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Fri May 19, 2017, 04:42 PM

Little common ground for the left and right

I read The Journal-Standard out of Freeport IL daily. The paper used to have a good balance between right and left. It is getting more right-wing all the time, but we still use it to get our local news. We read our hometown paper weekly, too.

One of the few liberal columns left is written by The Westroms, retired teachers who live in the area. Here is a bit from their column that appeared today. Please note that they do not appear in the paper daily, or even weekly. This is an event, since the opinion page is dominated by conservatives:

Little Common Ground for the Left and Right

The pundits say part of the problem is that people on the left (people like us) won't even talk to people on the right. Well. Let's try that and see if it is possible to talk to conservatives. We'd like to suggest open-ended discussions on any of the following topics. So far we have met with few on the right who are willing to even discuss these issues.

Let's talk about raising taxes. No. Let's talk about raising users' fees: for example, a dedicated gasoline tax just for roads. No. Let's talk about an obesity tax on soda. No.

Let's talk about streamlining college bureaucracies and using that money for education. Yes. Then let's talk about the remaining shortfall and how we can raise taxes to close that gap in higher education. No.



Along the same lines, I went to a Democratic dinner a couple of years ago. Our state treasurer was one of the speakers. He spoke about how hard it is to find common ground. He had tried to have a conversation with a top aide to our disaster of a governor, Rauner. Our treasurer tried to engage the man on why it was not possible for people to live on minimum wage. No. He tried to engage him on why state pensions need to be funded and why state workers need to be paid adequately. Nope.

We can't talk to them, so we must take them out of office RIGHT NOW and at every level.

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Reply Little common ground for the left and right (Original post)
murielm99 May 2017 OP
guillaumeb May 2017 #1
murielm99 May 2017 #2
guillaumeb May 2017 #3
murielm99 May 2017 #5
GitRDun May 2017 #4
Igel May 2017 #6
murielm99 May 2017 #7

Response to murielm99 (Original post)

Fri May 19, 2017, 05:04 PM

1. If we cannot find common ground,

and if we truly cannot discuss the issues, does this mean that the US will be permanently divided between urban Democrats and rural and exurban Republicans?

If so, the House will remain under GOP control unless the Democrats win so heavily in 2020 as to redistrict the states to provide a more equal electoral map.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #1)

Fri May 19, 2017, 05:14 PM

2. I think there are ways to do it.

First trump is going to wreck everything for them. Many of them will be affected personally. So will their supporters. I believe there will be a way to find common ground during and after the coming trump fiasco. Sane people will be looking for answers.

We need to curb hate radio and Fox News. Let's try to get the Fairness Doctrine, or a reasonable facsimile, put into place.

We need to get rid of the current greedy leadership of the republicans, at all levels. Send some of them to jail, as was done after Watergate. If their party can start fresh, there may be hope. That is up to them, not us.

I am sure there are other ways to break the impasse. It can be done. But things may get a lot worse before there is any change.

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Response to murielm99 (Reply #2)

Fri May 19, 2017, 05:17 PM

3. It is not just FOX.

I live in a suburb of Chicago, and the Chicago Tribune has been supporting Rauner and attacking the Democrats since Rauner started his Ken Griffin inspired endless campaign in 2013. The Tribune has always been a right wing paper, but the bias is so heavy that it is infecting the actual reporting as well as the Editorial page.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #3)

Fri May 19, 2017, 05:21 PM

5. I am familiar with the Tribune.

My dad used to hate that paper!

Write them letters. Send them emails. Tell them to keep their editorials on the editorial page. Get your friends to do that, too. It may not do any good, but they will see that there is opposition.

Make sure they know that you and your friends will not spend one red cent on their rag of a newspaper.

We can't give up.

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Response to murielm99 (Original post)

Fri May 19, 2017, 05:19 PM

4. It's ironic

Republicans often push this narrative that a top priority is to stomp out the ISIS extremists, keep Muslims and their extreme religion out of the US, etc.

The truth is Republicans are the very face of a version of ideological extremism; government institutions and spending is always bad.

I have a dear friend who is your typical Fox newser. We've come to agree not to talk politics at all. He's so fact free, without empathy there is really nothing to talk about. No common ground.

I've come to believe things will only change once millennials and younger are in charge. My generation is a lost cause.

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Response to murielm99 (Original post)

Fri May 19, 2017, 06:49 PM

6. I used to argue long and hard with a fellow student government officer.

He'd argue means. I'd argue goals.

Eventually, he'd realize that the means he argued for weren't his goals. He didn't want the things he argued for because he wanted them for themselves; he wanted them because they were the only means he could think of, that he'd learned of, that he found acceptable for achieving his goals.

We almost always agreed on the goals. Once we agreed on the goals and got past our hang-ups over means, it made life easier. We had largely the same values; we had fairly similar visions. That provided common ground in what we did in student government and how we approached problems, because prior to this he assumed I was simply evil and mean-spirited. That made him combative, defensive, sometimes aggressive, and always assuming the worst. With understanding came enough respect to sit down and calmly and dispassionately discuss means. We often found compromises that achieved our goals, even if our most cherished and beloved tools weren't the ones used. Because it wasn't about the tools.

He always thought I was about to convert to his side, however, whenever the conversation turned from parochial campus-specific goals to national goals, because even then we almost always shared goals.

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Response to Igel (Reply #6)

Fri May 19, 2017, 07:49 PM

7. What you are saying might work with a lot of the more sane

republicans. It might work at the local and state level.

However, when you have people saying that the only goal is to make Obama a one-term President, to lock Hillary up, and other senseless things, we cannot find common ground. Those types must be put out to pasture immediately.

Goals and means. That might be a good way to talk to friends and family members, too.

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