Conservatives vs Liberals: the Merry-Go-Round of Political Party Rhetoric Essay

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Conservatives vs Liberals: The Merry-Go-Round of Political Party Rhetoric
“Liberals and conservatives are two gangs who have intimidated rational, normal thinking human beings in to not having a voice on television or in the culture. Liberals and conservatives are paradigms that mean nothing to anyone other than the media” --Jon Stewart Today’s society seems to be overrun by dueling dichotomies. If one is not for ‘team Edward’, then one is for ‘team Jacob’. One can either subscribe to being pro religion, or pro science; pro life, or pro choice. One of the most prominent dichotomies dividing Americans today is that of conservatives versus liberals. These two political ideologies seem to serve as the catalyst for much friction within the political arena and among citizens who care to engage in any type of political discourse. The debates between the two seem to become incredibly heated and often personal. This is because the two labels have been spun in such a way by the mass media, politicians, and consequently, citizens that their definitions have evolved as a means of defining individuals by their political ideologies, which divides a nation of voters who have taken to attacking each other based on opposing party rhetoric. The fervor with which these dueling parties cast aspersions at each other raises two pertinent questions: Does the vehement focus and mutual demonization of these political labels sustain a polarized nation of constituents who are too enthralled and distracted by these labels to actively participate in government and politics in an informed fashion? And if so, is this distraction intended by the specialized class as a means of diversion and control of the general public? On the simplest level of their layered definitions, ‘liberalism’ and ‘conservatism’ are two general schools of social and political thought regarding representative government (Nunberg 36). These two groups clearly see the world from opposite sides of the political spectrum. Universally, the term liberal implies the desire for change or reform of the current political system at hand, as the term conservative implies the desire to preserve the status quo, and tradition thereby rejecting change. Within the context of American society, these labels address opposing ideologies: The liberal ideology generally advocates redistribution of wealth, pro choice abortion policies, gay rights and gun control, while the conservative ideology advocates the tradition of a free market, an unborn child’s right to life, preservation of family values, and the right to bare arms. The long standing controversy between these parties over such contentious issues, often referred to as the ‘culture wars’, is only a fraction of what sustains the divide between them (Jones 46). Liberals describe themselves as nurturing, generous, and morally superior to conservatives who they often describe as staunch, reactionary, radical, and manipulative (Alterman 53). Conservatives often describe themselves as ‘true patriots’, Christians, and protectors of traditional family values, while casting liberals as entitled, elitist, Godless threats to family values thus America as we know it (Brock 78). These are examples of a term known in the marketing world, as ‘branding’. This is the process of turning connotations into denotations. “Words such as ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ have what semanticists call attributive definitions - they simply mean ‘one who believes or advocates such and such’. Over time, though, a label may be associated with various connotations and stereotypes until it ultimately becomes referential rather than attributive -- its definition is less a matter of ‘one who believes‘ than of ‘that sort of person’” (Nunberg 36). In addition, politicians take advantage of the research marketing companies, which