Scott Hanselman

We are a divided nation...

November 4, '04 Comments [29] Posted in Musings
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UPDATE: My response to the many thoughts offered regarding this post is in the comment section below...Thanks to all who joined in.

I found the maps off this link (via Chris Sells) very interesting when put next to each other.  I find this very telling, as 9/11, Iraq, Health Care, Social Security, Gay Marriage, all these things, haven't changed the way the country thinks. This NYTime Columnist says it well when he says 'This was not an election. This was station identification...We don't just disagree on what America should be doing; we disagree on what America is.' There's always been city-folk vs. country-folk, born-again vs. other faiths, left vs. right, but this is getting more fundamental.

2000 Vote Map by County
2004 Vote Map by County

It's interesting that 2nd Amendment is touted as crucial and immutable to many people, but the separation of church and state is eroding (Faith-based Inititives, 'In God We Trust' on our Money, the 10 Commandments in Courthouse)...of course Islam would feel as if we're on a Crusade, a non-Judeo-Christian President could never be elected in this country. 'Mr. Candidate, do you pray?' 'Hm...not so much. I'm more of an analyst.'

Can you see Al Gore praying?
Why is prayer important to a president?
Do we need a mandate from on high to run a country?
Does Greenspan pray on an interest rate decisions?
Could I be elected president if I came out and said 'I'm not a fan of hunting?' 'Why, not killing animals for sport is un-American!'

I understand why Fear (the primary motivator of the last 4 years) would cause people to revisit their faith, but faith should always be balanced with thought. People like Bush for the fact that he 'has conviction, and stands by his decisions' - but isn't it learning from your mistakes that makes you a better person?

I wish we had a leader who thought, who inspired spirited, not spiteful, debate and discourse, who was wise and thoughtful, and had more MIPS than I.

Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
Proverbs (ch. I, v. 20-22)

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Thursday, November 04, 2004 11:04:39 PM UTC
Very true, Scott. Very true. When it comes to the separation of church and state, Japan is very strict. Japan is probably doing a better job than United State is doing. I really don't believe in using religion in politics. It rather scares hell out of European and other people as well.

What has happened to the United States? How come people became so religious? Probably 9/11? Why don't people realize that 9/11 happened under Bush and he had a memo that said Osama bin Laden is determined to strick US soil? Why don't people realize that he let the Osama's family get away from this country right after the strike? Why is it OK to kill innocent people in Iraq where there was no WMD at the time of start of the war? And why is it OK to abandon the science that could save millions of people's lives while they kill people in other countries?

A lot of things don't make sense to me in this administration. A lot of things contradict and I can't stand it. This is not the America I know...
vbNullString
Thursday, November 04, 2004 11:10:22 PM UTC
The US runs on Fear now, I believe. 9/11 was the most fearful thing that had happened in our generation, and it has driven the US to make decisions based on gut, faith, and fear.
Scott Hanselman
Thursday, November 04, 2004 11:36:57 PM UTC
What "faith" tells me is this: You throw away whatever critical thinking or any brain power you have, and just believe in whatever someone else tells you. Why should I respect their religion if that kind of faith could kill me? I don't.

I have nothing against their religion as long as it does good to the society. But when they use religion for politics, I have a serious problem.

Another thing I don't understand is anti-abortion and gay marriage. I talked a Christian lady who got pregnant some years ago and they found cancer at the same time. She had to abort the fetus to cure the cancer. Now she is blessed with four children. Is it a sin? And what would gay marriage do to us? Gay people probably love each other so much that they don't care about gender, whereas one of the judges who is against gay marriage says that marriage is a sacred thing between man and woman and he went through divorce three times?

Sorry Scott to make this blog political, but I had to say this... I promise I won't write political stuff again.
vbNullString
Thursday, November 04, 2004 11:55:00 PM UTC
The Republican Party has taken ownership of the "family values" and "religious convictions" media tickets. Politics has become way too personal and it is sickening me. But part of the reason is that the main media channels in this country have a cash cow in TV and to a lesser extent print media. Millions watch and most are essentially told what is important and what to think. The networks want to be more profitable so they personalize as much of the news as they can. It's a self-sustaining system!

