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A Starting Point

Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum says some important stuff in light of some of the excesses I've read in Daily Kos diaries:

Now, needless to say, I don't agree with Wolfe that our sense of morality is "twisted," but I do agree that we probably lose a lot of support we don't need to lose because of a very real and often dripping condescension toward anyone we consider less enlightened than us.

Here's the thing: we're never going to win over the hard core evangelicals, the ones who want to ban abortion, teach creationism in biology classes, and recriminalize gay sex. What's more, we shouldn't try. Religious extremism conflicts with the core values of liberalism, and the only thing we can do is continue fighting these folks tooth and nail. No amount of "reaching out" is going to touch them.

But the fact is that we don't need to reach them anyway. We didn't lose the election by much, and there are plenty of red staters who aren't extremists. They're the ones who are uncomfortable with homosexuality, but understand that a steadily increasing acceptance of gay rights is probably inevitable. They don't want to ban abortion, but feel like it's common sense to require parental notification. And they're ready to agree that we need to do something about global warming, but that doesn't mean they take kindly to thinly veiled accusations that they're personally responsible for it just because they drive an SUV or eat a Big Mac.

In other words, they disagree with us, but not so much that they can't be brought around or persuaded to vote for us based on other issues. Too often, though, a visceral loathing of being lectured at by city folks wins out and they end up marking their ballots for people like George Bush.

So maybe we should knock it off. I know it's fun, but most of the time it's pointless and misguided and it costs us elections and prevents even modest progress on issues we care about. That's a high price to pay for a bit of fun.

And the best part is that it doesn't infringe on our core values at all. We don't all have to start quoting scripture, we just have to dial down the mockery a notch. Why give the Republicans bulletin board material, after all?

Word. Remember, most of the Red States are purple.

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Comments

Good advice from the left. You could have written that article, Chip. I've always respected how modest you are about your liberal values.

I'm not ready to reach out yet, I'm still wanting to slap the crap out of the Wal-Mart/NASCAR/Tim LaHaye set for voting for Dubya because they think he's a Good Ole Boy like them when he's not.

Which puts me square in the category of "smug offspring of the white middle-class who dare to call themselves 'progressive' while actively despising and hating anyone who disagrees with them--in this case a majority of the country." At least according to the Great and Powerful "Monica Griffin", aka the b*tch who's been trolling my own blog. :/

Even so, even once I've calmed down, I don't know that not talking about gay rights, reproductive freedom and civil liberties is the way to go. I mean, Kerry tried to be bland and appeal to moderates and look how well it worked.

I'm even less inclined to try to start a dialogue with the right, given this:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/right_hook/2004/11/09/onefingered_salute/

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