So you’re a Republican, and certainly you love your country, your wealth, your family, your life of privilege and comfort. Yes, you enjoy being part of what your so-called President George W. Bush calls “My base – the Haves and the Have-Mores.”

Well,just imagine a kinder, gentler world where Democrats and Republicans actually listen to each other and communicate – without screeching “liberals” or “conservatives” as epithets, while trying to scratch each other’s ideologies out!

Impossible?

With the presidential election fast approaching, I queried a cross-section of ordinary Americans: “What would you say to a Republican to change their mind about voting for Bush?” Here’s what some replied:

  • David, tax accountant, N.J.: “It’s curable, you know.”

  • “Adelaide,” medical editor, Pa.: “If Bush wins this election, God and all the universe forbid, we may see the end of the democratic process in this country. Would you jeopardize your right to vote in future elections? How many future elections would there be? These guys have no interest in rule of the people; their only agenda is a power-grab. If you don’t believe me, O Republican, get yourself to the video store and take home ‘Fahrenheit 9-11.'”

  • “SoldierOfMisfortune,” AOL: “Bush misled country into war! 1,090 U.S. troops died; 13,000 Iraqi Civilians died! No WMD! No 9-11 links! No urgent threat! Bush record: Lost jobs! Record Deficits! Record Gas Prices! Record Spent on losing campaign!”

  • “Meg,” activist/healer, N.Y.: “Republicans for Kerry, Bush must be removed, or your kids will get drafted to fuel his next wrong, greedy, totally self-indulgent war. The rest of the world does not accept Bush’s leadership, or that of any American. The rest of the world is quite capable of leading itself. Your kids will pay the price!”

  • Stephanie, legal aide, Pa.: “My usual [remark] is: What? Are you nuts? What has he done for you lately? You got a job yet?”

  • JJ, activist, Pa.: “I might say a vote for Bush is a vote to allow corporate control of our lives, to allow pesticides in all children’s’ food – even Republican’s kids, to deny us all a proper health-care system, to charge us all for access to our own public places like forests, trails, parks, etc., and is a vote to have more of your money given to wealthy private profiteering interests and less to public interests. A vote for Bush is a vote to push yourself out of control of your own life. A vote for Bush is a vote to endanger more troops, and then to deny those troops adequate medical care afterward.”

  • “Teddy,” screenwriter, Ore.: “I believe our steady loss of civil liberties over the past four years is frightening. With the country turned over to the big corporations, look what they’ve done to the environment, to labor standards, to free speech. Also, we are on rails toward establishment of a theocracy. Isn’t that scary enough?”

  • Sandy, Author-Actress, Pa.: “I’d ask them [to] please look at facts beyond sound-bites. Think about what they’re hearing. Talk policy, not personality. [Remember] … Bush has more than one deadly, dangerous and poorly thought-out policy – ordering a preemptive war, denying scientists the tools to make many lives better, condemning more and more of us to Third World existence in support of a richer business class … ”

  • Howard, entrepreneur, N.J.: “I can’t understand George W’s opposition to embryonic stem-cell research. Many people I know who’re real Republicans are leaning toward Kerry-Edwards because of that issue alone. The president of the United States shouldn’t let his personal beliefs interfere with the future well-being of all Americans. A faith-based personal opposition to stem-cell research and development should not deny all of us potential benefits of medical science. It’s like a vegetarian president banning eating hamburgers and hot dogs.”

  • Len, retired insurance worker, N.J.: “If you vote for Kerry now, it will prevent Hillary Clinton from running for president four years from now.”

  • Don, teacher-community organizer-writer, N.Y. City: “I would ask them to watch the debates again. Anyone who cannot see Bush is mediocre and doesn’t hold a candle to Kerry’s nuanced reasoning, is beyond help. I’d [also] ask them to examine Bush’s stand on the environment … Melting icecaps are [not] part of the Divine plan. Republicans are only concerned about what they can pillage today. The future has no meaning for them, only immediate gratification. I’d ask those voting for Bush, ‘Do you really want to be aligned with these greedy SOB’s?’ and leave it at that.”

    Go, Kerry!

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