First, a few disclaimers. Yes, director Alexandra Pelosi is the daughter of current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And like every other documentary, I'm sure there's an agenda behind it. But this isn't a Michael Moore documentary, where the whole film is a setup to make a targeted person or group feel uncomfortable and mocked for their beliefs. That's not what this film is about. Alexandra seems to understand that her political connections automatically make her motives suspicious, and she generally works hard to ask unbiased questions, without making the subjects feel like the purpose is to laugh at them. For example, after seeing an ornament at a trailer park labeled "Redneck Wind Chimes", she asked the residents this series of questions:
- Are you rednecks?
- What is a redneck?
- Do you use redneck as a derogatory term?
A) Most conservatives viewed the election as a choice between right and wrong.
Overwhelmingly the people interviewed has the viewpoint that McCain was clearly the right choice for president, and Obama was the wrong choice. In contrast, I feel like most liberal voters considered Obama the better choice and McCain the worse one. In other words, conservatives tended to evaluate candidates from the standpoint of black-and-white morality. For example, if you believe that abortion is a sin, then voting for a president who supports abortion must be a sin as well. That makes Obama an immoral choice.
I believe most liberals evaluated the candidates pragmatically. A typical liberal voter's top issues aren't morally charged in nature, so their voting selection process is based on which candidate will better address their issues. Voting for "the other guy" is merely a bad decision, not something that moves you one step closer to Hell.
B) Most conservatives have logically consistent opinions derived from a different set of premises.
These people gave Obama a good serving of all kinds of random accusations. Different people accused him of being a Muslim, a terrorist, the next Hitler, and even the Anti-Christ. These viewpoints are totally preposterous, but I want to stress that for the most part, the conservatives are acting rationally given their assumptions. If Obama really is a terrorist, then of course you shouldn't vote for him!
Most of the conservatives interviewed didn't even seem to be aware that other people might not share their premises. I got the distinct impression that many of these people couldn't figure out why liberals would vote for a known Muslim, and the best conclusion they can come to is that "those liberals must hate God".
I really want to stress this point, because it's very important. America's far right wing conservatives are not crazy. They are acting rationally from the basis of their premises, and they are not aware their premises might be incorrect. And for the record, liberals are the same. They are also not aware that their premises might be incorrect.
So if someone claims that Obama is the next Hitler because both were charismatic leaders who came to power at times of national distress, you won't make much headway if you flat out disagree with them. Saying, "Don't be silly; of course Obama isn't going to invade foreign nations, killing enormous numbers of innocent civilians," might be true, but it won't change their mind. It is better to discuss their flawed premise rather than disagree with their conclusion. For example, "Lincoln, Roosevelt, Washington, and Churchill were also charismatic leaders who came to power during national distress, and they were some of the best leaders of all time. Being charismatic doesn't mean he's evil."
This doesn't just apply to political groups either. It's easy to assume that any time someone disagrees that they are simply stupid or crazy. But more often than not, they are simply mistaken. That's why I have pity for both rednecks and Christians rather than disdain. And as a Christian, I pitied athiests. The vast majority of people are simply misinformed, and if you take the time to have an honest conversation with them, both of you will be better off for it.