I have been bothered by the political spectrum lately. How the spectrum is described in our media and how our politicians cater to certain segments. I had not looked for alternatives to our the standard Left-Right linear spectrum until today.
I was very excited to find The Political Compass. It provides a great visual to the kind of thing I am describing. At one point during my brainstorming about this topic, I had come up with Political Venn Diagrams but got lost listing just how many circles might need to intersect to find the ideal government. The Compass is great and I hope it can help a lot of people from seemingly different perspectives see where they do agree.
Before I found the Compass, I had come to the conclusion that the normal political spectrum looked more like a mobius strip. The farther to either side you walk, sooner or later you have found yourself walking with people that walked from the other direction. The Compass has edges. I like the idea that sometimes you are walking next to someone that may be on the other side of the Compass from you. For instance, I know a very liberal man who is very authoritarian when it comes to the death penalty. The more we recognize outliers to any of these political spectra, the more we can be aware of how often people who often could work together get played against each other.
Here I want to list a few of the ways the far left and right have similar interests, but I would love to hear what is the first thing that comes to your mind if it isn't listed here. I think the theme for many of these crossovers is that "less government" is not necessarily a Republican virtue anymore (if it ever was). It just depends what *kind* of government we are discussing.
- Homeschooling and its laws. For instance, in the state of Virginia, a parent who has a college degree has fewer requirements to fill than a parent without the degree. I have heard this is under debate. Homeschoolers span the political spectrum, despite being stereotyped as something of the Far Right in years past.
- Midwifery and homebirth access. I was stunned to learn a few years ago that often the biggest friends to these issues are Republicans. Meanwhile, most of the families I know choosing midwives in my area voted blue this fall.
- Anti-Bedsharing/cosleeping education. Publically funded outreach to discourage parents from bringing their babies to bed with them. Spending tax-payer money to make a mother feel bad for sleeping with her young like any other mammal. The latest Mothering issue did a fantastic job counteracting this campaign.
- Legislation to encourage Breastfeeding. Whether you prefer longer leave for new mothers or you insist the government create flexible schedules for parents (and anybody else who needs flexibility) and remodeling government spaces to be baby-friendly, you can find liberals and conservatives coming together on topics like these.
Also, many of these thoughts were encouraged by one of my great commenters to my Newton's Laws post. She mentioned how the word "feminist" might need to be thought of more like the word "mother" or "writer." I think that is a great concept and in need of much more discussion. Feminism too spans the political mobius strip. In rebranding feminism today, we need to portray feminist thought as more fluid and on a continuum. In doing so, women can come together on so many issues instead of often seeing each other as far far away on the other side of the linear spectrum.