The Partisanship Challenge
One of the things that always makes me laugh when I post here is how some regulars see me as a raving conservative stormtrooper while to others I’m a godless heathen, hellbound and all run-through and showing with liberalness. For a few I’m great in one thread where I agree with them, and a unsalvageable cur in another — in the same hour.
But the one thing that really makes me shake my head is when I’m labelled “partisan”. It gets me because it’s both obviously true and blantantly false at the same time.
It’s true because, hey, everybody who dabbles in political opinion is partisan. Of course! If you have an opinion and are willing to defend it at all, you’ve just shown partisanship. Ah, you’re saying, but that’s not the right definition! When I call you, Jay W., a partisan, it’s because every single opinion you express is in glorifcation of the Republican party (or conservatives, or immorality, or communism — it really does depend on who’s yelling at me).
Well, that’s where you’re wrong. I don’t serve the Republican party, or conservatism in general. Certainly not communism. And, while I have a passing acquaintance with immorality, I don’t wallow in it. Much.
I once wrote a post on my own blog in which I listed five “nice” things I could say about Barack Obama. Note that this was just after his presidential victory.
Once in a while I find it necessary to test myself to make sure I’m not veering too far to one extreme or the other out of ideology (usually to the right). This came up, as you might expect, during the Presidential election. One way I do this is to come up with five nice things to say about “the other side”. In this case that meant Barack Obama.
I definitely lean right in many issues. It’s one of the reasons Rob asked me to contribute here. But I laugh when I get charged with partisanship because on one level, I’m guilty as charged and on another, more important level, I’m not. That’s why I can laugh — if I really was all Republicans-good-Democrats-bad all the time, I wouldn’t find it funny.
No, the relevant definition of partisanship is when someone argues everything from the point of view that one side is right, the other side is wrong. When my side does something bad, it’s okay, we can safely ignore it. When the other side does it, it’s the worst sin imaginable. When my side does it again, well, we can ignore it again.
Note that I am not arguing that just because Say Anything doesn’t make a post every time somebody with an (R) after their name does something wrong that it proves that the site meets that relevant definition of partisanship above. The other, lesser definition, that the site has a point of view (that of conservatism, with a strong libertarian bent) is certianly partisanship. But it’s the kind of partisanship that every political website in the universe shares. If you rail at Say Anything because it didn’t have a post about a Republican getting arrested for domestic assault, you should also wail that there’s no coverage of a Democrat getting arrested for mail fraud on the DailyKos. But don’t do either, because it’s a waste of time.
So, are you willing to take an amended version of the challenge I set out for myself in that blog post from 2009? Can you list five things your “side” gets wrong? Can you righties come up with five things that conservatives are simply wrong about (understanding that not all conservatives think exactly alike)? Can you lefties come up with five things liberals are simply wrong about (understanding that not all liberals think exactly alike)?Tags: conservatives, Jay W., liberals, partisanship