par·ti·san [pahr-tuh-zuhn, -suhn; Brit. pahr-tuh-zan]
1. an adherent or supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, especially a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance…
During the conventions The Daily Show interviewed delegates at the conventions asking who was causing the deadlock in Washington. It was uncanny how similar the responses were. Granted, editing can do amazing things to skew the results of the interviews and they certainly selected the responses they wanted to show for the piece. Both sides characterized their opponents as wholly responsible for the problems in Washington; describing them as "whiney crybabies."
The problem is that is the way partisans behave. Admittedly, this statement is based on an admittedly un-scientific sampling including only my personal friends, relatives, and acquaintances that have a leaning one way or the other and cannot be taken as any authoritative opinion. But when I discuss politics with my friends who express a preference for either of the two major party candidates, they all say the same thing: "The [opposing party name]s are the problem in Washington. Their views are ruining America."
This morning I came across an opinion piece from the right that highlights this cognitive disingenuousness wonderfully. In his opinion piece Four more years of 'Bronco Bama' will divide us more (The Washington Examiner), the author (Conn Carroll) makes the argument that reelecting the president will further divide the country and he plays on (half of) what a little girl from Colorado says in a video which her mother shot that has gone viral.
The author seems to have missed the fact that what Abigael Evans said was that she was tired of BOTH candidates. Her mother was listening to NPR and Abby was, as are many (most?) of us, sick to the teeth of the whole thing.
Mr. Carroll seems to ignore the fact that a plurality of the nation (that figure would be about 47% according to Mitt Romney) would be equally upset should Mr. Obama NOT be reelected. The truth he seems to want to ignore is that no matter who wins on Tuesday, about half the nation is going to feel alienated. Why? Partisanship is rampant. And the parties are doing NOTHING to reduce it. As long as BOTH SIDES continue to vilify their opponents, individually and collectively, compromise and progress will be a hard-fought, long, and uphill slog. Starting a negotiation by insulting the person with whom you are negotiating is, generally speaking, a really bad strategy!
Wherever you are today I hope that you will remember that words have consequences. Please, choose the words you use carefully.