Discussions with a Liberal: We Need Solutions That Work

Last weekend marked the long-awaited and long-anticipated wedding of my older daughter. It was an exhausting time, not only due to the amount of work I put into the wedding (I made a lot of the decor), but because it marked the visit of some strongly liberal family members who came for the wedding.

Being liberals, they of course wanted to spout all their liberal views on a constant basis; something that is tiring to any conservative. But as the days wore on, we actually found more and more areas where we had beliefs in common.

I can’t say that we agreed on everything, but we recognized areas where we would never agree and moved on. That allowed us to talk about things where we do agree, or at least could come to some semblance of agreement.

This is actually how this country used to be.

We’ve always had people of opposing views, whether they were Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative, Federalists and Republicans, men and women, or slave owners and those who called for freeing the slaves. Our country was founded on diversity and our Constitution was written so that reasonable people would come together to work out reasonable solutions, which would work for the majority of the people.

Granted, when the country was founded, the vast majority of the people were Christians. As such, one could expect them to act with at least some Christian charity towards one another. But that doesn’t mean that they didn’t have disagreements, and even disagreements that were serious enough to warrant a duel to the death. But for the most part, they discussed their differences, looking for common ground.

That’s a whole lot different than today’s America; an America where certain parties are working overtime to pit one group against another and create every possible division between different groups. We now have blacks against whites, poor against rich, liberals against conservatives, the LGBT community against straight people, and every possible splinter group in our society vying for their piece of the pie… often to the detriment of some other group.

It’s no wonder that Congress has been unable to accomplish anything worthwhile in the last several years. Not only do we have a president who is an expert in creating divisiveness, but the Democrats in Congress are following his lead. Rather than entering into discussions aimed at finding common ground, they are demanding that everything be their way… or else.

To be fair, there are those in the Republican Party who are just as obstinate as their Democrat colleagues. This isn’t just a Democrat problem. But it’s not just a government problem either; it’s become a cultural problem. What we’re seeing in Congress is nothing more than a reflection of what we are seeing in society in general.

Take Black Lives Matter, for instance. Now, I don’t agree with any group that uses violence to make their voice heard, and I don’t agree with Black Lives Matter for their manner of expressing their grievances. But on the other hand, I recognize that their grievances are quite real. Whether or not I agree with those grievances is immaterial at the moment, they are real enough for the people who are complaining.

That alone warrants discussion; first to determine if they have a legitimate complaint and then to see what can be done to take care of their needs, without taking something away from someone else to do so. But since we can no longer discuss things in a reasonable manner, liberals are clamoring for blacks to be given special treatment and conservatives are saying “No.”

In the mean time, nobody is doing anything to help the people with the problem.

To say that every white person in this country is racist and is intentionally furthering racism against blacks is ridiculous. But that’s what’s being said. Why? Because nobody is really listening to their grievances. I’m not talking about listening to what they are saying now; I’m talking about listening to what’s behind what they are saying.

I’ve done a lot of personal counseling through the years and one thing I’ve learned is that the problem people complain about, isn’t the real problem. It usually takes a while to get to the real problem. You’ve got to listen to all the junk, before they get around to talking about the real issues.

It’s kind of like someone who has cancer complaining about the pain in their stomach. While it might be the cancer that’s causing the problem, that’s not what they are talking about. They’re focused on the pain they are feeling and no the root problem; and nothing you can do will get them to change that focus, until you deal with the pain they are feeling.

So, if we apply that to the rhetoric of these various different groups who are complaining, we would have to understand that the obvious complaints that they are making, aren’t the real issues. All they are, is an indication of where the hurt is right now.

But fixing those things isn’t going to solve their problems, all it’s going to do is allow them to uncover another area of hurt. It will take time for them to dig deep enough to get to the point of talking about the real issues.

