We each are biased and our opinions on a wide range of subjects show that IF we want to see the bias and if we can stand the truth about ourselves. I suppose there might be a conservative that, for one reason or another, does not want that to be known. Some are simply fearful they might not be able to defend such a position, while others do not want to engage in that defense either because such a discussion bothers them or because they live/work in the midst of a group of liberals and they choose to remain silent.
An example of bias from my morning newspaper, electronic now, discussed our Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the fact that he was 64,792 people short of his promise to create jobs for 250,000 people. My personal bias would’ve resulted in me talking about Governor Walker’s policies having created employment for 195,308 people since he made his goal public. The difference is staggering simply due to the approach favored by the writer and his or her editor. The bias is obvious…and bias is not a bad thing in and of itself.
There is a simple truth: when liberals talk/write about conservatives, they virtually always are biased against the conservative person/conservative position and that shows in their language and their actions if they are being televised. My naivete has long ago worn away when I am thinking politically. If I am reading the writing of or listening to the opinion of a liberal person, I have a very good idea of what I will see or hear so far as bias is concerned. It is that obvious; I am not exaggerating the facts.
The same generally holds true for the writings of conservatives, although there is a distinct difference. Those of us professing to be of the conservative persuasion are proud of that distinction, and we are happy to engage undecideds and even liberals so that we might help them see the other side, our side, of the various issues. We intentionally declare our beliefs while liberals tend to obscure their beliefs in hopes of luring someone to their side of the argument.
There are, as we all know, news organizations that continually feed the public liberal thoughts and angles without declaring that position. There can be only one reason, okay two reasons, for that non-declaration. Either they want the reader to not think about the political position being espoused, or they find it impossible to see the other side themselves…and actually, honestly, do not see a conservative side to any issue they confront.
I’d much rather have a known and self-avowed liberal preaching to me than I would a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” posing as something he or she is not. That is unlikely to occur so the burden of determination falls upon each of us. Many choose to simply avoid this entire area, and that is their choice. My concern is more for those who do not recognize that they are being led by either a conservative or a liberal thought leader. That demarcation is the first thing I consider before beginning to pay close attention to what is written or spoken. There are supposed conservative publications or sources that I simply avoid because they do not seem conservative, or sufficiently conservative, to me. I have canceled more than one subscription for that reason. I have changed the channel more than once for that reason.
Some might think that I am so conservative I cannot see the other side. We are born without a political thought in our minds, and we are raised from babies to youngsters to young adults and grow to be older people. During that time we are exposed, ideally, to more than one type of thinking so that we can, if we choose, begin to discriminate between various approaches to the issues of the day. My day of reckoning came in the Barry Goldwater era as I’ve written about prior. The clarity of my thinking was solidified during that campaign. I, as I’ve said, can still ‘see’ the mushroom cloud behind the little girl picking daisies in the field. I feel my conservatism in the depth of my being, and earnestly hope and pray for others to have that experience since it has carried me well throughout the rest of my life to this point.
Does everything have to be seen through the prism of politics? Certainly not. Do we have to apply the political ‘test’ to everything? We don’t have to do so, but we might be wise to do so in order to better understand the other person or people. To better understand the publication or the person. Do we have to avoid liberals at all costs? Absolutely not unless you have such a strong aversion you can’t do otherwise. I really enjoy a spirited discussion but I enjoy those without the presence of my sweetie since that bothers her a lot. I know there are people with whom such a discussion will only lead to anger, and I avoid those discussions even though I do enjoy the company of those people.
There is room for almost any opinion short of the confrontations that are obviously headed in the wrong direction. The wrong direction being defined as that which is escalating way too quickly and is not going to lead to anything but anger. I do tend to avoid the people with whom those conversations seem to originate. There is a certain requirement for and understanding of civil discourse, or there cannot be civil discourse.
It is useful to understand biases, our own and those of others.