Too many liberals and progressives blame voter support for reactionary and ultra-conservative politics on the supposed mean-spiritedness, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, or stupidity of those who vote the other way. By slipping into this easy mindset, we fail to perceive the real yearning so many of us have for a life filled with love, caring, and generosity. This widespread desire to live in a society that promotes social justice, environmental sanity, and global solidarity was momentarily made visible when Obama was (mistakenly, unfortunately) perceived as one of the strongest champions of that yearning to have emerged since the murder of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. pushed it out of U.S. politics. Too often the Left disses our potential supporters for not responding to us, instead of asking how we failed to support that deeper yearning.

Most of the time, such yearning is so quickly dismissed — both by the...

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