All of this plays into the hands of the Republican power elite who are happy to keep their millions of American supporters in the dark instead of enlightening them with integrity, honesty and true debate. Ya I'm from Massachusetts but when Kennedy drew from his Ivy League colleagues to build probably the best 20th century Cabinet brain trust, he was humbly drawing on the intellectual prowess available, not trying to idealogically alter the landscape of American politics.

Sorry for the long-windedness, Scott. Even with the Red Sox fulfilling my lifelong dream, I'm pretty depressed over the results of this election.
Thursday, November 04, 2004 11:55:47 PM UTC
I liked what you and Friedman had to say today... The weird thing is that Bush and the folks on that team feel as passionate and convinced that they are right and that their moral values validate themselves. I rarely have had a conversation where I felt any level of empathy from the other team. I'm ridiculed, teased and mocked on my own team at work for being a demo. I have to remember I bring most on myself, but I really think I do a good job listening to their points. I understand them but I can't see excluding others to firm up your own values.

As a Catholic first and an American second I still had no problem voting for Kerry. I haven't been to church since the Church felt they should let me know who I should vote for. I'll heading back this week after the vote. Now they did come back and say vote your heart, its between you and God. I'm just stubborn. I'm shocked that the Catholic church and the rest of the churches are pushing so hard to legislate their beliefs in the face of the seperation of church and state. I can't believe that the would rather limit our freedom for their own moral gain, while excluding others. Won't that blow up in our faces. The freedom we have as a people allows us to practice our faith independent of other's rule, right? I guess I'm a bit more of a constitutionalist then I had thought. The constitution allows us to pursue our religous beliefs, freely.

Anyways a couple rapidly fired out thoughts to let you know 1 out of 2 of us in america feel the same way we do.
Jack
Friday, November 05, 2004 3:05:14 AM UTC
Thanks for posting the map. I agree that America is deeply divided and I understand that 1/2 the nation agrees with your perspectives.

Please consider a few fundamental observations.

First in response to "What has happened to the United States?" is a question that I ask myself from time to time from the opposite angle. Unfortunately, if you haven't seen American History textbooks before the 1960's you wouldn't know that America was founded on the faith of Jesus Christ! One of the founding fathers said that our form of government is wholely inadequate unless the people had personal faith in God, so they can govern themselves.

Check this out! Since the 1960's there has been political/legal opposition to public expression of faith in God and declaring "separation of church & state" (read the constitution, it isn't in there!) and what do we have? Higher crime rates and higher immorality! I don't know about you, but it seems to me we can sit and make laws left and right about what people should and shouldn't do, but it won't make them good people.

So should religious beliefs come into play with law-making? How can you not? Proverbs says "if the foundations are destroyed, what will the righteous do?" How can you have justice and say that some thing is right unless there is a right and a wrong. Where does the sense of right and wrong come from? And does an atheist seem to be neutral without faith in God. No, there is faith in himself and faith that there is no god(s), which is still faith.

Then let me tie this back to the opening statement. It seems that the country is divided urban vs. rural. That is the way that the vote seems to go (but isn't always true). Would you agree "lifestyle" has some connection? People's beliefs dictate their way of life.

I don't believe in forcing Christianity through politics. That is what the pilgrims were running from. Notice that the application of "separation of church & state" runs the other extreme (notice they don't oppose Islam or Atheism, only Christianity). This is also guilty of forcing religion through politics (such as atheism, because you can't pray in school).

In closing it is my hope that President Bush will follow through with his offer to reach out to both sides. His challenge was great at the beginning of his first term and seems just as great now to do that very thing.
MarkB
Friday, November 05, 2004 4:23:54 AM UTC
I get disappointed when I see threads like this. It may be cathartic, and so more power to you. It is hard to deal with such a close loss, I imagine (imagine? No, I know...) It is painful to consider that those who do not believe the way you do, or agree with your sentiments, were able to muster such a slim majority.

I saw an interesting headline today on Google news, from a London paper, asking how 59 million people "could be so dumb" (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,11291054%255E2703,00.html). Surely that is a sentiment shared by most of the rest of the world, and for quite some time now--so while it is no less disagreeable than the day it was first aired, it is at least old news.

