Regarding the Nov. 4 article "A deepening divide between red and blue": Republicans seem to perceive Democrats as being uneducated heathens living on welfare. Democrats seem to perceive Republicans as self-righteous individuals lacking in compassion and the ability to give to others. Of course these generalizations cause a lot of hard feelings and neither side is right. Until these stereotypical views of each side are dissolved, there will continue to be a wall.
The nation may be split because divisions are necessary for the rich harvest of controversy on which commercial TV networks feed their voracious appetites. They exploit differences when they can be found, and manufacture differences when they don't exist. The American electorate may actually have fewer differences than all the newsfolk elite imagine.
Thomas E. Borton
The headline on this article only serves to lead and convince readers that our country is divided and the problem is deepening. I believe that focusing on division is not the answer. Your headline could have (and, in my opinion, should have) taken a more positive approach by identifying the common issues that all Americans share and by focusing on ways to learn to value and respect the opinions of others.
Miami Beach, Fla.
The "red-blue divide" is one of education and analytical skills as much as ideology. The GOP did a good job of appealing to the "lowest common denominator" by providing less-educated and less-sophisticated voters with a very simple, clear-cut message of preserving family values and staying safe.
If President Bush wants to heal the divide, he needs to reach out to Americans who are better educated and have better analytical skills. He needs to stop making decisions based on faith and theory. Since he's won, there is no need for him to continue to focus on the "lowest common denominator."
George Bush's underperformance in the 18- to-29-year-old category bodes ill for the future success of the Republican Party as our generation comes into power. And by then, the cultural divisiveness that has characterized this campaign will be replaced by tolerance and a desire to move our country forward, not backward.
Fort Collins, Colo.
Regarding the Nov. 4 article "The GOP edge grows wider": The popular vote, coupled with Republican gains in the Senate, House, and governorships, clearly spells out something close to a mandate. However, we shouldn't forget that though 59 million voted for Bush, more than 55 million did not; that's a lot of unhappy Americans. Surely, our future legislative agenda can be tailored to meet the needs and aspirations of the overwhelming majority, not just those of the still rejoicing.
There are areas of domestic concern where we must seek common ground with Democrats so as to improve the lives of all citizens: the environment, energy independence, education (where we're still losing ground), deficit spending, the ever-higher costs of medical care, illegal and legal immigration, and lots more. These are not Republican or Democratic issues - they are issues affecting us all.
The Republicans have a unique and absolutely magnificent opportunity to set America on the road toward solutions in many if not all these areas, but we can't do it alone. Democrats, setting aside divisive and obstructionist partisanship, must make common cause with the Republicans to make this an ever better nation for us all.
Santa Rosa, Calif.
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