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November 03, 2008

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Jimmie

I think (and this is only in my experience and not to excuse others' poor behavior) that the reason why so many liberals perpetuate the "dumb, hillbilly Republican" stereotype is because for a lot of Republican voters (not all, of course), they vote as an uninformed Republican.

I can say this with loads of personal experience. Growing up "down south" in one of the reddest states in the country, I can assure you that most of the Republicans I knew (99.99% of my family included) voted that way because they believed liberals were evil, from the devil, Satan-incarnate heathens. Because, you know, the liberals think it's okay to drink alcohol once in awhile. And the liberals also think that interracial marriage is okay. (Yes, it's that bad where I come from.) As you can see, these issues have NOTHING to do with the current election, but everything to do with the mindset of many conservatives. They vote that way because they get their hands on a (false) e-mail...or a misquoted quote...or something taken out of context...

In case you can't tell, I'm politically liberal through and through (though personally is a whole other story). And, I have absolutely no problems with people supporting conservative politics...as long as they do so in an informed, educated manner, not just because they can't vote for a black man whose name sounds like he's a radical Islamic terrorist. (I've actually heard that.)

Sorry, rant over. I know that probably the vast majority of Republicans are not like this. I just know that a large portion of them where I come from are, and I think that might be why the stereotype lives on.

Amanda

First of all, to the first commenter:

I have the occasional drink, I smoke, I dance, and I've dated outside my race and guess what, not only am I from the South (Texas) but I'm also a registered Republican.

Thank you for posting this, Manajuice. This is the first time I've read your blog and all I can say is AWESOME! I am so tired of liberals saying that Republicans blindly vote that way. I guess the same could be said about them. I was told once that the only reason I voted Rep. was becuase that was the way my family raised me. Like I was too ignorant to form my own opinions. I very rarely discuss politics. I have come to realize that I'm not going to change their minds and they are not going to change mine.

What I don't understand is the Liberals are supposed to be the open-mided party, yet I seem to be one of the more open-minded people in my group of friends.

Gigi

She shouldn't have sent that to you, but I do think it was all done in jest. Do you really think your friend believes all those stereotypes?

I think tensions are running very high right now as far as politics goes. I know I have just as much dread as you describe with the thought of a McCain presidency. I think lots of Obama supporters just don't get how an educated voter could go McCain, especially after reading things like the Rolling Stone profile. His temperment scares us, his radical anti-choice politics scare us, his selection of running mate terrifies us. There's just not a lot of common ground in this election, if any. So I except that hurt feelings like yours are pretty common right now.

jenB

I could take about 6 xanax and still drive a Tractor. And even I feel the election stress. AIGH!

cindy w

First, people who put bumper stickers on their cars with silly sayings or puns? Are so not worth the energy. Second, I think the problem here is that the Republican party *does* tend to attract the evangelical nutjobs - you know, the people who think that abortion and gay marriage are the two biggest issues facing America today. (I'm thinking in particular of those "Focus on the Family" types, who ADORE Sarah Palin with all of her "abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape and incest" stuff that makes my hair stand on end.) So I think that's where the stereotype comes from. The problem is that we only have two parties - we need to create two sub-sects of Republicans: fiscal conservatives and social conservatives. But until that happens, you have the misfortune of being lumped in with a bunch of... well, sort of undesirable folks that you probably don't like to be compared to. I don't like being called an abortion-loving anti-Christian because I vote Democrat. It goes both ways.

It's so weird living in a swing state right now, because our neighborhood is totally split. Yesterday I had one of the neighbors' kids give me crap about my Obama yard sign, and I was like, dude, you're 5 years old! How do you even know who the candidates are? His mom said she's worried about him because if Obama wins, he's going to be totally depressed. WTF? And another boy, who's about 10 and very precocious, keeps coming over to ask me about Obama because his parents are McCain supporters and he seems to want to understand the other side of things. Which is fine, I don't mind discussing issues with him, but how do you explain tax policy to a 10 year-old? So yeah, that's weird.

