“…we now have a permanent presidential campaign that encourages all partisanship, all the time among our leading politicians.” - ” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/30/opinion/30friedman.html?em
All partisanship – I’m not sure that I’m for “all partisanship.” I think we need to be bi- or multi-partisan – with intelligence, respect and courtesy for all parties involved. We need people to have differing opinions, to debate the issues from multiple viewpoints, to not agree on the best solution from the get-go. Each party should want something different, creating some tension in the argument that will give rise to flaws, errors in judgment, political blindness. Instant agreement doesn’t dredge up and expose the bad stuff.
I was once in a business meeting where two parties – the heads of their respective departments – seriously disagreed on an issue; option A would would have greater negative impact on one department, and option B would have greater negative impact on the other. Each one argued her points passionately and intelligently. And always respectfully. I remember thinking how impressed I was with each of them at that moment. It was the job of each department head to run her department well and to represent the best interests of the department, and that’s what each of these women was doing. This was an important issue and needed the depth of review and debate that their discussion was providing. If they’d agreed from the outset, there would have been no quality review, no discussion and questioning and exposure.
I believe it’s healthy – even vital and necessary - to have two (or more) different viewpoints when discussing Important Issues. Get it all out there, expose the flaws, discuss options, disagree and explain why you disagree. Listen. Listen and understand. Don’t keep playing the same record; listen to someone else’s. Broaden your thinking.
All this name-calling across the aisles and emotional propaganda by both sides is disrespectful of others’ opinions. The disrespect (and threats) accorded our previous and current presidents does not advance the discussion in an intelligent manner.
We need differing viewpoints on healthcare, the economy, and the other Important Issues. And we need to respect those viewpoints and appreciate that each person is doing his/her job, representing the best interests of his/her constituencies. It could be dangerous if everyone fully agreed on every Important Issue. We should agree that bipartisanship is a good thing. And respect our differences.