The Bipartisan Bridge
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The Bipartisan Bridge - Background

Where We Need To Go

 

Although diversity and the expansion of media and information have great virtue and should be further promoted, unfamiliarity should not, acrimony should not, isolation should not, and non-cooperation should not. It is imperative that concrete, meaningful steps be taken immediately to redirect the venom, bridge the partisan divide, and prevent the further drift of the tectonic plates that are our political parties, before it passes the point of no return.

The Bipartisan Bridge

In an effort to move in a more positive direction, we must experiment with new approaches, or, proverbially, throw spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks. All Americans who are exasperated with the partisan degeneration, and who believe we can do better, must challenge our leaders to adopt new tactics and agendas, to try to find a workable alternative and re-establish Americans' confidence in our government. By working together on a palatable agenda, diverse political factions will become more predisposed toward cooperation on other governmental matters that are today held hostage by partisan gamesmanship. There will then be less of an inclination to engage in political warfare over the daily duties of government such as constructing and passing appropriations bills, and establishing the procedural rules for the consideration of legislation, both of which have led to undignified combat in recent years.

"A Political Alchemy to Benefit All Americans: 50 Bipartisan Policy Ideas" proposes elements of such an agenda. Written in the years leading up to The Bipartisan Bridge's 2006 launch, the ideas, initiatives, and solutions were crafted to offer bipartisan and non-partisan appeal, such that all factions could work together to achieve their aims. It does not ask people to abandon their party affiliations nor their principles, and it does not seek to create a single, middle-of-the-road centrist party. Instead, it focuses on issue areas and ideas that are of mutual interest and mutual benefit, such that all people of good intentions, ascribing to a broad range of philosophies, could collaborate toward their effectuation. In a sense, it aims to distill a Political Alchemy.

The Bipartisan Bridge

Many of the ideas, initiatives, and solutions contained therein cannot be invoked by governmental institutions alone, and instead require partnership with the non-profit and private sectors, communities, and individuals. But in each case, there is a definitive role for governmental involvement to open the valve of goodwill and facilitate progress. The government's role takes on different characteristics in different situations, by reducing regulation, initiating regulation, eliminating bureaucratic obstacles, reforming institutions, providing resources, establishing programs, restructuring programs, redefining priorities, promoting goals, and/or catalyzing and encouraging stakeholder collaboration.

The chapters certainly do not purport to present a panacea, and they honor the maxim that "the perfect must not become the enemy of the good". Nor are the ideas exclusive of other compatible solutions. In fact, it is hoped that a culture of positive collaboration will be instilled and a new trend toward creative policy development and conflict resolution will be initiated, ideally with as many constructive ideas as there are Americans. All are encouraged to join the debate and generate additional solutions, particularly America's youth who, although too young to vote, are not too young to recognize that the burden of partisan entrenchment and bad public policy would fall on their shoulders eventually, if it is not averted. As they are not tethered to the resentments and dysfunction of older generations, they may indeed be the finest source of fresh ideas.

If we are to succeed, it will be by the force of public will to change the tenor, the process, and the terms of debate. The more voices there are that join the chorus, the greater will be the chances for a redirection. Many of our elected and appointed leaders will eagerly come to the fore, as many understand the urgency and the stakes better than the rest of us. But others must be urged to hear the call, and face harsh consequences – most significantly, the penalty that only the voters can impose -- if they refuse to heed it.

 
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