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Top 5 conservative stereotypes and how to break them down

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Top 5 conservative stereotypes and how to break them down

First, before recognizing some old chestnuts passed around about conservatives and conservatism, we should ask ourselves whether we want to be spending any time on disavowing others of their presumptions.

The truth is, stereotypes can be hard to break down. But to expand our base, we need to be attractive to people of various backgrounds. And if they are coming from a place of ignorance, rather than ideological bias and malice, there is no reason to ignore an opportunity to tell our own story in our words, rather than someone else’s.

  1. Conservatives are Republicans (and vice versa)

Progressives, independents, and even conservatives themselves use frequently use these words interchangeably, but of course, they are not an equivalent. However, for hardcore ideological opponents, playing that card has a distinct advantage of being able to blame conservative movement as a whole for the mistakes made by the party. Similarly, the Republican party is associated with particular ideological tropes, regardless of the policies it actually implements.

What to do?

First, start by example and use the political party affiliation, and the ideological movement appropriately.  Don’t give your opponents any excuses to take advantage of ambiguities; be clear with people who don’t know the difference.

Second, of course, it’s best to push the Republican party towards more conservative positions. But that won’t always be easy or quick.

Third, distinguish what you, as a conservative stand for, versus current policies implemented by the Republican president, top officials in Congress, and the party platform. Some individual party members will inevitably be more conservative than others. Use them as examples of what you would like the party to become, but remember that as a whole, the party can only be judged for its policies at the current juncture. Positions and policies are different; if you are active in the party, you may sometimes be part of public policies you disagree with. This gets confusing, even for other conservatives, so….

Make individualism a top priority. That way, whether you choose to identify yourself based on your ideological position, party affiliation (which may not be Republican! – New York has a Conservative Party, Iowa has the Federalists, etc), you will teach everyone around you to engage with your on the basis of your own views as opposed to something abstract.

  1. Republican Party is for old white rich men

I got news for you – if you define a party by its top leadership and donors, all parties are parties of old white rich men, because those are the people who have had the experience and the success to be in the leadership positions. This may change over time, as people of diverse backgrounds have become more visible and successful, but just look at most of the top Democrats. They are practically indistinguishable from top Republican donors.

Admittedly, it is harder to disassociate Republicanism from this stereotype thanks to the rise of alt-right, so called “white nationalists” (there is actually no such thing), and the terrible PR by the progressives which GOP has never quite dismantled. Though many of these folks have been working class, the stereotype remains intact.

The question is then: how to promote the reality of a diverse, inclusive party where people of all backgrounds are welcome as long as they share substantive common principles… all without playing the identity politics which has brought ruin to the progressives and helped perpetuate this stereotype in 2016?

Once again, refocusing on empowering the individual can help disspell the overall impressions. Yes, the visuals may be important in PR – simply because expectations and reality are not always the same, and during elections, every bit matters.

But don’t do sacrifice principles to diversity.

Instead, showcase talented, hardworking people of all backgrounds who contribute to the movement in substantive ways. And don’t be too lazy, or scared to reach out to groups you may have a lot in common with but which have been the “traditional” base of the progressives.

If you don’t start making the effort to reach out to different communities and working with them, there is no reason or incentive for them to reexamine the status quo.

  1. Conservatives live in the past

The idea that the Constitution is a living document that, like a crystal ball, can be sued for whatever is the immediate need, has been debated to death in law school classes around the country.

And the traditional “look” of bow-tie wearing conservatives droning on monotonously in dusty think tank rooms has not helped matters.

To some extent, this is simply bad PR. Giving voice to younger Conservatives may well shatter this image.

A campaign showcasing conservatives principles in action in the 21st century is certainly doable.

However, we need to balance perceptions of why “conservative” positions are relevant to today with the underlying argument that the present cannot exist without the bedrock of the past.

The principles articulated by the Founding Fathers have led directly to present successes. Failure to stick to them or misinterpretations were at the core of our social and political problems.

That is the core of the battle that we have been losing. The progressives have the advantage of allowing anachronisms to shape the past to their liking.  They can read modern feminist or intersectionalist conundra into early colonies, while also claiming that contemporary identity politics are somehow any different from those dehumanizing and mistaken notions of identity.

