|Secretary Clinton speaking at the International Human Rights Day Town Hall, Dec. 10, 2010|
I’m here to tell you that adversarial politics becomes wearing after awhile. Like many of my brothers and sisters in the blogosphere who supported Hillary Clinton in the 08 primary, I continued to express my disillusionment with the sexism and misogyny that arose in the left wing of the Democratic Party and among its media allies well after Obama took office and even after he appointed Hillary as secretary of state.
Bill and Hillary Clinton made peace early on with the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party, but I was still protesting at Katalusis until I burned out in early Feb. 2010. By then several of my blogging pals from 08 like Heidi Li Feldman and LadyBoomerNYC had also shut down.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to resuscitate Katalusis and was surprised to discover that my perspective on American politics had changed in an interval of several months. It’s as if I’ve grown to fit the status I claimed in 08 when I registered to vote as non-affiliated. Consequently, when the No Labels political movement arose recently, I was ready to sign on.
In my opinion No Labels advocates adult behavior in our participation in the democratic process instead of managing local and national elections like corrupt athletic contests. Our politics reflects the same poorly regulated competitive games we see played out in our internal commerce and in trade relationships with other nations and too often in our foreign policy in general.
It’s time we examined all areas of our lives and moved toward an ethic of cooperation rather than competition in addressing the problems we face internally and in relationship to the wider world. It’s possible humanity might find more satisfaction in developing positive relationships than racing one another in efforts that unabated will ultimately destroy the planet.
Training for civility in politics, commerce, and foreign affairs might well begin in attending events and activities sponsored by your local interfaith community. The St. Paul Interfaith Network hosted dialogue sessions last fall that featured two Palestinian speakers one evening and a week later two Israeli speakers.
They were each invited to tell their personal stories of growing up in what has long been essentially a war zone. Mind you, participants in the program and attendees were required to treat one another with respect.
At the final session, Ron Young, a consultant for the National Interreligous Initiative for Peace, emphasized that both the Palestinian and Israeli stories were true and urged that peace is possible now.
I would argue that if the St. Paul Interfaith Network can conduct civil discussions of contentious issues like the above, there is no reason why we can’t adopt similar practices in other areas of our lives.