Another thing that adds to this is that people don’t want to take responsibility for their own problems. It’s always easier to blame someone else, whether it’s a child telling the teacher that their dog ate their homework, a woman complaining about her husband, or a minority blaming their cultural problems on oppression.

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But without a national dialogue about some of these issues, the root problems will never be uncovered. All that will happen is that the race baiters and those who want to cause division will continue to have their way. They’ll keep stoking the fires of dissatisfaction and anger and through them, manage to keep the country in constant crisis.

Why should anyone want to do that? Because that’s a method they use to maintain control. Without the country discussing issues and without Congress having a meaningful dialog about them, Congress is at a deadlock. That gives Obama and others of his ilk, the excuse they need to do things by executive action. He has always said “If Congress won’t take action, I will” while at the same time working overtime to make sure that Congress can’t take action. Well, guess who has learned from him and what she’ll do if she becomes president?

The Greatest Lesson of All

That’s what was so great about my family coming to visit for the wedding… we talked. Yes, we actually talked about major issues; and we did so without name calling, resorting to yelling or any of the other methods that people use on social media. About the closest it came to that was when I was told that my facts were wrong; but then, I felt the same about their facts.

If we can’t learn how to talk to one another, on a one-on-one basis, then we will never do so on a national basis. We need to get out heads out of our smartphones and out of our social media accounts and learn to talk again.

We also need to learn how to think again. All too many Americans just accept the talking points of whichever political party they belong to, and spout them off as if they were original thoughts. No, they aren’t original and they aren’t even thoughts. The most thinking that has gone into any of them is how to project the party’s position, while tearing down the other party’s. In many cases, that’s done without any concern about what is right or what’s the truth.

We will never agree on everything. My conservative position on poverty is to help people get jobs or help them start their own businesses. My liberal relatives want to give them a handout. Interestingly enough, the relatives who mentioned that are ones who don’t earn enough that they have to pay federal taxes. Even so, the right answer is somewhere in between. People need a handout, while they are learning and starting out; but ultimately, they need a way to earn their own money.

But unless we talk about how to deal with poverty, we will never find a workable plan. What we’ve tried in the past hasn’t worked; so we need better ideas. Those can only come out of bringing a group of people together to discuss the problem and looking for some new ideas.

The funny thing is that the best ideas often come about when people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and viewpoints collaborate on the idea. If only liberals talk about poverty, they’re going to talk about giving handouts. If only conservatives do, they’ll talk about putting people to work. But when the two sides come together and hammer out a plan, there’s a much better chance that their plan will actually meet the needs of those in poverty.

It’s time to talk people. It’s time for a national conversation on a plethora of issues. Our country has needs and those needs will only be met when we come together to find solutions. We don’t need Democrat solutions and we don’t need Republican solutions. We don’t need liberal solutions and we don’t need conservative solutions. What we need are solutions that work. It’s time to look for those.

Somebody has to be the adult in the room. Somebody has to start the conversation. Somebody has to be willing to be the one to listen; not just so that they can dispute what the other person says, but so that they can look for the merit in what they say and find ways of improving it.

Will you be that person?


This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Written by

Bill White is the author of Conquering the Coming Collapse, and a former Army officer, manufacturing engineer and business manager. More recently, he left the business world to work as a cross-cultural missionary on the Mexico border. Bill has been a survivalist since the 1970s, when the nation was in the latter days of the Cold War. He had determined to head into the Colorado Rockies, should Washington ever decide to push the button. While those days have passed, the knowledge Bill gained during that time hasn’t. He now works to educate others on the risks that exist in our society and how to prepare to meet them. You can send Bill a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.

Latest comments
  • Like you I’ve been “prepping” since the mid-70’s, more often than not raising the eyebrows of neighbors and friends. As such I would like to make a couple observations: a) “close-mindedness” has gotten worse over the years; b) the decline of civility in discussion of public matters goes hand-in-hand with the growth of government involvement in the national education system. The ability to to engage in civil discourse is related to the ability to think for oneself. This is no longer taught in government-run schools. Instead, children are taught that the government is the source of all goodness and “patriots” are portrayed as anachronistic remnants of a bygone era and so are their ideas.

