I've made several unsuccessful attempts now at articulating the benefits of bi-partisanship and I think I've finally figured out where the communication is breaking down. People assume I'm talking about the Beltway when I use the dreaded word but I'm not talking about politicians when I speak of consensus. Digby flags a profile on Rick Perlstein and posts this quote that speaks to what I'm trying to get across.
“My fantasy for the blog,” he says, “was that readers would send posts to Aunt Millie—that it would be a way to get people talking. But people aren’t forwarding them to conservative relatives and friends. They aren’t talking to them.” Perlstein, on the other hand, is. “I have a group of four very different conservatives I’ve been e-mailing back and forth [as a group] since 2003. I can’t imagine living my life, intellectually and politically, without keeping these lines of communication open to people I disagree with.”Communication is the key. For myself, I've always cut a wide swath through many social circles and I embarked on a specific quest to befriend my political opponents some years ago. It's been rather a success. We discovered when we put our politics aside, we like each other -- as people. These same guys who constantly rail about "Dimocrats" in general manage to treat me with respect and kindness, as I do them.
Political bi-partisanship may well be dead, may it rest in peace. I have no hope that most of our Congresslizards on either side of the fence are ever going to work together again to advance the common good over corporate interests. But that is precisely why I think social bi-partisanship is so important. It's about breaking through the stereotypes to realize in the end we're mostly all basically good people doing the best we can with what we have to work with and if we're going to take the government back from the professional pols, we stand a lot better chance of winning if we find a way to work together on common goals. [via]