An excellent Aug. 30 Star Tribune opinion piece by National Public Radio's Dick Meyer
, which originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times, debunks the view that we're divided into clear red and blue political views. It's a point worth pondering as we wrap up the political conventions. Meyer effectively argues that there really isn't a war over the nation's moral and spiritual compass. "Poll after poll, focus group after focus group show that the vast majority of Americans -- the silent majority, perhaps? -- are pragmatic, independent and unpartisan in their basic views. They are eclectic: 'liberal' on some matters, 'conservative' on others. They are not slaves to that hobgoblin of small minds, consistency. On fundamental matters such as belief in equality for women and minorities, or how large a role religion and family play in individuals' lives, the consensus among voters is broad. Unlike other times in U.S. history, there simply are no issues such as slavery, Prohibition or Vietnam that inspire violent protest or social disruption.'' It's too soon to predict how Sarah Palin will play with Meyer's silent majority, but it's a good bet that in picking his running mate - and in reinforcing his own bipartisan, maverick image - John McCain decided independently minded voters would ultimately decide the election.