by RICK RADDATZ, transpartisan philosopher
On election night, we transpartisans may find ourselves picking sides. We may even get into arguments. We may even question our belief in transpartisanship.
This leads to a very interesting question: Can a transpartisan be partisan and still be transpartisan? The answer, luckily, is YES! — and for two very different reasons.
First, being transpartisan is not about giving up — or worse, denying — our current views. Being transpartisan is about (A) believing everyone could have a piece of the puzzle, (B) being willing to share the microphone and (C) actually listening while the other side has that microphone.
In other words, a big part of being transpartisan is about treating others with dignity so we can improve the quality of the discussion. This aspect of transpartisanship is 100% compatible with being partisan, no matter what side you are on.
The second reason it is ok for transpartisans to be partisan is that the arc of history bends towards justice precisely because different factions temporarily have their turn at the helm and things that work stick and things that don’t fade away.
Let’s call this idea of taking turns at the helm “asynchronous transpartisanship”. It is the idea that we can be on the right path even if we are always going the wrong direction. This might sound logically impossible, but think about a sailboat tacking up-wind towards a light-house. It is never going the right direction – until it’ is in a position to make that final tack.
And what mysterious force of nature keeps our nation heading towards the lighthouse? The answer is simple: Reality. The real world provides the rocky shores that keep our ship in the channel. In other words, it is entirely possible that our goofy political system is already structurally transpartisan and we are just cogs in a larger machine.
In support of this theory, consider this: An average lifetime is about 80 years these days and that means that less than three lifetimes ago we were fighting the revolutionary war to win our freedom; less than two lifetimes ago, we were fighting the civil war to end slavery; and just over one lifetime ago, women fought for and won the right to vote.
And now – today – what are we fighting about? We are fighting primarily — from one vantage -- over budgets and the moral implications of budgeting. So while some look at our movement and scream “IMPOSSIBLE!” we simply have to echo history and whisper “inevitable.” We will get past this current partisan divide. History says so.
So any way we slice it, transpartisanship and partisanship are compatible. And since that is the case, it might be good for us to acknowledge this paradox in the names we call ourselves. So, for example, if you are naturally a progressive, but you also believe in transpartisanship, it might be more accurate to call yourself a “progressive transpartisan” or a “transpartisan progressive”. Likewise for libertarians, conservatives, moderates, environmentalists, etc. This naming convention is not a compromise… it is a form of precision. It is a step towards truth. And what is transpartisanship if not the objective search for truth wherever it rests?
Transpartisanship is a big tent.
In short, take a deep breath on election day, relax and accept an ancient bit of wisdom: “Peace be with you. And also with you.”