Whatever happens, I hope that whoever wins will work across the aisle toward the best interests of the entire country, not one small subset of the population. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican (back when the parties had totally different ideologies), and he filled his Cabinet with a mix of both parties, because he wanted the smartest men working with him, regardless of their party affiliation, and he wanted them to argue with him and give him the counter-point to every issue. I hope that our next President does the same thing.

Teri

I have to agree with you 100% when you state that it is a NO-WIN election for you. I struggle with many issues regarding this years' race. I know what my views are on the political side, however I struggle to think either candidate will make a good president. Almost feel as though whoever wins may win only because he was the lesser of two evils.

 rachel

This is why I don't comment much on politics, either, Amanda. People get too vitriolic for me - people who agree with me politically, not just those who disagree - and I just can't deal with it.

I think liberals are angrier than they used to be, and more likely to lash out, because for such a long time they DID behave like the party of "tolerance" - and got called wimps and wafflers for their trouble. And I think both sides lash out about equally, across the board. You're feeling it more personally now, because people in your economic, educational, and social class, the people you're likely to meet and make friends with, tend to swing liberal.

For my own part, I can only shake my head in disbelief at both sides. People get so riled up. The world is not going to end, no matter who wins. Obama will not tax us to death; McCain will not get us into 20 new wars. Even if Palin ended up president, if McCain were to die in office, it would not be the end of the world. Is she going to single-handedly abolish abortion all by herself? Things balance out in the end; the country's diversity of opinion prevents excesses from getting out of hand.

I believe in the basic reasonableness of people. You and I are not THAT far apart, Amanda - fiscal conservatives, social liberals - and the real difference is that the social issues are more important to me than the economic ones. I will live even with Canadian taxes if it means gays get to marry and being an open atheist is no big deal. You consider that cost too high. The world needs us both.

jonniker

Eh, to me I don't see it as that much different than the stereotype that we liberals are crunchy granola-eating types who don't shave our legs and wear Birkenstocks. Oh, and we want to hand out free cash to poor people for fun, but not so much with the profit. Free welfare for everyone! Even the lazy alcoholics!

For the record, I am much more fiscally conservative on a political level than I'm often given credit for, because I'm a Democrat. Oh, and my first job was in politics working for a conservative, whom I ADORED. Adored. Still do.

The thing is, there is a grain of truth at the bottom of both stereotypes, and both parties pander to those types. Alas, it's seen as less offensive to be a dirty hippie than a redneck, but for those of us in the middle, it's no less offensive, I promise.

Some members of the Republican party (*cough* Karl Rove *cough*) are responsible for deliberately courting those people to gain votes and perpetuating the stereotype in a very calculated manner. The Bush campaign did an absolute disservice to many Republicans when it went after the lowest common denominator with a group of pandering, targeted messages designed to win the votes of those who are less informed about the real issues. It was such a disaster that changed the face of the Republican party forever, I'm afraid.

But there *are* great conservative leaders and intelligent voters, and it is lost on many, thanks to the loudest mouthbreathing few. Just like there are more centrist Democrats (like me!) who are lumped in with the hysterical "I'm moving to Canada!"-crying unshaven.

What's most important is that we all maintain our sense of humor and remember that none of this really is personal. People are just passionate about what they believe in, which is a pleasant change to apathy in years' past.

EmJay

There are extremes on both sides. I live in a very conversative town which happens to be in a swing state. I am an Obama supporter and have a car magnet that says "Vote for Change". My car has been vandalized more than once. Our yard signs where knocked over repeatedly and have gone "missing". I don't understand the hate and disrespect in a democratic society. I am extremely anxious myself right now over this election. My mantra today...(literally)..."please let me bear with grace and dignity the outcome of the election, and go forward with wisdom to keep improving the world according to my values".

Brandy

Yep, this is a complete no-win election. That sums it up best. For me, you know that I am conservative and J. MC gets my vote. I look at it as choose between the lesser of the two evils (not that either of them are "evil" in any way - you know what I mean). I know it can be stressful. Once this thing is over with though, life will go on.

