A few years ago, I did a poll on our Liberal America Facebook page. I asked this of Liberal Americans, with specific instructions:
Hey Liberal America, I’m doing research. Think about the conservatives who are in your life, the people you really care about. Maybe your parents, your spouse, friends, whatever. We are going to do a relationship workshop via a special article that I’m writing!
Let’s pretend you’re having a “relationship workshop” with them and you’re sitting knee-to-knee practicing active listening. What would you like for them to know? Give your answers in 2 sentences, please.
1) Your responses shouldn’t be accusatory. They should be more based on YOUR needs and wishes rather than their faults.
2) Structure should be:
1st sentence: what your conservative loved ones believe about you (liberals). Use the word “I” not “you.”
2nd sentence: what you would like for them to understand. Again use the word “I” not “you.”
This idea came from my own place of pain — being misunderstood by the conservatives I love.
These were your answers, and I imagine all are still true today.
1. I don’t love abortion. I am just passionate about a woman not having to raise children in poverty.
2. I don’t hate white people. I just think that some people start from a huge disadvantage and should have some extra help in their path to achieving their dreams.
3. I don’t hate rich people. I just think that some people start with a foundation and advantages that not everyone has.
4. I don’t hate men. I just would like men to work harder at understanding the special challenges that women face.
5. I don’t hate republicans, I just hate how they are trying to undo the last hundred years of social progress.
6. It’s not that I dislike successful people with money, I just think when you’ve been successful, it’s important to contribute back to the society you’ve achieved in by paying taxes and helping to elevate those with the least. I believe a rising tide lifts all boats and lifting the least provides a more solid base for my goods and services.
7. I’m not trying to be argumentative. I believe in equality and bringing out the best in and for every child because I believe in a world where people matter.
8. I am not pro-abortion. I just believe every woman has a right to her own body.
9. I am not anti-gun. I think that there needs to be more restrictions on those who want to purchase them.
10. I do not hate Christians. I just think that I can live my life without religion and still be a good person.
11. I don’t hate America. I am a patriot and love my country; I just want it to be a better place for all of us.
12. I do not think we should support everyone financially. I just think we should try to see what others are going through.
13. I don’t want babies to be killed (abortion). I just see that a baby being born into extreme poverty or abuse is a worse death.
14. I would say I am pro-contraceptive, so hopefully, there would not be a need for abortion.
15. I think some rich people have made some great contributions to our society and I would like to see more middle class people get to do the same thing.
16. I would like to see everyone have access to the same medical care that I have.
17. I would like to see every child loved and have a home with anyone that will care and love them, whether straight or gay.
18. I would love to see every child have a chance at higher education if they want it.
19. I would love to see everyone welcome to come to our country and find work with whatever skills they have, from high tech to harvesting our food and paid enough to live on.
20. I just want to treat people the way I want to be treated.
21. I want to give a hand out, if necessary and a hand to lift up.
22. I am not anti-rich. I am pro-fair taxation
23. I worry for this country because my son, your grandson had to go to South Korea to find a job because of this country’s lack of concern to teach the less wealthy.
24. I don’t hate religion. I’m a Christian. I worry more for your soul (with its hate and anger towards disadvantaged people) than I worry for the souls of non-believers. You’re the one who is my flesh and blood who I want to spend eternity with.
25. There is a direct relationship between public funding and the success of young people and investing in them is investing in our future.
26. I’ll never understand why when the most profitable companies in the United States take subsidies from the government it isn’t met with the most stringent form of opposition but yet when someone receives money or public assistance that they need to LIVE they are moochers feeding off of America.
27. I worry for the future of the United States in an increasingly divisive political system where we cannot even agree on perhaps one of the greatest threats that face us all- climate change. Heat melting ice is not a theory and when 97% of the world’s leading scientists support the existence of climate change, how can you stand in opposition of such a consensus?
28. It frustrates me that you don’t take climate change seriously.
29. I’ve been married three times and no one tries to stop me when I get married. I don’t understand why gay people can’t marry the people they love.
30. I’m not pro-gay-marriage. I’m pro-marriage. If two people are going to live together and raise a family, I want them to be able to do it in the sanctity of marriage if that’s what they want.
31. I am not anti-religion, but I believe everyone has a right to believe or NOT believe in what they choose as long as that religion does not hurt others.
32. I don’t think you are a moron, I just need you to be better informed.
33. I am not Anti-Religion, but i hope and pray that God allows me the Common Sense to help my fellow American.
34. I am not against anyone gaining wealth in this country. I believe though you can do it honestly, fairly and not at the expense of those around you and our planet.
