I created the dialogue for this cartoon from snatches of conversations that I had during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. During the holidays I had several conversations with friends and relatives about politics, religion and life in general. Like most people, I have liberal, conservative and middle-of-the-road friends and relatives. I tried to listen and learn from all of these conversations, even from opinions that I deeply disagreed with. If someone gives a thoughtful and insightful explanation of their opinions, I’m more willing to listen than if I’m yelled at or if a group tries to impose their views on me. I may not change my opinions, but I gain a greater respect of points-of-views that are different from my own.
I think I get into a lot of these conversations because people are worried about the state of our nation and they need to express their feelings to their fellow Americans. Some people know I’m a political cartoonist and want to engage with me because of that. That’s o.k. with me. I have this avenue to express my opinions and should be willing to allow others to express theirs. As long as they’re civil about it and respect my right to disagree, I will more likely get something out of those conversations.
James Carville and Mary Matalin just came out with a new book titled Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home. Carville and Matalin are two individuals who on opposite ends of the political spectrum who fell in love and married. What makes this an interesting relationship is that the couple often worked on opposing political campaigns. In 1992, early in their relationship, Carville managed Bill Clinton’s electoral campaign while Matalin was George H. W. Bush’s key strategist. Carville was a major force in the Clinton administration, while Matalin was an important aid to Vice President Cheney during the Bush administration.
Liberal James Carville and conservative Mary Matalin are able to have a happy marriage because they’re able to look past their political differences and see each other’s appealing human qualities that caused them to first become attracted to each other. In their book, Carville and Matalin reflect on raising two daughters in the nation’s capital, and their decision to move to New Orleans in 2008. They reflect on two decades of national politics, the struggles in their relationship, and their shared interest in promoting New Orleans as it struggles out of the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.
Another book about a friendship of opposites is The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams, a collection of the letters of Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams. The three of them were close friends, even though Jefferson was an ardent Republican who believed in state rights, and Abigail and John Adams were Federalists who believed in a strong federal government. Their political differences would cause some friction during their many years of friendship. But after they both retired from politics, they were able to exchange their views on politics, religion, books, and their families.
Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked by Chris Matthews is about the friendship and political collaboration between conservative Ronald Reagan and liberal Tip O’ Neil. Though the two leaders fought over major issues like welfare, taxes, covert military operations, and Social Security, they also found enough common ground to reform taxes, save Social Security, and worked to bring peace to Northern Ireland. After they debated about political issues, they would meet afterwards and share a drink and share jokes and they developed a strong friendship. They never let their political differences become personal.
This is important to me, because in the past decade or so, I’ve had the most problems with conflicts with people who can’t tolerate different opinions than their own. They stereotype me as being a certain way because I’m a liberal Democrat and I’ve wound up getting into conflicts with individuals I barely know. I think it’s important for people to know others with different points of view and it’s equally important not to get into the trap of only hanging out with people with the same views. If a liberal only hangs around with liberals or if a conservative only hangs out with conservatives, they get stuck in a bubble and they’re a lot more vulnerable to groupthink.
Two youtube videos of James Carville and Mary Matalin talking about their life in politics
Chris Matthews talks about his book “Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked” and the friendship of Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan
If you enjoy this cartoon, take a look at these links for more of my political cartoons at my blog. You could also join my Jasper the Cat facebook page. If you’d like to email me, you can write a comment at firstname.lastname@example.org
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