Just because she is religious and right-wing doesn’t mean she is stupid, or incompetent. She is a hard-boiled professional politician, with a high domestic approval rating. When she eventually starts giving media interviews she will do well, and she will talk directly to the anxieties of middle class Americans in small towns.
America stands as a land divided. The liberal condescension towards the deeply held religious and moral choices of large numbers of their fellow countrymen plays directly into the hands of the Republican right. The only way this divide can be healed is by progressive America finding common ground with the economic problems that unite working Americans: the lack of universal health care, the poverty wages of the working poor, the jobs being exported and the high levels of personal debt.
The social issues like gun ownership, separation of church and state and abortion are of course important. But there cannot be meaningful dialogue until people start listening to each other..
More and more I’m seeing precisely that as the problem. The Left and the Right don’t listen to each other. Nor do they want to. Both sides, too often, are convinced that their views are correct, while the center is vanishing or ignored.
As I recently posted on my own blog, it may seem strange in the face of war, economic instability and climate change, that for many Americans abortion and marriage rank as their number one issue. We’d do well to understand why that is: those are the issues that define membership in a particular religious group. They’re the “identifying issues” that make that group of people different from the rest of us. And they can’t be argued away, since adherence to those positions is religious and not intellectual.
If we’re to break down the barriers that divide our nation, we must appeal with compassion to those who have walled themselves off in the face of persecution (real or perceived, unprovoked or self-created). Ignoring them or (worse) ridiculing them only perpetuates the problem.