The worst mistake people make in political arguments is assuming that the other side is not trying to do the right thing. This simple oversight makes productive conversation nearly impossible.
The only way to have a real discussion is to realize that both parties think they are doing good, and that the question is one of perspective on right and wrong.
For liberals, consider that Bush didn’t wake up every morning thinking he’d get rich and make the world hate us. No. He woke up thinking he’d help the world, and that people would love him. Conservatives should consider that Obama doesn’t wake up thinking of how to destroy America; he genuinely believes he’s improving it.
So call them stupid. Call them foolish. Call them misguided. But don’t call them evil, as true evil requires the desire to do evil.
The moment one starts believing the other side intends to be evil, the conversation is over. Instead, you must accept that both of you are trying to achieve what you believe to be good, and so the goal should be to determine–in objective terms–what right and wrong actually are, within the context of our shared human struggle.
Until we can work from within this type of common moral space we have little foundation on which to form a productive political debate. ::