I'm having trouble with this article

Mainly because it's got so many fallacies and over-generalizations that it's hard to know where to begin. It's a piece from the Washington Post titled The Art of Telling Parties Apart, and as far as I can tell, it's pretty much a puff piece of a guy named Tim Goeglein, who shares with us his opinions on the main difference between Republicans and Democrats in an only slightly offensive but really simple-minded way.

Goeglein recalled a dinner party that he and his wife recently attended in Northwest. Out of the six couples around the table, Goeglein and his wife were the only Republicans.

As is inevitably the case, he said, the conversation soon turned to the couples' children -- most 5 or 6 years old -- and aspirations for their future occupations. One parent said editor; another, publisher; a third wanted the child to go into education.

"I was intrigued by the question, and the answers of every one of our Democratic friends," Goeglein said. Not one parent, he said, gave an answer that would be more typical of Republicans. "Our party, in the way it is constituted, we think of medicine, we think of law, we think of business. We don't think, gee, I hope my son grows up to be a great playwright or painter or poet," he explained.

It's important to realize that when Goeglein says "typical of Republicans," he means "typical of the rich, professional, money-making Republicans and not those poor saps who live in the Bible belt and who think we actually give a damn about their issues like abortion and gay-bashing." And believe me, that's how a lot of the moneyed Republicans think of their poor cousins who keep getting them elected--I know, because I've seen both sides. I grew up with the poor Republicans--they were called Reagan Democrats at the time--and I've seen the elite in action in my time at Stanford, home of the Hoover Institute, the most penis-shaped building in the universe.

Those poor Republicans, the ones in the lower economic strata? I'd be willing to bet that they want for their kids what most parents want--they want their kids to have a shot at a better life doing whatever they want to do, mainly because they feel like they've never had the chance to do a job they love doing. But I guarantee you one thing--they're not pushing their kids toward med school or law school or even grad school, not if they're paying for it. Med school, law school, even an MBA--these things are out of reach for most levels of economic strata, especially when you consider that poor kids are less likely to get the quality of education in primary and secondary school that would allow them to compete for scholarships in the elite fields and at the elite schools.

I could make a similar generalization about the differences between Republicans and Democrats using the same ideas Goeglein does--that Democrats want their kids to pursue their dreams and Republicans want their kids to pursue money and power--but that would be just as dishonest as what Goeglein did. I don't think most parents think about their kids' futures in terms of how successful they'll be monetarily, at least, I hope they don't. They think about their kids' futures in terms of their happiness and sense of self-satisfaction. That's how I feel about it.

My sister and I took two very different career paths. She's a CPA. I'm a poet and (now) a college instructor. Our parents never expressed any dismay over either of our career paths (although they're apolitical, they are culturally and socially conservative). Their concern was our happiness, and I don't think they're all that different from most parents.

Besides, Goeglein's conclusion is just short-sighted. It doesn't use anything substantial as a basis for that conclusion; it's just his own prejudices coming to light and he uses them as a template to place over the entire party. And as with most generalizations, it's far more ludicrous than accurate.

There's a lot more in the article, inluding self-labeled conservative author Mark Helprin's utterly stupid statement that
"The arts community is generally dominated by liberals because if you are concerned mainly with painting or sculpture, you don't have time to study how the world works. And if you have no understanding of economics, strategy, history and politics, then naturally you would be a liberal."
a statement that's so dumb I have problems taking umbrage at it. Of course, earlier in the piece, Helprin also said that he believes that only 50 to 100 writers at any given time can "be successful" in that field, so it's obvious he's coming from a different planet than the rest of us.

I often wonder how we as Democrats can help the folks in the lower economic strata (of whom I still consider myself a member) understand that Washington Republicans like Goeglein and Helprin think of them in such dismissive terms. If you have any ideas, please, let me know.

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