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(name deleted for their protection) is wondering why "left wing intellectual" is synonymous with "baby eater" in American politics.

This was what I saw on a friend of mine's Facebook status the other day, and to be honest I was utterly incensed not only for him (because I totally agree), but also for me because the concept of 'left wing intellectual' bothers me greatly:

(name deleted for their protection) is wondering why 'left wing' and 'intellectual' go together in American politics? :)

This is me though, even in my personal life. Always in the middle, always moderating between the two opposites of life and death, rage and serenity... I'm a life lived in extremes and halves. I don't care for generalizations and know full well that even though it'll probably piss just about everybody off by saying it, I think the right and left wing are just a little too 'wingy' for me and far too interested in perpetuating their own views rather than actually doing anything to better the life of the average person.

Sure enough the response came back:

I think "left wing" and "intellectual" go together in American politics because the Right Wing has tried very hard to be anti-academic in nature. There don't tend to be a lot of right wing intellectuals because that's counter to the image that the Republican party puts forth at the moment -- namely working class, archetypal American, which is ironic because much of the policy they put in place does little for that demographic.

Accompanied with the fact that they've courted the fundamental religious vote in the last few years -- a demographic that puts itself in square opposition to most higher ed institutions -- using the phrase "left wing intellectuals" strikes a certain reaction from their target audiences. One that basically drums up votes more on fear than actual action.

I think that these types of statements illustrate some of the underlying problems with a two party system. The idea that people of opposite parties must stand on opposite sides of the fence because let's face it (if we're being honest with ourselves), left wing, and right wing is almost completely synonymous with republican and democrat in this country.

My response followed

I'm still more than slightly offended by the converse idea that if the world's full of left wing intellectuals than if must be full of right wing idiots. It's that same type of offense that you feel when Leftist gets painted with the brush of baby killers.

Of course I hold views that could be considered on the right side of things when it comes to say the gun control issue or even my personal views on abortion. But I'm not some backwater AK-47 toting hayseed who lacks the ability to be rational or reasonable simply because, for instance, I think that gun control is totally ineffective. Nor either am I some kind of religious fundamentalist who wants to impose my view of the universe on people simply because I wear a crucifix and pray to a god whose teachings include precepts like valuing life.

On the other side of the coin I recognize my lefty views too, such as the idea that no matter what my personal views are on the issue, the government really shouldn't be able to make unreasonable demands on what people can do with their own bodies, who they can marry, or do anything that restricts the guaranteed equal protection under the law. I'm also a big supporter of environmental action, higher education, and freedom of speech.

I think the brushes of both sides are equally full of tar and by and large the political system, especially during this time of year, focuses more on its petty squabbles than doing anything for the good of the people.

I guess I really am a good old-fashioned Republicrat.

(Slides soapbox back under the desk)

I live in a state where unemployment is at an all time high and undoubtedly the worst in the country. Have any of these candidates (other than our inept state government who can't even agree on a functional budget) even so much as mentioned what's going on here in Michigan or anything they might do to improve the quality of life here? In my town you can't sell a home because the real estate market is flooded with foreclosures, and unemployment rates are the highest they've been since the last national recession. Not a peep have I heard on the national news or even local news. Where are the candidates talking about what they are going to do to improve general quality of life? Perhaps it's the way the media, local and otherwise, is reporting it? Perhaps it's even just my own narrow-mindedness getting in the way. Maybe I'm only seeing what I choose to see because I'm feeling overly frustrated with a systems that doesn't appear to be helping any of people I know?

To the candidates I would say if I could that I don't want to hear your opinions, your voting records will tell me that; I want to hear your plans.

So now I get to the crux of the matter for me. What I wouldn't give to live in a place where the people who want to run the systems of government spend less time sniping at each other, blowing millions of dollars on their campaigns that could instead feed hungry people, and giving us nice heartfelt cry scenes to watch on the evening news, and instead sit down, or even stand in front of a podium, and start talking to me about what they are going to do to make my, and your, life better.

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