George Rebane: Toward reunification
In my last two Other Voices columns – “Farewell unity” and “Where exactly are we going?” — I apparently miscommunicated the outlined steps to reunify our politically polarized land.
Liberal readers misunderstood that I was inviting our neighbors of the left to abandon their desiderata for a fundamentally transformed America, and simply adopt those that we of the right embrace. Nowhere did I make such a proposal.
My main point was and still is that we should not start on the road to reunification with the much ballyhooed, premature and therefore misguided search for “common ground.” As it continues to be demonstrated by calls from both sides, that approach has been a futile undertaking over the last few years.
I offered a three-step sequence toward reunification that must start with an heroic effort to meld elements of our distinct ideas for a future America into a compromised list of shared attributes for governance and social policies.
If we can successfully come up with such a collection of ideas, then that list of mutually acceptable and shared attributes will naturally give us the basis for a common ground from which to attempt the concluding step.
The recommended sequence is concluded by both sides joining in the effort to forge a unified format for America’s future, concurrently with the process by which such an envisioned America shall come to pass.
By this I mean that the outlined structure and the process to achieve it, must necessarily be put in place through, say, a productive give-and-take convention of the parties, so that both sides see the same end and also the means to achieve it as a feasible political enterprise to take place in the out years.
The diagram attempts to convey this graphically. In its examination, it’s important not to get hung up on the descriptions of each side’s currently desired America. They are included here only to illustrate that it is these disputed objectives, as perceived by the other, that are the underlying causes for our polarization.
If such a reunification process is actually attempted by our Democrats and Republicans, then each will bring to the table their own descriptions of their desired America which will serve as a starting point.
Finally, even this approach does not guarantee success. Nevertheless, if we cannot agree to work for a common America, then a great divide, achieved peacefully or through violence, is in our future.
George Rebane is a retired systems scientist who lives in Nevada County.
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