Day 4 – Vitriol – tastes good, less filling

Many folks are amazed by the hatred Barack Obama inspires among a segment of the U. S. population. Mitt Romney certainly doesn’t get much respect from another segment.

I’ve actually thought that Mitt Romney would be a really good investment advisor if I had money to invest. Barack Obama is definitely one of the cool kids – I’m envious and would like to worm my way in to the periphery of his circle.

How Canadian of me.

Animosity is no stranger to politics. You could argue with me, but I suspect that Bill Clinton was the subject of far harsher attitudes than Obama. According to some, Clinton conspired to murder Vince Foster. On the other hand, I always wonder at the racial animus of the anti-Obama fanatics – it’s there, but how much? Is it all racial? I suspect not.

I’m channeling my “Old Fartness,” but in the early 1960s in Saskatchewan nothing matched the level of hatred between the Liberals and the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (later to become the New Democratic Party and far less socialist).

Even kids on the school yard playground would call each other Communist and Dirty Liberal. Towns were split – you either shopped at the Co-op or the OK Economy depending on your politics. There was a CCF doctor and a Liberal doctor. If you were an outsider, like my father the School Superintendent, you had to carefully watch your step (although he was hired when the CCF were in power).

My initial impression of the U. S. public is that there are rabid right wingers, sometimes ineffectual “progressives” (they’d rather be right than be elected), old style party loyalists, a vast group of the disillusioned and an even larger segment who wish politics would simply go away.

I read an article once about a group of women – local leaders in the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life communities – who decided to at least get to know each other as individuals. In this they admirably succeeded – they would come to each other’s aid and comfort no matter the situation. However, their discussions of abortion lead to a strengthening of their positions – they better understood the opposition and had an even more nuanced and solid understanding of why they believed what they believed.

That seems to be the lesson. Name calling is preaching to the choir. If you’re going to preach, at least let it be based in a sound and comprehensive theology. You’re unlikely to convert anyone, but at least we can respect the integrity of your views.

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