What is becoming more and more disappointing is the growing chorus of American voices expressing the same thing--one side is stupid, the other is thoughtful (it runs both ways, incidentally). One side is driven by some hideous, evil plot to destroy the nation, while the other is full of life, liberty and hope (come to think of it, that runs both ways too). I find these black-and-white strokes across the political canvas to be disappointing. Look at your colleague, who stands on the other side of the spectrum from you--is she or he stupid? Evil? Most likely not (for most of us :), but too much of what I have read for the last 2 days has been a demonization of the other side--that, or an assumption that it is dumb, uneducated, without a college degree, and so on. Terribly blind, folks.

You know what it reminds me of? The Linux-MS debate.

You are firm in your convictions--that's good. You express them well--that too is good. You *should* believe you are right, but it is a gross error to believe those who disagree with you are stupid, as it is to lump all those who disagree with you into one big bucket. A mistake of the worst kind.

You have this to fall back on: democracies change very slowly--that is their saving grace. There is no capacity for rapid change in this country--it is slow, deliberate steps over years through which you can trace our history. You have four years to make a case, and if I know my fellow Americans, they are better served by reason and passionate debate than being called fools. The latter is only likely to our backs up against the wall.

Friday, November 05, 2004 4:36:00 AM UTC
I'm with Jonathan. I'm more than disapointed. I'm pissed with this thread because it is yet another Liberal Intellectual Elite calling the majority of the country that he doesn'y agree with as stupid. This is not going to heal the country. You need to look between the two coasts and see a country of good people that think differently than you. Last time I looked they (and you) had the freedom to do so. I'm disapointed in you Scott. The typical liberal viewpoint - "The Party of Tolerance" except for everyone you disagree with - "the other side." Bullshit and you know it.
Friday, November 05, 2004 4:45:55 AM UTC
Scott -- many props to you, sir, but I find your logic in this matter flawed.

First you show the maps from this election and the election four years ago (i.e. pre-9/11) demonstrating that 9/11 hasn't changed the way America thinks. Then you go on to say that the only reason people voted for Bush is because they are afraid and this fear is driving them toward a man of faith..?

It seems to me that nearly 50% voted for Bush in 2000 for reasons other than fear. Why do you assume that the slight increase in support this election is due solely to fear? I rather think that the new supporters are supporting him for reasons similar to those which lead people to vote for him four years ago.

"It's interesting that 2nd Amendment is touted as crucial and immutable to many people, but the separation of church and state is eroding (Faith-based Inititives, 'In God We Trust' on our Money, the 10 Commandments in Courthouse)..."

I'm sure you realize that the 2nd amendment is actually part of the Constitution, whereas the "separation of church and state" is not. The Constitution establishes freedom *of* religion; not freedom *from* religion. Also, "In God We Trust" first appeared on our currency 140 years ago, so I hardly think that's evidence of any type of erosion.

"...faith should always be balanced with thought."

It seems you're implying that "faith" (i.e. belief in and obedience to God, if I understand your use of the word) and thought are mutually exclusive attributes at opposite ends of some spectrum. vbNullString takes it waaaay further in stating, "...throw away whatever critical thinking or any brain power you have, and just believe in whatever someone else tells you." You guys actually believe that's the way it is?? What a sad commentary on the "men of faith" you've encountered.

Personally, I think this perspective on "faith" is unfair and unjustifiable. I think it stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of the essence of true "faith" (I don't like that word -- it means too many things). BTW, W actually has a higher IQ than Kerry, if that makes you feel any better...?

Anyway, just thought I'd present an "alternative view". :p

I actually believe that we all have more in common than most of us realize.
Friday, November 05, 2004 4:52:32 AM UTC
I see some people posted similar thoughts while I was writing my response; that's cool. :)

One more thought -- people talk about "legislating morality" and act like it's some terrible thing. If you can't legislate morality, what can you legislate? When you outlaw theft, what are you doing? Murder? Lying under oath?

