Well, the American people have spoken. They have stood up and they have said, "Screw you, Mike!"
That hurts, America. It really does.
Makes me want to conduct an experiment I've been considering though. I'm a reasonably bright guy and I'm a liberal. One of my coworkers (we'll call him Bubba) is also bright and is a conservative. Bubba and I have political discussions fairly often and we disagree a large percentage of the time. This is to be expected, given the difference in our core beliefs. However, we disagree more than I'd expect from two bright and well-informed people. Not just on core-belief issues, but on the basic nuts and bolts of how this country is run. For example:
- I'm fairly certain that Bush's agenda is strongly affected by his faith.
- Bubba is fairly certain that Kerry has a troubling JFK complex.
- I'm concerned by the reported Republican efforts to intimidate voters in Democratic precincts.
- Bubba is troubled by the reports of prisoners and non-citizen immigrants illegally voting.
- I find that the Iraq war was started on false pretenses and am scared by the Bush Doctrine.
- Bubba believes that the Iraq war met a set of criteria that has been used for 200 years by the U.S. and any of our past presidents would have done the same.
None of these issues have anything to do with the core differences between a liberal and a conservative, but we each have fallen into the partisan roles adopted by our parties. When we discuss personal issues, we find much common ground. When we discuss our jobs, we make decisions by consensus. Time and time again, we act like intelligent people with reasonable critical thinking skills, UNLESS the topic is political.
I'm forced to conclude that the media, or at least our choice of media, is to blame. Bubba gets his information from his conservative sources and I do the same with my liberal sources. That has colored our views far more strongly than I would have previously believed possible. Nothing else explains why we disagree on political topics that have nothing to do with what should be our core liberal-conservative beliefs.
So, yesterday, I proposed to Bubba that we conduct an experiment. For a couple of months, he should only get his news from my sources: NPR, Salon.com, CNN, and the New York Times. Similarly, I'll ignore those sources and only get news from his god-awful sources. Christ, I don't even know what those are. I guess Fox News and Rush Limbaugh?
I doubt we'll pull this off, but it sure would be interesting. Intellectually, I know that Salon.com is a biased source of news, but I believe that I'm smart enough to take that into account when I read the articles. I'm definitely beginning to doubt myself though. Maybe I am a puppet.
OR, and we'll call this Plan B, maybe I'll just eat tons of leftover Halloween candy. I do loves the Tootsie Rolls