A different sort of quadrennial competition for the top spot is into the final round now – the US Presidential Election – with the nominee Debates starting tonight. This particular election has culminated a decades long trend of increasing acrimony and divisiveness.

As the bitterness and mud-slinging was well-documented to have started on the Republican side (eg. Nixon’s Southern Strategy), it is inspiring to hear a Conservative make the appeal for more civility and collaboration with Arthur Brooks TED talk, “A conservative’s plea: Let’s work together”…

  • “Action item number one: remember, it’s not good enough just to tolerate people who disagree. It’s not good enough. We have to remember that we need people who disagree with us, because there are people who need all of us who are still waiting for these tools…Number two: I’m asking you and I’m asking me to be the person specifically who blurs the lines, who is ambiguous, who is hard to classify. If you’re a conservative, be the conservative who is always going on about poverty and the moral obligation to be a warrior for the poor. And if you’re a liberal, be a liberal who is always talking about the beauty of free markets to solve our problems when we use them responsibly.”

It is tempting to want to block our Friends and Followers who sit on a different side of the political spectrum, but actually, I learn more from my contrarians than I do from memes which reflect how I already feel. Posts rom the other side of the issue make me re-examine the principles and evidence behind my personal stance. It forces me to understand where that person is coming from to identify common-ground and bridges to compromise.