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City Lights: Time to leave the 'colors' out of voting

September 11, 2012|By Michael Miller

There's a hilarious song by the Orange County folk singer Michael Ubaldini called "World Peace in 10 Easy Lessons," in which the narrator journeys from one potential guru to another in hopes of discovering the secret to a strife-free world.

At one point on his quest, he listens to an actor on TV who ultimately disillusions him: "He said he wasn't racist; we must be colorblind / Then he talked of red and blue states, drew a dividing line."

Granted, separating people by the color of their state isn't as odious as separating them by the color of their skin. But as one who gets wearier all the time of our two-party mentality, especially with the election weeks away, I have to say that Ubaldini makes a legitimate point. How many of us, taking a cue from the electoral college or not, label ourselves as "blue" or "red" without a moment's pondering?

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Since I cover local politics for Times Community News, I have to remain as neutral as possible on partisan issues. This column won't be a discussion about my own party preferences. And frankly, I'm glad it won't be, because I find them harder to specify all the time.

Try this test: Write down the three things you would most like to change to make America a stronger country. Heck, just write the one. Did you mark lower taxes? More money for public schools? Fewer guns? Less gun control? Guantanamo Bay closed?

Now match that one wish to the political party that most commonly supports it, and see if all your other beliefs adhere to that party's line. In some cases, the links are logical enough. If you believe in freedom from business regulations, it may well follow that you believe in freedom from gun laws and freedom of school choice. If you believe in protecting the environment, that may easily segue into animal rights.

But if you support low taxes, does that automatically lead to opposition to gay marriage? If you believe in the National Endowment for the Arts, do you not believe in regime change? Constantly on Facebook this election season, I've been besieged with links to postings from the Being Liberal and Being Conservative pages. The former uses as its mascot a photo of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the latter Ronald Reagan. Does anyone out there revere them both?

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