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I received this email yesterday in response to the "The Deciding… - Scott Bateman

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November 5th, 2004


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11:07 am
I received this email yesterday in response to the "The Deciding Factor? Moral Values" cartoon I did the day after the election (see it here). Unlike the vast majority of email I receive from people who have a quibble with one of my cartoons, this person calmly, politely and inteligently outlines why they voted for Bush:
I understand that political cartoons are editorials and I appreciate that fact and enjoy reading Cagle's website weekly.  However,  I just wanted to comment on your latest cartoon that I found interesting.  You had three characters overexaggeratedly expressing how they would rather be poor, lose rights, have a horrible economy- rather then see two men get married.  After reading your comic I understand that you think this thinking is absurd but I just wanted to give you my insight on it from the other side. 
I can honestly say that I would rather have a horrible economy, and be poor then to see a marriage act passed that would allow two persons of the same sex to marry.  I don't beleive this is a loss of a right.  The reason I can say this is because of my faith.  To me, the economy and wealth are not factors I am concerned about.  I know God will provide for me and take care of me as he has done for years.  I am concerned about where our country is headed morally and with its values.  And for that reason, I will always vote based on my morals rather then on the country's economy.
You may think this strange, or call me a religious fanatic who doesn't care about the country's well being, but I know that it is in the country's well being to keep marriage between one man and one woman.  And it should be for one lifetime. 
Just wanted to share this opposite point of view, though it is absurd to you, is obviously quite serious not only to me, but to the majority of the country as Bush is once again our president. 


This is not an unintelligent person, so I don't want to see any comments to that effect. Her faith is obviously very important to her, which I respect (although the conclusions her faith brings her too are highly questionable, but that's not an argument we need to get into here either). I didn't post this here to discuss these topics.

This is the ONLY topic I want to discuss in this post--how do I, as a cartoonist, go about convincing such a person that Bush is SO wrong on so many issues...? How do I do that in their language so that they understand? Or are they unreachable?

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From:fightingwords
Date:November 5th, 2004 07:19 pm (UTC)
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here's a suggestion:

i listened to an episode of "this american life" a month or so ago that was quite enlightening. it centered on the diversity of opinions within the republican party. towards the end of the hour, two republican politicians, one gay, both religious, discussed gay rights. the point made by the gay GOP guy was that homosexuality is no more a sin in the bible than various other sins -- like divorce -- which their churches currently give a pass on. i think pointing out that hypocrisy might make people think. the question then becomes: why is gay marriage so much more troubling than divorce between het couples, murder, etc.?
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From:laughingimp
Date:November 5th, 2004 08:27 pm (UTC)
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In Leviticus, "laying with man as with woman" is an "abomination," on par with eating shrimp or wearing mixes-blend fabrics. No, really. Abominations all. I've always wondered why certain abominations are abominable, and others can be ignored.
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From:ghostofzuul
Date:November 5th, 2004 07:22 pm (UTC)
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it's impossible... ana posted a link to a post i made and for the last 2 days i've gotten trolls all over my journal telling me how crazy and or unamerican i am... why? because they have no argument... only insults... the only thing that's going to get through to those people is when they themselves face some sort of jeapordy... and then they'll coming looking to people like us who have already organized... but you know what... payback is a bitch!
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From:yoames
Date:November 5th, 2004 07:24 pm (UTC)
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I'm not sure. I suppose if it were me, I would start by asking which moral value is most important to her when she's choosing between candidates. After all, Bush violated a large number of moral (even Christian) principles when he lied to the American people to push through the war, and gave implicit backing (in the case of campaign ads, even explicit backing with the "I approve this message" line) to GOP claims that were unfair distortions, selective interpretations or even outright lies. Is anti-gay principle more important than the commandment not to bear false witness? Bush cabinet members have libeled and slandered those who oppose them, sanctioned widespread deceit, and proposed, carried out and enforced policies that put business profits far ahead of the common people; you may believe that God will take care of you financially, but how do you justify supporting policies that deliberately impoverish or disenfranchise the less powerful? How does a moral person decide between these two evidently unappealing choices?

