A Calmer Analysis

I’m not retracting anything, mind you. But in the interests of rationality, I should be clear: I harbor no ill will toward conservatives. And I understand fully the decision-making process of those who felt that they had to vote for George Bush. I don’t understand the result of that process, but I can understand the process itself.

I truly applaud those, like Tom and Tiff, who, after going through that process, chose to exercise their right to vote in an alternative manner.

I also accept those who believe that a conservative economic policy is better for the nation as a whole. I disagree, obviously, but understand it’s often a matter of weighing the relative merits of a larger overall increase in wealth — with a disproportionate distribution of that wealth — versus a more moderate increase with more equitable distribution. A rational argument can be made for both positions.

I accept those who believe that abortion is too readily accessible in this country, and that we must take measures to curb it. I do not agree that outlawing it altogether is the right answer — and I think I have the lessons of history to back me up on that — but understand the worthiness of working toward the goal of having it be unnecessary.

I even accept those who believe that the establishment of a democratic bastion in the Middle East is a necessary step toward long-term security. I do not believe that the wholesale invasion of a sovereign nation and the forcible imposition of a pro-America democracy is the way to do it, but have heard enough reasoned arguments to the contrary that I can undertand the opposing position. As I’ve often said, my major objection (to put it mildly) has been less with the idea than with the execution — and with the outright falsehoods used to con the American people into going along with it.

Any of these positions could lead someone to believe that they had to cast a vote for Bush. And for those people, I hold no malice.

However, there are several things I do not — and will not — accept.

I do not accept those who refuse to consider rational argument, favoring instead religious extremism. As far as I am concerned, evangelical Christianity is equally as dangerous as radical Islam. You can no longer give me the argument that “Christian extremists” don’t go around killing innocent people. 15,000 dead Iraqis would disagree with you.

I do not accept those who promote hatred, bigotry, and intolerance of those whose lifestyles differ from their own, narrow experiences.

I do not accept those who are willing to accept the torture and denigration of others because they happened to be born on the other side of some imaginary line.

I do not accept those who wish to impress their bilious religious observances on others because of a deluded belief that “God” is on their side.

I do not accept those who use extralegal means to willfully silence the voices and interests of those most unable to defend themselves.

I do not accept those who blindly rally behind their leaders regardless of their criminal actions.

I don’t know how many of the infamous 51 percent fall into each category. But I have no empathy, no identification, and no shared interest with those in the latter. Democracy has spoken, but I question whether I wish to share any “democracy” in which that group holds such sway.


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