Holidays can be awkward for a lot of reasons. One is that many spend time with people they seem to fundamentally disagree with politically. Progressives have Republican voting relatives who are at family gatherings, conservatives see people who vote for the Democratic Party and holiday events.
One approach commonly followed is to simply avoid talking about politics and other issues you might disagree about. I don’t think that approach helps lead to a better place. Speaking gingerly of such issues is little better.
Here’s a another approach: Form an alliance on the issues you do agree on.
Much of the grassroots who vote for both the Democratic Party and who vote for the Republican Party actually agree on alot of things. For example, the Wall Street bailouts. That’s something both the Occupy movement and the grassroots of the Tea Party movement have in common.
And there’s more: More authentic conservatives, like those who are excited about Ron Paul, are for cutting the military budget — they want a Republic, not and Empire. They are against all the clamping down on civil liberties that both the establishment of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are for. They are against corporate trade deals the hurt workers in the US and lead to slave-like conditions for workers in third world countries. And on all these issues, they agree with many of the most authentic progressives.
The media keep trying to pen people in — taking about the latest machinations between the Obama administration and the Republican establishment in Congress. And if that’s what dictates the topics of discussion, it produces far more heat than light.
But if you focus on the issues where the grassroots are in significant agreement — sometimes for different reasons of course — then substantial progress can be made.
The progress might not just result in good talks — it could result in a revolution.
If you had principled progressives and conscientious conservatives join together — pairing up — to vote for an independent or third party candidacy that would siphon votes off in twos, that would erode the two establishment parties and give rise to an anti-establishment new candidacy.
So let the real talks begin, let’s not worry about the talks of the establishment figures, let the grassroots talk and lovingly recognize what truth they can in people they are told they have nothing in common with.