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Dec 29, 2005

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Neil

Absolutely, there has to be room for differences in opinion, but disagreeing with someone shouldn't be seen as a personal attack on that person, only that idea. People are bigger than there ideas and an honest debate only makes us all stronger as iron sharpens iron. The partisan problem is the I'm right, you're wrong, so screw you mentality that is so pervasive in the contemporary political arena.

Denis Hancock

"What aggravates me about politics is not passionate debate over ideas. It is the petty name calling, demonizing, cynical, "gotcha" playbook masquerading as visionary leadership that irks me the most."

Excellent point.

Funny, isn't it?

The Presbyterian Church was influential in determining the form our government took following the experiment with the Articles of Confederation.

In return the PC(USA) took on the style of debate that characterizes today's partisan politics.

Or am I being too cynical?

Michael Kruse

"People are bigger than their ideas..."

Hmmm... Shades of U2 here? **grin** I've played "Peace on Earth" several times over the past couple of weeks.

(BTW, happy 10th anniversary!)

Michael Kruse

That is really depressing Denis. It reminds me of the Royals. We always get the short end of the trade. **grin**

will spotts

I can cite one problem with partisan politics in the US model. It really is a binary game. On most issues there are a host of possible opinions or ideas -- but these are pretty much always distilled into a left/right program. People often complain about this -- "I'm not either one" but that is similar to the "let's get beyond partisan politics" refrain. It usually means "I'm partisan, but I want to appear to be above partisan politics".

On a side note, there really is nothing wrong with disagreement, but much of politics is about strategy rather than ideas. In the same fashion in church circles it seems to me it is not honest disagreement that is problematic as much as strategy employed so that we (whatever we intend) can get our own way.

Michael Kruse

"...but these are pretty much always distilled into a left/right program."

I just finished reading N. T. Wright's "Last Word" where he writes on on pages 10-11, "The left/right spectrum ... compels parties, commentators and voters into an inappropriate "package deal" mentality where it is assumed that once you decide on one issue you are committed to a particular postion on lots of others as well." I think some of this goes back to what I have repeatedly harped on a as polarity management.

"Package Thinking" tends to enshrine a WAY of doing something as a moral imperative when the real object should be what outcome do we want and how do we best get their balancing competing demands and interests on the way. It squelches visonary leadership because as soon as someone states a postion that it is an alleged "key identifier" of someones "package" (i.e., gay marraige, abortion, tax policy, Iraq War, etc.) they are nailed to a strawman and burned by opponents. The way forward ususally is not the sole domain of any political entity but it is nearly impossible to have productive converstaion among differing groups because of the moralistic demonizing that goes on.

"On a side note, there really is nothing wrong with disagreement, but much of politics is about strategy rather than ideas." Yes, and all too often the strategy is to discredit and villify opponents to the point of ineffectual status so that "my" agenda is the only one left standing for people to follow rather than putting forward a positive vision and callling people toward it.

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