Common Ground?

Click here to view original web page at veryangrybird.blogspot.com

"Our Founding Fathers often disagreed when constructing the basis for our government. But they discussed, talked, negotiated, and then discussed again, until they had enough consensus to cobble together our founding documents."

A thought I have been having as of late is our great political divide. How in our country, it seems to have grown from a crack to a gulf. To survive, to move forward as a society, we need to figure something out. We have gotten very, very good at talking over each other, past each other, and about each other. That solves nothing. Then I had this thought - with the zillions of things going on in this country, is there anything we can agree on?
Sure there is. It is called common ground. A term we don't hear much of these days. When I talk to someone who lives on the other side of the political street, I like to reach out and find out if there is ANYTHING we can agree on. Guess what? There usually is more than one thing. Actually, quite a few things. One person I was talking to recently, agreed with me (and I with him) on most things. Not all things, but most things.
The progress comes when once the things which can be agreed upon, are set aside. Then the points of disagreement can (hopefully) be discussed in a respectful way. This does NOT mean surrendering principals nor values. It does however mean this - listening with open ears, an open mind, and sometimes even with an open heart.
The best part about entering into discussions like this is it is self serving. How so? It allows me to practice introspection on my positions. If I am not able to articulate a position in a cogent fashion, maybe my thinking on that matter needs to be refined.
For example, many politicians have different positions than they once had on certain issues. Why? Through the course of discussions and introspection, they might have had the chance to re-think the argument. Anyone who says they have never had this happen to them, might not be totally honest.
Just as aside, one of the things which really helps to win the argument, win the day, is using facts over hyperbole. As the saying goes, "Facts are stubborn things". Anecdotal evidence, hearsay or hyperbole make a poor foundation to build a strong argument on. Empirical evidence, and immutable facts on the other hand - make the strongest of foundations.
Our Founding Fathers often disagreed when constructing the basis for our government. But they discussed, talked, negotiated, and then discussed again, until they had enough consensus to cobble together our founding documents. I dare say if they suffered under the same discourse we have today, nothing would have happened.
And if nothing happened? We could still be subjects of the Crown, speaking with a very proper British accent. And the great American experiment might not ever have happened.