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You thought you knew your neighbors until you saw those yard signs

So you thought you knew your neighbors.  After all you visit with them.  Talk sports with them.  Have summer cookouts with them.  Your kids go to the same schools.  You exchange your favorite recipes and share common community concerns with them.  You agree that property taxes are too high and government spending is out of control.  And then one day you come home from work and see your neighbor’s yard filled with campaign yard signs that support candidates you oppose.  In an instant everything you thought you knew about your neighbor changes and immediately impacts the way you now see them.

My guess is that I’m not the only person who has experienced the above scenario.  People you thought you knew on a neighborly basis are not the same people in regards to their political ideology.  And in a nation that is as politically divided as us this can put a damper on your neighbor barbeques.  The reason why is because both sides are so ideologically entrenched and passionate about their beliefs.  To be honest every time I look out my living room window and see those signs in my neighbor’s yard I ask myself how they can be so ignorant.  I thought they cared about spending and taxes.  I thought they cared about the future of our children.  I thought they cared about the same things I care about.  And yet they support candidates who stand against everything I believe.  How can someone be that out of touch?  How can someone be that lost?

The reason is because they still want to believe the lie.  They want to believe that everything is going to be fine and the candidates they support are selling them that sunshine.  But what’s far more concerning to me is how do I get past this?  How do I get past knowing that my neighbor believes in big government solutions over individual empowerment?  Do I engage them and if I do will it make things worse?  After all these are people I have to live with and see every day.  Or do I just respect their opinion as wrong as I believe it is and say nothing?  Five years ago I would have chosen the latter.  No so much anymore.

If they’re going to display campaign signs of candidates who support big government and reject individual liberty in their yards, they need to be prepared to defend their position.  Conservatives have been quiet for far too long on the issues and because of our past silence we are where we are today.  We have allowed the progressives/liberals to shape the narrative in America.  No more.  No more will they or the people who support them get a free pass.  If they are so confident about the policies they want implemented, then they should have no problem defending them.  I can’t sit on my hands anymore and allow them to advance their anti-liberty agenda one more inch.  The line is here and I will not retreat one more inch.  The only way we beat this destructive progressive ideology is to engage it.  And when people advertise who they support no matter left or right then in my opinion they are setting out the welcome mat for debate.  And I’m more than happy to accept their invitation.

Liberty forever, freedom for all!

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  • Bunkerville October 10, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    My experience is that they refuse to engage in any conversation. One would think one was bringing up the topic of sex. Perhaps that is how politics are looked at these days. Tawdry, risqué, a bit on the dirty side.
    Bunkerville recently posted..DonorGate: The Chinese – Obama connectionMy Profile

  • Adrienne October 10, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    I agree with Bunkerville. The few lefties I know (which are few and far between in North Idaho), are impossible to talk to. They don’t debate – they hurl ad hominem attacks.

    I have family members that are the worst. Solution? I simply have nothing to do with them. There are 7.045 billion people on earth. I can be pretty choosy who I spend my time with. Being a family member does not buy you a pass.
    Adrienne recently posted..There’s no such thing as too much Bill Whittle…My Profile

  • Jim at Conservatives on Fire October 10, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    It is said that “there is no accounting for people’s tastes”. That generally refers to peoples choice of colors of their cloths or how they decorate their homes, what they think is good mucic or art, or the foods they like.. I guess we need to extend that to their political philosophies.
    We just had presidential elections here in Venezuela. After forteen years in power, Chavez was reelected for six more years with 54% of the vote. The people who voted for him know very well how corupt his government has been and how poorly he has managed the country’s oil revenues and how he has ruined the economy here. But, they voted for him anyway because he has thrown more crumbs their way than any other past president. They fear if they elect someone new, they may lose some of those crumbs or be forced to work for them.

    Very sad!
    Jim at Conservatives on Fire recently posted..Forget Uncle Sam _ We Have Uncle BenMy Profile

    • John Carey October 10, 2012 at 11:13 PM

      Very sad indeed Jim. I was sorry to hear that he won another 6 years. The people have decided to settle for the scraps the government is throwing their way instead of steak dinner they could have with a little more free market principles. The same is happening here and it’s sad to see. Obama phones over a chance to achieve success.
      John Carey recently posted..You thought you knew your neighbors until you saw those yard signsMy Profile

  • CI October 10, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    I endure this every day of every election cycle. I’m surrounded by political signs of candidates that I oppose.

    But since I have a Gary Johnson sign in my yard, it gives me a chance to inform my friends and neighbors about the Libertarian party.
    CI recently posted..We are all diminished…….My Profile

  • Steve Dennis October 10, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Go get ‘em John, I have a feeling you will win the argument even if you can’t win them over. It is time for us to stop sitting back, it is time to engage the opposition and try to convince them they are wrong.

