Friday, November 05, 2004

More about Ethan Zuckerman

Stuart Berman says exactly what I mean and some things many anti-Bush people can't understand. He responded to Ethan Zuckerman's recent post from a super-blue part of Massachusetts with several thoughtful reasons why an intelligent person might still vote for Bush.

I'm an intelligent person too, educated at name-brand schools. I read the New Yorker, listen to NPR, interact regularly with Kerry supporters. But the arguments of the Left do not persuade me. And part of the reason they lost, I believe, is that very few people on the Left really understand "normal" America.

Update: Ethan Zuckerman saw my post where I dismissively suggested that he was out of touch with the rest of America. He sent me an email, taking some offense at my claim that he had never met a real live Republican. Turns out I was wrong and that he appears to be a sincere and self-critical kind of guy.

Here’s my reply to him:
Sorry for my incorrect characterization of you as someone who has never met a Republican. I know too many well-educated Democrats and “liberals” who were literally stunned by the election results and somehow I pictured you like them, supposedly well-read, open-minded and self-critical, but now completely unable to comprehend the majority of your countrymen.

I spent much of my twenties and thirties living and traveling outside the U.S., and I came away with the belief that you really don’t understand another culture until you learn to enjoy, and in some sense, agree with it.

I don’t know too many Democrats who are up to that. It’s too easy to dismiss the Red State people as under-educated hicks living in “Jesusland”—the sort of caricatures that completely miss the point of why Bush won. Of course, most Republicans have their own equally misguided dogmas, but at least they’ve got political power.

> To: Richard Sprague
> Sender: Ethan Zuckerman

> I think you've slightly mischaracterised my post and offer. I certainly know
> a number of Bush supporters. Until recently, I worked closely with the
> National Security Council and USAID, where many of my associates were Bush
> appointees and supporters. My circle of friends includes the former chief of
> staff for a Republican senator.
> It's not that I've never met a Bush voter, as you dismissively suggest. It's
> that I'd like to see more dialogue between blue-state progressives like
> myself and open-minded red-state conservatives. It's my sense that this sort
> of dialogue is necessary if we're all going to live together and face
> challenges, collectively, as a nation.
> I'm sorry that you appear to feel differently.
> Regards,
> -Ethan

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