I’ve read about a million things the past few days about how it’s so sad that the Komen dust-up means that nowadays liberals will give to one charity and conservatives to another. Can’t everyone on both sides agree that breast cancer is bad and get together to fight it blah blah blah?
Fuck that. Don’t get me wrong, I think all the pink ribbon branding (as noxious as it may be) stuff probably did increase awareness and get more women to come in and get screened. I give Komen credit for that.
However, there are real differences of opinion between conservatives and liberals on health policy. Liberals generally believe in having universal health care (that allows everyone to get screened for breast cancer free of charge, for example) and high government spending on basic research. Conservatives believe in restricting access to health care to those who can pay (plus emergency visits) and in slashing government spending on research. Their idea (I’m not trying to caricature here) is that charities, pharma, and other private groups will do the research and health care providing that liberals believe the government should do.
Of course, plenty of liberals give to charities like Komen and many conservatives don’t want government spending on basic research to be slashed that much. But what I described above, in the main, should be a fairly accurate description of the differences of opinion here. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg: liberals believe in reproductive rights, conservatives don’t (to varying degrees, I suspect that most conservatives do support access to contraception, but judging from some recent arguments, not all do).
Sometimes people on different sides of these arguments advocate violence. Ross Douthat wrote that liberals should expect conservatives to continue to murder doctors as long as the liberals advocated for reproductive rights.
There’s lots of other examples. Many, maybe most, liberals have supported protests against the Iraq War and against income inequality; many, maybe most, maybe not, conservatives have fantasized about tasering these protesters and beating them with 2x4s.
You might note that the examples of violence advocacy I mentioned do not involve anonymous commenters in obscure blogs, they involve contributors to CNN, the New York Times, and the Atlantic. I’m not criticizing their advocacy of violence, just pointing out that it’s there.
In light of all of this, I just don’t see why it’s sad that liberals and conservatives give to different charities, listen to different music, patronize different restaurants, etc. The two groups don’t agree on much and don’t like each other. That’s life. If people disagree with me about everything and dream of tasing/beating/shooting me, then why would they and I want to be part of the same organizations?