By Mel Harkrader Pine
One year ago today — as I was groping to understand how half of the presidential-election voters had so misunderstood the other half (take that either way) — I wrote a blog post called Reflection on Election, with Compassion. I think I hit on something we’re still confused about. Here’s the heart of what I wrote then:
What I think I’ve learned is that both liberals and conservatives feel that we have lost control over our country, but we are looking at different things.
Liberals see a governmental structure that over the last four or five decades has become far more conservative — less financial and environmental regulation, more money for war and the military, more people in prisons, more holes in the social safety net, more big money in elections. Even after almost eight years in office, Barack Obama failed to close Guantanamo, bring the Patriot Act under control, or end our military involvements overseas. Meanwhile, the right portrays him as an extreme leftist.
Conservatives are concentrating more on the social fabric of our lives. Families no longer stay together, either geographically or emotionally. The movies and TV shows — with liberal producers, directors and writers — emphasize the individual over the family, and a wink-wink attitude toward sex and drugs has invaded our schools, even middle schools. Mainstream colleges teach political correctness. Unskilled and semi-skilled labor has been devalued. Hook-ups have become a casual fact of adolescent life. And (forgive my bluntness) former President Bill Clinton got a blow job in the Oval Office from a woman 27 years younger than him and then avoided conviction after impeachment because he said he did nothing to stimulate her.
These two views have only hardened in the year since, so liberals still want to take their country back from conservatives, and the right still wants to take its country back from the left. The passion from both sides is so intense that those who see the truth in each perspective get dismissed as useless moderates.
It gets more depressing every day, and all that saves me from despair is the faith that, one-by-one, person-to-person, we can learn to stop the shouting and listen to each other. That’s where liberal religions and spiritual practices help.
This blog, Truly Open Minds and Hearts, is devoted to moving liberal religion toward being part of the solution and not the problem.
Copyright 2017 © Mel Harkrader Pine