Conservatives think liberals are misguided; liberals think conservatives are evil

During this political campaign, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Sashi McEntee, who is running as the San Francisco/North Bay Republican candidate for the California State Senate.  You only need a few minutes in Sashi’s company to realize that she is intelligent, energetic, blessedly pragmatic, and extremely nice.  Her politics are practical and, if voters would give her a chance, would reap enormous economic benefits for her constituents and for California too.

Because she is both a business woman and a social creature, Sashi has a large mailing list.  As her campaign gears up, she’s been sending emails to people on her contact list to promote her campaign.  One of those people is someone Sashi has always know is liberal, but it’s apparent from his response that he never realized before that she was conservative.  I quote verbatim:

Sorry Sashi but the very fact that you are running as a republican disqualifies you as an intelligent and caring member of society. Surely you must realize this and if so how is it possible that you can associate yourself with that party.

The republican party has rampaged through this society and destroyed its very foundations with its insane deregulation notions and its spin mastering of our leadership into a personality cult. The very selection of McCain and his even more cynical selection of an extremist like Palin is the clearest evidence possible for any thinking person that the Republican party is simply evil in both intent and action.

If you have any moral conscience you would declare yourself an independent and declare your opposition to the Republican agenda and its membership.

Heaven help us if the likes of you and your party are elected.

Within one second, Sashi went from being someone this man felt friendly towards, to being the embodiment of evil.  To him, as James Taranto so often likes to say (having picked it up from an AP story some months ago), “everything seemingly is spinning out of control.”  His universe is a cruel and random place — and it’s all the Republicans’ fault.

To Progressives, politics is no longing about people espousing different approaches to achieve the same overall goals.  Instead, it’s become an existential battle against the forces of evil incarnate.  That is, in their own minds, they’re not just battling evil ideas (or foolish one), they’re battling evil people.  And what’s really frightening is that, to Progressives, the evil people aren’t him, they’re her.