What do we really know about people's personal lives from studying their politics? Ever been cheated by a liberal? Know any generous Republicans? Some of the kindest people I've ever met watch Fox News regularly and include it as the chief source of their information about the world. At least a few of the most deceptive, back-stabbing, and dishonest people I've ever had the misfortune to deal with have been avowed liberals. One was a "socialist", or so he said just before he disappeared with our rent money.
Recently I read a study that determined that Republicans were more uncomfortable looking at depictions of human suffering than Democrats. What does this mean? Are Republicans more sensitive to the plight of their fellow humans than Democrats. If so, then why are Republicans so big on building the world's largest arsenal?
We humans are a tricky lot. Ultimately, I've learned that a person's political beliefs seem to have little bearing on how that person conducts his/her private matters. Do visionary leaders of egalitarian movements cheat on their wives? Are most war criminals faithful? The human character remains an enigma.
Recently I had an interesting conversation with a friend who is a self-declared liberal and plans to vote for Obama in the coming election. It went something like this:
Me: So you plan to vote for the war criminal, eh?
Friend: I'm not looking to get a huge change because I know that's impossible right now. I'll be happy with even an incremental change for the better.
Me: I doubt the families of children blown to bits by Obama's drone attacks agree with you.
Friend: Look, it's a matter of being realistic. No third party candidate is electable. You gotta take what you can get. He then hands me a check for part of what he owes me.
Now here's another one with my conservative friend.
Me: So you're going to vote for the guy who wants to bomb Iran?
Friend: That's right. We can't let these crazy religious zealots get ahold of nuclear weapons.
Me: Are you talking about Israel or the USA?
Friend: I'm talking about being on top and staying on top. If you want to make an omelette you've got to crack a few eggs. Oh, here's a check for the work you did for me. (It includes a sizable tip. )
A wise man once said, "Everything your mind tells you is a lie." The changes we would affect in this world are all scripted. We are all players in a play. We are all wrapped in illusions. We will continue to fight for what we think is right even with this knowledge because to live on this earth is to experience these illusions. But if we're lucky or blessed, or otherwise "enlightened" we can go about our work with a bit of detachment knowing that in some vast mysterious place all is as it should be.