A “Conservative Liberal”
Polarization in politics — is it the norm these days? It certainly appears to be.
I say “appears to be” because I think this phenomenon is mainly one of perception. Most Americans are somewhere in the middle, but the loudest voices from both ends of the spectrum get the most press. Conflict = eyeballs, so the media have every reason to play up the extremes.
But if, in fact, Americans are becoming less moderate, it’s worth recalling something that Rod Serling said in the November 28, 1961 issue of Show Business Illustrated:
There’s a propensity in our country to polarize things in black-and-white concepts. A man is either this or he is that.
He’s either a Communist or he’s on our side, and I think the reverse is true amongst liberals. If a man happens to be militantly and vehemently anti-Communist, this guy is suspect among the liberals.
I’ve either got to climb into bed with the John Birch group, or I’ve got to move far over to the wild left, where I don’t want to sit, either.
It’s kind of a dilemma of the — you might coin a phrase — conservative liberal. I’d like to dramatize the problem.
In many ways, Serling spent much of his career doing just that. And it’s a good bet we’d all be better off if we made greater efforts to understand the “other side.”
Chances are, we have more in common with them than we think. And we might avoid turning out like the overly suspicious people on Maple Street.
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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!