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From:yoames
Date:November 5th, 2004 07:57 pm (UTC)
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The more I think about it, the more I think that in effective moral terms she's just shot herself in the foot. Kerry was not in favor of gay marriage, and while he was not in favor of changing the constitution to ban it, he was beyond unlikely to do anything to actually foster its legalization. Bush, on the other hand, while claiming to support the idea of an amendment during his campaign, has now demonstrated (in his speech yesterday) that this particular policy initiative is far, far down on his list of priorities. So he would seem to have used the issue primarily to cement the support of conservatives -- I think that's the "political capital" he was talking about yesterday. (FYI, this tactic is also known as "pandering," which I think the Bible also disapproves of.) So instead of a president who was exceedingly unlikely to support gay marriage, she has one who is not going to bother to further ban gay marriage AND is a demonstrated liar on a number of other really significant topics. Oops.
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From:jfargo
Date:November 5th, 2004 07:25 pm (UTC)
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How does that person, as a religiously righteous person, go about convincing you that it doesn't matter that Bush is wrong on so many issues, as long as he keeps gay marriage from ever happening, and keeps the country morally straight, based upon Christian values? How does she do it in a way that you can understand? Or are you, perhaps, unreachable?
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From:midnightmadness
Date:November 5th, 2004 08:28 pm (UTC)

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This point would have a bit more weight had Bush's opponent actually supported gay marriage himself - but he didn't.
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From:coffeeinhell
Date:November 5th, 2004 07:29 pm (UTC)
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I don't think you can convince someone like this otherwise. People who are embracing religion to that extent have chosen mythology over practical values -- and there's usually a very personal reason for that, most likely stemming from fear. The fairy tale that a being larger and smarter than themselves will Make Everything Alright No Matter What far outweighs any real-world analysis of, say, economy, health care or the environment.

No matter what you say to them, they'll always end up falling back on "it's in God's hands" and choosing blind faith over reason. And it has little to do with intellectect -- it's about choosing an imaginary security blanket to quell fear, and people rarely choose fear when they've found what they believe to be a safe port, even if it's imaginary.
From:jennvix
Date:November 5th, 2004 07:29 pm (UTC)
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The answer is a cold hard truth. The mixing of church and state is unconstitutional. There is my answer.
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From:dryad271
Date:November 5th, 2004 10:39 pm (UTC)
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Precisely.
From:drunkdevil76
Date:November 5th, 2004 07:29 pm (UTC)
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i believe there is such a diference in the interests of those who voted for bush, and those who voted for kerry. christ, ( me just using that word as means in my explanation is one major prooof of difference), all we have to do is look at the us map as to who voted for who. the north east, and west coast is exposed to so many more things, many more ways of life, which makes us much more appathetic to issues such as gay marriage since we all probably have friends who are gay....common lifestyle to most of us. also, for alot of us religion is not a major factor in our everday living. our areas are where people of the south and midwest tend to flee when they want to become part of a free thinking life. maybe if you implemented your views against bush without attacking his supporters.......hard in a political cartoon i know.......it would be easier to swallow for those less exposed and turn their views around a bit as to why he is doing more harm then good in this country and others for that matter.
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From:editrix26
Date:November 5th, 2004 11:18 pm (UTC)
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for the record, a number of midwestern states - illinois, michigan, minnesota -- went for kerry. yeah, a big chunk of flyover didn't, but that's a rather narrow way of looking at it. i do plenty of free-thinking and am exposed to a lot of different ways of life where i live, in a gay neighborhood in a state that went solidly to kerry.
(Deleted comment)
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From:micahellison
Date:November 5th, 2004 07:33 pm (UTC)
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"This is the ONLY topic I want to discuss in this post--how do I, as a cartoonist, go about convincing such a person that Bush is SO wrong on so many issues...?"

It seems like you actually have convinced this person that "Bush is so wrong on so many issues". But it's simply a matter of principles and she has a couple that are unbending, namely one that she thinks her faith mandates. There are really only two arguments you can make against this sort of thing: 1) that her religion is "wrong"; 2) that her interpretation of her religion is "wrong". Either way is trying to attack a very subjective and personal thing with attempts to make it objective, so it's tough ground to walk on.

There's also the ol' compare 'n' contrast: juxtapose American conservatives trying to ban gay marriage with Islamic conservatives trying to repeal the rights of women, or some such thing... but conservatives get really turned off by this sort of thing and tend not to pay it the attention it's worth.

