Election years bring many wedge issues intended to do just that, drive a wedge between voters and force a decision one way or the other. Wedge issues are laid out on every front:
- Politically. President Bush is currently stumping that Kerry is too liberal, has a liberal voting record. Senator Kerry is stumping that President Bush is not for the poor but gives tax breaks continually to the rich, too conservative.
- Morality. President Bush doesn't seem to be using this issue excessively but for several decades morality, family values, and abortion have been elements of the Republican agenda that they have used to drive wedges and lead party members in the belief that Republican values are American values and more moral than Democratic values. Democrats, meanwhile, are calling for the liberty of people to make their own value judgments about their bodies (abortion), their lifestyles (gay marriage), but at a deeper level they are concerned for the rights and liberties of these individuals, not the particular choice they are making.
- Taxation. Senator Kerry is driving a wedge between those who make $200,000 and above and those below that line. I can imagine his campaign has done their homework on the number of people who make more than $200,000. They certainly have written off their vote, but amazingly there are many who make much more than this--the antecdotal example would be actors in Hollywood who endorse Kerry but would be far enough above the $200,000 line that they would not feel the repeal of the Bush tax cut for the high bracket.
I wanted to give these examples for this reason: that we not allow wedge issues to divide us. We have the tendency to think, How can I live with that guy when he thinks like that? We do this with church issues, civil issues, neighborhood issues, political issues. But we should be particularly aware in times like this that affect all of us in the United States, that we not allow wedge issues to drive us apart, keep us from conversing about the issues, keep us from having confidence in one another just because we come out red or blue on certain issues.
Wedge issues are a political means to electing individuals to office. Granted, a particular wedge issue may ring with truth to a percentage of Americans, and there are issues of principle and truth on the table here, but let's stay focused on treating one another with respect and honor, regardless of how we vote. Don't let the election drive a wedge between you and someone else.