Wed, Nov
3
2004

Towards a National Reconciliation

Wed, Nov 3, 2004

Written Wednesday, October 27 for Wednesday, November 3:

A hard campaign. It’s all I’m going to say about that.

If I had one wish at the moment, it’s that, at this time, people on both sides of the political debate in the United States would put aside their victimization act and seek out members of the other side of the political debate, buy them a coffee, and let them speak, uninterrupted, for about ten minutes, about what they want for their country. And that after that’s done, that they would themselves speak, without raising voices or rancour, for ten minutes.

I think that most people on each side would come to understand that most people on the other side are as human as they are, and that it is possible for people in opposing parties to hold opinions you find totally alien, and still, at their root, be good and decent people, with good and decent reasons for thinking the way they do.

I predict that whoever is in charge will still be leaving a functioning and fairly prosperous country by the time his term ends. Their victory will be no disaster except for those who have lost their sense of perspective. Because, whoever is in charge, got where they were because of the hard work and support of millions of people, who however I may feel about their political opinions, are honest and decent.

There was a lot to complain about in terms of how the campaign was handled. Enough allegations surfaced against both sides that neither, in my opinion, can hold their heads high. But the national reconciliation can’t start with the leadership. They’re too entrenched and too dependent upon each other as a bogeyman in order to step down the rhetoric. No, the transformation, if it comes, has to come from the electorate. And that means that individual electors have to come to realize that other individual electors aren’t the enemy, that it is possible to believe in government intervention and still be a patriotic American, that faith in and of itself is not a dirty word, and that individual responsibility doesn’t mean throwing everyone to the dogs.

Once you think ahead to the people on the other side, once you understand why they have reasonably come to the decisions that they have come to, once you treat their viewpoint with respect, you’ll find that more people on the other side will do the same to you. And maybe, just maybe, we can get some compromise going.

It is said that we get the government we deserve. I go further. We are the government we deserve. And if we decide that we’re no longer going to view our opponents as “the enemy”, then there’ll be nothing the leadership of either party can do about it.


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