I wished for a more complete, and more academic piece to be my first entry, but extra-blogging life has increased its demands in the past weeks, and only fit-of-passion posts complete themselves quickly.
In recent posts by DHinMI, Chris Bower, and Melanie I have seen cogent arguments against generalizations. In my mind, these arguments are tainted by additional layers of request placed upon liberals who disagree with the ideas put forth, i.e. religion and the Confederate flag.
I would ask:
What does inclusivity mean for "non-traditional" liberals?
Does tolerance have to require agreeance?
An argumentative center is the primary nature of the progressive; a persitant cynic of a beast, who carries a deep distrust of every idea, including their own. Given that the criticism is coupled to intelligent debate and appropriate tolerance, it becomes the strength of the liberal ideal, but paradoxically it has become source of the Democratic party's current political weakness.
Does that mean that a Democrat should condone every idea in the name of inclusivity, and in the interest of easily winning? I believe not. It does require, however, the demonstration of tolerance, and the ability to move the discourse from points of contention to points of concurrence.
I believe Dr. Dean is making a weak attempt at striking this note. This is not an endorsement of Dr. Dean, but merely a potential application of this idea. In my mind, he is making the statement that while one may not be supportive of idea "X," if the disagreement is coupled to a baseline tolerance, the disagreement should be negligable in the broader political sense.
I will remark that I have a great amount of disdain for both religion and the Confederate flag (interestingly enough, I strongly believe in both a god and states' rights). In what will be a tremendous oversimplification, I find religion in practice to be a weakening force for the human spirit, and the Confederate flag to be a sullied symbol that is best to be left to the annuls of history.
That is not to say that I support a ban on either idea. I will, however, argue with you at every opportunity about their propriety.
Is there a large chance that I will apply a faulty generalization in an argument? Yes. Does it completely counteract the central tenant of my argument? Not necessarily.
Though the harsh labels of generalizations are applied far too quickly, so too I believe is the label of intolerance. Immediate and absolute negation of the opinions of individuals holding differing views is a polarizing operation the Democratic party would be well to avoid, as they would be ignoring the further complexity of the individual and thereby alienating a voter. The proverbial street, however, runs both ways.
While those progressives, like myself, who harbor disagreement with religion and the symbol of the Confederacy would be well to engage and extend welcome to those who hold differing views, those same individuals should not shrink from reciprocal action. It is to the great credit of "non-traditional" progressives, such as Melanie, that they do not.