Thursday, December 22

Some advice from 42

Perhaps it's some odd fluke of the universe that former President Clinton's Presidental number is the Answer to the Universe. But never the less, what he said in his recent joint interview with 41 in Time's People of the Year issue are worth repeating:

Americans like politics; they like debate. They like us to air our differences, because they know we have got to have an honest debate to come to a good answer. But then they also think that debate ought to have limits to it. And I think they believe that for more than 20 years, we've gotten into thinking that people we have disagreements with are people we have to despise or demonize. They think that in turn it has had a boomerang effect on our country. It's kept us from solving a lot of problems and doing a lot of things we could have done otherwise. So I think people see George (Bush) and me, and they say "This is the way our country ought to work."
The article is fantastic. Go and read it/ buy it/ steal it from a friend and read it. Here's what I think:

I don't like moderates. I don't agree with the idea that moving to some arbitrary 'center' is the best idea, politcally. However, what I do like about centrists like Clinton is their attitude about politeness and courtesy in politics. I have nothing but contempt for conservativism. As for conservatives, I realise and understand that they are people, too. They care for their families and have their jobs. For the life of me, I can't villify them (except for the worst of them; but come on.). So what I like about the blogsphere is its ability to remove the personal aspects of politics and leave the raw, immaterial, pure politik exposed.

It's part of the reason that I don't blog under my real name (as if many of you didn't know it already): I don't want my person to be my ideas. I talk politics, yeah. But I also rock climb, drink (liberally), hang with my friends, date women, and so many things that do not matter, politically.

We could all take a lesson from the companionship of 41 and 42. What I take from their friendship is that, as fun as it is, politics is not everything. There is something so very awesome about a good, calm debate with someone that just can't be done when you see your opponent as satan himself. We are all human, after all.


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