an issue because they already have the right answer and therefore no more debate is needed.

I will leave it up to my readers to decide which way they feel makes more sense.

I will do so because I am a liberal, which means I don’t want to tell you what to think.

I only want to tell you what I think, and hope that as a result we can have an open and honest discussion about it.

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