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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Monday, June 14, 2004

Partisan Shmartisan

Today was the official unveiling of Bill and Hilary Clinton's official White House portraits. I was listening to the radio this afternoon, while I was sewing, and heard part of the speeches George Bush and Clinton made at the occasion.

I was impressed. Bush was not merely polite, but warm, and gracious. He spoke very highly of Clinton's drive, and energy, and the hard work and commitment he brought to the presidency, and to the causes he felt important. Clinton was similarly pleasant, self-deprecating and kind. No subtle jabs, or statements to be misconstrued, or axes to grind. It was lovely.

After it aired, a listener called the radio station, stating his belief that Bush's statements were simply and cynically designed to make himself look good, this being an election year and all. This guy was totally unwilling, or unable, to believe that the current President might actually have meant the complimentary things he found to say about the former President. That there must be some self-interest involved, and that self-interest was inevitably paramount.

I found that really irritating. Is it so hard to believe that people on opposite sides of the political fence can respect one another? That we can recognize positive qualities, virtues even, in someone with whom we disagree-- beyond the areas that we see as faults? That our political loyalties must be so pervasive that we cannot sincerely own the dignity, and worth, and gifts in those whose views we oppose?

You know, it's that sort of narrow intolerance that gets in the way of too much in this world. And it stands in overt opposition to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which teaches that all people are our neighbors, created in the image of God, and formed with good gifts in that creation.

We have got to at least try to be better than that.


Blogger Clueless Christian said...

"I feel your pain".

Pax anyway.
Clueless Conservative


June 15, 2004 1:39 PM  

Blogger Don said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

June 15, 2004 3:05 PM  

Blogger Don said...

Janeellen-- In today's NY Times, the reporter said that part of Bush's kindness was based on Clinton's kindess to his father in 1995 during the same kind of ceremony.

So, in this instance, perhaps kindness begat kindness.

June 15, 2004 3:07 PM  

Blogger Dawgdays said...

Another example was Reagan's funeral. Many political "rivals" were friendly toward one another.

Politicians tend to respect one another, even though they may have differing positions on issues. Those who don't, those who resort to personal attacks, often don't make it to the political arena, as it is difficult for them to work effectively with others.

I think, in this instance, we could learn a lot from the politicians.

Warm and gracious, eh? Grace. Doesn't this fit in here somewhere?

June 15, 2004 4:15 PM  

Blogger Mark said...

I, too, feel your pain. I've long wondered if the party system we have in this country hasn't long outlived its usefulness. It was a good idea when conceived and I am sure it worked for a long time, but what about today..? Any more it seems like people in one party have views that make them sound like they would be from the other, and candidates from one group are endorsed by politicians from the other. And yet we still get the sense that all democrates are like this, but all republicans are like that.

Sigh. I know it would take a major effort to change this--it has way too much momentum. I would still like to see people voted into office based on their personal merit rather than politicial affiliation.

June 16, 2004 5:57 AM  

Blogger Justin said...

To respond to Mark.

I think the party system is necessary to keep the republic. I think the problem is that the 2 current parties have become so powerful that any other parties are squashed as soon as they start to develop wings. Most other democratic nations have more than 2 parties. 15-16...that is how it should be.

2 cents spent

June 16, 2004 8:36 AM  

Blogger Dawgdays said...

I've heard people from the UK say that the US really has a one-party system - the Capitalist Party.

Republican and Democrat are very similar compared to Conservative, Liberal, Labor, and the fringe parties in the UK.

But this really isn't about politics, it's about civility.

June 16, 2004 9:19 AM  

Blogger Clueless Christian said...

Civility is very nice. Sometimes, however, it is difficult to come up with anything nice to say. However, for those moments of brokeness, here is a tool that will assist us.

The surreal compliment generator!



June 17, 2004 10:35 AM  

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