Preschoolers have something called “Opposite Day”. As the name implies, a day is set aside to do as many things as possible the opposite of normal. You can put your shirt on backward, shoes on the wrong feet, say goodbye when you enter the room instead of hello, say up instead of down and so on.
I wonder what would happen if we had an opposite political day. Left would be right and right would be left for one whole day. I wonder if by the end of the day we would all have the same opinions as when the day started.
If a conservative started thinking positive thoughts about gay marriage and making arguments in support of it, would she actually begin to have a change of heart? If a liberal took a stand against affirmative action would it’s downside begin to make sense to him?
If each of us took the opposite side of the discussion on prayer in school, gun control, global warming, abortion, welfare or any other issue we feel strongly about, would we be somewhat changed by the time the sun set on opposite day?
Or to think about this another way; President Obama has a six and a half year record on the books and it is strongly supported by some and heavily criticized by others. With few exceptions, his record is supported by liberals and condemned by conservatives.
I wonder what the outcome would be if we played a game of Whitehouse Opposite Day? Say we waved a magic wand and replaced our current liberal president with a conservative one and made it retroactive to January 2009. We would leave the record of the last six and one half years intact. We would still have 8 million undocumented immigrants, The Affordable Care Act would still be the law of the land, Bin Laden would still be dead and everything else would be the same except the president would be a conservative Republican.
Under these circumtstances would Liberal Democrats still be enthusiastic supporters of the presidential record of the last six and a half years if it were achieved by a Conservative Republican? Would Conservative Republicans still condemn it on it’s merits?
This would certainly be a test of principles and values. What matters most to us, our political values or the label on the person we vote for? Would conservative Republicans actually support and defend President Obama’s record and campaign for the more of the same?
Would liberal Democrats rail against President Obama’s record the way they did against President Bush’s and demand he be impeached?
I don’t know how most people would feel about their politics at the end of Whitehouse Opposite Day but, I find it difficult, based on the hateful partisan things I read and hear, to believe that emotion driven tribalism would be subdued by rational, intelligent thought.