Across Traditional Lines

I've been noticing something lately that leads me to believe that perhaps the country isn't as divided along traditional conservative/liberal/libertarian lines as we might like to think. Well, actually I can't say that, because my circle of friends and acquaintances is not exactly representative of the U.S. population or anything. I guess the lesson might be "You can't judge a book by its cover." Somebody I used to think was ultra-conservative launched into two separate tirades recently about justifications for the war and lack of accountability in the Abu Ghraib and Gitmo scandals.

Somebody I used to think was ultra-liberal told me she sees merit to the "freeing the Iraqi people from a ruthless dictator" justification, even though she knows that wasn't the original justification for the war.

Somebody I used to think was steadfastly libertarian told me that he thinks the government ought to break up media monopolies for the sake of accuracy and balance in news reporting.

And then there are friends I used to avoid discussing the war with. I used to avoid it because I didn't think they cared much, or that they weren't interested enough in the news to formulate opinions based on what they had read about. You'd be surprised. Some of these folks really do want to discuss the issues and even though the budget deficit or education or welfare reform aren't topics they have a strong opinion on, they do have strong opinions about the war.

It's like that Bloom County cartoon from many moons ago, where Opus is at a bar talking to this conservative looking farmer-type guy in a flannel shirt who ends up spouting a bunch of typical liberal rhetoric. Then some hippy guy on the other side of the bar yells, "America! Love it or Leave It!"

I guess I should be encouraged about this. I'm not running into too many people who aren't opinionated in some way about the war. And it looks like my friends are reading and watching the news a whole lot more than I might have expected.