I have been reading the start up information on a group calling themselves “No Labels”. They seem to be addressing not the issues themselves, but the way that we, through our media and government, address those issues. I find myself hopeful that the organization will be a call for change in the way we debate and decide. It is probably a good sign that extremists on both sides have condemned them.
I am not one to proselytize for any cause or point of view and usually avoid politics here. But I can get very passionate about even the faint hope of a process of debate based in evidence over hyperbole, advocacy over coercion, and a culture of listening and collaboration. Who knows, we might even return to a time when members of congress with opposing views could be friends rather than needing separate green rooms at the talk shows.
Each time I hear a politician talk about ‘…what the American people want…”, I cringe. That politician is usually only listening to the people who want what he or she wants- and that means somewhere near half of the country also disagrees. Until we go after the conditions that insist on polarized points of view and the demonization of anyone who disagrees, we are going to be stuck with a system that cannot engineer and execute solutions.
And we cannot blame the politicians without looking in the mirror. Our elections last year had the net effect of emphasizing the extremes and lowering the number of moderates- changing what should be debate to diatribe and reframing. As long as voters on both sides focus on a one sided view of the world, our elected officials will follow suit.
This kind of extremism does not work in the corporate boardroom- I am not certain why we think it will succeed in Washington.
If No Labels can be a voice for a new process, then I can be a hopeful fan.
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