As the reaction across Canada to the Fort McMurray wildfire has shown, progressives and conservatives are not as divided about what it takes to have a compassionate and caring country as some might have expected. For example:
(1) Once the evacuation was under way and people were running out of gas, strangers started turning up on Highway 63 South with gasoline, water and food.
(2) For those who did have gas, local, Metis and Aboriginal communities, both north and south of the danger zone, welcomed anyone who stopped with food and hospitality. In fact, I heard today that some are feeling so welcome in those communities, they are going to stay for the summer.
(3) When people in Edmonton and Calgary heard what was happening, they posted on social media that their homes were open to anyone who needed a place to stay
(4) And, when Canadians far and wide heard what was happening, but couldn’t help directly, they donated money to the Red Cross by the millions.
The problem, it seems, is that the intolerance between progressives and conservatives is based on faulty assumptions.
For example, Nicholas Kristof wrote in an op-ed column in the New York Times on May 7th, 2016 titled: “A Confession of Liberal Intolerance” that:
“WE progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table — er, so long as they aren’t conservatives. Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but the one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.”
Essentially, according to Kristof, and what I have observed as a blogger, is that liberals believe they are 100% right, as in correct, about everything. With the result, that they either believe they have nothing to learn from conservatives or worse, have complete contempt for anything a conservative might believe.
That said, there is the intolerance on the side of conservatives as well, toward even the mention of the word progressive.
Yet, as the Fort McMurray wildfire and evacuation has shown, when we are faced with a horrific natural disaster, we pull together and demonstrate that, differences aside, we do have shared values.
As I said at the start of this post, there is hope:
Thank you Canada!