"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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The other side


Fri, Dec 10th, 2004
Posted in Commentary

The conservatives in Fillmore County are going to have to come up with a way of identifying themselves to each other. It could be a simple secret handshake, or a wink and a nod. Come to think of it, it shouldnt be that difficult to spot each other; because according to most liberals, were knuckle scraping, Bible toting, war mongers. Id take offense, but it does sort of describe a distant uncle I once had.There must be quite a few of us, because we keep growing in numbers in the state of Minnesota, and our state representatives are Republicans, along with a few other elected officials. On the outside view, it looks pretty bleak for the other side. Frankly, if I were a liberal, Id be ecstatic about the last election. If the end of the world does come in the next four years, it will be the biggest I told you so in history. What I cant understand is why this election seems to be so personal. Let me tell you a story. There is a physician I work with who is a supporter of Sen. John Kerry (she even had bumper stickers). We are not close friends, but we were cordial in the halls as we passed each other. Wed smile and say hello. A week before the election we were just about to get into a discussion about our different views on politics, when she had to go see a patient. So all she really knew is that I was going to vote Republican. About a week after the election I was coming in a door and I caught a glimpse of the doctor coming down the hall. She obviously saw me first because I saw her head as it was dropping to look at the floor, and she passed me without a word. It was colder in that moment then it has been outside all year. Is that how were going to treat each other from now on?Not only do people take it personally; we associate each side with the extremes of each political view. I am not only a Republican, I am the vanguard of a Taliban type society who wishes to set up a police state, that will only allow true Americans to live here. On the other hand, liberals are viewed as godless heathens whose only purpose is to destroy society and put the ACLU in charge of everything. Now we know that somewhere in between those distant points stands the majority of us. But weve been herded into two camps with the radicals from both sides penning us in.Is there a bridge or a span that can cross these divides? I dont believe there is. These divisions are so deep that they touch the very core of our being. For example, as long as there is an effort to remove the Christian God from all aspects of life, public and private, I will stand against it. I also understand that there are those that passionately believe the opposite, and will also stand as adamantly as your counterparts. So whats the answer then?The answer is trust. Christian conservatives need to trust that God is in control and that no matter what the outcome, it will be his will. Liberals need to trust the fact that cultural values will change, and that forcing them only extends that timeline. The rest need to trust the system that has been in place for over 200 years. Some very bad people have challenged that faith in the past few years. The hijackers that we welcomed into our country and killed thousands. Teachers and religious leaders that we entrusted our children to, only to have their innocence torn away from them. Weve become so isolated, that we dont rely on any one but ourselves. This is a normal reaction to being hurt; the other reaction is to take it out on each other. I think weve seen enough of that also. Once we begin to trust again, will we be hurt again? The answer is most definitely yes. We cannot stop those who would try to destroy us; we can only delay it. The hope is that we will delay it long enough until all people can understand that there has to be a better way. Im pretty pessimistic about that approach also, but for today I will enjoy my friends, liberal and conservative. I will talk politics and respect their point of view. I will vote conservatively in the next election. I will hug my wife a little longer, and pet the dog a few extra times. One more thing before I go. In four more years well have another election, and rumor is that Sen. Hillary Clinton will be in the race. If she is elected, it will be the end of the world, and when it happens, remember, I told you so.

Tony McConnell lives in Fountain.

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