Liberals vs Conservatives: A love story

Lawrence of Arabia

Ever since I can remember I’ve tried to make sense of politics. I remember as a kid hearing an adult say how much they liked the Prime Minister, and gave reasons why. It didn’t all make sense to me, but I got the picture for the most part, and I was convinced. Then I heard another saying how much they hated him. They said why, and I immediately thought the first adult must have been misinformed. Felt bad for them really. But as time went on I learned more about how politics—and people—work.

And by “politics,” I don’t mean “government.” How my country is run is something of which I have a fair/workable understanding. But how politics work is something very different. Why do I bring Quimbythis up? Lawrence of Arabia is a movie that illustrates a lot of politics. There’s a war going on (need I say more?) and T. E. Lawrence is sent to find out another man’s (Alec Guinness) political intentions. That and Canada is heading into an election, so it’s been simmering on my brain for a while. On the low setting.

I believe we live in a pretty interesting world politically. I am continuing to learn about it and would like to share some of what I’ve discovered about the conservative-liberal showmance:

What “politics” means. There are so many ways this could be defined, but here’s how I’ve come to understand it best: Getting your way while making sure as many people as possible are feeling they’re getting their way too. All leaders have some degree of this they have to engage in.

What’s good about conservatives (or “the right”). Conservatives like to embrace the richness of the past and the great things handed down to us in the present day from heroes and fellow countrymen. They are also very careful with money. When they are handling your money, it’s like a group of grumpy old men are doing it. And for me, I think I’d rather the grumpy old man than the free-spending 20 year old.

What’s good about liberals (or “the left”). Liberals like to embrace the future and not allow baggage from the past to hinder progress. They believe in humanity and, therefore, seek to help all individuals regardless of race or social status. This is why they are usually the ones more concerned about the poor as opposed to their counterparts.

The problem with conservatives. To me the biggest threat to the conservative is fear. There are traditions, philosophies and practices from the past that I do believe are valuable and ought to be treated as such. But one of the tendencies conservatives have is to freak out when anything new comes along. As we all know, many people opposed the new healthcare laws that took effect in the US in recent years. But to talk to conservatives about it you’d think pinko commies were stealing cows from farmers. New marriage laws? Oh, they didn’t freak out over that. They just shared the simple logic that this would lead to hell fire and sex with animals.

The problem with liberals. As you can tell from the last few sentences, I can relate to frustration with regards to conversations with conservatives. However, this frustration can consume a person and hinder his/her judgment. A very wise professor of mine taught me that change cannot take place without equal parts of patience and understanding. Neither patronizing nor name-calling will help in moving people forward. They would do well to see Conservatives as a sibling. Picture a 12-year-old girl asking her little brother to do something. Of course he won’t comply—it’s an almost innate response. So if she resorts to sternness, anger, and a pointed finger, he digs his heels in even deeper. Even if he knows she’s right, it just ain’t happening. Sound familiar?? Want to better your country? Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

The most annoying thing about conservatives. Hypocrisy and the willingness to throw logic out the window in favour of loyalty to the team. Classic example: they claim liberals are too worried about offending people. Seriously… Is it easier to offend people of other ethnicities or church-going Christians? All it takes is a swear word, a feminist, or a “Happy Holidays” to offend that crowd.

The most annoying thing about liberals. Higher taxes. Geez, what’s up with that?! It’s the one thing we all hate most about government and it’s your calling card. It’s like promising voters that you will take up two parking spaces. Or being the party that always forgets to flush. Or guaranteeing every voter hourly emails riddled with duck face selfies. Am I right here folks?

The biggest problem with both. It’s what my mother always said to us kids: “You two are so alike you can’t stand to be around each other.” That made no sense to me as a kid, but as I got older I could see she was right. Nothing could be more true about liberals and conservatives in North America today.

Congratulations Lawrence of Arabia. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Julie Christie in Dr. Zhivago. I haven’t watched this film in its entirety yet, but I know she’s great in it as well as in many others. She’s also Al Pacino’s favourite actress.

Best Actor: Other than good ol’ Obi Wan, Omar Sharif earns this one. He’s in both Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia and is known for his excellence in both.

Best Quote: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” — The Bridge on the River Kwai. (It’s true: The Shining wasn’t the first movie to quote this. It’s a proverb that appears in seven movies, the first of which is Sons of the Desert in 1933.)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. And good luck voting. You’re going to need it.


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