For the last few weeks I’ve been engaged in an interesting email conversation with a Liberal who happens to be the husband of an old girlfriend of mine from high school. She is a self-described “knee-jerk Liberal”, and detests discussing politics because, I suspect, she’s is unable to defend her “knee-jerk” positions. Her husband, OTOH, approached me a while back, lamenting the fact that we have become such a hopelessly divided nation, and wanting to know if I had any thoughts on the subject. I said I thought the biggest problem is that each side has some misperceptions of what the other side believes, which, more often than not, prevents any attempts to find common ground; misperceptions that are often exacerbated by an agenda-driven media in an effort to further divide us. I suggested we engage in a one on one discussion on the condition that we keep it civil. Upon his agreement to give it a try, I led off with the following:
Splendid. I’ve never been accused of being an ideologue, and I detest confrontational arguments that almost always end up in name-calling. I look at political debate, first and foremost, as a learning and mind-expanding experience, rather than a win or lose situation, and, as a result, my thinking on a number of issues has changed over the years. I have neither tolerance nor respect for people who lie or distort the facts to score political points. For most of my life I was an unexamined Republican until this marvelous thing called the Internet came along, and I was able to not only question everything I heard, read and saw, but was able to at least attempt to search for the truth. That the truth doesn’t have an agenda and doesn’t need a majority to prevail has become somewhat of my personal motto, and that’s the lens through which I try to examine every issue.
I view the Constitution as a contract between the government and the people by whose consent the government exists, not perfect, but better than any other governing document ever produced. To anyone who says the Constitution is a living document that needs to change with the whims of the times by legislation, executive order or judicial fiat, I ask, would you work for me with a “living” employment contract, or borrow money from me with a “living” loan contract, or play poker with me using “living” rules? I have yet to get a yes to those questions — from anyone.
On social issues, I’m pretty much an agnostic. Neither the Constitution, nor any of the Founders in any of their writings addressed a need for the federal government to be involved in social issues, and I regret that issues like abortion and gay marriage are allowed to play such a predominant role in national politics.
Hopefully that gives you some idea of where I’m coming from. What drives how you look at politics?
His response was not really what I expected, and, although he denies being a Liberal at the end, he voted for Obama — twice, an admission of sorts that he supports an uber-liberal agenda. Continue reading