Everyone is trying to get their own flavor of morality (or lack thereof ;) legislated. That's what democracy is all about when you think about it.
Friday, November 05, 2004 5:27:46 AM UTC
Just to add a bit to what others have already said - I am also bothered by the general tendency to demonize the other side. I participated in a decided voter roundtable on our local public radio station with 4 other President Bush supporters and 5 Kerry supporters. One of the Kerry supporters said that Republicans are basically selfish. Gee, thanks. Meanwhile, one of the Bush supporters said he doesn't believe you can be Christian and a liberal. Hmmm...please stop talking - you aren't helping!

It seems to me that it is important to not pretend to understand the motives of others. I really believe that less government is good for all people, poor and rich, old and young, etc. You can certainly argue that I'm wrong, but please don't say that I'm obviously selfish and evil. This can hardly be productive. And for heavens sakes - questioning someone's religious convictions is certainly not going to get us anywhere! Honestly, I wanted to duct tape his mouth shut!
Friday, November 05, 2004 6:48:17 AM UTC
Before I respond to each of these very good comments, here's another great map by way of Greg Hughes:
http://www.massinc.org/commonwealth/new_map_exclusive/ten_regions.html
This map discusses the "Ten Regions of US Politics" and you may find them surprising.
Friday, November 05, 2004 7:36:19 AM UTC
I'm sorry if some of you find this thread disturbing. Certainly this isn't a political blog, nor is it going to become one. I'll continue to bring you the best in ASP.NET and Web Services goodness.

That said, I'll respond to some of these comments with some thoughts I hope clear up my views.

MarkB: Your point that the US was founded primary on the faith of Jesus Christ is a good one, and is valid. As much as some would like to have a "secular" government, this is traditionally Judeo-Christian country. I do question this, do you believe that the ideas of right and wrong must be anchored in faith? Your example of the atheist is a good one. I wonder though, why that atheist doesn't become an anarchist? Certainly there are "good" atheist that live moral and upstanding lives. I agree with you that "forcing" Christianity through politics is not good. But I ask you (honestly, not as a baited question) how do both legislate morality and avoid legislating a denomination?

Johnathan Malek: I'm sorry you feel I've lumped people into a bucket. That "us vs. them" attitude is the worse kind of devisiveness, and may be an artifact of the two-party system, but is more likely my own human flaws expressing themselves as binary thoughts. I don't mean to call _most_ people fools. Certainly there are many fools - I do believe "gut" is important, but I vote my mind and soul more than my gut. Thank you for your reminder to us that (if I may draw an analogy) black-and-white thinking wasn't appropriate in the racially charged 60s, and isn't helpful now in the morally charged 00s.

Anon: I'm not sure what you mean by "Liberal Intellectual Elite." We need to recognize that by simply being on a computer and having this conversation, we are blessed, for whatever reason, as elite. America, as a country, is elite (a group of persons who by virtue of position or education exercise much power or influence) and even the poorest American wields geometrically more power than the African half of my own family. American is 5% of the population of the planet, but carries the hopes of the world on it's shoulders. A close Moroccan friend said to me today, "I felt like we were electing the president of the world. I wish we had a vote." We are elite, you and I, but you are right we should remember tolarance. Intellectual? I am well-blessed again, though I came from a non-college educated extended family, I worked my way through college. There is a Zimbabwean cousin of mine who has twice the mind and a tenth the opportunities. If by intellectual you mean that I study, reflect and speculate, then I don't consider intellectual an insult though it may have been meant as such. Everyone has been given capabilities, we can only hope that are given the chance to develop them. My wife works at an educational non-profit and her aim is to make everyone's child an "intellectual elite." Now, as far as liberal, that's a loaded word, and I don't know if it describes me. Let me put it in terms of my own "moral values" - I'd go to a gay wedding and participate with a warm heart, but I wouldn't go to the reception if there was weed there. That's my morals. I don't know if I fit into the liberal or conservative world. So, I'll take "intellectual elite" as a label, and I'll reject Liberal for "moderate."

