Thursday, April 7, 2011

Republicans in the Mist

Some great quotes from thisSalon article from a woman who discovers that Republicans are people, too. Here's one in particular:

She has the same education as I have, and yet she has made different decisions, decisions that are so counter to what I believe. Decisions I find abhorrent.

"Abhorrent," indeed. It's a commonplace that conservatives view liberals as stupid, while liberals view conservatives as evil. But it certainly is a funny word coming from a representative of the "Party of Tolerance."

This is a democracy, after all. Isn't it worth understanding a bit more about why approximately half the country votes differently than we do? Isn't it important that we understand why people -- good and legitimate Americans, whose votes count as much as ours -- like Sarah Palin? Isn't it crucial we figure out why any woman would want to defund Planned Parenthood, if only so we could then address the argument?

Just so. As a conservative in a family that is largely composed of two wings, the apolitical and the liberal, I'm sometimes on the receiving end of the sort of attitudes the author writes about. What's surprising to me is that the author is so confused. Very few people on either end of the political spectrum are out to ruin the country.

Most people have pretty localized interests: themselves, their families - particularly their offspring - and to a lesser extent, their neighbors, fellow Americans, all of humanity, and most tenuously of all, all living things. That's generally true for both conservatives and liberals. So if we agree on that much, obviously the difference comes down to how we perceive the best interests of those ever-larger groups.

The difference there can be pretty severe, of course. But that doesn't mean your opponents are either evil or stupid. I'm glad to see this one Salon writer finally figured this out.

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