04 March 2010

Bringing "Right, Left & In Between" Together

It's too bad I can't take advantage of it, but I just saw an interesting press release for an event that's worth mentioning. At 7:00 p.m. this evening in Albany, or about 30 minutes from now as I take a break to write in Troy, a public forum will take place at the Linda Norris Auditorium on the subject: "War: do the Peace Movement and Tea Party Movement agree?" It's the third forum in a series called "Right, Left and In Between," organized by one of the most eclectic planning committees I've ever heard of. It includes MoveOn.org, the Campaign for Liberty, the Interfaith Alliance of NYS, the 9-12 Project, the Capital District Greens, We the People, Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, the John Birch Society (!), the Labor Religion Coalition, and Alliance for Democracy. It's not a debate, but a "civil dialogue," and what I really dig about the press release is how it describes the different speakers as coming "From the 'left'" and "From the 'right'." The only way we're going to break the "right vs. left" paradigm that perpetuates the American Bipolarchy" is if more people display similar irreverence toward these categories. If anything, war may be the subject most likely to inspire a civil dialogue among groups like this. Make the subject economics or religion and the dialogue could be a lot less civil, though I say this not knowing the subjects of the first two events. Nevertheless, the Bipolarchy encourages people to think that, if they disagree with each other on one or more issues, we're obliged to disagree on all of them. According to Bipolarchy thinking, every policy proposal is an integral part of some conspiracy to subjugate the nation, and every disagreement over policy must be motivated by pure principle on my part, but by unprincipled partisanship on yours. There's no guarantee that the participants in the Albany forum will find common ground, but if they can, even on a few issues, that should make them that much less likely to see political disagreements in the manichean terms that serve the Bipolarchy's institutional interests. News media ought to call more attention to encounters like these, but so long as the Democratic and Republican parties aren't represented, and there's a governor on the brink of ruin down the street, tonight's forum is a non-event to most of them. I can't get to the thing myself, but I'll be sort of with them in spirit.

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