Stuart, my man: Yes, I'm aware that the term "separation of church and state" is a guiding principle that hasn't foudn its way to parchment. However, the Constitution does say in Article VI, Section III - "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." This appears in the Constitution Proper, not as an amendment. I agree with you that vbNullString takes it too far. I didn't mean to imply that faith and "thinking" are mutually exclusive. I was, and am, expressing my concern that the balance needed may be shifting in the collective conciousness. To the point about Bush's IQ vs. Kerry's, it appears to be an issue (that I'm often guilty of) of associating being well-spoken with being smart. Yes, Bush got 1206 on his SATs, and Gore got 1355. I'm not concerned with meaningless tests, as they measure only an ability to take tests. Certainly Bush is highly competent, he's the president (and I'm not)! I do wish he was more of an orator, though. (and Kerry certainly isn't one either) I want my president to inspire me, and Bush doesn't. To be clear, I'm not pro-Kerry as anti-Bush. I'm disappointed that the Democratic Party couldnt' find a candidate, and it's clear that Republicans are the new "people's party."

To your point of legislating morality, I think when people talk about it in America, they are concerned about the difference between legislating personal safety (murder, theft, rape) versus legislating personal preferences (sex, consumption, purchases). Where it becomes a point of contention is when the issue at hand intersects these two sets (abortion, guns, gay marriage).

I wanted to mention one other thing about religion, and how I view it.

I get frustrated when people say that they can go down to Borders Books and purchase the unfiltered word of God in paperback - in the original English. Perhaps this is where my "intellectual elitism" comes in. I have 3 editions of the Bible, and I prefer the large study editions that focus on the liguistic and textual analysis that descibe the process the translator used and the reasons behind the world choice as expression of core intent. The first English bible was translated in 1388. Ezra and Daniel and a verse in Jeremiah were written in Aramaic (I have studied the Afro-Semetic language of Amharic). Other parts were Greek, much was Hebrew. The very popular (until the NIV) King James version of the Bible was written by 54 different people and the Bible is published in 1200 different dialects. I believe that to truly want to understand The Word, one must strive not to analyze the depths of _one_ English translation, but explore the socio-economic and certainly linguistic environment that the original books were written in. I believe it's the responsiblity of every Christian to explore these aspects of faith, as I and many others have. To simply read the KJ or NIV and accept it is what bothers me. Additionally, one should attempt to understand the roots of our faith by examining the roots of others, and remembering that Islam, Judiasm and Christianity have roots in the God of Abraham (I recommend http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0380977761/diabeticbooks and the "Hinges of History" series to those interested). One can read many books and still have Faith.

To assume I'm not a person of faith because of my "intellectual elitism" is to dismiss me as much as I mistakenly dismissed others in my post.


Last thing, I listened with interest to Bush's PR speech today, with an open and hopeful heart, and I was, I must say, fairly impressed with it, and I am ready to be a uniter, not a divider.

P.S. Thanks bloggers, for being my community.
Friday, November 05, 2004 10:10:44 AM UTC
Stuart, do we really legislate morality? I think not. Morality is a product of cultural evolution and can change very rapidly from generation to generation. I think that in the past we often did but the last couple of decades we have been changing that. Disallowing murder, theft, fraud, violence, destruction of property, et cetera by law has IMO, nothing to do with morality, but with protection. You and your possessions in extension are protected by law from these crimes.
But when it comes to whether or not you are allowed to have the ultimate culmination of having a longtime relationship with someone of the same sex, or are allowed to have several partners at the same time, now that's morality. A majority thinks it's not "moral" to wed someone of the same sex. Not so long ago, that majority probably thought it not "moral" to wed someone of a different religion, cast or race. Some people still have difficulties with that. But going so far as to make it illegal to do so? Come on, what has government to do with how you lead your live and whom you wed? Why should you not be allowed to have the same benefits from having a lifepartner as anyone else?
Wolfgang
Friday, November 05, 2004 2:09:52 PM UTC
Scott

I just applaud your very articulate response to the posts on this thread. It is clear that you are a well-studied and thoughtful individual ready to listen to both sides of an issue.

