Blame Election Hyperbole on Six Moral Foundations

After Tuesday’s elections spouse asked, “What are your Facebook friends saying about the election?”  First let me explain:  spouse will not, under any circumstances ever, join Facebook—yet, he’s a semi-Facebook voyeur always asking, “What are the peeps saying today?”  (Sometimes I’ll read him the posts in their entirety to demonstrate the utter blandness of my Facebook page.  But  I’ve blocked the fire starters as a measure of my good health, AKA lowered blood pressure.)

Anyway, I decided to take a cruise through “my peeps,” including the fire starters. Here’s some of the comments posted immediately after Barack Obama’s reelection as the 44th President of the United States.

I am mad at God for not listening. I know he has a plan…I feel he did not listen to the cries for help from his people. Please pray for me to get over this angry bitter feeling…

Here’s the bottom line for us: The way right-wing Christians treat the poor, the way they treat the sick, the way they treat women, the way they treat gay people, the way they treat minorities, the way they treat people of other faiths, the way they pander to the rich and powerful, the way they judge and slander those who are different, the way they glorify war? It’s embarrassing. We’ve had quite enough of it. We don’t want to be embarrassed by our faith any longer, and we’re going to talk back.

This is not God’s fault. He says that he gives us good kings for reward for following his laws and he gives us bad kings for straying away. We as a nation have strayed and this is what we get for not listening.

Apparently Republicans don’t understand how elections work, or how our government works in general. They’re all saying they’ll work with the President if he does things their way. They’ll work with him if he follows their platform. Talk about the absolute height of arrogance and entitlement. These people just can’t accept that the American people have rejected their platform.

The gangster type of politics by Obama has to end….. STAND FIRM CONSERVATIVES THIS IS WAR! Lock and Load against this Godless, socialist agenda.

Landslide? C’mon. From what I know, Obama got about 2 or 3% more of the popular vote than Romney, and Obama got about 60% of the electoral college. Yes, I voted for Obama, and I don’t want us getting as arrogant as the Rightists have been.

And from the pundits I discovered that I, as a person who voted for Obama, that I’m a communist; I want free things, I have no morals, values or personal responsibility; that my Hispanic and Black friends are losers; I’m without motivation; I seek all government entitlements; I don’t like to earn my money; I’m lazy;  I’m anti-God; and I’m hell-bound.

Cripes! Why did I even bother to get up this morning?  At least my cat loves me regardless of this long list of alleged faults.  (But I read somewhere that cats are vehicles of evil hocus-pocus.)

So, since I hang with losers and I better get used to the real hot flash (hell) my thoughts on election night were: When my godfather who ran for office or managed a political campaign, we would be up until the very wee hours on election night waiting for the final counts to come in. It was fabulous to spend some of my youth living right in the middle of democracy in action. When I watch political supporters gathered in hotel convention rooms it recalls those magical days–even the days when we didn’t win. We left with our heads held high and spoke highly of the winner. It was good sportsmanship. I’ve already read poor sportsmanship and sour grapes. That, my friends, is not patriotic nor a healthy sign of what it means to be an American. Americans celebrate democracy and our elections. Sometimes our candidate wins, and other times our candidate does not. It’s how it works. Please do not buy into the divisiveness that fueled this election. If things change, I will abide by this statement.

That was the Ginger Tea Party (GTP) affiliation speaking.  I wish the GTP had a brighter future. According to Jonathan Haidt, a professor of business ethics at the New York University Stern School of Business, the GTP will remain a one person party.  He wrote in a recent New York Times editorial, “…it’s time for our national team to come together to fight the many threats and enemies that confront us…(but) there’s no sign that we’re going to do it now…we’ve crossed over into hyperpartisanship.”

Haidt, along with his colleagues, identified six “moral foundations,” that people around the world use for moral and political judgments.  Here’s how both the liberal and conservative minds see these moral foundations (liberals, of course, on the left side of the slash mark):

  1.  Care/harm
  2. Fairness/cheating
  3. Liberty/oppression
  4. Loyalty/betrayal
  5. Authority/subversion
  6. Sanctity/degradation

Here’s how Haidt and company explains how the above six traits have tied America’s political system into a knot:

Much of our present research involves applying the theory to political “cultures” such as those of liberals and conservatives. The current American culture war, we have found, can be seen as arising from the fact that liberals try to create a morality relying primarily on the Care/harm foundation, with additional support from the Fairness/cheating and Liberty/oppression foundations. Conservatives, especially religious conservatives, use all six foundations, including Loyatly/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation. The culture war in the 1990s and early 2000s centered on the legitimacy of these latter three foundations. In 2009, with the rise of the Tea Party, the culture war shifted away from social issues such as abortion and homosexuality, and became more about differing conceptions of fairness (equality vs. proportionality) and liberty (is government the oppressor or defender?). The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are both populist movements that talk a great deal about fairness and liberty, but in very different ways, as you can see here, for the Tea Party, and here, for OWS.

I quit talking with far-right ideal persons.  They quit talking to me.  I’m not a far-left person, regardless of how pundits describe those of us who voted Obama again.  And Haidt hit the nail on the head in an interview right after the election when he said, “…for the first time, the two parties are really different sorts of people with different personalities and different values—it’s not just collection of interest groups, it’s really much more of a clear moral split than it ever was before…(moderates) are sick of the polarization…but (they) tend to have little influence.”

Well, maybe we can melt this polarization. A group of Republicans, Democrats and independents who want America’s issues solved have formed a group called No Labels.

I exhaled like hurricane Sandy’s winds when I read this: “The vast majority of the American people want our government to solve problems. They want our leaders to work together to build a smarter tax code and immigration system; to curb our deficit and put us in control of our energy future. That is not what you hear on cable news, but it is true. There are far more problem-solvers in America than there are hyperpartisans.”

Yes, that quiet army of people around the planet who envision a better world without labels is alive and well in the United States of America.

Can I offer anyone a cup of ginger tea?

2 thoughts on “Blame Election Hyperbole on Six Moral Foundations

  1. Dear Char:

    I fear I must side with Cliff on this one. I can’t envisage a situation which would lead me join “Facebook.”

    As for Haidt’s, “Six Moral Foundations,” I suppose I’m not savvy enough to understand them, or my intellect is wandering in a fog bank of confusion.

    Either way the outcome results in my being clueless. Oh, is that offer of a cup’pa Ginger Tea still open?

    Love from the Federal City,

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