Civil Politics.org: Nice to find others working on a new Transpartisan Politics
Nice to see some thoughtful people working on what we would name “transpartisan” politics. This idea of political comity and cooperation is not rocket science, but it is damn hard to do. It first requires a personal commitment and strong will to change personal behaviour, to grow and develop. Enjoy. The following is from their web site. Click on link above to visit. Walt””
“Can’t we all disagree more constructively? Politics is about conflicting visions and interests. Conflict is essential in a healthy democracy. But when America faces vast challenges at home and dangers abroad, the optimum degree of conflict shrinks. It becomes ever more important that citizens and political parties work together, trust each other, and compromise for the common good. Over the last twenty years, however, our leaders, our political parties, and our media outlets have become more polarized, strident, and moralistic (i.e., excessively concerned with morality, and certain about their own virtue). When political opponents are demonized rather
|What you can do personally
- Learn about moral psychology and the processes that lead to self-righteous incivility.
- Model political civility in your own speech and behavior. Be politically active, criticize policies and parties, but be careful about criticizing people and ascribing base motives to explain their political actions.
- Form personal relationships across the divide. When a clerical error led to contact between Sen. Ted Kennedy and the Rev. Jerry Falwell in 1983, their respectful and very public joint appearances had an enormous humanizing (and therefore civilizing) effect on many who saw or read about the events. You can read about the story here, including an uplifting prayer for Sen. Kennedy’s health from the conservative columnist Cal Thomas. You can hear and read Kennedy’s original speech at Liberty University here. If you have a chance to arrange a political discussion or debate with someone that you know and like personally, the odds are that your public display of disagrement combined with respect and affection will have a beneficial effect on the audience. (See this example, from The Village Square.)
- Avoid exposing yourself to news and entertainment programs that promote uncivil political “debate.” Diana Mutz, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, has found that exposure to uncivil debate (as opposed to civil debate) decreases trust in government and in the political process. It alienates voters as it entertains them, and is therefore likley to undercut democratic participation.