Last Saturday my wife and I went to Part Park to witness the rally in support of Scott Walker — and the counter rally by Walker opponents.
As we approached the scene, I mentioned that it was a rare opportunity for opponents to being in contact with one another, and expressed the hope that the could be some civil discourse between opponents.
And indeed, while there was more than enough epithet-hurling and general nastiness to satisfy anyone, there were also numerous examples of people who simply wanted to exchange views — to really try to see what the other side was thinking.
A perfect emblem of this was two friends from my adult soccer team, one a Walker supporter, one a Walker opponent. They don’t view each other as cartoon “union thugs” or “heartless capitalists,” but as humans who simply disagree on how to achieve the best fiscal policy for the state.
I found this enormously encouraging. I firmly believe that the more input you get on a problem, the more likely you are to find a good solution.
Politics, in its best form, is the art of reconciling opposing views in a way that is optimally — though not perfectly — acceptable to the opposing sides. Not unlike a business negotiation.
If we didn’t have disagreements there’d be no need for politics. But without civil discourse, we are not going to create a better society. Period.