Focusing on how continuity and evolution can and has avoided the damage of revolutionary approach to improving society needs to find a wider audience. Take it out of the box, dust it off, bring it to the young audiences around the country. Don’t wait for public school unionized school teachers and college professors to move in.

  1. Conservatives favor policies that most people don’t support.

Small government and social conservative policies have borne out the brunt of this attack.

In case of abortion, current trends actually have moved in the opposite directions. Most people do not actually wish for abortions to proliferate. The issue here, however, is the tendency for people, w hether they are  progressive or conservative, to focus on the data they like and to dismiss the inconvenient studies.

Saying that abortion, in fact, is not a popular response, for instance, will not change the minds of hardcore ideologues.

But should opinion polls be the brunt of the argument? Perhaps better policies that address deeply emotional issues no amount of data can fully resolve is the answer.

To win on social conservatism, such as pro-life positions, conservatives should be seen not merely as the best advocates for unborn babies and intact families, but specifically, as better advocates for women. (And separately, in a non-alt-right way, for men, as well!)

Speaking more frequently about women’s health issues, advocating vocally not just against Planned Parenthood, but for the many much better options for women. and

Conservatives should be  at the forefront of communal support for single parents can transform the image of the conservative approach and bring in many hesitant women into the fold.

As far as small government is concerned, the ACA repeal debacle has to some extent revealed that the progressives may have a point.

Much of the country has moved away from small government principles, and individual fiscal responsibility… as the groups that represent them, be they conservative think tanks or public officials, likewise embraced big government/big spending policies.

Advocating for tax cuts to boost economy is not sufficient. If conservatives want a return to popular support for limited government, they need to focus on cutting spending for entitlement programs, as well as eliminating duplicative, inefficient expenditures and corporate cronyism from the defense budget. Same goes towards weaning off sectors off the economy from agricultural and others subsidies.

In short, the answer here is eliminating hypocrisy and focusing on educating the public as to better options.

  1. The Moral Majority are All Hypocrites

Thanks to the widespread coverage of sex scandals, corporate cronyism, and investigations associated with various Trump associates and their security and business improprieties, progressives are making an increasingly colorable argument that conservatives talk the talk but can’t walk the walk.

There is only thing to be said here: the Republican Party needs to clean up that act, and conservatives need to stop confusing winning elections with accepting the inexcusable.

Politicians may not be beacons of moral behavior, but there is also no reason to accept  as paragons for emulation embarrassments who ultimately end up costing more than they win.

The answer, of course, is not to stay home and sulk when awful candidates end up nominating, but to throw our weight early and often behind better people, encourage them to run, and coax finicky donors into supporting the kind of people who can govern. A smart strategy can win an election for an inexperienced or uncharismatic candidate. But there is no substitute for energetic, thoughtful, and incorruptible governance.

Finally, discreditation of character and morality and substitution of electoral votes for principles and a strategic approach is already backfiring.

Republican party  numbers are shrinking. Independents are increasingly disgusted with both parties.  Electoral participation where candidates have earned opprobrium is significantly  less.

And people who place personal gain over public trust, national security, or service to the country do not inspire; they increase cynicism and fear.

Letting political hacks and apparatchiks take the lead in politics has been a mistake.Time for individuals with ideas and skills to step to the forefront in many ways: run for office, support good campaigns (support is what ultimately makes them winnable), write article, educate the public, register voters, work with children and teenagers… serve the country.

Irina Tsukerman is a human rights and national security lawyer, based in New York. I can send something longer, but then it would go into all the other things I've been involved in and might be too long!

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Don McCullen

    January 11, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Never sit out elections. If you have the write-in blank or third parties. USE THEM!!! Make voting a protest movement

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Opinions

Conservative Picks for the Oklahoma Primary

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Oklahoma is one of the more Conservative states in this country. The GOP has a stranglehold and the Democrats are on life support. This election cycle boast an opportunity to expand and maintain on the state’s decent Conservative record. Oklahoma has better incumbents than most red states, measuring by fiscal and social conservatism. The most exciting race in Oklahoma is the 1st District where Jim Bridenstine is leaving the seat.

