"To my astonishment, I found that the only voices that seemed to me to be intellectually and morally honest were on the right. Suddenly, I was listening to conservative talk-show hosts on the radio and reading conservative columnists, and they were making sense."
OPINION: The Making Of A 9/11 Republican
I read what I believed to be a heartful and honest essay wriiten by Cinnamon Stillwell and published in the SF Chronicle today.
As I said to Cinnamon in an e-mail, I think any Democratic strategist would learn a lot from reading her words.
Here is my e-mail to Cinnamon:
I wanted you to know that I read your column and decided to link it to my blog today. I'm a committed Democrat, but it's a very big tent and I realize we don't all think alike.
Above any party, I try to place my priority on being American and I try to look for what all of us have in common, because a vigilance toward our common values and rights are the only places where we will find success in keeping America strong.
Wars with other nations do us no good when we fall apart in bitter division at home.
I was an Independent voter until 1994, when I realized that the balance of this nation was shifting to the right and the dirtiest tactics I'd ever witnessed were being employed by the American Right to systematically dismantle liberalism and social democracy. This, to me, was not indicative of a true American spirit. We all need to respect freedom of conscience and the Right is effectively silencing many diverse voices through the manipulation of market forces. It goes on today, worse than ever. Frankly, I am deeply concerned.
I understand many of your concerns, although there are many points with which I may not agree. We all come from different sets of experience. I think that you described yours beautifully. It seems as if your brush with the extreme left, along with the shock of 9/11 drove you to the Republican party.
Where I come from, most Jewish Americans are Democrats. There is never an excuse for anti-Semitism or for hating anyone for who they are as human beings. Democratic Americans share that value.
I'm from the state that was attacked on that fateful Tuesday morning. I walked the streets of New York and saw the aftermath of the 9/11 attack. My brother saw the planes strike the towers from his office window. He ran from the burning towers, and remembers being told not to look back.
After all of it, neither my brother nor I were driven from our commitment to the Democratic party or the dream of a peaceful, respected, and strong America. When I think back, I don't think we ever suffered any disillusionment about the realities we'd always faced in this world or the actions and reactions which had sprung from our own nation's foreign policy. This is clearly not to say we "blamed America", because we ARE America. Accusing fellow Americans of 'hating' America is fruitless. Knowledge cannot be translated, in philisophical truth, to a blind self-hatred.
We're on the mend in America. We're still recovering from a shocking, fearful and anxious time. 9/11 shook many of us to our core. It shook America to its core. It's a shame it took a dreadful attack like that to unite Americans in spirit. As you know, it didn't take long for the partisan bitterness and intentional dividing to begin again. One viewing of a show like Fox News' "Hannity and Colmes" will prove it.
Crossing the lines and reaching out our hands to one another in the spirit of trying to understand each other is the only way to heal our land. Wars and more killing won't heal us. Talk radio won't heal us. CNN won't heal us.
I respect your thoughts and I think you've provided rational, forthright words that Democratic strategists could (and should) take to heart.
Harley Sorensen - "Republicans in Congress are seeing to it that the Guckert-Gannon outrage is made to disappear from the public consciousness. And the press, of course, is, for the most part, compliant."