A question for the holiday season: On your train ride home to see the family, you sit down next to a stranger. As strangers often do, they tell you many personal details of their lives: no health insurance, non-union service job that pays $9.50 an hour, a sister who needs an abortion. But, they spent their summer cheering Mitch McConnell at AstroTurf town halls, they have a well-thumbed copy of Glenn Beck's Arguing with Idiots peeking out of their overnight bag, and they are wearing a button that says, "I ™¥Sarah."
What of this stranger? Progressives have an admirable concern for those in dire circumstances, those whose futures are perilous. This, in part, fuels our determination to fight for single-payer health care, the Free Choice Act, a woman's right to choose, etcetera. But, what's our feeling when it comes to the stranger on the train - one in the crowd which is devoted to policies counter to its welfare?
We've really got only two choices. If they refuse to put down their Barack/Hitler/FinalSolution/GoHome/BarackHUSSEINObama signs, we can choose (A), befuddlement, which ultimately becomes condescension - "they know not what they do." Or, we can choose (B), frustration, that ultimately becomes anger - "the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in" you! Speaking for myself, I usually find myself bouncing back and forth between the two like a tweeting ping-pong ball.
So, may I suggest a third option: To quote Tiny Tim, I'm going to spend the holiday season holding to (an agnostic's version of) "God Bless Us, Everyone!" Without that, I'd posit, you become part of a "what's the matter with Manhattan/Hollywood/Axis" crowd i.e., you are taking a position that ultimately cuts off any opportunity for policy that benefits everyone's - not including CEOs and other Scrooge-ists - welfare.