Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Community character: Liberals vs Conservatives

Urban or suburban  

How different are we?  
How polarized have we become?  
How do we resolve our differences?

Lake Oswego, being a small town with a large city on one side, and rural areas on the other, appeals to both ends of the political spectrum, and is ground zero for a libeal-conservative divide.

There are ways to temper political ideals and issues that will satisfy, somewhat, both ends of the political spectrum - but only if we understand and openly discuss what we agree and disagree on.

A critical part of living with people with whom we do not agree, is to recognize the minority view, and not allow a majority to dominate.  This is especially true when making decisions about the fundamental ways our community is structured and governed.

This Pew Research Center report studies the differences between the liberal and conservative mind on several key areas.  Here are a couple of clips dealing with personal life.

Political Polarization in the American Public

It is an enduring stereotype – conservatives prefer suburban McMansions while liberals like urban enclaves – but one that is grounded in reality. Given the choice, three-quarters (75%) of consistent conservatives say they would opt to live in a community where “the houses are larger and farther apart, but schools, stores and restaurants are several miles away,” and just 22% say they’d choose to live where “the houses are smaller and closer to each other, but schools, stores and restaurants are within walking distance.” The preferences of consistent liberals are almost the exact inverse, with 77% preferring the smaller house closer to amenities, and just 21% opting for more square footage farther away.

Yet their differences are striking: liberals would rather live in cities, while conservatives prefer rural areas and small towns; liberals are more likely to say racial and ethnic diversity 
is important in a community; conservatives emphasize shared religious faith. And while 73% of consistent liberals say it’s important to them to live near art museums and theaters, just 23% of consistent conservatives agree – one of their lowest priorities of eight community characteristics tested.

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