Qualifying the Qualifiers


Do you ever feel like you have to use too many qualifying statements when discussing politics? I find it rather frustrating. I only started closely following politics just a few years ago and I’ve been involved in quite a few online discussions and debates. Inevitably, it seems like you have to make a qualifying statement.

For example, it became fairly easy, as a conservative, to become pigeonholed into being a carte-blanche Bush supporter if I agreed with even one of his policies. That voiced support could have been preceded by several of the aforementioned qualifying statements but it apparently makes no difference in the mind of a BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) sufferer. If you agree on one point, in their mind, you may as well agree on all of them. In this case, the qualifying statement, supposedly showing your foe that you do not always agree with so-and-so or you don’t always disagree with so-and-so, doesn’t work. You might as well be banging your head against that proverbial wall. Just stamp “neo-con” on your head and move on.

On the other hand, now that Obama is our President, the qualifying statement can be quite handy. For instance, I could say something like “As a conservative, I rarely agree with President Obama. However…” Something like that is useful and it lets the reader or other party you’re discussing the issue with know where you are coming from.

The point at which I really hate using a qualifier, though, is when you know that you’re going to be accused of some kind of supposedly narrow-minded thinking, so you slap that little phrase onto the front of whatever illuminated thing it is that you’re about to opine on. One issue where this has become very common is in the abortion versus pro-life debate. Inevitably, when I state my opposition to abortion or support of the pro-life stance, I feel like I need to clarify by saying something to the effect of, “I don’t deny that the decision to have an abortion is a tough one and there are some women who are in a tough situation, but…” Do you see what I mean? Why can’t I just say that I don’t support something or I believe in a certain cause without feeling the need to over-qualify everything I say? I really, really hate it.

So is it just me? Am I the only one that’s noticed that trend or am I just hallucinating from my political indulgences?

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