Do you ever notice how every president is completely vilified toward the end of their term? Bush Sr, from the media, you would think he was a war mongering devil. Heck, Clinton was impeached for not keeping his cigar habits to himself. George Jr. - well everyone thinks he is the war mongering devil's son.

I love how right now, everyone looks at Obama as if he is the savior of the free world and our only hope in a world so dark and deep in despair. So, the way I look at it is if Obama does win (and I think he probably will win, by a lot), then I wonder how he will be vilified at the end of his term?

I try and take a light view of it all - for me, that is the best way of looking at it otherwise it can all be very depressing. Maybe you will appreciate my latest blog post. Hope it makes you smile! :)

Annagrace

Well, I for one would HATE it if all my friends agreed with me on every single thing--I think it's healthy to be challenged (at least for me) and have to rethink assumptions I make. I do think your friend's email was insensitive--I don't ever think it's right to take the humor all the way down to that level, on either side. I don't put a ton of faith in politics, though, since government always manages to royally fuck up even the best ideas/things/movements etc. Just know that I like and respect you regardless of whether or not we ever agree on ANYTHING ever again. And I think we agree on quite a lot :) Feel better--it's hard to know whether everyone can simmer down after all this is over but I, for one, choose to make the best of whatever outcome. Individuals have more power than those in power would like us to believe--and raising our children to be respectful dissenters is always the best plan! Love you!

Sheryl

I'm a little uptight about how things go tomorrow too. I'm voting for Obama, but I hope whoever wins, they win big, because if the country has to deal with another close call, I fear it ain't gonna be pretty. Just remember, whoever you're voting for if he doesn't win, you'll get another chance in four years. Everyone chill and be kind to strangers.

G-mom

I will be so grateful for Tuesday either way. Just so its over! Frankly, neither one is the "go to guy" but I'm horribly sick to death of the e-mails. 36 today in my inbox, so far. From everybody on everything! I have truly gotten to the point where I just hit delete repeatedly.
As far as I'm concerned this is a no win election. Everything is in such sorry shape neither candidate can promise anything and be able to keep that promise. Right now I'm voting because of local elections....those I can do something about....well at least I THINK I can.

AmyH

I live in Texas, which is about as RED as you can get, but I am a democrat. I know how you feel because I am feeling the opposite.

You are 100% right that Obama's message is for peace and tolerance of one another. You will notice that whenever people boo the Republicans at his rallies that he stops them immediately (something McCain has failed to do at all yet). So please let me say as an avid Obama supporter (and regular reader of your blog) that we should respect each other and be nice. It should be about uplifting our candidate, not tearing down the other (as in the bumper sticker you saw, the comments by your friend, the NOBAMA signs, etc.).

You and I have a ton in common. Our daughters are just 2 months apart, I am still nursing, too, and we care deeply for our families, friends, and children. Even though our party affiliation is different, I think there are more people like you and me out there with a lot in common than there are differences.

Let's hope that is true and on Nov. 5th we can all get our sanity back.

Neva

During the last election, I stressed out so much I broke out in hives. I've been limiting the amount of time I spend listening to "news" this time around to avoid that. So, yeah, I can totally understand why you'd need a Xanax prescription right now.

ariel

Oh lord, I too cannot wait for all this to go away. Most people I know (living in PA) will be voting Democrat simply because of the Republican we have in office now. My father calls me a college liberal, maybe I am, but we all have our own ideals and what we want in a leader. I just hope whoever wins can help us out of this economic crisis and start to settle things overseas.

Jimmie

To Amanda (second commenter)...

I definitely did not mean to imply that ALL southern Republicans acted like the example I gave in my original post, so I apologize if it was taken as such.

That said, some of my very best friends in the entire world vote Republican, and like I said, I totally don't care because they are good people and they form their political views based on education/information, rather than ignorance. We don't try to sway each other over to the other side and if anything, we try to understand where the other person is coming from. I hope that's how our next presidency goes, no matter who wins tomorrow.

