Empathy for the "Other" Side

People tend to be tribalistic. Whether it is politics, religion, football (Jamaican and American), technology (vim vs TextMate, Ruby vs Java), etc.

It’s very easy to be caught up in your own dogma, but at the very least (I would encourage you to) be reasonable. Before denigrating/slandering/ridiculing someone else because they prefer something different than you, be cognizant of the fact that they may prefer it because of different circumstances than you.

For instance, not because you support Obama means that everyone that supports Romney/Ryan are idiots/stupid/crazy/dumb.

There could be a lot of reasons people support Romney/Ryan.

For starters, they could generally be disenchanted with what Obama has done - or hasn’t. 
  • He promised that the bailouts will jump start the economy and the economic recovery would be more robust than it has been.
  • He has come out in support of gay marriage - there are many that voted for him that are uncomfortable with that, and it could be a deal breaker for them. 
  • He has allowed the Republicans to hold many things hostage - like tackling the deficit in a comprehensive way, and such. In my opinion, he managed that process sub-optimally. 
  • He seems to be quick to spend, and not quick to fix the budget gap. I am not saying that he hasn’t offered any suggestions on how to fix it - but it clearly has not been his priority. I am also not saying that it SHOULD have been his priority, but that could be a perception (especially when Europe is melting down as a result of fiscal issues).
  • He will raise taxes on a bunch of people - both middle class and high income earners. He will offset those higher taxes with more tax credits for middle class - hoping that the net effect will be lower taxes for the middle class - but the fact is, there is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to taxes for a lot of people. Keep in mind that ‘middle class’ is up to $250K/year - i.e. small business owners.
  • He has done A LOT more for ‘large corporations’ than he has for small businesses - or rather, the effects of the stuff he has done for small businesses, won’t be felt for another few years.
  • Not to mention the fact that people might not like the idea of being forced to buy health insurance. I do agree that people should be forced, like they are with auto insurance - but not because someone doesn’t want to buy it, means that they are “dumb”. It could be a better financial move for MOST people (especially young people) to not do it. For the vast majority of the people that buy it, they won’t need to consume as much as they pay in premiums. That’s the very basis of the reason that insurance works. So there are many people that think they won’t need it right now - so they shouldn’t be forced to buy it. 
  • There are many people in many industries that will be displaced as a result of Obama’s policies - for instance, many middle class workers in the Oil industry that will be laid off and forced to learn new skills if Obama closes the tax loopholes that they take advantage of. Those people might not want to go through the headache of learning a new trade/skill/profession after 30 years on the job!
There are many reasons that people will support Obama too - that you may not be able to identify with.

The same goes for your local Orange or Green politician, black or white, rich or poor.

Let’s have a little more empathy for the “other” side, and try not to paint with a broad brush.

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