Friday, September 02, 2005

Left, Right and Responding to Katrina

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has created an earthquake in the blogosphere, magnifying the seeming growing rift between the left and right in this country.

“Commissar” at Politburo Diktat compiled a list of leftwing and rightwing blogs and their respective comments about Katrina. In summation, rightwing blogs seem to ask: “How can we help?” while leftwing blogs rhetorically ask: “Who can we blame?” (I say "rhetorically" because it’s obvious who they’ll blame… Do I need to say it?)

Before I continue, I’d like to add that:

A) I do not believe that all left-wingers seek only to place blame or that they don’t want to help.
B) I am not arguing that our rescue attempts are necessarily well-organized and that there isn’t room for legitimate criticism.

With no further adieu, here is the link to the list: Bloggers on Hurricane Katrina Hat tip: LGF

I’m of two minds regarding the general responses to Katrina. My first thought is: Do people on the right and left actually think differently? I don’t mean have different opinions on certain issues—that is obvious—but is there something in the deep recesses of our minds that are simply… different? Is the divide based on the difference between personality types? Could it be that, very generally speaking, people who lean rightward are more optimistic about life and the future—have more of a “can do” attitude—whereas people on the left are less so?

Do these differing outlooks on life affect how we react to problems? If a glass of milk spills, do you attempt to clean up as quickly as possible, or do you immediately point fingers and make allegations about why the spill occurred? If you are an outsider watching such a spectacle, what sort of conclusions do you draw about the two types of people and their responses to spilled milk? “Ooops! The milk spilled—quick, get paper towel while I try to stem the flow of milk onto the floor.” Or, “Oh no! Look at what happened! There’s milk everywhere. I knew that was gonna happen!”

I know a lot of people that lean leftward and vote democratic instinctively—they are most of my family and my parents’ friends. Most of them are not members of the “cry-over-spilled-milk-who-is-to-blame” crowd. Most of them are optimistic about the future and generally proud of our society, despite its faults. Nevertheless, for a long time I’ve noticed their knee-jerk partisanship on nearly ever issue.

Therefore, could the response to Katrina from the left of the blogosphere’s be a result of partisanship? In other words, if a Democrat was in power, would the right be blaming Kerry for Katrina? Perhaps a few partisan opportunists would. But would a preponderance of right-wingers turn a natural disaster into a partisan political issue?

The reactions to Katrina in the blogosphere reminds me why, as I straddle the line between left and right, I find myself tilting right.


Blogger airforcewife said...

I should steal your post and put it on my blog - because you just spoke totally for me.

It's odd to me that I lean right so often lately (in my straddling, of course), since my entire life I was raised to hiss and spit when the words "republican" or "conservative" were uttered in my presence.

Perhaps what irritates me the most is when I want to discuss/solution seek for problems and I admit to a problem with Bush or on the right - immediately the conversation becomes a bash fest, as if the one issue I have pointed out means that they are wrong, horrible, demonic entities responsible for all the ills of this world.


7:18 PM  

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