Jaime

Thank you. I understand. I am a registered independent but think of myself as very conservative. I live in Maine, and am not religious at all. Please do not assume conservatives are hillbillies. I can tell you I know far too many uninformed liberals around here. I could stereotype them, but I won't.

I'm not a huge fan of McCain. I want to vote for him just so Obama won't win right now. But why should I have to? I hate having a two party system. Please everyone think of other parties too when you vote! I wish this election could deal with real change, like adding another party that actually could win. I am sick of the politics of both parties, and think we need complete change!

(So I will most likely be voting for Bob Barr tomorrow!)

Arwen

People on all parts of the political spectrum stereotype and vilify those who are different from them, true, but Amanda's point is that what *her friend* did was inappropriate because of the audience, and she's right. If Amanda's not sending rude emails to her friend about Obama supporters, then her friend shouldn't be doing the opposite thing to her.

As for anyone who thinks stereotyping conservatives is okay because *there are uneducated Republican voters* is clearly missing part of the picture. There seem to be a lot of people out there who think that because they and the liberals they know are part of the educated elite, all Democratic voters are educated on the issues, and that is simply not true. There are a huge number of people who vote Democrat simply because their parents did, who believe that voting Republican is anti-union or anti-education or anti-minority because that's what they've always been told, and who have no idea where the candidates actually stand on issues which affect their own lives. If you don't believe me, you have obviously never lived near Detroit, and I can't imagine that the people here are the only ones in the country like this.

Amanda, I'm with you in being SO READY for this election to be over.

Alias Mother

For me all elections, but especially this one, feel like a dysfunctional family Thanksgiving. Everyone starts out fairly jolly (if tense) but then things escalate and by the time the pumpkin pie gets brought out people are shrieking and in tears over some fight that happened 20 years ago. Then the next day everyone wakes up a little hungover but basically okay. You are a little caught up in the hysteria (it happens! I know! I was last year!) right now but...breathe. We are a resilient country and we'll pull through either way.

And I'm not trying to be a snot here (I'm making my, "Sorry I have be the mean friend for a second" face as I type this), but I seem to recall you mentioning liberals who want to "marry" Obama or environmentalists "worshiping at the altar of Al Gore." Sometimes we all get caught up in being meaner than we intended to be or saying things that are unintentionally hurtful. And that's okay, because I think we can all agree that being PC all the time is boring as hell. So maybe just cut your friend some slack. Yes? No? Maybe?

ha

The rich take xanax and the poor drink cheap liquor. You're one of the lucky ones. Imagine being a part of the working poor right now buying your kids clothes at the local goodwill.

Ali

agree with this post 100%

Sadly, from the political posts I've read on blogs have been extremely biased and in the same vain as the email you received. They (the people who like your friend, send the emails and blog that crap) should be utterly ashamed of themselves for perpetuating that kind of garbage.

I'm fine with people who have different beliefs. I wouldn't DARE start running my mouth about how they were stupid (or insert other random insult here) just because they are voting for one party over another.

Such ignorance. Makes me sad.

maggie

I think you think the conservatives get more respect in Washington because you're down in The Couv. Up here in the People's Republic of Seattle it's a given that we are all voting for Obama. I really struggled with this one and could have gone either way, but I never said so because nearly everyone I know would have dropped dead of shock. I mean, it's not even up for debate. FUN TIMES.

kristine

Great post!! I read about 15+ blogs daily. And proudly I will say that you are the only blogger who's political views I consider close to my own. Living in Ca , if you don't have a Obama sticker on your car, you stand out like a sore thumb. And yes, you are so right on about the non win election!

Sarah

Delurking to say, that this is why you are one of my favorite bloggers..you're not afraid to say what you mean despite how unpopular that opinion might be in mommyblogger circles.

I'm tired of reading blogs by people I respect and admire, who attack the character/intelligence of people who believe differently then they do. I'm tired of Republicans being defined as rich, corrupt and backward. Some of my dear friends and relatives are Democrats and while I disagree strongly with some of their beliefs I would never belittle them for holding them.

I also empathize with you on the stress of the election, I'm working on my third day of a huge headache that I'm hoping will leave when the election mess is over!

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