Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Red and The Blue

I’m sick of ‘red state’ vs. ‘blue state’ rhetoric. On average, 46% of voters in every red and blue state voted for the other party’s presidential candidate. When you denigrate ‘red staters’ or ‘blue staters’ you are insulting your own neighbors and family members, not distant strangers. Our nation is colored shades of purple, despite the stark results of the Electoral College. Even most individual voters are purple; many of us cross party lines for candidates we admire.

The invidious red vs. blue political shorthand focuses only upon our differences, and ignores our much greater common interests. It assumes there are always two sides, and only two sides, to every issue. And it elevates the value of group solidarity above that of individual reasoning and conscience.

We were never meant to be a nation led by parties. Most of America's Founding Fathers hated political parties, dismissing them as quarrelsome "factions" more interested in contending with each other than in working for the common good. They wanted individual citizens to vote for individual candidates, without parties acting as middlemen — but that was not to be.

The fact remains, however, that Americans are not, in the main, an ideological people, and this red vs. blue rhetoric is just the latest way for the political class to pit us against one another for political gain. We mustn’t let our domestic politics, or our international relations, devolve into a mindless‘us versus them’ struggle. The result would surely be the failure of the American experiment.


At 12:45 PM, Blogger Jack Benway said...

This is a good post.

Strange that it was posted by the same author as Fuck the South

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are correct in your analysis. But tell me, if you are serious about changing politics as usual then a huge paradigm shift within your own party would be required. Are you prepared to take that on, Michael? Because from what I've read you play that tired, irrational, red voter versus blue voter empty rhetoric game a lot. You can’t be all things to all people.

I'd be very curious to hear, as it is extremely important, if there are any specific changes that you foresee and, with that, what is the one principle or premise that should never be compromised in the (hypothetical) reform?

I know what my answer to that is. I hope we can agree on it sometime or else the American system will have failed – or rather the Americans will have failed the system.

--Independent voter

At 6:48 PM, Blogger Tiny Montgomery said...

I disagree. I do think that in the main Americans are highly ideological people. Not political necessarily, but most Americans have strong world views that affect their perceptions and opinions. These world views are unreconcilable. We all love our children and want healthy families. How we accomplish the universal goal of healthy families is where it breaks down. For example, a friend of mine thinks that Bush's tax cuts are helping create healthier families. I disagree. There are blue people and there are red people and together they make purple states. We need to try to get along but we ought not to be trying to teach pigs to sing. It is a waste of time and it tends to piss off the pig.


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