    This flaw is becoming more and more apparent in our colleges as “liberals” shout down those who dare to try to present a different world view. Students are so afraid of even trying to think that they insist on the existence of “safe spaces” wherein they don’t have to listen to opinions or facts which disagree with their own. The left insists that it is diverse – in race, nationality, sex, religion (so long as its not Christian) – everything except diversity of political/social ideas. So long as they are aided by fellow travelers in the mainstream media this is not likely to significantly change.

    Now, I’ve picked on the left mainly because they have the most problem recognizing facts and actions for what they are, but there are those on the right just as bad. Try to convince a believer in “chem trails” that aircraft contrails have always existed. I even showed WWII bombing campaign footage to a chem trail believer and the response was – “those were different in nature”. Many conspiracy theories are of the same type and can be debunked by the application of Occam’s Razor, commonsense, and thought. Which is not to say that some conspiracy don’t exist. One has only to look at Hillary’s email issues and the Benghazi cover-up, among others. However, what people forget is that it is not necessary to “conspire” in the legal sense to destroy a nation. Merely working towards common goals will do it.

    The Germans during the Nazi era had a great phrase to describe this phenomenon. “Working towards the Fuhrer” meant that one was working, without deliberate conspiracy, towards the goals of the Nazi party and its leader. All that is needed is to imbue enough of the population with a common, limited world view. Those who don’t agree are dealt with by intimidation, imprisonment, or (to use the Soviet term) “liquidation”. This, I believe, is the place that America finds itself today. The vast majority of the population is either totally oblivious (often deliberately so) to what is going on with the government or is brain-washed by the leftist propaganda that surrounds us twenty-four hours a day. The result is that the sheeple are going ignorantly to their destruction, led by those who view enslavement by the government as better than individual freedom.

    One of the things we can do to try improve the situations is to identify those among the population who either support the principles this nation was founded on or recognize that something is wrong with the intellect-deadening “popular culture” spread by the mass media. Engage these people in conversation, try to avoid hyperbole, use rational argument, and remain calm. Do your best not to fit the left’s stereotype of those who disagree with them as knuckle-dragging idiots with guns in their hands. We are seeing some increase in awareness of politics this year, thanks to Donald Trump. Now is the time to try to capitalize on that fact. If it doesn’t work we can justify physical confrontations with the government, as it attempts to strip us of more liberties, as our last resort – why the 2nd Amendment exists.

    Just my $.02,

  • Being one of the slightly more vilified groups in this conversation, I think it could help for everyone to step back and realize that most people want the same thing: they want to be able to maintain a livelihood, not feel repressed by their fellows, and take care of their families.

    People on the left want Obama to swoop in and take all freedoms away about as much as people on the right want mass gun violence to happen. Sure, there are crazy people out there – but most people aren’t crazy. They just get swept up in emotions when arguing their views.

    People on the whole want a house, a job, and a good life for themselves and their families.

    The path to these things, and the problem preventing these things, is where either side differs. And both have extreme sides that think they have all the answers, people who become more vocal and push things more ‘tribal,’ making it difficult for people have a good solid conversation, to speak across the lines.

    People on either side get defensive, dig their heels in, and become even more partisan when they feel their ‘side’ and their own beliefs are being attacked.

    “That is a lie against me and you are propagating it so your fellows think it is true,” we say. (Whether ‘we’ are responsible gun owners feeling attacked for acting on the right to own guns, or the underemployed that are striving hard for a good paying full-time job they can live on.)

    Saying white people are all racist is as silly as saying the LGBT community wants to attack straight people.

    Stepping back and keeping in mind the basic premise that MOST people basically want to live a good life and support their families is probably the best way to start a conversation.