Last day of the election season


It’ll all be over tomorrow – I hope!

The US will finally go to the polls, and sometime tomorrow night, we will finally know whether Barack Obama will stay in office for four more years, or we’ll have Mitt Romney in the White House, dismantling the health care reform that so resembles what he enacted in Massachusetts as governor. Sigh.

We’ve all had enough.

  • Enough political ads.
  • Enough lies, on both sides.
  • Enough attacks and negative swings at each other.
  • Enough distortions.
  • Enough hypocrisy.

Let this be over, and let’s get back to getting the country on track again.

I listen to a lot of podcasts, and a significant number of them are programs that share the idea of hearing from both sides of the issue at hand, or allowing equal time to both sides of the political spectrum.

My favorites:

  • KCRW’s Left, Right, & Center – hosted by Matt Miller (center/moderator), a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; a weekly columnist for the Washington Post’s online edition; and an award-winning contributor to The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine and many other publications.
    • Robert Scheer (Left) is Editor of the Webby Award-winning political website He was a national correspondent and columnist for 19 years at the Los Angeles Times where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
    • Anthony David “Tony” Blankley (January 21, 1948 – January 7, 2012) (Right) was an English-American political analyst who gained fame as the press secretary for Newt Gingrich, the first Republican Speaker of the House in forty years, and as a regular panelist on The McLaughlin Group. Since his untimely death, the Right has been covered by a rotating panel of guests.
    • occasionally, the Center position is bolstered by guest panelists
  • PBS’s NewsHour produces a podcast of Mark Shields (Left) and David Brooks (Right),who offer a review of the week’s news every Friday, with a bipartisan perspective.
  • Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2 U.S.), Oxford-style debates live from New York City. Based on the highly successful debate program in London, Intelligence Squared, Intelligence Squared U.S. has presented more than 60 debates on a wide range of provocative and timely topics. From clean energy and the financial crisis, to the Middle East and the death of mainstream media, Intelligence Squared U.S. brings together the world’s leading authorities on the day’s most important issues. (Shamelesslessly cut & pasted from their website
  • and, lastly, and maybe most significantly, I have been relishing a series of shows put out by Krista Tippet’s On Being, produced by American Public Media, the Civil Conversations Project. They’ve tackled the most delicate topics, abortion, gay marriage, Christianity, and bipartisan solutions to the current economic crisis, all with civility and humor, and a sense of breaking free of the ingrained habitual reflex responses that are so often recycled in these arguments, without moving the agenda forward.

I grew up in a radical left-wing household – we attended protest rallies, petitioned and picketed, and my sister and I followed along with our mother when she attended non-violence training a in preparation for trespassing on the grounds of nuclear power plants to try and shut them down. We minors weren’t allowed to actually participate, but I vividly remember learning how to go limp, and let the “cops” drag one by the arms to the paddy wagons!

Growing up in such a polarized community, where everyone shared our strongly left-of-spectrum views, it felt often tht we were only ever talking to ourselves, never engaging productively with the other side. And, I ultimately came to feel “What’s the point of this? W’re not actually accomplishing anything.”

So, I’ve moved toward the middle (although, I suspect most of my friends rank my in the clearly left-of-center camp), but I like to listen to, and, when possible, hold conversations with friends and acquaintances on the Conservative side.

How else to move out of the impasse that we all seem to be stuck in?

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