As some of you may know, my wife's politics and mine tend to fall on opposite ends of the political spectrum You'll find my politics on the right and hers to the left.
We've had some interesting discussions about the upcoming election, largely because I can't and won't vote for John McCain. As such, it's implied the only alternative is Barack Obama. However, I can't vote for Obama either as ideologically his politics and mine are even further apart than those of my wife & I.
I'm not "not voting" for McCain because he's a "Republican." And whenever my wife makes negative comments about the Republican party I remind her that the principles the party was founded on are noble, just and good and that those who still believe in those principles and live them are similarly noble and just. Unfortunately, the Republican party-- much like the Democratic party has been largely co-opted by special interests. And neither party is really following the principles which they were founded upon. Essentially while neither party is necessarily letting the kooks run the asylum both parties have essentially allowed the kooks to run the board meetings of their respective asylums.
If the Democratic party were to return to its Jeffersonian ideals and the Republican party were to return to its Fremontian (the first Republican candidate for President was actually John C. Fremont in 1856)/Lincolnian ideals our country would be far better off and likely much less divided.
The trouble is that we live in an era of soundbites and soundbites can (and usually are) taken out of context. So we end up with 2 candidates who are so afraid of their words/beliefs being taken out of context that their speeches are so generic that there is little for us to glean from them. Rather than constructively debating ideologies and policies they're reduced to mudslinging and ad-hominem attacks and we're left with a completely vapid election campaign based on fear and hate-mongering. And our politicians wonder why this country is so divided?
I love this country. I was born and raised here. It really saddens me to see how divided we've become. Red vs. Blue, Left vs. Right, Conservative vs. Liberal, Democrat vs. Republican and the sad thing is it's only getting worse and it's only going to continue to get worse if we continue down the same track that we're on.
I was recently reading RFK Jr's afterward in a reprinting of Barry M. Goldwater's The Conscience of a Conservative. Kennedy was commenting on how his uncle, JFK, was a friend and fan of Goldwater and that Kennedy was really looking forward to running against him in the 1964 election. There was a mutual respect between the two of them. Kennedy wanted to have a series of discussions of policy and ideology (akin to the classic Lincoln/Douglas debates) and have an election based on ideologies and policies not on fear, hate, finger-pointing, or mudslinging.
Unfortunately, with the Kennedy assassination that return to the basics and civility never happened. Instead we've grown increasingly more divided with each subsequent election.
I had hope going into this election that we might see a return to that civility, but maybe things have just gone too far for that ever to be a reality.