The global influence of the United States, and our very security, depends greatly on the politics and domestic policies of the United States. All of us who served in Vietnam understood this all too well. For much of the past decade, as China and Russia have become competitors, if not potential adversaries, national security analysts have declared “Fix America First.” But what is wrong and how to fix it?
In essence, we have created over the past decades a poorly polarized society that has hindered the United States.
There are many causes and so-called causes. There is fear, racism, an inequitable distribution of wealth and power, political quarrels, egos and the clash of competing ideas, and so on.
But deep down, it’s just about us, our faith in the democratic process, and how we communicate with each other. Much of the polarized partisanship of the past decade has been linked to a sense of separation or ‘being left behind’. The American working class feels left behind as automation and financialization take over their jobs. Minorities across the world, from the United States to Palestine to China, face repressive actions that separate them from a democratic way of life. Even strong networks of alliances have weakened, as countries feel excluded or under-represented in institutions like NATO and the World Health Organization (WHO). The simple fact of a bipartisan conversation, tending to the excluded party, can make a significant difference.
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This act of open communication comes in many forms. At the highest level, this involves the United States addressing its allies in Europe, reaffirming American values ââand strengthening our alliances through diplomacy and engagement. At the lowest levels, it involves a civil conversation at the table between a Republican and a Democrat, finding common ground to begin to bridge the yawning political chasm in American society. The United States has a whole arsenal of democratic institutions to facilitate these discussions and should do everything possible to rebuild alliances, prevent democratic backsliding, and facilitate two-party politics across the country.
Facilitating bipartisan discussions to bridge the partisan divide in the United States is what Renew America Together seeks to accomplish. Ultimately, as Americans, we have a choice: to continue on the path of polarization, squatting in our echo chambers and condemning those who think or act differently, or rely on principle. of our historic democratic âexperienceâ to facilitate civility, diplomacy and bipartisanship in our daily lives.
Join me on July 1 at 6 p.m. to continue this conversation with the Albuquerque World Affairs Council.