This topic isn’t a new one here at the Tenth Amendment Center. We often discuss the left/right paradigm, and the sentiment of John Adams that; “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”
Who could have known those words would ring so true today.
I had the opportunity to spend some time with our friends at the Bill of Rights Defense Committee this weekend, along with a few coalition partners. I arrived at our Friday night reception to meet a bunch of really open, and friendly activists. As we headed into our weekend, several of those in attendance identified themselves to me as progressives. Early on, someone labeled me as the capitalist, libertarian contingent in the room. It turned out that for a few, capitalism and libertarians weren’t necessarily the most popular things going around. Fortunately, we were all there to learn and those things didn’t detract. I was able to share a little bit about coalition building, and the need for us to work together, regardless of where we have politically identified up until now.
Within personal bubble, I tend to be in contact with a lot more people who consider themselves to be politically on the right. I am very used to the bad arguments and misconceptions coming from that side. It was incredibly interesting for me to be with a group who almost wholly identifying with the political left. Turns out, they have some of the same misconceptions about the other side, as the other side has about them! Of course I already knew that to be true, but somehow, within the group, it seemed more profound.
As the realization of this sank in, I just felt sad. Because here was a room full of really fantastic people, doing good work. People with amazing perspective, great ideas, and intelligent things to say… and a whole group of people across the aisle were missing out on them. I personally benefited incredibly from the wealth of experience and thoughtfulness that was in that room. I considered a couple of people at home who could have used the experience even more than I. It was challenging for me, at times, because I had one or two preconceived notions of my own that I wasn’t completely aware of. More than challenging though, it was just really inspiring. I was impressed by the level of respectfulness that everyone showed to one another. (more…)