Over the past months – or maybe even couple of years something interesting has been happening. I have found myself in the ‘opposite team’ cheering or hoping for a common goal. And what’s even stranger is that this hasn’t been a complete switcheroo. It just seems to happen every now and then.
No! I am not talking about cricket. I still #BleedBlue and don’t think I have a choice in that matter. I am talking about the ‘Liberals vs. Conservatives’ / ‘Left vs. Right’ / ‘Anti-Nationals vs. Bhakts’ battles.
Let me start with the US election – something very very inconsequential to me. But I have been told that it is mandatory for us to have an opinion on it and be judged based on which side I am on. That sounds like fun. I started out rooting for Hillary – for the usual reasons (pro climate change, liberal agenda, etc.). But reading Scott Adams’ blog on Trump’s engineered persuasion was so fascinating I was kind of expecting the result and more or less impartial towards either.
But let’s come back home. To things that actually are of consequence to my life.
India in 2016 is a country of 1.2 billion. And they seem to be divided into two types – On one end we have the ‘bhakts’ i.e. anyone who:
a) Supports the current government or
b) Admires the PM unconditionally or
c) Thinks this government is probably the most viable option we have or
d) Is mildly optimistic about the country’s future.
On the other end we have ‘Anti-nationals’ / ‘Libtards’ / ‘Aaptards’ / ‘Congis’ / Pakistanis. A motley bunch of people who:
a) Feel that there is ample room for improvement in the government’s functioning or
b) Believes that the PM is the devil incarnate or
c) Disagree with some of the people in the government or its policies
d) It is the country’s duty to keep the minorities (by religion, sexual orientation, caste, geographic identity, race,etc ), and criminals (islamic terrorists, maoists) safe even if it might go against the interests of the larger population.
Now this isn’t a complete list by any means, but you get the general idea.
As far as I remember I have always found myself in the liberal camp.
- I believe that climate change is man-made (because an overwhelming number of scientists tell me so)
- I think sexual orientation is not a choice and even if it was – to each his own.
- We should be more supporting of a woman’s right than the rights of the fetus that is in her.
- I believe religion has no place in government and should be kept out.
And since it was so clear which team I was supposed to cheer for, life was simple. But in the past couple of years I noticed an anomaly in my Facebook walls. I was arguing with other liberals while some friends from ‘the other side’ were with me.
And to see why, I just went through the Bhakt vs. Anti-National questionnaire above to see where I stood.
On the ‘bhakt’ side I would check C and D. I didn’t vote last election so can’t claim to support them. And as for (b) I find the PM’s ego insufferable. ( Lot’s of similarities between him and Trump in terms of persuasion skills though which is admirable)
Now let’s see where I stand on the other questionnaire.
I would check (a) and (c).
As far as (d) is concerned (It is the country’s duty to keep the minorities (by religion, sexual orientation, caste, geographic identity, race,etc ), and criminals (islamic terrorists, maoists) safe even if it might go against the interests of the larger population.) – that is a tricky area for me. I wouldn’t want to check it.
The so-called liberals in the country (and globally too I might add) have painted themselves into a corner by being too politically correct. For example not willing to acknowledge that religion is the driving factor behind Islamic terrorism, or terming 15% of the country as a minority that deserves special civil laws go against the very ethos of liberal principles.
But as a firm believer in LGBT equality I would want to check that option.
I would like to believe that I am not the only person in the ‘confused camp’. There are other liberals who suddenly share more than a beer with their conservative friends and
Maybe There are conservatives who suddenly find themselves agreeing with certain liberal principles. In all this divisiveness some of us have found commonality. And that is not necessarily a bad thing no?