And now an important message from Dirty Harry…
“Maybe I’m getting to the age when I’m starting to be senile or nostalgic or both, but people are so angry now. You used to be able to disagree with people and still be friends. Now you hear these talk shows, and everyone who believes differently from you is a moron and an idiot – both on the right and the left.”
- Clint Eastwood, responding to the ruckus over his movie, Million Dollar Baby.
I don’t know if Eastwood reads blogs, but the blogosphere is full of the same kind of rhetoric – even some of my favorite blogs on both the right and the left. The battlefield is obscured by smoke. It really is important for radicals on both ends of the spectrum to listen to each other and try to understand. Then at least:
- We could talk more about ideas, and less about personalities,
- try to agree on what the issue is,
- seek out commonly agreed-upon facts, and
- try to find the third way
Soon as you do that, you discover a surprising thing: your opponents are more complex than the cartoons you imagined them to be. You also find out that you share a lot of affections but approach them differently. The knowledge makes good construction material for building bridges.
Or ramparts, when that is necessary. At least you can attack your opponent for their actual ideas and actions and not for motives you imagine them to have. (Or even those of their political affiliates.)
See also: an excellent editorial by San Diego columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr., who says:
“Complexity is a good thing. And it’s a shame you don’t see and hear more of it in our political debates.”