American Politics Primer, Political Left and Right

political disagreementDid you know that the term political left originated in France during the French revolution? After the King and Queen had been executed, France became a republic. The terms left and right arose from the seating in the new parliament. They are still used when discussing politics today although they are rather simplistic given our complex political landscape.

If you describe someone as being on the political left, that person is deemed to be more liberal in their views. A conservative would be described as being on the political right. Republicans who tend to be more conservative in their viewpoints are right wing whereas the Democrats are traditionally on the left side of the political arena.

As is often the case with human beings, it just isn’t that simple. Even within those who support the Democrats there will be some who will be extremely liberal in their thinking and what they consider best policy. For example you may have some Democrats who believe that abortion is wrong so would follow a typical right wing view on that issue. Or you may have other Liberals who believe that the war in Afghanistan is just and so spending on defense should increase whereas the Democrats usually advocate decreased spending on arms.

In politics, as with all other things, there are always the extremes. You can have two people who are both deemed to be liberals yet they hold radically different opinions on various issues. These different viewpoints are what make political meetings so interesting and the study of politics so absorbing not to mention complicated.

Barack Obama is a Democrat so would be described as being on the political left. Typically his party would support issues such as legalizing same sex marriages and allowing doctor assisted suicide. The conservatives would appear to take a more religious viewpoint being pro life, anti same sex marriages and wish to introduce more religion in schools.

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