Over the last 10-15 years, we have seen a decided shift to Republican voting (Clinton ran as a moderate and the Republicans held Congress during most of his tenure). I think this is caused not by a shift in the people themselves but in a shifting of both parties to the right. The parties of today have very little in common with those same parties from even 40 years ago. If the Democrats are going to move back to the party of power, they will need to realize that they have moved past the beliefs of the country.


Reggie Burnett
Friday, November 05, 2004 2:35:27 PM UTC
*DING*
Scott, that was the sound of you hitting the nail on the head. :-)
Friday, November 05, 2004 3:01:30 PM UTC
I just want to thank everyone in this thread for maintaining a civilized public discourse. That alone gives me hope for the future.
anon
Friday, November 05, 2004 4:10:25 PM UTC
Wow, Scott--well said. You're an interesting fellow!
Friday, November 05, 2004 6:36:02 PM UTC
Scott -- I, too, thank you for your thoughtful response. I'm not a bit surprised, mind you, as I've come to expect nothing less from you.

I agree with you that Bush is far from an excellent orator, and I, too, find him less than inspirational. That being said, I think he has improved over the past few years -- either that or I've just become more accustomed to his... umm... "style" (?). I just know that in the beginning I used to recoil in horror when he spoke, and now I'm mostly okay with him. :)

I also *completely* agree with what you've said about applying the correct hermeneutics to Biblical interpretation. Clearly this is practically a lost art in Christianity today. I have a strong feeling that you and I would have a difference of opinion regarding how several passages should be interpreted (my opinion would be correct, of course ;), but at least we can agree that there is more to Bible study than blind acceptance of the meaning that some random fallible human has poured into the inspired and perfect Word of God (well, then again maybe we wouldn't agree on the "inspired and perfect" part (?), but you get the idea).
Friday, November 05, 2004 7:04:10 PM UTC
Wolfgang -- I think we really do legislate morality. I tried for quite some time today to expound on this, felt I was doing a poor job, did some Googling, and came across a document, the summary of which conveys the thoughts I was trying in vain to express...

"Because every law springs from a system of values and beliefs, every law is an instance of legislating morality. Further, because a nation’s laws always exercise a pedagogical or teaching influence, law inescapably exerts a shaping effect over the beliefs, character, and actions of the nation’s citizens, whether for good or ill. Those who seek to separate morality from law, therefore, are in pursuit both of the impossible and the destructive. The question before us is never whether or not to legislate morality, but which moral system ought to be made legally binding."

http://www.equip.org/free/DE206.htm

Food for thought...
Friday, November 05, 2004 8:51:41 PM UTC
Scott,
You've always impressed me, and you've impressed me again with a topic other than programming. Thank you!
vbNullString
Friday, November 05, 2004 9:37:38 PM UTC
Very well put, Scott. I'm very much impressed. You sound almost like a liberal arts major. :)
Friday, November 05, 2004 9:55:46 PM UTC
Another interesting view on the American elections:
http://attenuation.net/files/iq.htm

Disapointed European
Friday, November 05, 2004 10:07:43 PM UTC
To MarkB: atheism is a faith if the absence of sugar in my cofee is a taste.
Absence of belief does not equal belief in an absence. And you definitely
do not need to believe in god to have moral values.
Disapointed European
Saturday, November 06, 2004 4:40:49 AM UTC
This whole thread has been fascinating - mostly because it hasn't (for the most part) degenerated into name-calling the way several politic threads have done over the last few months. The maps are a good insight into the political "lay of the land" and that voting patterns have hardly changed in four years speaks volumes about the divisions in America when it comes to certain key issues.

I think something that really needs to be borne in mind throughout all of this is that the two parties on offer here in America are both essentially right-wing - if you compare them to political parties around the world (and particularly across Europe). It perhaps shouldn't be such a surprise that the nation is divided almost 50/50. America as a whole is a very conservative nation and also very insular.

I, personally, would have liked to see a Democratic government but Kerry was pretty wishy-washy and very much an unknown. Certain issues are 'key' for me and those are issues that decide who I would vote for (e.g., gay rights, womens' rights, science funding).

