One last thought, for a while. This is a thought that bled over from facebook. A "friend" from there posted a link to an article by Paul Krugman in the New York Times that I thought was terribly unfair. I won't go over the whole thing, but the part that stuck in my craw was that Krugman characterized anyone who was opposed to letting the 2001 Bush tax cuts expire as someone who would rather the poor starve than the top 2% of evil rich plutocrats lose their precious tax cuts. I pointed out that most of us (yes, us) who want the cuts to stay do so because we actually think that taxes going up during a deep recession is economically very bad. Arguments can be made on both sides as to whether that economic assumption is true or not, but to have a Nobel-prize-winning economist so baldly misstate the motives of those who disagree with him seemed to me the very definition of partisan hackery.
But here's where it got interesting. There were over 700 comments on the NYT article, and in the first 3 pages (after which I gave up), about 90% of them amounted to readers cheering Krugman for speaking the plain, obvious truth. And my comment on my friend's status was greeted with similar sentiments. It took a great deal of explaining for many folks (probably not near all) who saw the thread to conclude that I was neither stupid nor evil. Meanwhile, I was bummed that so many people on the "other side" could be so "blind."
This is repeated all over--read the comments on Hot Air or other conservative blogs and you'll get the reverse. We all think we're right (well, of course we do--if we thought we were wrong, we'd change our minds). And we surround ourselves with folks who agree with us. It reminds me of the story of Pauline Kael, a NYT columnist who reacted to the 1972 election results with, "How can Nixon have won? Nobody I know voted for him!" (Nixon had won 49 states and a huge popular-vote landslide.)
The older and more mellow I get, the more I'm willing to at least consider the possibility that I might be wrong. (Well, I consider the possibility, and then reject it...) This isn't just true of politics, it's true of church stuff, and finance stuff, and professional stuff. One of my ongoing resolutions is to try to at least extend a presumption of good faith to those who disagree with me.