What Does “Bipartisan” Mean?

In a recent podcast, Political Storm’s John Small asked that people comment on this question:

Would you put up a yard sign for your favorite presidential candidate?

It seems he was incredulous that a friend’s car was trashed because of his Trump sticker. He couldn’t comprehend an America where you couldn’t exercise your right to free speech (First Amendment) without retribution.

I agree. I recently wrote a column about how the mainstream media was so obsessed with demonizing Donald Trump that they were missing out on all of the goodies they could exploit about Hillary Clinton.

I received a comment that included personal attacks, so I removed the comment, as I always do when members of the Political Storm community are attacked personally, though if there is enough reasonable commentary, I will edit out the insults, whenever possible and leave in the valid statements.

Here are the highlights of that comment, paraphrased: I should question my sanity for defending Donald Trump; I’m also a closet conservative; and I have no business running a bipartisan site.

These two examples are EXACTLY why the Political Storm community was started in the first place. We are ALL entitled to our opinions and the presumption that we’ve thought out our positions and that they might even be right.

Imagine that.

Bipartisan doesn’t mean we all hold hands and sit in a circle singing “Kumbaya” while someone strums a guitar. Bipartisanship starts with a belief that others may disagree with you, but in the respectful exchange of views, we listen to people and meet them halfway. Or, we can give in on one issue and then maybe the possession arrow points our way next time, right?

I don’t know exactly the moment that the people of this country decided that Democrats were evil and Republicans were noble and Liberals were always right and Conservatives always wrong. Or, for that matter, that only one source of news is accurate.

We must get out of our self-reinforcing echo chambers and engage those with whom we disagree. We can try to persuade them, but we should not demonize them. That’s not American; that’s the pathway to civil war.

It’s how we’ve gotten stuck in this rut of intolerance for our fellow Americans.

Why do we think that our views are absolutely right and that our respective parties are the true mainstream?

Stop it already!

This is the attitude that led to the last 16 years of gridlock in Congress. It’s why John Small’s friend can’t put a bumper sticker on his car and why we think our establishment politicians of both parties leave us wanting more.

It’s why conservative Republicans get called “RINOs (Republicans in name only) by “pure” Republicans when they dare not to be in lockstep with even a couple of conservative positions.

The same is true for Democrats. There’s no tolerance in the Democratic party for a socially-moderate and fiscal conservative. You either get in line or you’re gone.

So what if we’re inconsistent, flawed, ideological mud bloods? People are like that.

The result of all this partisanship, this “my way or the highway” thinking has led to this: a Democratic candidate who has to go so far left to defeat her rival that she’s nowhere near the middle and a civil war among Republicans that has allowed an amateur politician, who can’t get out of his own way, to become their presidential nominee.

Political Storm welcomes debate and free exchange of views without insults and recriminations. We don’t all have to think the same but we need to stop the demonization of those who disagree with us. That’s bipartisanship.

It means that we believe in America and our fellow Americans more than our own ideology, which may be inconsistent or not fit every issue perfectly.

That’s “bipartisanship” in our community.

What do you think?

Jon Saltzman is the Co-founder and Publisher of Political Storm.