Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Getting people to think

After seeing the (good!) new movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow this weekend, I was reading an interview with the stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law. The interviewer asked them what they thought about movie stars going public with their politics. Gwyneth Paltrow said something that I thought was right on: she thinks that it is OK if stars want to politic but she said that she would simply like everyone to think for themselves.

That really is what I want also: regular people should be able to respect other people's opinions about politics. I find the polarization going on now in the U.S. more than a little disturbing. I would hope that a liberal and a conservative could sit down and discuss mutually interesting issues like:
  • Benefits and drawbacks of tax cuts
  • Pros and cons of strong environmental laws
  • How to fight crime - effects of longer prison terms vs. community outreach, etc. (what makes our families the safest?)
  • Advantages and drawbacks of military operations in other countries
  • etc.

The political bosses might want people to feel polarized, but after talking with a (more) conservative friend a week ago, I started thinking about how much common ground there is between so-called liberals and conservatives. I also think that is it simply good manners to respect other people's opinions even if they differ from our own. Fear can literally be a killer. Try not to fear people who may think differently than you on a few issues. People who are afraid are generally not thinking straight.

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