Consider this a place to learn more about the political system in America. A place where there’s room to consider alternatives to our current process. A place to be a student, and not a critic.
This is not a place for flame wars, cancel culture, or personal attacks, because there are countless other places that already exist if that’s what you’re looking for.
If civil discourse is a muscle that can atrophy when we don’t use it, then this is a place to begin the work of using it again.
The goal here is for people to read ideas, and then discuss them with the people who exist in their personal circles; to move through difficult conversations together, instead of going around them; to leverage relationships as a way to change hearts and minds.
This project seeks to disrupt the existing bi-partisan gridlock that has resulted in a years’ long political stalemate and an abandonment of the middle ground between the two parties.
We’re directing our attention to the systems rather than the people who run them so that, if the people within begin to recognize problems with our current system, we won’t have painted them into corners they can’t get out of.
We’re gathering information and doing our own critical thinking instead of blindly ingesting everything the two parties feed us.
Ultimately, we’re seeking common ground, with the belief that it always exists.
Don’t believe it?
If the only thing you can muster today is the sense that you’re tired of the vicious partisanship, there will certainly be others in your circles who feel the same. Begin your conversation there.
In the weeks leading up to the launch of this blog, we encountered two conversations with people who are incredibly important to us, but whose politics differ. To our surprise, we slogged through the individual passions to find that we did, in fact, share some common beliefs that we could start from.
It pointed to the need for this kind of an effort, and provided a few early lessons:
- When you reach a point of disagreement with someone, respond with a question instead of a statement. “So what would you do about…?”
- Find authentic opportunities to recognize when the other person makes a good point. You can even use something neutral like, “That’s a fair point.”
- Always leave room for the possibility that you’ll hear something you haven’t thought of before.
- Be vulnerable enough to admit when you don’t have an answer, or when you recognize something you hadn’t seen before.
Let’s launch a revolution of civil discourse and invite other people to talk while we listen. Let’s engage other perspective and other voices. Then, when it’s our turn, those who are truly seeking common ground will do the same for us.
We’ve been engaged in this stalemate for years, and I think many of us would agree that the current system isn’t working.
See that? It’s a small piece of common ground.