Saturday, November 06, 2004

They are human, like the rest of us

The Washington Post has a fine piece of journalism about an Ohio couple who voted for President Bush primarily because of religion and cultural issues. The article is relatively free of condescension, although there is a vague sense that the writer regards the family as something of an exotic species.

I think one of the problems with our political disputes is the way we create straw men out of our opponents, trying to paint them all as extremists, and how we try to prey on one another's darkest fears. Not exactly an original thought, but a sincere one, and I'm trying to hold a mirror up to myself on this one. I think it's important that Bush supporters realize that not everyone who disagrees with them lives in Hollywood or Manhattan, and that Bush opponents, particularly on the left, understand that not everyone who voted for the president Tuesday is a narrow-minded, self-righteous bigot. Most of the members of my family probably cast a vote for the president, as well as one of my closest friends from childhood and his parents. I'd like to think the country is still big enough for all of us.


Blogger the urban fox said...

Well said. Petty mudslinging doesn't give anyone credibility. Sometimes it's hard not to react to strong provocation, but a reasoned conversation can achieve a whole lot more.

9:15 AM

Blogger girl said...

I agree but it doesn't help that both parties appear to be on total opposite ends when it comes to controversial issues. The extreme right appears to have taken over the mainstream repubican image and the very liberal left (Michael Moore, for example) seems to have taken over the democratic image.

It's hard not to get angry at people who voted one way or another because the two parties seem to have aligned themselves with very extreme views that are totally on opposite spectrums.

As much as I try to "get along" with my Republican friends/co-workers/classmates/whoever, I can't help but get angry when I realize, for example, that they want to ban abortion. There doesn't seem to be any common "middle ground" for us to co-exist peacefully.

2:22 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Actually, I believe the middle ground on abortion is for the pro-choice movement--and I consider myself pro-choice--is to acknowledge that there are at least some circumstances in which abortion is morally wrong, and that even if it should nonetheless remain legal in those circumstances, we should work to discourage it. And given that we have a democratic form of government, and that compromise is necessary sometimes, that some restrictions on abortion are reasonable.

Democrats can also demonstrate that certain social policies that help to ease the sting of poverty can reduce abortions. I've spoken about this before on this site.

3:54 PM

Blogger girl said...

I agree with you but a lot of anti-abortion people think abortion is murder and you can't really rationalize "murder" to them. I've tried. It doesn't work.

That's what I meant by my comment. It's not a matter of "murder" for me, it's a matter of women's right to choose. I don't think abortions should be encouraged but they should always be an option.

It's frustrating trying to reason with someone who thinks that ANY kind of abortion should be banned because it's "murder." This is just one example of why I don't think liberals and conservatives can really "unite."

8:51 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

But I suspect that it is still only a minority--albeit a politically connected minority--who want to ban abortion outright. I think most people trust that at the end of the day, no matter who is president, the courts can be trusted--and maybe they are naive--to preserve a women's right to choose. Most people, including me, are uncomfortable with abortion, and want a political party that at least acknowledges the moral quandries it poses, and that doesn't trample over dissenting viewpoints. You could say it was all for show, and you might be right, but the GOP had several pro-choice speakers during primetime of their convention. I don't think we've seen a pro-life Democrat have a major speaking role at the convention for decades.

12:53 PM


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