35. I am exploring my personal beliefs as a 17 year old. Please let me understand myself without interruption.
36. It’s not a game to see how upset I can make my family. Please don’t think of it as an attack.
37. When you ask me to choose between loving God and loving my friend who is gay, it makes me uncomfortable. God taught us to love everyone.
38. I love God just as much as you. I simply cannot believe in a God that uses worldly logic or excludes anyone.
39. We care about a lot of the same things. I wish we could admit that and then discuss why we’ve each reached the positions we hold.
40. You don’t have to agree with me, but I would at least like you to hear where I’m coming from.
41. No one wants to curtail your rights, but no one wants theirs curtailed either.
42. You taught me to sing “Jesus love the little children” when I was a child. I’m confused now that you are willing to turn little children away at the border.
43. I don’t believe people should be rewarded for laziness. I just don’t think that we should let people go homeless, hungry, and under-educated because of what family they were born into and that they should also be rewarded for their hard work and potential.
44. It’s not that I voted for a president because I feel bad for “blacks” or am brainwashed by Al Qaeda. I sincerely believe that if we keep doing the same thing we’ve always done, we will never see progress. The president makes people uneasy because e suggests things that are seemingly different than what we’ve tried. But sometimes it’s necessary to make big changes or get out of our comfort zones to improve things.
45. I don’t think welfare should be handed out indiscriminately and forever to everyone. I just believe that times are hard right now and they should not be cut off at a certain time limit, rather when those receiving get securely on their feet.
46. I just want to end the hate! It’s time to help our fellow Americans find a job and live in dignity with a living wage.
47. I don’t love welfare freeloaders, I’m just passionate about offering disadvantaged Americans the opportunity of their American Dream.
48. I don’t believe the government should control everything. I just believe that corporations are not looking out for the everyman’s best interest, and we need some protection.
49. It’s not that I love government control. I just know that without controls in place, we will go back to a time when four-year-olds were working in factories.
50. I don’t believe in letting people live their whole life on welfare. I believe that many people cannot dig themselves out of the pit that our rampant, classist capitalism has dug for us, and they need a little help.
51. I do not hate republicans I just wish that something amazing would happen and they could open their closed minds and eyes and see there party for what it really is.
52. I understand parents SHOULD feed and care for their children, but we should not let kids go hungry because their parents can’t or won’t support them.
53. I don’t hate guns. I just don’t think there need to be an even greater abundance of guns everywhere.
54. I don’t really think you’re a hypocrite. I’m just confused that you say one things on Sunday morning, and then walk out of the church thinking only the strong should survive.
55. I find it very hard to respect a person who does not care for the impoverished or those who are discriminated against yet will give their lives and pay checks to ensure they can own assault rifles.
56. I don’t want to take your guns away, I just don’t feel safe when you carry them around.
57. I don’t expect people to get support all their lives, I think they should be supported, and educated, to do things for themselves thereby being able to contribute to society and help others to do the same.
58. I do believe I’m elite because I’ve bothered to get a decent humanities education while building a semi-successful technical career. I don’t think at the end of the day that makes me better than you, but I do think I make better decisions in some areas.
59. I am concerned that the political climate of this nation is leading to one where the less-informed you are, the more your opinion is thought to matter, when I think precisely the opposite is true.
60. I have a big heart and that’s why I’m a liberal Democrat. Not because I want everyone to have a free ride.
61. I’m ashamed that we are the greatest country in the world but we are the worst in terms of healthcare. I think a basic right of people who are run by a representative government should be access to healthcare.
62. I’m not fighting for gay sex. I’m fighting for gay people to have the right to have a family and get a job, just like I have.
63. I don’t hate men. I just want you to look at the facts about how women make less money than men do.
64. I don’t hate men. I just don’t understand why you are allowed Viagra but I am not protected from the results of sex — unwanted pregnancies and STD.
65. I don’t hate big food companies. I just think they can meet their financial goals and be successful by growing food that’s healthy and not toxic.
66. I’m not anti-meat. My heart just breaks to see how poorly animals are treated.
67. I’m free to practice my religion. I think every American should have that same right.
68. I want you to understand that many people are not born with the same advantages that you have: a stable family life where values were taught, support for your dreams and goals, home-cooked meals, and a father.
69. I want you to understand that young men who grow up without a father in the home are working from a disadvantage.
70. I want to give people a “hand up” because it’s really hard to be successful when you start from behind.
71. Just because I voted for President Obama doesn’t mean I want a free ride. I don’t.
72. Just because I voted for President Obama doesn’t mean I love abortion. I’m pro-life. I just know that I can’t know another woman’s circumstances and that’s between her, her family, and God.
Featured image via Marc Garrido i Puig