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Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Can Democrats and Republicans come together?

In the wake of the terrible shooting of Republicans at a Congressional baseball practice (What We Know and Don’t Know About the Shooting of the G.O.P. Men’s Baseball Team) there has been much in the news about the great divide between people in either party .... more and more people no longer just disagree with or distrust those in the other party, they now often think of them as "evil". There have been calls for unity and for an emphasis on the values we have in common with each other, but I have to wonder how realistic those are.

Here's a bit from last year's Pew Forum article Partisanship and Political Animosity in 2016: Highly negative views of the opposing party – and its members ...

[S]izable shares of both Democrats and Republicans say the other party stirs feelings of not just frustration, but fear and anger. More than half of Democrats (55%) say the Republican Party makes them “afraid,” while 49% of Republicans say the same about the Democratic Party. Among those highly engaged in politics – those who say they vote regularly and either volunteer for or donate to campaigns – fully 70% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans say they are afraid of the other party .... Fully 70% of Democrats say that Republicans are more closed-minded than other Americans. .... While more than half of Republicans (52%) view Democrats as more closed-minded than other Americans, nearly as many say Democrats are more immoral (47%), lazier (46%) and more dishonest (45%) ...

When politicians call for unity, I despair because the things that divide many Republicans and Democrats are not superficial or academic.

Imagine that the secret Republican health care bill in the Senate turns out to be as bad as the one in the House, and it passes. Imagine that your asthmatic child isn't covered because of that pre-existing condition, or that your elderly parent has to go to the emergency room but has no insurance because the premiums for older people are too expensive for them to pay.

Think of the coming Republican budget, the one that will cut the Meals on Wheels meal your elderly aunt may need or that cuts the after-school program that cares for your kids while you are at work or that cuts the money your disables sister needs to live on.

Imagine a friend deported, your property polluted by coal waste, your self not being able to use your MediCaid at a Planned Parenthood anymore.

The differences between the political parties are about deeply held values .... do all people deserve health care as a right .... should we rape our environment or care for it ... are money and power and luck really the final determiners of worth ... if we can't agree on this stuff, stuff that impacts ourselves and those we love in intimate and powerful ways, stuff that actually defines who we are, then unity seems like a pipe dream.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Henry said...

Hi Crystal, it's been a long time my friend primarily because I have stopped surfing the way I used to in the past because the internet is now a hotbed for ideology rather than truth. I don't often agree with you Crystal but in this case I do because of my personal experience. In fact, I find it easier to have a dialogue with religious people I disagree with than with political liberals, etc., especially here on the East Coast. As you know, politically, I am a conservative, and, as you can well imagine, most people here are not and they really do believe that no-liberal elites are deplorable.

Anyway, I hope you are well and that your eyesight is OK.

8:30 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Henry - it's good to hear from you!

Things are about the same here. More cats, less money :) I hope all is well with you (and your sister).

3:14 PM  

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