  • Infidel de Manahatta October 11, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    The tired narrative is “Democrats, big government, social welfare spending = compassionate. Republicans – selfish.”

    Well not anymore. It’s time to fight back.
    Infidel de Manahatta recently posted..Biden, Ryan Prep for DebateMy Profile

  • Matt October 12, 2012 at 6:51 AM

    I have to agree with everyone that pointed out that you cannot talk to liberals. As Bezmenov pointed out, they have been programmed to respond to certain stimuli in a predetermined pattern. Sadly, there is little that we can do for them, because they don’t understand facts.

  • theCL October 12, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    You know, I used to run into this problem all the time … until I changed. Personally.

    I’ll talk to anyone about anything, no matter how controversial. As far as I’m concerned, the more controversial the better. 8-O But this is easier live and in person than it is on the intertubes. Voice inflection, facial expressions, and other body language helps communicate in ways that plain text can’t.

    I look for areas of agreement. They are legion too. Corporatism, the DHS/TSA and foreign “aid” will quickly put you and them on the same side. Steer away from areas of disagreement and stay focused on where you agree. Put things in their language the best you can. I tell them, well, anyone for that matter, that I’m sick and tired of the whole Democrat vs. Republican thing. I really am. I say “look, they’ve got you and I – neighbors – arguing with each other while the bipartisan Washington, DC machine rips us both off.” I continue, “our differences don’t matter anyway, because neither of us our getting what we’re after. The fight isn’t between you and me, it’s us vs. them!”

    Most people disarm after this. Those who don’t – the few who cling religiously to “party” – I let go with a smile. Those who disarm I talk about how the fedgov operates no differently than the mafia, how much money the fedgov collects yet is still broke (I like to say “I believe Uncle Sam has a crack addiction”), and that we’d all be better off without the fedgov at all, focusing on our localities instead. These used to be radical statements. It’s mind-blowing to me how many people quickly agree today.

    That’s my 2 cents for the penny it’s worth.
    theCL recently posted..theCL Report: Not America AnymoreMy Profile

    • John Carey October 13, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      CL thank you very much for the well thought out response. It is sound advice you are giving. It’s practicing the 80 percent rule. We agree on 80 percent of the issues and disagree with 20 percent so why don’t we find some common ground and go from there.
      John Carey recently posted..The Big Picture: Joe Biden’s debate performance accomplished Team Obama’s goalMy Profile

      • theCL October 14, 2012 at 12:45 AM

        Man, I used to get into heated arguments all the time. I’d seek it. But it never ended well.

        I wanted to be right. I wanted to win. But it never had a happy ending. Because I was arguing. Not in a debating sense, but just plain arguing. I wanted to win. A recipe for disaster. I’ve finally learned, however, that what I really want, is to persuade. Which requires a totally different frame of mind and set of communication techniques. It’s much more interesting and fun too.

        If I met a Chicago Bears fan, what good would it do to argue that the Lions are better? Where can we go from there? Downhill. What if I talked about how the refs suck instead? Now we have a conversation.

        About a month ago I got into the bailouts with a friend of the family who I’ve known my whole life. He retired from GM, a lifelong Democrat, and generally liberal dude. But he’s a great guy! He really is. And he’s more important to me than the schmucks in Washington, DC. I’m not going to let partisanship get between us. That’s ridiculous. Yet that’s what I used to do.

        He supports the GM bailout. I see it as nothing less than a crime. I agreed with him that there were no easy answers and no perfect solutions. But I pointed out that in the end, the little guy still got screwed while the corporate fat cats, bureaucrats and bought and paid for politicians who created the mess made out like bandits, getting even richer than they were before.

        “But, but, but, Bush …” I told him I agreed. Bush sucked. He has no redeeming qualities. The man was horrible. Then I criticized Obama for the exact same things. I showed how Obama’s regime is just a continuation of the Bush regime. SSDD. I criticized ObamaCare not for being socialist, but for being what it is – a corporatist scheme to line the pockets of politically-connected rich. Then noted that RomneyCare was the same damn thing. We even got into gun rights. He was all in favor of banning them, so I started talking about corrupt cops, “botched” SWAT raids, my mom being molested at the airport … We weren’t talking about guns anymore and he was on board regarding the growing corruption, thievery and violence in government across the board. Then I said the reason people need to freely own guns is because we can’t trust this corrupt machine with a monopoly on them. We might someday have to even fight back.

        We had a great time and he conceded almost wholesale (at least for the time). So I know he genuinely exercised a different point of view, which is all I can possibly hope for … an open door.

