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10 Principles that Unite Bush and Kerry Supporters

From: address@hidden
Subject: 10 Principles that Unite Bush and Kerry Supporters
Date: Sat, 9 Oct 2004 22:13:45 +0800

Two websites that can help:
http://www.radicalmiddle.com/  (Radical Middle website)
http://noosphere.cc/iparticles.html (Integral Politics website)

No matter who wins the election this November 2, the cultural divide it
reflects is dangerous for America, and for the world.  

Extremists on both sides, convinced their adversaries are diabolical to
the core, want a win-lose outcome.  But as the first Republican
president said, a nation divided against itself cannot stand.

It is time some of us set aside hatred, and engage in a dialogue.
Extremists on both sides argue there is no point - the division is too
great.  But reasonable people in the middle know differently.  

Right now, with the polls even, and the election results a toss-up, is a
good time for the reasonable among us to commit to set aside fear,
anger, and hatred, and commit to a dialogue to find principles that
unite us.  We will not find this in the pre-packaged politics of the two
major candidates, I suspect.

For example, my friends who support Bush do so for two reasons.  First,
they feel he has a core set of spiritual values that provide him with a
reliable moral compass - something they can depend on in a time of
turmoil.  Second, they feel that, right or wrong, he got us into the war
in Iraq, and is more likely to get us successfully out than a candidate
who has expressed misgivings about the war.  I understand this
perspective, as much as I differ with it.

I oppose Bush for parallel reasons.  First, I feel he has violated the
core values that define America - violated our Constitution by jailing
hundreds without showing cause; violated the sanctity of the global
alliance we rely on for our security; and elevated fear and control
above courage and freedom, for political gain.  Second, I feel he has
been extremely inept in handling the war, employed a na?ve and
counterproductive military strategy, and so irreparably damaged our
reputation among the world's poor (not to mention our allies) that he is
the last person able to successfully conclude the war and win back the
respect of the world.

I feel passionately about this.  Nevertheless, I do feel the passion of
Bush supporters in equal measure in my quiet moments.  

And, I feel strongly that we as a nation are at an inflection point in
history.  If, in this culture war, we let the extremists on each side
force one side to win and one to lose, we will be fundamentally divided,
and will begin our descent to a has-been power.  Great powers rarely
cede their rank willingly, so that could be uncomfortable for all.

But if the reasonable right and the sensible left join forces, we can
find an integrated position that will earn us the right to lead the
world in a time of unprecedented change.

Ten principles come to my mind, in the midst of this campaign, that
define an American at this moment in our history.  I wonder whether
others agree or disagree with these.  I'm sure you can improve upon
them.  Here are my ten:

1. We are an optimistic people, not a fearful people.  We strive to be
brave and free, not fearful and repressed. 2. We value freedom and
democracy so much that we would proudly give our lives to protect and
advance them. 3. We can't promote the principles of freedom and
democracy by violating them. 4. These principles are our common moral
compass.  We may change our policies as circumstances change, but we
hold firmly to these core
5. In military matters, Smart is as important as Strong, and Right is
more important than Might. 6. Killing terrorists requires precise aim -
especially if they hide themselves among the innocent, in order to draw
our fire. 7. 30,000 deaths do not avenge the murder of 3,000, nor
comfort their families. 8. 300 million cannot remain affluent, secure,
and free by frightening 3000 million who are poor, insecure, and
repressed.  We will gain more by offering the world hope, than by
controlling it through power. 9. Those who seek liberty through security
let both slip away. Security is the result, not the cause, of liberty.
10. To equate America's purpose with economic success is to cheapen
America.  Liberty is fundamental, and wealth is one reward we reap for
it.  If we value wealth above liberty, we forget what truly matters, and
we will likely lose both. 

I am sure many can improve on these ten.  I hope you will engage in a
dialogue to find principles on which we can agree, and help form the
common ground that unites open minds from both cultures, and offers a
path that we can both walk, for the next four years and the next four

To help, I suggest you explore the various political movements for the
reasonable right and sensible left.  Often called "radical middle,"
"radical center," "integral politics" or "beyond left and right," they
reflect an underlying movement that has not yet defined itself.  

Two websites with links that can help are:

http://www.radicalmiddle.com/  (Radical Middle website)

http://noosphere.cc/iparticles.html (Integral Politics website)

America is too great an experiment to sacrifice it to fear and division.
If this is to be America's century, it must also be the world's. Instead
of veering left or right, let's move forward.

Bill Shireman

(Personal views of Bill Shireman, not representative of the views of
member companies, board members, or affiliates)

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