The Right and Left are closer than you think

It’s funny to me how often we are given a false choice of either/or. Unless it’s a choice between two available dessert items, there are always more than two options.

Especially political identity. Left or Right.

What do those even mean? In Canada, the difference between left and right is microscopic compared to the US.

Incidentally, the US Democratic Party has always been more right wing than our defunct Progressive Conservative Party. It’s only now with the Harper party that the Democrats and our conservative party are along the same lines – but it is the first time the US president has ever been leftier than a conservative PM in Canada.

Continuing on the Canada to US on the left/right, the US right and left have very differences compared to the various political left and right parties in Europe.

Other countries that are theocracies are certainly extreme right and the countries with leftie dictators don’t have any obvious differences – so apparently, when you go extreme enough, left and right seem to be the same thing other side of a ball, rather than two opposite ends of a continuous line.

Politics are messy and the left and right grassroots movements in the US and Canada are little better – both seek to control the masses. The only difference is what each side is seeking to control. The left wants to control your public behavior and the right your private behavior.

The left appears concerned more with the what – what are the impacts of what we do on other things like the environment or people and animals. Their push to is re-consider our actions and laws with sustainability, improved rights, stricter government regulation of industry and business and other aspects of our public space.

The right is more concerned with the how – how others conduct their private lives, their bailiwicks are morals, abortion, gay sex, sanctity of marriage (why does it always seem to be about the sex with them?) and less government oversight and control. Although, how they are supposed to police private lives with less government control is not exactly clear to me.

I don’t know anyone who wants to give control over to either side, because no matter how left or right that you are, there will always be someone righter or lefter who finds you lacking.

I do think that the left side is winning, and for the most part, socially that’s a good thing.  There is no downside to at least tolerance if not actual or eventual acceptance of other groups of people. And while every group has their bad seeds, it’s not the group’s fault.

Women can vote and drive, interracial couples can marry, gay and lesbian couples can marry in Canada and in some US states or cities. We really don’t need to play more oppressed than thou – any group being oppressed or discriminated against diminishes us all. That ask not for whom the bell tolls thing still applies.

I was a kid in the 1970’s, but even I remember people thinking that if you recycled that you were a hippie weirdo and by the late 90’s if you didn’t recycle that you were an Earth hating jerk. Greenpeace is mainstream now.

Most office buildings are branding themselves as Green, with in building recycling and many composting, reducing energy use and putting on green garden roofs to replenish the city air. Many companies exceed what’s required by law and provide the same benefits to gay and lesbian employees as they do straight ones.

Even the US military is working on a slow retreat exit strategy from Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

We need to focus on where our interests are common, not what defines us as different. We need to recognize what challenges we are facing globally – climate change is real – what amount or if human activity contributes to it isn’t the issue at all. That we excessively pollute and have changed climate and habitat locally is not a question – acid rain I am talking to you. We know the globe’s climate has changed, there’s been warm and cool periods and ice ages.

They will happen again. But, if we’re all going to have to live along the equator because everything around it is covered in 5 miles of ice, or the oceans are a lot higher and we have to move inland, we need to figure out a way for 6 billion plus people to get along and conflicts over different skin colour, religion and consumer habits need to end.

We need to figure out a way for societies not to collapse, for business to function and achieve profits, for fair labour practices, for sustainability.

It’s the public behavior we need to be concerned about, not other people’s sex and family lives. It’s the public behavior that affects us all, after all.