As one who stands firmly on the left side of the political spectrum, I found myself disheartened reading Vince Coyner’s column in last Sunday’s paper in which he asked, “Is enough ever enough for liberal government opposed to freedom?”
There was certainly nothing new in his piece, just more of the same straw man arguments you hear every day in conservative media about engineering “equal outcomes” and the ineptitude of our government. There were also the requisite anecdotal outliers extrapolated to absurd ends in an attempt to paint liberals with a thick coat of totalitarianism.
What was disheartening to me was not the content of Mr. Coyner’s column, but his tone of condescending hubris. In the overheated, hyperbolic political climate in which we live, it seems impossible to overcome even minor disagreements on policy issues and work toward a compromise that will benefit the common good.
In Mr. Coyner’s world, those government-loving-liberals are not only wrong, they are opposed to freedom!
So as I was lamenting the sorry state of our political discourse, I noticed another column sharing the page with Mr. Coyner’s. The column was by Julianne Boling with a headline that read, “Life lessons: respect others, always show that you care.”
Here, I will let Ms. Boling speak for herself:
“Words spoken by my mother in my teen years come to mind. ‘Do not judge anyone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.’ … I certainly didn’t want to walk in anyone’s shoes and judging was a way of elevating my own status. I have since learned the value of her words as being the judge of others helps no one, especially me … Respect and care for others is vital in our world.”
I am certainly sometimes guilty of the same judgmental attitude that I accuse Mr. Coyner of, but if liberals and conservatives were to swap shoes for a while and heed Ms. Boling’s advice, we would realize that we are not enemies to be defeated, but that it is the compromise that arises from our differences that makes democracy work.