2016, Year of the Red Fire Monkey: Who Can Climb Higher Up the Progressive or Conservative Tree?




Asian mallOn Saturday evening I ended up in a middle of a crowd in a parking lot off Bolsa and Magnolia, following dragons and guys playing drums and cymbals. I was with my Vietnamese friends, who were already celebrating their New Year based on the Chinese Lunar calendar.

I left the dragon line to watch a musical group, who were singing and dancing in front of a flashy casino ad. I almost started to dance cha-cha-cha, as the sound of the music was familiar to me. I felt like Ziggy in Fourth St in Santa Ana, having no clue what people were saying, but their fun was so contagious that I just went along with them.

Today, February 8th, is the beginning of their New Year. In looking up to the reference to the animal of this year, the Monkey, I thought how our own Orange Juice Oracle would’ve applied the Chinese zodiac to our politics: “Although they are inherently intellectual and creative, Monkeys at times have trouble exhibiting these qualities. When that happens, they appear to others to be confused.”

I am not a monkey but I feel like one when in politics we place so much emphasis on labels. It is not so much that sometimes they are confusing. They may be necessary but can be annoying and distracting from the content of the issues, like the recent dispute over who’s more progressive, Bernie or Hillary?

Year of the MonkeyI used to cringe, more than I do now, at the words conservative, libertarian or republican. A whole set of negative images, ideas, came into my mind towards those concepts. The same reaction probably happens to conservatives when they hear the words liberal, progressive or democrat, or even worst, socialist.

I‘ve gradually been resetting my outlook based on the policies of events and actions needed to address issues. I try not to get distracted by the labels, whether the person is liberal or conservative, but to assess their reasons, solutions, their political competence and performance.

Moving beyond labels and dogmas can be done,  ideological and political differences can be set aside.  It was recently done in France, when left-wing and centrists parties kept the extreme right from taking over the administration of some regions.

At times we may disagree mostly on policies that may or may not be a result of ideology or interpretation of facts. It is quite probably that we will profoundly disagree, for example, with the immigration policies proposals like the ones presented by Trump.

The negative effects of the current broken immigration system will not be solved by deporting or breaking up families. The opposition to this inhumane proposal overrides labels, crosses partisan and ideological lines.

I am done being a monkey, I am back to being myself, being a dragon. Happy New Year!

chinese dragon

About Ricardo Toro

Anaheim resident for several decades. In addition to political blogging, another area of interest is providing habitats for the Monarch butterfly. http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2013/12/caterpillars-crossing-in-a-city-at-a-crossroads/