Wednesday, January 14, 2009

If You Can't Say Anything Nice...

Politics are so polarized now that it is downright difficult to have an intelligent and useful conversation about it. You usually find yourself talking to people that are "on the other side" and won't listen to what you have to say; sadder still, they lower their opinion of you for not having the right opinion. Otherwise you are talking to people who agree with your politics wholeheartedly. Other than positive reinforcement, what is the real value in that?

I try to remain open minded about politics and politicians, but I realize it's hard. While I generally lean right in the sense that I support smaller government, a strong military and free market economics, I have a left streak in me that includes support of abortion rights and gay marriage.

Once in a while I find it necessary to test myself to make sure I'm not veering too far to one extreme or the other out of ideology (usually to the right). This came up, as you might expect, during the Presidential election. One way I do this is to come up with five nice things to say about "the other side". In this case that meant Barack Obama. Yes, yes, I didn't vote for the One. I know. At any rate, here is what I came up with:
  • He looks Presidential

  • Very adept at building a fervent following which may bode well for coalition building

  • A great speaker

  • Stayed on the high road (mostly) while campaigning, especially against Clinton

  • Obviously intelligent and willing to surround himself with smart people

Now, there are plenty of reasons why I didn't vote for him, but that doesn't matter. This exercise helps me to stay sanguine about America's future. We'll be okay even though "my guy" didn't win.

Now you try it. And for those of you who were in love with Obama from the beginning, try this with George Bush. Remember --no sarcasm allowed in your list!

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