The real problem is that humanistic reasoning has a hard time against faith. You're talking to a group of people that believe that this world is so unimportant that its only purpose is to test whether or not you'll be able to make it into the best place possible when you leave. If they have to decide between an eternity in that best place or a short lifetime of fixing things in this place, they're going to go for the fore and damn the latter.
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From:auros
Date:November 5th, 2004 11:08 pm (UTC)
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The anti-gay-marriage folks are intellectual inheritors to the anti-miscegenation folks a generation before.

The under-30 cohort voted for Kerry, 54 to 49. Gay marriage will be a non-issue in 20 years. What's more important is that we get ahead of the curve, and start showing that while the GOP talks the talk on morality, they're happy to descend into a moral cesspool if they think it'll make a buck -- see: reality shows on Fox.
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From:tikimama
Date:November 5th, 2004 07:34 pm (UTC)
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And it should be for one lifetime.

It was nice to see that, at least. So many who give lip service to the sanctity of marriage rarely mention the one time clause.

I don't know that this kind of person can be "convinced" as it were. She seems very comfortable in her priorities. I think only a personal crisis (a gay child, etc) would do much to convince her.

However, I think that she is incorrect in her assumption that others who supported Bush feel the same. I think they are more people who don't really don't think very deeply about it. Those people are reachable--but I don't think that sarcasm is the way to do it. I think a more gentle approach is needed, if that is your purpose.
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From:aliza250
Date:November 10th, 2004 07:11 am (UTC)
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There's a substantial body of opinion that what happens in this world for 80 or 100 years is not nearly as important as what happens in the next world for all eternity. This includes poverty, injustice, and all material issues.
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From:thespian
Date:November 5th, 2004 08:28 pm (UTC)
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They are stubbornly wedded to a particular ideology that blinds them to reality

of course, that applies to the president, too.
(Deleted comment)
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From:lux_aurumque
Date:November 6th, 2004 04:01 pm (UTC)
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What are you saying?! This is totally irresponsible. She's right, you know, it is because of her and other evangelicals that Bush has been elected. You can't just write them off because they are growing, you need to stymie their support for Bush and at the same time draw them back from the edge of the cliff they're standing on.

If you just stick your head in the sand they will win. You will be seen as out of touch and cold. The best way to mitigate the damage they cause is by opening their eyes to the so-called "morality" Bush preaches.

After all, they call them "false prophets" for a reason. People follow them.
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From:thegreatjohnzo
Date:November 5th, 2004 07:50 pm (UTC)
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i personally would mention the fact that john kerry too was against gay marriage. i mean, he wasnt as extreme as bush, but still wasnt all too cool with them. also, as one of my friends said, God didnt said jesus down here so we could be cruel to gays, or any other group for that matter. treat others, and all that jazz. no one is unreachable. see plato's cave, etc. we just have to drag them out of that cave. you may also want to ask her about what crime there would be in allowing gays to exist in the military. make that jumping point and then continue onwards to gay people in general and then finally to marriage. just my thoughts. i liked the mandate cartoon btw.
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From:lolaraincoat
Date:November 5th, 2004 08:03 pm (UTC)
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This is an interesting question partly because it replicates the The Trouble with Kansas argument: our side pushes material issues, theirs goes for moral ones. But, you know, the good guys have moral values too. Your cartoon compared the apples of material wellbeing and physical safety to the oranges of morality. What would happen if you compared oranges to oranges? I mean, personally, I'm much less concerned with the threat posed to the moral development of America's youth by gay families than I am by the moral threat posed to America's youth by our willingness to countenance Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. It seems to me that the left does have plain old Judeo-Christian morality on our side for the most part; we should be willing to say so.

Furthermore, those moral issues where we do diverge from old testament orthodoxy are mostly questions of sexuality - perhaps there it would help to keep reminding our opponents of just who it was that Jesus was protecting when he advised against casting the first stone.

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From:snale
Date:November 6th, 2004 02:56 am (UTC)
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This is almost exactly what I was thinking. By pointing out the immoral actions the President has taken, maybe people who are really concerned about morality will be less likely to support him. You could start with the Ten Commandments such as:
"Keep Holy the Sabbath Day" (GWB doesn't actually attend Sunday services)
"Thou Shalt Not Kill" (I think this is fairly obvious)
"Do Not Lie" (It's like shooting fish in a barrel)

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