Welcome to Red State/Blue State, a feature presented by The Anniston Star of Anniston, Ala., and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
In the December 2001 edition of the Atlantic, David Brooks wrote an essay titled "One Nation, Slightly Divisible," in which he suggested that America is divided largely into two political cultures, one "red" and one "blue." His idea is based on those electoral maps in 2000 that colored majority-Republican states in red and majority-Democratic states in blue. Brooks' witty essay pictures the red-state voter as trending rural, a salt-of-the-earth type, concerned with individual liberty and family values, whereas the "blue" voter trends urban, more of a book-reader, a Beltway-savvy intellectual, the environmentally conscious soccer mom or dad.
Cliches? Maybe. But Brooks does have his finger on two very strong currents in the American votership. It's not that Pennsylvania is a "blue state" or Alabama is a "red state." It's that our two political cultures don't talk to each other much, or even know much about each other. To bridge that gap, we've brought together two "red" voters - John Franklin and Cynthia Sneed - and two "blue" voters, Terri Falbo and Timothy Horner. Each week, they'll ponder and debate the issues arising in the election campaign. The hope is that they'll model an intelligent discussion, a great big conference room where red and blue sit down together.
Monday, November 08, 2004
What are your feelings, hopes and fears after this election?
I am feeling profoundly sad. I have such great visions of what our country could be. My hopes would be for a country that really lives up to the ideals of liberty and justice for all - here and around the world . . . a government of the people, by the people, and for the people . . . moral values that include a moral economy and moral foreign policy . . . good education, health care, and financial security for all. These are my hopes and visions for my country. We have the means to accomplish all these things.
However, if policies advocated by President Bush prevail, I fear:
* More corporate control over our lives with a deeper real divide between the extremely wealthy and the rest of us - masked by phony, instigated "cultural" and "moral" divisions.
* A tax burden increasingly shifting to the working class under the guise of "simplification."
* Taxes used to support more dictators and puppet governments serving the interests of big business against the interests of the majority of people in both foreign countries and our own.
* A huge national debt that our children and grandchildren will owe largely to Saudis and other wealthy investors.
* Changes in Social Security made to line the pockets of Wall Street bigshots at the expense of many elderly people of the future.
* Increasing hostility from people of other countries who see our officials' talk of democracy and freedom as a sham and pretense to cover for imperial aims of dominance.
* More young people sent to die for the same empty claims.
* More terrorist attacks, partially because of a lack of emphasis on policies that would really make us more secure.
* A worsening environment and more and more children left behind by programs with titles portending the opposite.
I also fear the numerous evangelicals who have e-mailed me with their particular interpretation of scripture that includes supporting any steps toward nuclear war so we can hasten the Rapture.
America - not only can we do better, we must do better!
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