        Obviously our conversation was longer and more thorough, but you can see what I was doing. These aren’t the usual rightwing talking points. They are straight-up free market and liberty. No this politician is better than that politician. They all suck. They’re all screwing us over. And look at how they’ve got you and I fighting with each other rather than us fighting them.

        Thanks for this post, it’s caused me to reflect on why my political conversations, while much more radical than before, create so much positive energy. Writing about them here in your comments has helped me to clarify a few things.

        PS – It’s the same conversation I try to have with fellow bloggers like yourself. The fight isn’t between left and right. The fight is as it’s always been, between liberty and power. A friend may be a Democrat, but the State is never your friend. It really is time to choose. Friends and family or the bipartisan leviathan beast?

        Personally I’m done with partisan politics. I choose liberty.
        theCL recently posted..theCL Report: A Tinfoil Hat Might Protect YouMy Profile

        • John Carey October 14, 2012 at 7:02 AM

          It’s great advice CL. I do need to change my approach. When I went home a few weeks ago I did try this approach with a life long friend who is a liberal. We have locked horns in the past. I mentioned that he needs to take some steps to stock up our groceries because the value of the dollar is going to tank in the very near future and the cost of goods are going to skyrocket. He looked at me, tilted his head and said, you’re not one of these Tea Party people are you. I said it has nothing to do with that or partisan politics or left and right. It has everything to do with a friend warning another friend about the economic trouble on the horizon. We had about a five minute conversation about QE3 and what it meant for all of us. I said a devalued dollar doesn’t care where we fall on the political spectrum or who we support. It impacts us all. Gas prices are higher, food prices are higher, our savings are diminished, and so on. He thought about what I was saying and said he would look into it. I told him to look up the Weimar Republic of Germany from the 1920s. He said he would. It was the first conversation we have had in a long time that didn’t end with both of us mad at each other. So what you are saying is true. It’s all in the approach. You have given me something to think about.
          John Carey recently posted..The Big Picture: Joe Biden’s debate performance accomplished Team Obama’s goalMy Profile

          • Teresa Rice October 14, 2012 at 8:35 AM

            I am full agreement with what you and CL stated. It is all in how we approach or talk to these folks. Unfortunately in my case it isn’t that simple. These people would try and break up couples just so one of them could have the lady. They even tried to break up Kevin and I. One even took advantage of me (or tried to) when he was drunk but after he had serious health issues I chose to forgive him and let the past be in the past. Unfortunately these fellows aren’t God fearing men so when I was provoked purposely and one specific word came out of my mouth accidentally as I was a ways down the sidewalk they threw me under the bus and now they won’t speak to me. They are a different type of people – bad news IMO. It isn’t just that they are Democrats and I’m Republican it has to do with morality and there sense of right and wrong. I now know that they were never really my friends, or true friends. Oh and the hypocrisy is stunning because these people would say the dirty word I said behind this person’s back. I only met these people because they lived in the same complex as I do. I’m not saying what I said was right but these people knew I could get fired up and when this particular person said that I didn’t have a right to freedom of speech not once but three times (cause I asked him to clarify or say what he meant twice to make sure I heard what he said) that had me heated. People who don’t believe in God or don’t have a good faith life have a hard time with forgiveness. Even though the way our so called friendship ended isn’t the way I would have wanted it to end the fact that it has ended is one of the best things to happen to both Kevin and myself.
            Teresa Rice recently posted..From The Other McCain: Lincoln Laughing or Rolling Over in His Grave?My Profile

  • theCL Report: Decline, Delusion, Despair October 12, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    [...] So you thought you knew your neighbors … [...]

  • Teresa Rice October 13, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    Very well said John. I totally agree. Engaging those who disagree with us is the only way to change minds. Instead of us being the put on the defensive we need to be on the offensive and force others to defend their positions.

    I used to hang out with a few Democrats in my apartment complex but it became too contentious with them always wanted to start something, deliberately provoking to start an argument. They hardly ever respected my opinion because it was different from theirs. Then something happened and they showed their true colors so I don’t hang out with them anymore. I am more at peace now that I don’t hang out with them.
    Teresa Rice recently posted..From The Other McCain: Lincoln Laughing or Rolling Over in His Grave?My Profile

  • Jim at Conservatives on Fire October 13, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    John, maybe the woman in this audio clip who called a Fargo radio station is like your neighbor. It would explain a lot.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CI8UPHMzZm8
    Jim at Conservatives on Fire recently posted..“Is the middle class helped when government is thriving, or when businesses are thriving?” an essay by Pat SlatteryMy Profile

  • [...] the two schmucks you're fighting over really are the same. Which is why there will be no insurrection [...]