Apparently I've been living in a fairytale land where anyone who labels themselves an Independent lays claim to that title because they don't vote straight ticket, that they weigh evidence before deciding on which Independent candidate to support OR whether to support a Rep/Dem candididate. That they aren't comfortable with the system as is and want to see some radical change. That they research and give pause before making any judgements of candidates.
I realize thats a little simplified, but I know very few Independents and have made my assumptions based on what I've read or seen in the media, online, etc.
I've gotten a little insight today that surprised me....follow me past the fold to see what I've learned and maybe open a dialogue about what can be done here.
Like many of you here, I send the occassional FWD'd emails to fellow Dems or friends when I find it worthy of bugging someone with. I myself hate FWDs so I don't send many....I delete most and believe most of my friends will too.
But I read Eve Ensler's thoughts about Sarah Palin on the HUFFINGTON POST SITE, and shortly after got an email forwarded to me by my Mom, forwarded from some women and the Democratic headquarters in her small town in northern Iowa. As a woman, and a Mom with a small daughter, I felt it important enough to not only forward to my friends that I knew were Obama supporters but those I was unsure of and those I knew were NOT. This, to me, is the perfect example of something that transcends party affiliation. As women, we need to really consider what Palin and her ilk propose to bring to the White House.
I recieved this odd response from a friend of mine (living in St Louis) who I haven't known terribly long but what I do know about her is that she is a forward thinking woman, a single Mom and pretty cool (in my opinion, of course!).
"boy I sure am getting a lot of anti-Palin emails... You know I am an independent?
A few quick thoughts on what you just sent me: I am pro-choice and my daughter got pregnant young and unmarried, as did I... to use her daughter's life choices as political leverage in anyway - by any party just disgusts me... and also, the banned book list stuff is not correct - it simply is just not true - please research it.
This is the first Democratic election I have received so many misleading emails slinging so much mud, I wonder why the Dem's think O'Bama can't win on merit - I have yet to receive ONE email telling me anything that Obama will do (or has done of value besides inspire hope - which is no small task - but Presidential Leadership requires more than simply evoking emotion from the masses) - yet my Republican friends send me stuff about McCain all the time - and not ONE time have I received a trash email about Obama from them...
Anyway, all send in respectful candor, kay?"
I'm not sure I know where to begin to react to that.
I've lived most of my adult life as a Dem. believing that Democrats are the party that engage far less in negativity, bashing, slader, lies.....and have been alternately frustrated that this ends up often being their downfall yet so proud of the high road the Dems (often) take that it is one of the party's most attractive traits to me.
Applied to Obama, I have felt the same way. I was initially attracted to his graciousness, his class, the respect he shows everyone....even the nastiest of opponents. Yet I feel frustration, too, when I see him attacked and lied about and worry that if he stoops to the level of those slinging mud at him he will lose what so many find appealing about him to begin with. And if he doesn't, there is the chance people will believe the lies.
So now, with the need coming down to appealing to the Independent voter....how does Obama overcome that? How does he counter against the constant attacks, try to get the truth out there, try to get people to listed to reality when they can't seem to get past the mudslinging in general?
Here's what gets me. "I wonder why the Dem's think O'Bama can't win on merit".
I felt like, with that 2 minute ad that is on the front page right now, he had addressed it in a way that would work. It actually made me cry a little, it was so straightforward, so good, so real....so positive. But how can he, how can WE, keep from looking like pushovers while nasty lies fill the airwaves AND maintain a level of class....keep on the "high road"? How can we appear to believe Obama CAN win on his merit when we have to constantly counteract the bald faced lies and nasty tone this election has taken on in the last few weeks? We know we believe it....what we don't believe in is our fellow Americans to see what we see.
And what to counter an email like hers with? (I did respond, rebutted the book list thing with not the list but the facts, sent her links to read both candidates plans side by side, a link to how to figure your tax cut under Obama v. McCain's plan, etc). But more than that...I'm stumped.
Is negative the way to do if its going to turn away Independents like my friend?