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Sender: John Backman
Subject: Re: A Call for Transpartisanship
Date: Thu, Aug 14, 2014
Msg: 101063

Thank you for sharing this, Debilyn. I?m starting to develop an article on this report for the NCDD blog, and what has struck me is how little attention it has received. Yes, The PBS NewsHour ran a segment, and I imagine the other news networks devoted a little time to it, but this is the first article of any length that I?ve seen. Am I simply hanging out with the wrong news sources, or does it seem underreported to you as well?

John Backman

Board member, NCDD (join us at the National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation October 17-19 in metro DC)

Author, Why Can?t We Talk? Christian Wisdom on Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart (published by and available from SkyLight Paths Publishing)

Description: cid:D530E911-413A-4DFB-A6C5-EE951553E17A@LonghillPartners.local

From: List for transpartisan leaders and innovators [mailto:TRANSPARTISAN@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG] On Behalf Of Debilyn Molineaux, Living Room Conversations Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2014 10:23 PM To: TRANSPARTISAN@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG Subject: [TRANSPARTISAN] A Call for Transpartisanship

Full op-ed online at: rtisan-than-ever.html?_r=1

Politics Grows More Partisan

JUNE 15, 2014

Continue reading the main story

Charles M. Blow

For an increasing number of Americans, the tenor of politics has reached a near-religious pitch, in which people on opposing ends of the ideological scale take on theological properties: good or evil, angels or demons, here to either save our way of life or destroy it.

According to a report released last week by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press: ?Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines ? and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive ? than at any point in the last two decades.?

The report continued:

?The overall share of Americans who express consistently conservative or consistently liberal opinions has doubled over the past two decades from 10 percent to 21 percent. And ideological thinking is now much more closely aligned with partisanship than in the past. As a result, ideological overlap between the two parties has diminished: Today, 92 percent of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat, and 94 percent of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican.?

This is not to suggest that there is absolute parity in our polarization. As the report makes clear, while 27 percent of Democrats see the Republican Party as a threat to the nation?s well-being, 36 percent of Republicans see the Democratic Party as a threat. Conservatives were also more likely to say that it was important to live in places where people shared their political views. Additionally, conservatives were more likely to say they would be unhappy if a close relative married a Democrat than were liberals to say they would be unhappy to have a Republican in-law.

This phenomenon coincides, to a certain degree, with the rise of talk radio and the stridently ideological cable news ? profit-driven provocateurs whose livelihoods ride on their abilities to rouse rabble, stir passions and diabolize opponents.

And many of their listeners, viewers and readers become the apostles of passion, enforcing rigid binary ideologies that accommodate little subtlety. Any seeming equivocation is deemed evidence of apostasy. This, in itself, is dangerous.

Our politics are now strung with tripwires of hypersensitivities and micro-aggressions. Every position is assumed to have a sinister subtext, made all the more complicated by the fact that some actually do have such subtexts.

The phenomenon, more recently, is epitomized by views about President Obama, which, depending on which silo one is in, either read as blind allegiance or blind hatred. This robs him of the glory of his legitimate achievements and artificially shields his missteps.

To be fair, his presidency, in many ways, has been hamstrung by opposition. In the wake of his ascension came the rise of the Tea Party, the incredible assertion by the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, that conservatives? top priority should be to keep Obama from being re-elected (that didn?t work out so well), the stunning assault on voter rights, the influx of conservative billionaires like the Koch brothers into the political arena, blatant gerrymandering after the last census and the unprecedented levels of obstruction by Republicans in Congress.

Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story

Continue reading the main story

Still, there are real and legitimate debates to be had about the size and role of government, how to grow and expand the economy, how to help the least fortunate in the short and long term, how to position America militarily in the world as the last remaining superpower, how to protect ? or expand the recognition of ? the right of the individual, especially when those individuals are members of minority groups, while respecting the democratic desires of the majority of our citizens.

We must wrestle with these each in its own turn.

There are some moral issues on which there can be no ambiguity. For instance, people cannot be treated differently because of the way they were born, developed or identify; women must have access to the full range of reproductive options; and something must be done about the continued carnage of gun violence in this country.

There are other areas, however ? the continued existence of the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, the use of drones, government surveillance ? that require critical, nonpartisan examination, regardless of who is in charge, in part because many of these policies overlap Republican and Democratic administrations.

We must continuously audit our allegiances, not only to keep adversaries at bay, but also to keep allies loyal and true, and to understand that our friends and our rivals aren?t necessarily discrete and oppositional on every issue. Loyalties too freely given and too uncritically maintained become fertile ground for ? and, in fact, issue license for ? the corruption of conscience and the betrayal of principle.


Debilyn Molineaux, Managing Partner

Living Room Conversations


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