Patrick Kearney, president of bridgeUSA, writes,
This transcends left and right, progressive and conservative. This is a movement to shed labels and engage in politics as free thinkers.
I sympathize with the sweet sentiment while remaining deeply skeptical. Indeed, I am more than skeptical: I consider the aims of this project incoherent.
First of all, no clear meaning is or can be attached to the notion of 'transcending' the progressive and conservative worldviews. You want to get beyond both? And end up where? Or perhaps you want to stand on the ground common to both. But what ground is that?
There are just too many deep, non-negotiable differences. I sometimes call them 'planetary' differences. If you tell me that a border wall is hateful or racist, I reply that you live on a different planet: what you say is so crazy as to be beneath refutation. And so on through dozens of issues. The posting of the Ten Commandments in a public place establishes Christianity as the state religion in violation of the First Amendment? Are you out of your mind? For one thing, the provenience of the Decalogue is the Old Testament, not the New. For another, the Decalogue is common to the three Abrahamic religions. I could go on.
Second, it is silliness of a high order to suppose that we can "shed labels." Label we can and label we must if are to understand anything. For example, 'pro-choice' and 'pro-life' label a real difference in approach to the question of abortion. To eschew labels is to eschew thought.
Third, social harmony is better served by walls, not bridges. Conflict results when people with radically different beliefs and values are forced to live together. There is much talk of secession these days. That would be a mistake. But a return to federalism may help.
Finally, to those pollyannas who think we can just transcend our differences, drop the labels, and form one big happy family, I say read the following from Salon, 11/24/2017:
Are you sick of Republicans? Or just right-wingers in general? Do you want to send a message to Washington that you aren't going to buy into their racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic and classist nonsense for one second longer?
They left out 'fascist' and 'Islamophobic." The punks don't even know their own litany of abuse. And you think we have common ground with these scumbags?