An Opportunity for Political Reconciliation
The 2016 presidential election suggested that the people of America are ripe for political reconciliation. By reconciliation I don’t mean that all differences can or will be resolved or that everyone will take part. However, with a spirit unity and understanding most citizens will work together for the common good.
A president who is not hyper-partisan was elected by members of Republican and Democratic parties plus Independents, setting the stage for civil cooperation. While we will always have citizens at the left and right fringes who will never yield to the spirit of “Make America Great Again” or “Stronger Together” there is a growing body of enlightened Americans from the political spectrum who believe that we are stronger together and we can indeed return to a time of shared prosperity and joint problem solving.
We have come to believe that threats to leave the country if the other side wins are juvenile in the extreme, and that our bi-coastal media does not speak for the majority. Many on the fringes will remain on the fringes while the majority will begin the process of reconciliation. A good place to begin is to agree to a common vocabulary.
For instance we can agree to the same meaning of words like racist, misogynist, socialist, hypocrite, bigot, diversity and other words that are frequently used to mislead and have no common definition. In addition, words that should be eliminated from any political discussion are: moron, idiot, lunatic and any other word whose intent is to insult and drive a wedge between people.
With that settled, we are prepared to discuss ideas without playground language getting in the way. We can start by discussing the concepts of freedom and equality, what do they mean and can they coexist. Is racism on the rise? Does gender discrimination account for a wage gap? Respectfully discuss climate change at a purely scientific level among qualified people of differing views.
I believe that these topics and more can be respectively discussed by people of good will, and common understanding can be achieved if political team loyalty is placed on the back burner and intellectual honesty is honored.
If such discussions are to be productive, each participant will: Listen-Intently, Consider Objectively, Ask for-Clarity and Respond Respectively.