Best Picks: Andy Coleman, Nathan Dahm, James Taylor
Worst Picks: Kevin Herns, Tom Cole
Best Race: District 1
Worst Race: District  3

District 1

There is a plethora of Conservative endorsements in this race. They are split between Andy Coleman and Nathan Dahm. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan both favor Coleman who appears poised to be the newest inductee to the Freedom Caucus. Rand Paul, the Republican Liberty Caucus, and Thomas Massie are coming out in support of Nathan Dahm. Dahm has a more libertarian styled campaign and platform. Coleman boasts a strong military and legal background while also having a history of supporting persecuted Christians in the Middle East through Voice of the Martyrs. Nathan Dahm is likely less formidable.

The worst candidate in this race has the most funding. Kevin Herns is the businessman insider posing as an outsider. This race has big shoes to fill and he is least likely to fill them. Herns also is lying about his support from Jim Bridenstine, the current Rep. who is vacating the seat to head NASA. Bridenstine responded to this deception.

Ideally, Coleman and Dahm advance to the runoff. Realistically Herns is poised for the next round, so Conservatives will have to combine the vote. But of course this assumes that Herns’s funding has him ahead.

Conservative Pick: Andy Coleman

District 2

Markwayne Mullin is a decent Congressman, but not so much as to dismiss his opponents. His most serious threat is John McCarthy. There is nothing that really separates the two other than McCarthy’s populist style campaign language. He emphasizes keeping his word, but being an outsider, he doesn’t have a track record. Mullin isn’t a RINO nor has he been in the House for too long.

Conservative Pick: Markwayne Mullin

District 3

Frank Lucas is an unchallenged RINO.

District 4

Tom Cole is another incumbent RINO. He is being challenged by James Taylor. This man understands John Locke. He is a Conservative and with the low threshold of Cole to beat, he is the clear choice in this race.

Conservative Pick: James Taylor

District 5

Steve Russell has gotten more Conservative as time passes which is the opposite of many Republicans. He is challenged but faces no serious contender.

Conservative Pick: Steve Russell

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Opinions

Conservative Picks for Utah Primary

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Conservatism is under assault in Utah. Leading the assault is Mitt Romney, the carpetbagging fipflopper using his Mormon status to target a vacant seat in Utah. The Senate is finally rid of Orin Hatch. RINOs Jeff Flake and John McCain’s days are numbered and there are some solid Conservatives advancing to November in easier to win seats. But Conservatives in the Senate will face their newest opponent in Mitt Romney. Romeny will, no doubt, be a vocal vote. He is campaigning on “calling them as he sees it,” which is fine if you have a Conservative worldview. But this is Mitt Romney. He is the author of Obamacare’s framework. He ran one of the worst campaigns in modern history in 2012. He’s the first reason we have Trump. Should Romney win he will vote as any establishment player would: from the left of Trump.

Conservatism in Utah is at a critical point and will have to overcome celebrity politics. The convention tried and failed. It’s now up to the electorate.

Best Pick: Mike Kennedy, Chris Herrod
Worst Pick: Mitt Romney
Best Race: District 3
Worst Race: US Senate

US Senate

There literally could not be a worse candidate than Mitt Romney. He’s a rich carpetbagger riding the Salt Lake City Olympics, which shouldn’t matter. Mike Kennedy is the only chance for Conservatives in this race.

Conservative Pick: Mike Kennedy

District 1

Ron Bishop is unopposed. He’s a mediocre career politician.

District 2

Chris Stewart is decent and unopposed.

District 3

John Curtis is opposed after a single term that was the result of a special election. He hasn’t seen enough action to prove a RINO. In fact, he may be fiscally responsible. He voted against Omnibus. His opponent is Chris Herrod. Herrod is running as a fiscal hawk. What is unique about him is the depth of principle he comes with. His opposition to spending and socialized medicine along with his support for individual freedoms make him a more ideal Conservative and less likely to disappoint in the future than Curtis.

Conservative Pick: Chris Herrod

District 4

Mia Love went to DC with much fanfare and high expectations. So far she has been a huge disappointment boasting an F Liberty Score. She is unopposed.

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Healthcare

Minneapolis Police: Uses dangerous drug to sedate criminals

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Minneapolis has some creative people. Too creative for their own good. Somebody probably saw that the guys who take down large animals with tranquilizer darts use darts filled with ketamine. “Hey, if it will take down those animals, why don’t we use it on the animals our police are fighting?” And an immensely stupid program began. It was also illegal, but if we’re controlling bad guys, who cares?

Time for disclosure. I am a doctor. I do not play one on TV. Not only that, I’m an anesthesiologist and used ketamine in my practice. For certain things, it has no equal. But its proper uses are quite limited.

