Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Would you kiss a Republican?

Or, if you are a Republican, would you cuddle up to a Democrat? What I'm really asking is, how serious are you about your political affiliation? Are you die-hard in your beliefs or fluid? Does race help dictate your choices in the voting booth? Do you consort with friends from the other side?

My political beliefs are progressive and 99.9 percent of the time that leads me to vote for a Democrat. Surprise, surprise, I'm a black woman who is a Democrat. But really, it's not about race. I don't believe in being a knee-jerk anything. I pay attention to where candidates on both sides weigh in on issues that are important to me. I watch the debates, read the papers, visit the Web sites, debate with friends. As a public relations professional, I think I am pretty good at cutting through the spin and bullshit to extract the real story. I like to believe I am an open-minded and informed voter.

Here's the thing though, I find myself becoming less tolerant of Republican and conservative beliefs. I don't know whether to attribute it to Rovian blue state vs. red state tactics, or reading too much leftist rhetoric, but I am less able to flip over to Fox to see what the latest Repub talking points are or to peruse an article by a right wing columnist. Intellectually, I know it is important to listen to both sides of any issue, but I'm finding it harder to do so.

I believe in democracy. I believe in freedom. I believe in peace. I believe we are all citizens of the world. I believe in equality for women and people of color. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe everyone is due a decent education and a living wage. I believe in helping the less fortunate to lift themselves up. I believe every citizen has a right to affordable health care. I believe that we should live in harmony with the earth, nature, and all God's creatures great and small, and that we should not take more than we need. I believe in families and not just the "traditional" ones. I believe that no one should be discriminated against for the color of their skin, their sexuality or their gender. I believe in freedom of and freedom from religion. These are beliefs that to me are right and moral. My party affiliation is a reflection of these core values. When someone attacks these beliefs, it feels like they are attacking who I am.

I do have a few Republican friends. It's impossible not to, seeing as I am marooned in the middle of a red state. Luckily, we can debate issues respectfully. In fact, I enjoy discussing politics. But sometimes I admit to wondering, "They're good people, how can they think that?" I mean no offense to any Republicans reading this. I make no claim that my feelings are right. They just are.

Let's talk politics...What do you say?

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