The Village Voice, an Iconoclastic Alternative newspaper out of New York, has been until recently a very Liberal publication. You weren't "hip" until you were caught reading the Village Voice. I found this, My Dad Is a Right-Wing Asshole, and I thought the article was awesome. This particular item is a "Dear Abby" thing, and to see the response is very refreshing. The person writes in:
I'm writing because I just can't deal with my father anymore. He's a 65-year-old super right-wing conservative who has basically turned into a total asshole intent on ruining our relationship and our planet with his politics. I'm more or less a liberal democrat with very progressive values and I know that people like my dad are going to destroy us all. I don't have any good times with him anymore. All we do is argue. When I try to spend time with him without talking politics or discussing any current events, there's still an underlying tension that makes it really uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong, I love him no matter what, but how do I explain to him that his politics are turning him into a monster, destroying the environment, and pushing away the people who care about him?
Andrew then proceeds to take the writer apart:
...Try to find a single instance where you referred to your dad as a human being, a person, or a man. There isn't one. You've reduced your father -- the person who created you -- to a set of beliefs and political views and how it relates to you. And you don't consider your dad a person of his own standing -- he's just "your dad." You've also reduced yourself to a set of opposing views, and reduced your relationship with him to a fight between the two. The humanity has been reduced to nothingness and all that's left in its place is an argument that can never really be won.
Andrew gets better from there. He takes apart the fact that there really isn't a "who's right" and "who's wrong." There is only what is right and good.
My own take on the writer is that they display the classic Liberal symptom of "nothing exists outside of my ears. I'm right, and if you disagree with me you're wrong and evil." I am the first to admit that I lump Liberals into that "big L" pot and I know there is a broad spectrum of people under that banner.
In my encounters throughout life, I have found gun-carrying Liberals and anti-gun Republicans and every kind of facet. Human beings are complex creatures. We are formed by two things, our experiences and our choices. I know a lot of people who express Liberal ideologies. I like and respect many of them. I take great pleasure in debating them. I challenge their positions and they return the favor.
The one line none of us cross is to attack the person. I may think their position on gun control (or whatever) is stupid and uninformed, I do not think the person is stupid. They have their reasons as to why they arrived at that position, just like how I arrived at my position. Those people who start out a debate by calling me a Nazi, or EVIL, my first inclination is to understand them. If I find out it's all knee-jerk reactions and no significant thought was involved, I will proceed to take them apart. As a Navy Chief once said, "You can lead a horse to water, but I'll be damned if I'll pull suction on his ass to make him drink."
I respect your right to have a different belief than mine. I expect a similar respect in return. I give a certain level of respect on the benefit of the doubt. Beyond that, the level of respect I show you, up or down, is based on your words and actions. I think if more people did this, the world would be a lot better place.