Jon Huntsman’s new position as Co-Chair (unpaid) of the “No Labels” group is well fitted. No Labels is a non profit, non-partisan (but full of partisans) group whose goal is to get our political leaders to work together fixing problems. From their website:
No Labels is a large and rapidly growing citizen-led organization mobilizing frustrated Republicans, Democrats and Independents – the majority of Americans – into a new political force to break the paralysis of hyper-partisanship and dysfunction in Washington. The goal is to make government work again by fighting for bipartisan, common sense solutions to our nation’s biggest problems and reforms to our political system.
Huntsman is co-chairing with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. VA). They appeared together on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Huffington Post gives us the recap:
When explaining the point of such a shift, Huntsman and Manchin use themselves as examples. “This is what everybody should be doing more of,” said Manchin, speaking of his travel companion. “Talking to each other more and finding the common ground.”
The pair spent their train ride doing what they’d done throughout their governorships: talking. “Our conversations have been about a reflection of the culture we both come from, the culture of problem-solving as governors,” Huntsman said. “We never encountered an issue … that we couldn’t resolve by bringing people to the table. We’ve got to get back to those days when we can get people around the table … who are focused not on cheap partisan point-scoring but on problem-solving.”
Huntsman and Manchin were very specific about their goal: ending gridlock and hyper-partisanship. They were very good at staying on message and not becoming distracted by tangential questions.
I love this new branding of No Labels. People of intense opinion and convictions can negotiate and compromise in good faith if the relationships are there. The more cynical out there may scoff at the idea that relationships can affect these high level decisions. I would warn against that. Politicians are people, and people are social animals. Politics is the art of the relationship.
We can exercise these principal at our level as well. When was the last time you had a conversation, not a debate mind you, but a non-adversarial conversation with someone who has the polar opposite worldview from yours? I’m challenging myself and all my readers to do this, and do it often.
Use the comments section here or even better, have a real face to face conversation. Lay some ground rules about civility and the fact that you are not debating. Your goal should be to put yourself in their shoes and discover how they really think about the world. Much of what you consider to be sinister plots to destroy America might just get downgraded to simple difference of opinion.
For more information, please head over to the No Labels website.