Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Healing the partisan partisan divide - is there a vital center?

A recent NYTimes OpEd by David Brooks notes that Biden has been taking steps towards healing political polarization and divisiveness. Andrew Sullivan echoes this theme in his Weekly Dish article "Healing From The Center Out". A clip from Sullivan:
Biden ran a campaign, in stark contrast to Clinton’s, focused not on rallying the base around identity grievances, but on persuading the other side with argument and engagement. If you believe in liberal democracy — in persuasion, dialogue, and civility — and want to resist tribalism, Biden may be our unexpected but real last chance. And in this campaign, he has walked the walk.
His core message, which has been remarkably consistent, is not a divisive or partisan one. It is neither angry nor bitter. Despite mockery and scorn from some understandably embittered partisans, he has a hand still held out if Republicans want to cooperate. In this speech at Warm Springs, where Biden invoked the legacy of FDR, you can feel the Obama vibe, so alien to the woke: “Red states, blue states, Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, and Liberals. I believe from the bottom of my heart, we can do it. People ask me, why are you so confident Joe? Because we are the United States of America.”

Reading these pieces has made me want to pass on this link to a youtube video of a Braver Angels public forum I attended recently titled "A Vital Center in the Age of Trump and Wokeness?," where Braver Angel's Luke Nathan Phillips hosted a conversation between Geoffrey Kabaservice, Director of Political Studies at the Niskanen Center, and Shadi Hamid, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, on the future of the political center in our polarized age.  Like the Braver Angels organization, The National Institute for Civil Discourse also sponsors programs aimed at engaging differences constructively. 



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