Love Me, I'm a Liberal:

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Hi ______,

Just to try to give the angle at which I come at the liberal / conservative question...

The linked lyrics is Phil Ochs, singing in the mid 1960s. (There's also at least one cover of it out there that's updated and almost recent enough for us to catch the references.) The original gives an idea of how far back, how deep, the need for something more authentic than liberal or conservative goes. People who identify with all sorts of political views or none at all are mostly more than halfway there, but any worldview based in part on hate or fear of whole populations of other people is going to get us very far along any dimension of human progress.

And I don't think you have that at all, but I do see it in some of the e-mails from [someone who apparently spends all their time forwarding jokes and occasional political commentary].

The tendency to believe mean, unlikely lies disturbs me. On immigration, that e-mail sounds like a misrepresentation of an old vote:

http://www.factcheck.org/article447.html
http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/p/petition-illegals.htm

The very wealthy, connected, privileged and powerful mostly white men in the Congress aren't out to destroy the United States on behalf of poor immigrants.

I would argue that they are, overall, unintentionally destroying the United States in the service of furthering the wealth and power of the connected and privileged people that they know (and that give them power and wealth in return). Anything that benefits just about anyone else is just a byproduct of doing what comes naturally. Anyone with less than a million dollars has more in common, in fundamental ways, on fundamental interests, with a person anywhere in the world without any money at all, than we do with billionaires that have so much sway over policies.

Constant hype about who we should hate and fear, and policies that really do pit one group of people and workers against another, are often intentional... like the laws to increase the social distance between whites and blacks in slave-holding North Carolina... "After 1831, or about that year--for no fine and distinct dividing point can properly be made--the conditions of slavery became more severe."

It's always more profitable to make things absolutely wretched for one group than to make things better (or even somewhat less worse) for another.

Sort of related, this is a conversation on IM from just the other day, on the economic side of the supposed split:

http://mlncn.com/node/366