Ketamine comes from a class of drugs called phencyclidines. The street version is known as Angel Dust, and abusers are Dusters. Because ketamine causes profound analgesia (pain relief), Dusters are known for feats of superhuman strength. Broken handcuffs are just one relatively well-known example. At the same time, Dusters may break their own bones. The analgesic effect of ketamine keeps them from realizing the damage they are doing to themselves.

By now, it should be pretty clear that ketamine is no panacea for the problem of sedating troublesome persons being arrested. At the wrong dose in the wrong person, police can put themselves in worse difficulties than when they started. How do you control someone who feels no pain and wants to cause you harm? Flashback to the villain Renard in The World is Not Enough. He is almost impossible to defeat in a fight because he feels no pain. But I guess the Minneapolis wise guys don’t watch James Bond films.

I have to wonder if the police bothered to look at any references. Even Wikipedia would have been helpful. If they had, they’d discover that there are a lot of other problems with ketamine. The first one should have given them a real headache. The primary reason we don’t use ketamine a lot in anesthesia is that it has a high incidence of emergence delirium. In language even an inattentive civil servant can understand, that means that if you give someone ketamine, they can hallucinate. This happens often enough that we try to avoid ketamine except in those odd cases where its other effects make it the best drug available. Just to make a bad problem worse, there are a lot of times when there isn’t anything you can do to stop the delirium. Welcome to hell.

We’ve only scratched the surface. Since Minneapolis police officers obviously consulted Dr. Conrad Murray, we should expect that they got the same level of advice Michael Jackson got. That means that they missed the fact that ketamine can lead to airway obstruction and death. It releases adrenaline, so it can cause hypertension and tachycardia leading to death. Did I mention that it can kill you? And, unlike opioids, you can give all the naloxone you want and it won’t do a bit of good.

But the Minneapolis police officers are really interested in saving lives, so we can let them use this drug they simply don’t understand on patients who aren’t consenting and may suffer badly from its administration. No problem.

The track record is as bad as I suggested up front. Ketamine administration has led to multiple episodes of cardiac and breathing problems, with many patients requiring emergency intubation. Now for a skilled health care provider, intubation is generally no big deal. But you never deliberately put yourself in a position where you create an uncontrolled need for intubation. The moment you do that, you’ll find yourself looking at the impossible situation. With somewhere around fifty thousand intubations under my belt, the next one can still be the one where I have to call a partner in to give it a try. My practice had over eighty anesthesiologists and two hundred nurse anesthetists, so there was usually another set of hands available. But who is the paramedic in the field going to call? Ghostbusters has an unlisted number.

Let’s get one thing clear. Minneapolis police officers did not have a hand on the syringe. They asked the Hennepin County paramedics to administer ketamine. And if a cop asks, how is a paramedic supposed to refuse? But the paramedics are supposed to operate according to a strict protocol, and only give ketamine when a patient is “profoundly agitated, unable to be restrained, or a danger to themselves or others.” It’s clear that this guideline was violated on multiple occasions.

And this brings us to the nub of the matter. Ketamine is properly used only in the sort of situation described in the protocol. In anesthesia, we will also use it in autistic or severely mentally retarded patients who cannot be managed by breathing them to sleep with gases. In short, we mostly use it in the controlled medical equivalent of the field situation.

It’s likely that Dr. Jeffrey Ho (the director of Hennepin County EMS who happened to graduate from the same medical school I did!) is actually well aware of the proper use of ketamine. He’s a recognized expert in pre-hospital emergency care. And if ketamine is used in the very restricted fashion the policy describes, it’s probably better than most alternatives. But when police decide that they want a set of chemical handcuffs rather than doing their job, we have a problem.

Police work can be difficult and dangerous. But police are not allowed to place people in danger just to make their own life easier. Doing so exceeds the bounds of our social contract with police, and also violates a host of laws. For a paramedic to go along with such an improper request places that paramedic in violation of state laws on the practice of medicine. Their drivers’ license isn’t enough. You follow the protocol or get permission from the supervising ER doc by calling it in.

Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis have a problem on their hands. Their best bet will be to quietly approach persons who were harmed by this cavalier misuse of ketamine and buy out their legal liability. Then the EMS and police persons involved should be invited to leave. Promptly. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

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