I am occasionally reminded we have this thing in our house called a television and that my wife pays some satellite provider money to supply us with channels for this audio-video apparatus. Such was the case today while I ate lunch before returning to playing on Facebook—er, I mean writing. I turned the thing on and sought something to amuse me while ingesting calories. Since the news channels are so spiritually degrading, and since my wife doesn’t pay extra for the naughty channels, I ended up on C-Span. What I saw was an author named Jay Cost discussing his book, A Republic No More. The event was hosted by the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank. As he spoke I could not help but admit that his grasp on American History was vastly superior to my own. And as he sat and discussed issues with two representatives from the Cato Institute, I realized that they too spoke from a wealth of knowledge beyond mine. And from their conversation they did not look to promote any agenda or to obfuscate the truth but endeavored to get to the facts of the matter.
Now at this point I have to admit that on the scale of things, I’m pretty far to the left of the spectrum. And when I say “left”, I’m not talking Vote For Hillary left. But beyond the political sides of an issue, I am first and foremost interested in the truth, rather than what information best supports my biases. And the speakers at this event spoke the truth, were clearly digging for facts rather than trying to heap arguments upon a faulty premise. That’s the sort of thing I can respect, the sort of thing all of us should respect.
When the author was done with his presentation, there came a time for questions from the audience. Again, I beheld thoughtfully asked questions with an earnest desire for truth rather than confirmation bias. And towards the end there was a woman from some left-wing organization that asked an intelligent question. And that intelligent question was asked respectfully. And then, and this was perhaps the most astounding thing of it all, the conservative writer from the Weekly Standard, brought to speak by The Cato Institute, cited Ralph Nader as the man he has been reading the most lately, stating that Nader had been the earliest critic of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, long before the 2008 financial meltdown. He then mentioned that perhaps it would be up to the far left and far right ends of the spectrum to come together under a new coalition (an idea, by the way, that Ralph Nader has also been espousing).
The truth can sometimes be so obvious that you hardly see it, but occasionally it takes the time to smack you upside the head. Those talking heads and politicians that you see and hear all the time through corporate media are not the real representatives of either the left or the right. They are demagogues put there by the powers that be to create straw men for the hard-working but underserved to cast their rightful anger at. The left and the right do in fact have much in common if they’d get beyond the leaders who are allegedly speaking for them. If we began to once again accept the idea that there is a universal truth that we could all reach some sort of consensus about, if we discuss the issues both critically and respectfully, we could work on solving many of the problems that are affecting this country, and by extension, the world. Rather than have our politics resemble two kids in the back seat on a long trip, we could be an example of how a republic could be run. And lastly, and this cannot be overstated, if we were to do this we would never again have a Bush or a Clinton in the White House again.