Zoot’s post on Independence Day mentioned a phenomenon that bugs me: the idea that a liberal cannot be a patriot. It’s akin to the idea that Christians are never liberal.
As this election season drags on, I become more and more irritated at the boxes the party leaders try to put voters in. I do enjoy answering the phone when it’s a pollster, though. It is my secret ambition to convince them of something I have long believed: that most Americans actually live somewhere in the middle. We compromise and vote for the candidate who seems to agree with us on the most important issues, but we generally do have to compromise. We have complicated feelings about a lot of things, and our opinions and concerns cannot always be addressed in a 10-second soundbite.*
So, when they call, I like to explain that I believe in a woman’s right to choose, but that I wish no woman ever had to make that choice. Or how I think the war in Iraq was ill-conceived, but I have reservations about leaving the country before it is stable. I am willing to pay for government programs, because they often do things that otherwise would never happen, but I expect my representatives to be responsible with my money and use it as sparingly as possible. Although I generally do lean to the left, I will not vote for a Democrat just because he or she is a Democrat. Neither will I ever (ever!) stay home on Election Day, because I believe my vote matters. I resent the hell out of any party policy that implies that only certain demographics (ew) are welcome at the polls.
It’s especially fun when they want me to choose one-word answers from their list. “I don’t really like any of those,” I like to say. I can practically hear their eyes roll!
*Am I wrong about this?