Polarization and solutions
Not long ago I posted my thoughts on polarization. Since then I have had the opportunity to discuss my view with others and also receive some interesting feedback.
One of my friends tends to agree with my position and is taking steps to implement a remedy. His view is that if persons with opposing viewpoints first can agree to have “civil” discussion on issues then we can begin to make progress toward a solution. If we are willing to take this first step then reaching a common ground is possible.
This gentleman is putting his money behind this idea. He has been working with and contributing financially to a university in support of a trial program. The idea is to take a controversial topic and invite students with opposing viewpoints to discuss potential solutions through a series of meets. He reports that the results have been encouraging. Exit interviews have revealed that the majority have come out of the meetings with a revised point of view and appreciation for the opposing position. He also reports that several common ground suggestions for resolution have been proposed.
I started thinking about this in my own life experience. I have another friend who I always considered holding political views quite far apart from mine. However, as I grew to know him better we were able to have quite civil discussions on numerous topics. While we will probably never agree on specific “income security” programs, we do agree that all should involve some degree of “contribution” (in the form of work or community service) and should have effective violator safeguards with penalties. We agree that SS disability is does not contain these safeguards and is out of control. Despite my position being a bit to left of my friend in many respects I was surprised to learn that I was more conservative on fiscal matters. We could agree on the need to reduce deficit spending and that spending on both healthcare and advanced education is out of control. However, we were not in agreement on the priority that should be assigned to these issues. Regardless, if asked, we could easily agree to common ground solutions to many of our issues.
The bottom line is that we, as tax payers, need to elect representatives that are solution oriented. I consider the trend to polarization to be anti-patriotic. It should be considered criminal. Senators, congressmen & the press that facilitate polarization should not be supported. The coming election is your chance to display your patriotism. Buck the trend of voting the party line. Vote for a person that is willing to work through solutions with all parties.