When I'm talking to a suburban white man who's over 40, I can just about be sure he's a conservative. Accuse me of stereotyping, but I'm almost always proven right. I was going to add the caveat that he have short hair, but no, not really.
So, lately, when I have these conversations, I look for areas of agreement. We start off with Obama. He sucks. He's a liar. Sure, we come to this from different perspectives, but the agreement starts there. (Obama lied that he was supportive of single payer. He cut a deal with insurers and big pharma early on that he'd protect them. Big knife stab in our backs.)
I bring up the world trade organization, NAFTA, CAFTA and say they have to go, that they're destroying American industries. Bingo-- agreement.
Corporate personhood? Should corporations be allowed the same rights as real humans. Flop!! Libertarian ideas of rights of money, rights for all kick in, Not sure we'll find common ground there. Too bad.
Regulations for finance industry? Umm, there's that libertarian thing again-- leave 'em alone the libertarian teapartiers say (i correct myself from saying teabagger.)
Term limits on members of congress-- generally, there's agreement.
Election finance reform? Probably less if any agreement.
The Healthcare reform bill? Big agreement-- It's a loser, a rip-off. Here, of course, we come from very different perspectives, but we do have agreement.
States rights for health care reform. Definitely some agreement here. Guess what. Dennis Kucinich is working on legislation for this. Let's hope he writes it so it will win the Republican votes necessary for it to pass.
Ron Paul? There's a lot I disagree with about him, but at least I really know where he stands. I like the idea of closing hundreds of overseas bases and getting out of Iraq and Iran. I like canceling our membership in WTO, NAFTA and CAFTA. Sure he has policies I disdain, but we're talking here about finding common ground.
I think it's worth trying to talk to teapartiers more. Theoretically, when I think of these folks in my head, they are horrible, redneck, right wing extremists. But when I actually talk to them, they are civil, intelligent people with different points of view, middle class, struggling people facing many of the same challenges we all face. Sure, we have some huge areas of disagreement, but then, invariably, we find areas where we agree.
Lately, I'm thinking of organizing some kind of a meeting, a panel where progressives and teapartiers come together and seek areas of common ground. If we can do this and identify issues we can work together on, we might create what would be a nightmare for the duopoly politicians in congress.
Imagine if we came up with issues that we could force both parties to take stands on, in spite of their being owned by corporations.