I love America - I moved here in '99, leaving everything behind in England, and my citizenship is currently being processed by the INS. I look forward to the day I can say "I am an American" and I look forward to doing my civic duty in 2008 - voting for the next president. It'll be interesting to see who is running. I'll probably vote Democratic, based on my 'key' issues - unless the Republicans change their stance. Interestingly, Arnie The Governator is very moderate for a Republican and for the most part supports those issues - what a difficult choice it would be for me if he were somehow allowed to run for president at some point...
Saturday, November 06, 2004 9:34:42 AM UTC
Scott,

I just ran across a more accurately colored map. In this site you'll also find a link to an interesting cartogram based on counties.

http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/JAVA/election2004/
Rocco Martin
Saturday, November 06, 2004 5:05:44 PM UTC
I think this election more than any other I've seen has brought out very emotional responses in a lot of people on both sides. I'm not usually politically motivated in any way - politics tends to be just more of the same shit by two parties who have nothing to offer in the way of change. But for me at least, this election had a moral issue to deal with. This has been an administration that in my view has no morals, no conscience and takes no responsibility for its actions. That alone should raise some red flags for all the folks voting along religious lines since these are definitively not Christian ideals. Open mind and open heart definitely does not apply here!

I can understand people voting for ideology, for religion, for patriotism - if these are followed up by policy and planning and foresight. I recall the Reagan years, when I was also adamantly opposed, but then at least there was something you could attach to and say: "I see the logic, I see the vision - it's not mine but I can understand why someone would want to go along with this." With this administration, somebody please point out what the vision is? There's nothing... no plan, just antagonism.

And worse it looks to me like Bush is doing little more than pandering to those special interests that 'get the vote'. Can you see President Bush praying... please - you've gotta be kidding. The man has not an ounce of spirituality in him. Even when he says God Bless America there's no sincerity there; it's an empty phrase.

I think Scott's point about a divided America is true, and this is something that is very serious. A country divided in its moral image and in its resolution is not a strong country. Every step of the way there will be doubts and backtracking robbing us of resolution.

Division is bad. I was in town yesterday having lunch at a busy place and ended up talking with a woman I didn't know. We started talking and invariably the topic got to the election and I was amazed at the reaction from this older lady and how agitated she got regarding the outcome of the election. A lot of people are very agitated. Granted I live in Hawaii and this place is very liberal with people who don't live the typical 'material' life-style, so there are lot of people here that are not happy with the results. But from what I can see this sort of thing is happening all over the place and maybe more so in places where the vote actually is more divided than here. I don’t know about you, but I find that kind of almost violent reaction disturbing…
Tuesday, November 09, 2004 2:30:12 AM UTC
Scott, thank you for providing this opportunity to have this discussion. I try to get to your blog often, as you provide a lot of helpful tips. Yet there is another side to life than technology and programming.

Scott, I appreciate your thoughtful response to everyone.

To Scott & Disappointed European: I don't disagree that atheists can be good moral people, there are plenty of examples. Food for thought: how can there be absence of belief or absence of faith? Doesn't it take faith to believe in Evolution. No one can prove it and no one goes around saying 'I was there!'.

Regarding 'legislating morality' vs. 'legislating a denomination' isn't too hard to see the difference if you look at it from the perspective that all religions (including atheists) can agree on foundational morals. I realize that this is over simplistic, but we have to start on what we agree and stick with foundational truths.
MarkB
Wednesday, November 10, 2004 3:59:17 PM UTC
Scott - VERY interesting post, but it really disturbs me that everyone chooses to break it down into red-state/blue state and then acts like the United States is at some unique cultural crossroad never before seen. The reality is that the election is the mapping of a binary decision onto a gradiant of issues.

A brief personal example... I'm a strong believer that my moral conviction regarding sexual-orientation shouldn't be forced on anyone. I also believe (as does my employer) that if you have a domestic partner, providing insurance to that person CAN NOT be a bad thing! Finally I believe that civil unions, but not marriage should be fine for same-sex partners. The binary analysis would be that I'm anti-gay because I pulled a lever on a marriage amendment in my state, but the reality of my convictions is MUCH more nuanced.

Here's a map that shows the REAL color of the country. It's unfortunate Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore won't admit it:

http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/JAVA/election2004/
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.