Peaceful Co-Existence Is A Shared Responsibility

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Peaceful, or Troubled, Waters Ahead? [Photo by Richard G Turcotte]

Shortly after the election was called back in November, and in part as a reaction to Joe Biden’ acceptance speech, conservative Washington Post columnist Henry Olsen shared some thoughts about our nation’s ideological differences. His primary intent was to ensure that Biden Administration policies and practices would extend proper measures of acknowledgement and respect for cherished conservative values. [All unattributed quotes herein are taken from the cited article.]

“President-elect Joe Biden struck the right notes in his speech to the nation Saturday, echoing former president Barack Obama when he spoke of the need for national unity and seeing neither red states nor blue states but only the United States. But as Obama himself showed, talk is cheap. …

The High Cost of Placating Trump

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Some Needed Calm [photo by Richard Turcotte]

It seems both reasonable and understandable that most Americans don’t care about or concern themselves with the how of politics and governing. Most of us likewise do not care or concern ourselves with how airplanes are designed and built, or how a surgeon was trained and goes about her work.

The same attitude holds true for almost all but those few endeavors uniquely important or otherwise significant to each of us. This should surprise exactly no one.

My select group of interests are likely unmatched to the same degree or assigned the same prioritization by any other person on the planet. Each of you can assume the same for your own interests/preferences/priorities. We’re often at our best tending to the pursuits most appealing to each and every one of us. …

Baseless voter fraud claims aren’t free

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Contrasts…. [Photo by Richard G Turcotte]

“Should the interim tally on November 3 be changed by the ongoing tabulation of mail-in ballots in battleground states, is there any doubt that Trump and his party will try to overturn the results by claiming the Democrats stole the election through massive voter fraud?” Richard North Patterson, in his September 15, 2020 essay. *

Needless to say, his was not a lone voice in the political wilderness making that too-accurate prediction.

* Patterson’s piece offered a concise summary of some of the GOP’s more overt efforts in recent years to suppress voting rights, notwithstanding a near-total absence of support for the phony voter fraud allegations now embedded in Republican Party ideology. …

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Better Days Ahead?

But … something is missing

I recently posted an article examining what’s now become a routine tactic employed by many conservatives — particularly when discussing either support for, or criticisms directed at, Donald Trump. Simply objecting to various left-leaning viewpoints about his behavior, or to decisions by government officials contrary to right-wing expectations, is now sufficient on its own.

Too often, in fact, more energy is expended insulting, criticizing, or otherwise dismissing opposing views than in offering any reasons why. (That’s not to say those on the Left side don’t rely on the same method from time to time.) …

Alienate, Or Persuade?

For those of us at least marginally curious about the mindset of the stereotypical Trump supporter and/or those conservatives who will forever remain in the right lane on their cultural and political travels, their commentary — while unquestionably Right — too often sounds not quite right to those of us in the other lane. It’s one of the important lines to cross over if we are to reach some level of understanding and cooperation.

At the moment, that line is deep and wide.

Right-wing talking points seem tinged with a vehemence and exaggerated assessment of conditions and consequences we rarely encounter in a wide range of other, less contentious subjects. Discordant observations and dark warnings suggest an underlying, ever-present fear and uncertainty disproportionate to the concerns at hand. …

It’s finally here!

How-To-Be-An-Official-Trump-Post-Election-Loser-Supporter, featuring the best words — ever!!

And it’s free to you right now!

[Can you imagine The Donald ever doing anything that won’t cost you? This is unbelievable!]

Just pay the low bargain price of $89.99* to get your very own password so you can actually view the contents, and, as a super-bonus if you pledge more money right now, a bonus DVD lets you watch him play golf and ignore his responsibilities!

Who cares about a pandemic, Right? The Donald doesn’t. Fore!

This is your very own digital keepsake of advice and statements straight from The Donald. It’s like being right there with him, except that there’s no way any of you could possibly be allowed within 500 feet of him. …

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Our research finds that Trump has attracted a disproportionate (and unprecedented) number of ‘low-information voters’ to his campaign. Furthermore, these voters are more likely to respond to emotional appeals….They are the ideal constituency for a candidate like Trump.

“We define low-information voters as those who do not know certain basic facts about government and lack what psychologists call a ‘need for cognition….’[They] find little reward in the collection and evaluation of new information when it comes to problem solving and the consideration of competing issue positions. They are more likely to rely on cognitive shortcuts, such as ‘experts’ or other opinion leaders, for cues.” …

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Storm On The Way?

[W]e have to rethink our attitudes toward one another and toward the pursuit of truth. It’s not simply recognizing that people who hold different views than we do aren’t by definition stupid, corrupt, wicked or malicious; it’s that we come to a place where we believe we might have something to learn — or at least something to consider — from those whose views and outlooks and life experiences are different than mine. — Peter Wehner

In a perfect world, or one at least much better than the one we’re mired in now, those sentiments would merit greater respect and thoughtful, fair-minded consideration. Without the level of understanding Mr. Wehner wisely suggests, Left and Right will remain political and cultural combatants fighting on turf neither can claim exclusively as their own, and for purposes more muddled than we realize. …

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October At The Beach

“Like many liberals, I’ve been struggling to understand why millions of Americans continue to back President Trump.”

He’s not alone.

Jonathan Zimmerman, a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, spoke for many, and his discovery struck a chord:

“[T]he best short explanation I’ve seen appeared in a letter to the New York Times [on 10.16.20] by Arthur Saginian of Santa Clarita, California. I don’t know Mr. Saginian, but his letter taught me more than a thousand news articles and op-ed columns about Donald Trump’s popularity: it’s about how Trump behaves, not what he believes.”

We’re truly baffled at how many millions of fellow citizens so effortlessly dismiss Trump’s twenty-thousand-plus lies, projections, corruption, norm-shattering behaviors, incompetence, narcissism, tragic mismanagement of the pandemic, and behind-the-scenes implementation of self-serving policies. That’s the short version of his many betrayals of the values, principles, and ethics the great majority of our public official have made consistent good-faith efforts to respect and honor. …

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What kind of future do we envision for ourselves and our communities? What kind of a nation do we want as the foundation for that future? A good place to start would be by rediscovering America’s recently discarded values and norms along with its occasionally contentious, oft-times frustrating, rich-with-possibility common ground.

If only it were that easy….

There are many worse alternatives, of course. Donald Trump’s, for example. Mired as we are in the midst of the fallout from the divisiveness he’s encouraged nearly every waking moment, I’m not sure we can fully appreciate the extent of the damage Trump has inflicted until we rediscover the promises America offered — imperfect and unfilled as they often were. …


Richard Turcotte

Partisanship has no good ending. I’d like to do my part to change that. A better future is a choice. More at

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