Something I heard on NPR this morning, I don’t remember what, triggered a thought about a possible presidential candidate (for example) whose platform had the over-arching theme of bipartisanship first, and specific programs second. Someone who was wholly dedicated to reducing partisanship and accepting that “the other side” does, sometimes, have a point, and then acting (or at least proposing actions) accordingly. This candidate would have as their first principle the cooling off of the body politic.
Could you support such a candidate? Is nuance possible any more, where people try to actually understand what motivates and drives the opposition (without making stuff up), and are willing to sit down to consider actual constructive compromise?
I’ve read lots of liberals who claim, perhaps rightly, that conservatives (I’m using these terms broadly, so please don’t nitpick) are dying out and eventually liberals will be victorious all the time everywhere. And I think about what happens if that’s true. Do the victors tell people who aren’t in the majority “sorry, sucks to be you” or do they try something more inclusive? Do they engage in triumphalism or something else?
I’m not sure if I’m getting across what I’m trying to ask. We are living in a time of internecine hatred that I don’t remember in the 55 or so years when I have been aware of such things (I am 70). Can we step back from that? Is anyone willing to take that first step, without expecting anything in return? It seems to me that the alternative is too dire to contemplate.
I remember now what triggered these thoughts. A commentator alleged that children raised with hatred of any kind are more susceptible to extremist philosophies and actions. That, it seems to me, is the road we are headed down.
“It’s the other side that’s riddled with hatred, not us. And I hate them for that!” Do you? Can you not? Is hatred the only outcome from where we are now?
I’ve put this in Great Debates because that’s the kind of discussion I hope to have. I don’t, however, have an assertion to debate except, perhaps, that compromise is not a dirty word. It doesn’t mean that one side has to give in to the other side on every issue, it means that both sides give in at least a little on at least a few issues. It means that scoring political points becomes secondary to taking care of the nation’s needs. It means a different way of doing things from anything I’ve seen since the turn of the century (if not before).
Is this possible? Is it desirable?